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Reason 2: The Teleological Argument (Design Argument)

Reason 2: The Teleological Argument (Design Argument)

Driving a car down the road, through beautiful green hills, on a hot summer day with cool air conditioning air, listening to music, can be an amazing experience.  Two hundred years ago, it would be hard to image such an experience.


Today it is easy to forget the benefits of invention, taking them for granted. To experience the benefits of a car requires the intent of intelligent design, the car with air

conditioning and music did not magically appear.  The whole car was designed to give its rider an experience; imagine a sampling of these designs.

  • The engine is designed to transfer the explosions of gasoline into movement to propel the car through its tires.
  • The battery is designed to store energy from car to be used for electrical systems in the car.
  • The windshields are designed to shield the occupants from the impact of air and the outside environment.
  • Lights on the car are designed to allow the occupant to see the outside and the inside of the car during times when the environment is dark.  

If someone were to suggest these designs were accidental and without intent, we would have to explain how its evenCar-Engine-Design possible? 

  1. How did all the parts required to make the engine work come together into a complete working system.
  2. What could have happened to allow this to occur?
  1. What is the possibility of this happening?
  2. How was the engine integrated into the rest of the car?

The more logical assumption based on evidence is the car was created by a designer; assume “accident” requires faith in very unlikely circumstances. 

Bacterium-Engine-Design             So if this is the case just for a car engine, we can extend this argument to simple bacterial flagellum.  For a bacteria to move in liquid requires propulsion, the bacteria has a propulsion system known as the flagellum, revolving 200 to 1000 RPM.  It can reverse direction in an instant, the bacteria’s engine is even more complex then the car engine on a super micro scale.

            Imagine over 5,000,000 million bacteria can be placed on the head of a pin, yet each one has an engine more complex than a car’s engine.  The same questions apply, how did the parts required to make the engine work come together? What could have happened to allow this to occur? What is the possibility of this happening? and How was the bacterial flagellum engine incorporated into a bacteria? 

            This all leads back to “Cause” what caused this to happen?  With the car engine and car we know the answer, because we witnessed it. The “Bacterial flagellum” is even more complex and on a much smaller scale. Its logical to ask the question, is there a possibility this could occur by accident? Does it require “Intelligent design”?

The Design Argument (Teleological)

            The beginning of the universe requires a “First Cause”, because the universe has a starting point and is finite; the cause must be greater than the effect.  In the same light, we know the existence of life also has a starting point.  Matter is the building block of life, without matter, we cannot have life in this physical universe, as we know it.  Therefore, the next question to be addressed is, “What is the origin to Life?”

            Is the same “First Cause” that caused the universe to explode into existence the “First Cause” of life as well?   There are two competing origin of life models; the Macro-evolutionary Model and the Design Model

The Macro-Evolutionary modelstates that life was self-generated from nonliving (inorganic) matter. Once the gap from non-life to life was bridged, the first living cell began to evolve by random changes (mutations) in its genetic information system, creating new characteristics that were not in the original organism.

The Design Model states that non-life never produces life and that the first life forms were the direct result of super-intelligence.


How complex is a cell?

When Darwin wrote his theories of evolution in the mid-1800’s the cell was a mystery.  It was not until after WW II and the discovery electron microscopy, that new sub-cellular structures were discovered.  Michele J. Behe, author of Darwin’s Black Box, writes;

This level of discovery (of sub-cellular structures) began to allow biologist to approach the greatest black box of all.  The question of how life works was not one Darwin or his contemporaries could answer.  They knew that eyes were for seeing—but how, exactly do they see?  How does the blood clot? How does the body fight disease? The complex structures revealed by the electron microscope were themselves made of smaller components. What were those components? What did they look like? How did they work?[1]

To understand the complexity of a cell, Michael Denton, illustrates if a cell is magnified a 1000 million times until its 20 kilometers in diameter what would we see. He writes,

What we would then see would be an object of unparalleled complexity and adaptive design. On the surface of the cell, we would see millions of openings, like the portholes of a vast space ship, opening and closing to allow a continual stream of materials to flow in and out.   If we were to enter one of these openings, we would find ourselves in a world of supreme technology and bewildering complexity. We would see endless highly organized corridors and conduits branching in every direction away from the perimeter of the cell, some leading to the central memory bank in the nucleus and others to assembly plants and processing units. The nucleus itself would be a vast spherical chamber more then a kilometer in diameter, resembling a geodesic dome inside of which we could see, all neatly stacked together in ordered arrays, and raw materials would shuttle along all the manifold conduits in a highly ordered fashion to and from various assembly plants in the outer regions of the cell… Is it really credible that random processes could have constructed a reality, the smallest element of which…a functional protein or gene—is complex beyond our own creative capacities, a reality which is the very antithesis of Cellchance, which excels in every sense anything produced by the intelligence of man[2]

How could the first cell come into existence?  Was it time, chance and matter?  On the other hand, was it the result of an intelligent designer, a “First Cause” of life?  Darwin wrote,

If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.[3]

According to Darwin’s criteria, his whole model of life falls apart.  The cell is the smallest unit of matter considered alive…less than a 1/1000th of an inch in diameter.

