Intelligent Design in Cosmology and Evolutionary Biology

The concept of intelligent design as an agent in the creation and evolution of our universe and life within it has become a significant scientific concept in the last 20 or more years. It first showed up in the physics of astronomy (cosmology) as one explanation for the many incredible fine-tuned features in our universe’s physics and chemistry. In Frontiers of Knowledge, I include the role of spiritual intelligence in cosmology as a key element in my framework of reality. Below is a brief sample of the more than two dozen fine-tuned features that physicists have found in our universe (Frontiers pp. 59-61):

  1. If the early expansion rate of the universe had been one-billionth less, the universe would have re-collapsed almost immediately; if it had been one-billionth more, the universe would have flown apart so fast that stars would not have been created.
  2. If the weak nuclear force (holding the protons and neutrons together) was much weaker, all the hydrogen in the cosmos would have turned to helium in the early universe, and hence there would be no normal stars. If it were much stronger, exploding supernovas would not have ejected their outer envelopes, and hence would have failed to seed interstellar space with heavy elements (for example, carbon) that are required to create life.
  3. A small difference (by one-billionth) in the ratio of the strength of the electromagnetic field to the gravitational field would have prevented the existence of hot and stable stars.
  4. If the difference between the mass of the neutron and the proton were not precisely twice the mass of the electron, no substantial chemical reactions would take place and the universe would consist of nothing more than radiation and a relatively uniform mixture of gases.

Cosmologists discuss the universal fine-tuning that allows for life and intelligence under the term anthropic principle. Physicist Michio Kaku states that the strong anthropic principle assumes that an intelligence of some sort has tuned the physical constants to allow for life and intelligence. It is often associated with the idea of a cosmic creator.

Intelligent design as a scientific concept in evolutionary biology has been gaining some traction recently with the publication of several books by Stephen C. Meyer–the latest being Darwin’s Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design. I introduced Meyer and this book in a recent post. (See my Aug. 29, 2014 post under Science: A New Era / Evolutionary Biology titled: Spiritual Intelligence in Evolutionary Biology.) It must be emphasized that intelligent design as described by Meyer and his associates at Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Washington is not the religious theistic story of creation. Meyer has two main arguments for his belief and theory that there are active design agents involved in evolutionary biology:

  1. The current theory of Neo-Darwinism cannot explain the explosive burst of new animal life within a short window of approximately 6 million years in the Cambrian geographical period. [First seen in the mid-19th-century fossil discover in Cambrian Scotland, and in the early and late 20th-century fossil discoveries in British Columbia and China respectively.] In these discoveries there is no fossil trail of life going from very simple-cell life forms in much earlier times to these much more complex forms found in these three large discoveries.
  2. Recent biological research discoveries point to many other factors and mechanisms being involved in the creation, evolution and stability of complex life forms that is present in neo-Darwinism’s gene-based concepts.

In several years when I make the first revision to Frontiers of Knowledge, I will include this information.

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