by Babu G. Ranganathan
Atheism is an invention of man to escape the voice of his conscience that says he is morally accountable for his life and actions before a Supreme Being. Atheism suppresses the conscience and gives the atheist the feeling of freedom to live life as he or she pleases regardless of ultimate consequences..
What does science have to say to all this? Science is knowledge based on information gathered directly through our senses or indirectly through scientific instruments . Science cannot prove that the universe originated by chance (which supports the atheistic view) or by design (which supports the theistic view) because the origin of the universe was outside of human observation. However, we can use science to support one view or the other.
The scientific method is used every day in forensic science to determine whether an event in a crime scene was an accident or by design and intention. Mathematical probability is a scientific argument and is frequently used in determining many issues of scientific inquiry.
If you went to an uninhabited planet and discovered only one thing, a cliff carved with images of persons similar to what we find on Mt. Rushmore, you cannot use the scientific method to prove that these images came about by design or by chance processes of erosion.
Mathematicians have said that any event with odds of 10 to the 50th power or over is impossible even within the entire time frame of the supposed billions of years popularly assigned for the age of the universe.
The odds of an average protein molecule coming into existence by chance is 10 to the 65th power. That's just one protein molecule! Even the simplest cell is composed of millions of them.
Although it has been shown that individual amino acids, the building blocks of protein molecules, can come into existence by chance, it has never been shown that the various amino acids can come together into a precise sequence by chance to form protein molecules. If the amino acids are not in the right sequence then the protein molecules won't work.
What's even more amazing is that in nature there are left-handed and right-handed amino acids. Life requires that all protein molecules be made up of left-handed amino acids linked together in a precise sequence. If a right-handed amino acid gets into the mix then the protein won't work.
DNA, the genetic code, also is made up of various smaller molecules called nucleic acids which also have to be together in a precise sequence in order for the DNA to work. Nucleic acids are made up of sugar molecules (not the sugar you use on your cereal). In nature there are left-handed and right-handed sugar molecules. In order to get a working DNA molecule the various nucleic acids have to be together not only in a precise sequence but they also all have to contain only right-handed sugar molecules. If a nucleic acid with a left-handed sugar molecule gets into the mix then the DNA won't work. How could any of this have happened by chance?
If the cell had evolved it would have had to be all at once. A partially evolved cell cannot wait millions of years to become complete because it would be highly unstable and quickly disintegrate in the open environment, especially without the protection of a complete and fully functioning cell membrane.
Of course, once there is a complete and living cell then the code and mechanisms exist to direct the formation of more cells. The problem for evolution is how did life come about naturally when there was no already existing code or directing mechanisms in nature.
Natural laws are adequate to explain how the order in life, the universe, and even a microwave oven operates, but mere undirected natural laws cannot fully explain the origin of such order.
The great and well-known British scientist Frederick Hoyle showed that the probability of the simplest form of life coming into being by chance is 10 to the 40,000th power. You don't have to be a theologian to respect such numbers!
In the midst of arguments over evolution and intelligent design, it is amazing how many in society, including the very educated, believe that scientists have already created life in the laboratory. No such thing has ever happened.
All that scientists have done is genetically engineer already existing forms of life in the laboratory, and by doing this scientists have been able to produce new forms of life, but they did not produce these new life forms from non-living matter. Even if scientists ever do produce life from non-living matter it will only be through intelligent design or planning so it still wouldn't help support any theory of life originating by chance or evolution.
Even the recent news of artificial (or synthetic) life is not creation of any life. In artificial life, scientists, through intelligent design, build a DNA molecule from "scratch" and then implant that DNA into an already existing living cell. Genetic engineering and artificial life projects all happen by intelligent design - not by chance. Just ask the scientists behind the projects!
What about natural selection? Natural selection cannot produce or design anything. Natural selection can only "select" from what is produced. Furthermore, natural selection can only operate once there is life and not before. Natural selection is a passive process in nature, not a creative one. If a variation occurs in a life form that helps that helps that life form to survive then that variation will survive (i.e. be "selected") and be passed on to the offspring.
Science, again, cannot prove that we are here by either chance or design, but the scientific evidence can be used to support one or the other.
It is only fair that evidence supporting intelligent design be presented to students alongside of evolutionary theory. No one is being forced to believe in God so there's no real violation of separation of church and state.
The author hopes readers will enjoy his Internet article "The Natural Limits of Evolution" at http://bgrnathan.blogspot.com/2010/01/natural-limits-of-evolution-part-i.html.
The author, Babu G. Ranganathan, has his bachelor's degree with concentrations in theology and biology and has been recognized for his writings on religion and science in the 24th edition of Marquis "Who's Who In The East". The author's articles may be accessed at www.religionscience.com.