Intelligent Design Versus Naturalism

A Little Learning . .

The saying “A little learning is a dangerous thing” may be proving true for proponents of naturalism. The constant and inexorable march of growing scientific knowledge is changing our understanding of the origins of life and the universe and now casts strong doubt over many assumptions made by scientists over the last century and a half. These assumptions, necessary to explain significant gaps in the evidence available to support theories essential to the case for naturalism, such as Darwinian evolution, are now being called into question by new and detailed evidence. Multiple new discoveries, ranging from the nature of the universe as a whole to the exciting new evidence in the field of microbiology, bring into question some of these assumptions and instead build a strong, cumulative case for the existence of an Intelligent Designer.

The Claims of Naturalism

In the Merriam-Webster dictionary, Naturalism is defined as “a theory denying that an event or object has a supernatural significance; specifically: the doctrine that scientific laws are adequate to account for all phenomena.” This definition does not explain how these “scientific laws” came into existence, or how, against incredible odds, they came to be so precisely adjusted to support human life on Earth. Nor does it tell us about the origination of the huge database of information contained within each living entity. Naturalism excludes the possible existence of a spiritual or supernatural realm and requires that all of the origination, creation, and development of life must have happened by chance within the natural properties of the materials and energy of the universe.

The Fine-Tuning of the Laws of Nature and of the Earth

The physical conditions governing the universe, the existence of matter, the Earth, and its galactic location are based on the four fundamental interactions of nature, also known as fundamental forces.[1] Two of these, the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force, operate at subatomic levels and their effects are not directly visible. They control the formation of the elements and the natural processes upon which the existence of the universe depends. The other two, gravity and electromagnetism, are widely evidenced and part of everyday life.

God's hand holding and creating the sun or star near planet Earth. Christian Seven Days of Creation concept. Day Four, the sun and the moon. Genesis. Day and light Bible creation story. Vector.

Our understanding of these forces is changing as a result of our increased ability to model variations in their levels, and we are beginning to understand the incredibly finely-tuned nature of our natural environment. As Karl Giberson, Executive V.P. of Biologos, states “For many years these forces were just numbers, part of the physicists’boring formulas. But in the past few decades all this has changed.Computer modeling makes it possible to see how the values of thesenumbers affect the structure of the universe, from the formation ofgalaxies to the structure of DNA.”[2] He goes on to explain that changing the force of gravity by even a very small amount would change the universe such that galaxies and planets, and hence any form of life, would not exist, and that the other three fundamental forces are delicately balanced in a similar way. Allen Hainline, in his Cross Examinedblog, provides further detail: if the force of gravity, for example, was stronger by just 1 in 1040, the universe would be dominated by black holes instead of stars, and if it was one part in 1036weaker, stars would be unstable.[3]

It is not only the absolute value of these forces that need to be precise, but there are significant constraints on the ratios of one force to another. In his article The Designed Just-So Universe, Walter Bradley, Distinguished Professor of Engineering at Baylor University, explains that a two percent increase in the strong nuclear force relative to the electromagnetic force would result in the elimination of hydrogen, resulting in no sustainable stars and no water.[4]

Not by Chance

The chances of just one of the many conditions relating to the fundamental forces being correct by chance are almost that of winning the Powerball lottery five times in succession (1 in 250,000,0005or 1 in 1042). Looking at these odds, it is much more logical to believe in design than in chance. The finely-tuned nature of so many different parameters, at multiple levels, and to such a fine degree of accuracy, builds a strong, cumulative case for the existence of an Intelligent Designer with the intent of creating an attractive environment for His creation to inhabit.


[1]Robert Curley, “Fundamental Interaction”, Encyclopaedia Britannica, July 20, 2006, (accessed February 28, 2016)

[2]Karl Giberson, “The Road Less Travelled”, Biologos Blog, May 4, 2009, accessed February 22, 2016,

[3]Allen Hainline, “Fine-tuning of the Force Strengths to Permit Life”, Cross Examined Blog, August 3, 2014, accessed February 28, 2016.

[4]Walter L. Bradley, “The Designed ‘Just So’ Universe”, 1999,, accessed February 28, 2016.

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