In the center of the cell is the nucleolus composed of deoxyribo-nucleic acid (DNA), protein and ribonucleic acid (RNA). DNA combined with proteins is organized into structural units called chromosomes, which usually occur in identical pairs.    The DNA molecule form the infrastructure in each chromosome and is a single, very long, highly coiled molecule subdivided into functional units called genes.  A gene occupies a certain place on the chromosome and contains the coded instructions that determine the inheritance of a particular characteristic or group passed from one generation to the next. The Chromosomes contain the information needed to build an identical working cell.

Cells serve two functions to provide a framework to support life and to make copies of themselves.  They do this by having a communication system between the nucleolus and the rest of the cell.  Inside the nucleolus is located all the information need to function, replicate and repair the cell.  Only now is this incredibly complex system of cell communication becoming known.

            In the same way a software program uses binary code, combining 0 and 1 to communicate programs throughout a computer system the cells uses the combination of four nitrogen-containing bases to communicate inside the cell. (Adenine (A), Thymine (T), Cytosine (C) and Guanine (G).

Molecular biologists classify it as equivalent to a written language but not by analogy.

The statistical structure of any printed language ranges through letter and frequencies, diagrams, trigrams word frequencies, etc., spelling rules, grammar and so forth and therefore can be represented by a Markov process given the stDNAates of the system…..It is important to understand that we are not reasoning by analogy.  The sequence hypothesis applies directly to the protein and the genetic text as well as to written language and therefore the treatment is mathematically identical.[4]

The cell has a language of its own, fully equipped with rules that govern how it communicates.  This cellular communication system has been shown to have a one-to-one correspondence with our own communication systems.

The genetic code is composed of four letters (Nucleotides), which are arranged into sixty-four words of three letters each (triplets or codons).  These words are organized in sequence to produce sentences (Genes). Several related sentences are strung together and perform as paragraphs (Operons). Tens of thousands of paragraphs comprise chapters (Chromosomes), and a full set of chapters contain all the necessary information for a readable book (Organism).[5]

 The possibility of life coming into existence on its own requires two elements time and probability.

David Foster illustrates the problem with a deck of 52 playing cards.

Specificity is the measure of the improbability of a pattern which actually occurs against a background of alternatives…Let us imagine that there is a pack of 52 cards well shuffled and lying face-downwards on a table.  What are the chances of picking all the cards up in a correct suit, sequence starting with the Ace of Spades and working downwards and then through the other suits and finishing with the Two of Clubs?

Well, the chance of picking up the first card correctly is 1 in 52, the second 1 in 51, the third card 1 in 50, the fourth card 1 in 49 and so forth.  So the chance of picking up the whole pack correctly is Factorial 52.

 As one chance in… (About) 1068 this number is approaching that of all the atoms in the universe.

  • Number of seconds back from now to the estimated date of the Big Bang is 4 x 1017 (1018)
  • Number of atoms in the universe: 1080
  • Number of photons in the universe: 1088
  • Number of stars in the universe: 1022
  • Number of wavelengths of light to traverse the universe 2 x 1033.16[6]

The astronomers Fred Hoyle and Chandra Wickramsinghe placed the probability that life would originate from non-life

As one 10-40,000 and the probability of added complexity arising by mutations and natural selection very near this figure.[7]

To believe that life could have come from non-life would require an incredible amount of faith

The information content of the brain expressed in bits is probably comparable to the total number of connections among the neurons—about a hundred trillion, 1014, bits.  If written out in English, say, that information would fill some twenty million volumes, as many as in the world largest libraries. The equivalent of twenty million books is inside the heads of every one of us.  The brain is a very big place in a small space[8]

When we examine the complexity of life and the improbability of life developing from non-life, we are forced to come to the conclusion that a Super-Intelligent Designer is the source for life.     


[1]  Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box: (New York: Free, 1996) pg. 10

[2] Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (Bethesda:Adler & Adler, 1986) 328,342

[3] Charles Darwin, On the Origin of Species (New York:NAL Penguin Inc., 1958)

[4] Hubert P. Yockey, “Self Organization, Origin-of-life Scenarios and Information Theory,” Journal of  Theoretical Biology, Vol. 91 (1981):16  A Markov process is a phrase used to in the discipline of statistics It concerns itself with analyzing a succession of events within certain parameters. Named after Andrei Markov (1856-1922)

[5] Lane P. Lester and Raymond G. Bohlin, The Natural Limits to Biological Change (Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 1984)


[6]  David Foster, The Philosophical Scientists (New York: Dorset, 1985)

[7] Lane P. Lester and Raymond G. Bohlin, The Natural Limits of Biological Change (Grand Rapids, Mich, Zondervan, 1984) 86

[8] Carl Sagan, Cosmos (New York: Ballantine, 1980), 230