Friday, 11 August 2017 17:59

Intelligent design versus accidental evolution of the universe

Written by 


Ozodi Thomas Osuji

In the first chapter of the Bible, Genesis, it is said that God created this universe and the people in it. Thus, many Christians believe in intelligent design of the universe.

Beginning with Charles Darwin, many biologists believe that human beings, like everything else in the universe, gradually evolved from matter.

Evolutionary biologists teach that accidental changes in the environment led to the formation of human beings. It is said to begin about 3.5 billion years ago when the earth had cooled enough and water had covered 70% of the surface of the earth. Somewhere in a pool of water carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, nitrogen, potassium, magnesium, sulfur, iron, copper, zinc, phosphor and the other 64 elements in biological life forms accidentally coalesced and electrical current from lightening acted as source of heat and got those elements to mix and formed into molecules that eventually evolved into single celled biological organisms.

Accidents led to the attachment of many cells together to form multicellular organisms and eventually to trees and animals.  Animals evolved to human beings.

About 100, 000 years ago Homo sapiens, the wise animals, evolved somewhere in East Africa and later spread to the four corners of planet earth.

The position of biology, on the surface, seems to make eminent sense. For one can ask: if God created our world what was the point? Why did he create it? He created people to live for a maximum of 120 years and then die. When they die their bodies decay and the 64 elements in their bodies go their separate ways. The elements, in time, decay to the electrons, protons and neutrons that composed them. Those particles eventually decay to quarks and photons and in the long run to nothing (?).

We know that the universe is composed of gazillions of galaxies, stars and planets and moons. On the goldilocks region of a spiral galaxy, where it is neither too hot nor too cold, planet earth, plants and animals evolved.

We know that stars are cauldrons of hydrogen that eventually will stop fusing hydrogen into helium and start fusing into other elements and in time reach iron, expand and explode (supernovae).

In time all stars would explode. The planets orbiting stars would die with the stars that support them. It is estimated that in about a trillion years that all the stars and planets would have died and the universe would be composed of only protons. Eventually, protons, hardy as they are, would decay to quarks.

Quarks do not stay together for a second before they decay to photons, light. Thus, the universe would end in cold light.

The universe began in hot light and ends in cold light. So, if God created it why did he bother creating this thing that would eventually run down and die; what is the point? It does not make sense.

As existential philosophers, such as Sartre, Camus, Jasper and Heidegger, tell us, our lives seem meaningless and purposeless. Therefore, it is kind of difficult to see why an intelligent being would bother creating us and the supporting universe.

Materialistic philosophers (David Hume, for example) claim that the accidental concatenation of matter produced human beings and is responsible for human beings thinking.

Human thinking, looked at with powerful electronic microscopes, is nothing but the dance of electrons in our brains.

Electrons are light with negligible mass. So, what we call our thinking is photons of light jumping around in our brains. It seems that we are matter and that is the end of the argument.

Last night, for some reason, I pondered the human body. Please do not ask me why such ideas enter my head. They just do.  I began thinking about the human body.

Look at your body. It is a mass of flesh. That mass of flesh cannot stand up and walk around. For it to stand up and move around there got to be an internal non flesh frame to it. Thus, calcium and other elements evolved into bones and bones were used to construct a frame, a chassis on which flesh was pasted to make your body able to stand up and walk. If you removed the internal bone frame your body would collapse into a mass of useless flesh.

When we build houses, especially modern high rises we use steel frames as internal superstructures to hold the houses together. We first construct steel frames and then paste cement etc. on them and wham the house stands and lasts hundreds of years. Without that internal structure the house would not stand.

Extrapolating from the apparently intelligent manner we design our houses and cars with internal frames I wondered whether our bodies were also consciously designed by an intelligent force that first built a bonny structure to hold the fleshy part together.

Could the contention of intelligent design of the universe be true?  If it is true, why would that intelligence bother designing people's bodies since they would die and decay, what is the point to it all? It would seem that people accidentally evolved!

Yet the construction of the human body with an internal bonny structure to hold flesh together and the covering of the brain with a bonny skull to protect it from harm suggest intelligence at work.

Indeed, who could appreciate the workings of the human brain without speculating that there is an intelligent force in people?

Could mere accidents have written William Shakespeare's immortal plays, or made Albert Einstein's and Ernest Rutherford's scientific discoveries?

But if there is an intelligent force in people why did it bother constructing people that would die, what is he trying to prove?

The German idealistic philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer seems correct in asserting that the universe made a mistake in producing human beings; people, he said, ought to not exist. Who can appreciate human capacity for evil and wish that they exist? Schopenhauer observed American Whites holding black slaves while masquerading around as loving Christians and decided that they ought to not exist!

So, is there any merit to the proposition of intelligent design?

I know many top notch physicists who are beginning to accept the proposition that some intelligent being(s) outside our universe consciously designed our universe.

If you look at the evolution of the universe you could be forgiven if you believed that someone did it. Fourteen billion years ago, a particle of light emerged from nowhere. It apparently got hot and exploded; it shattered into photons and combined them to quarks and electrons and combined quarks to protons and neutrons and within three minutes combined protons and neutrons into nuclei of atoms.

Anti-matter was also invented; matter and anti-matter attacked each other and annihilated each other (and returned to radiation) but some matter survived to continue the evolution of the physical universe.

400, 000 years later  nuclei captured electrons to form the simplest atoms, hydrogen, helium, lithium; the universe became a cloud of mostly hydrogen. A few million years later the cloud of hydrogen separated into clumps and inside each clump heat and pressure led to the fusion of hydrogen to helium and stars are born.

The initial stars were massive in size and appear calibrated to live briefly and then explode and in their explosion create most of the elements beyond iron.

Both the elements invented inside stars and those invented during supernova were spilled into space and eventually agglomerated into medium sized stars and planets. Those elements were, on planet earth, used to form plants and animals.

If you look at the evolution of the universe it might cross your mind that someone designed this universe. It seems that someone wants people to evolve. Everything appears meant to produce human beings, creatures who can study and understand their universe (last night, out of nowhere, I began pondering the structure of the human body and this morning I hit my computer and typed this easy; that is, the universe tried to understand an aspect of itself through me).

There seems intelligent design in the universe. But if so who did it and what was he trying to accomplish? Since the universe is meant to run down (the second law of thermodynamics, entropy tells us that all organized system must run down) what is the point of having this universe exist at all? I see no point to it.

Observing human beings behaviors one would rather they did not exist. I tolerate human evil because I can attribute it to ignorance but if I were to accept intelligent design I would ask: why would an intelligent force bother creating people who are their own worst enemies? In my view, in their present forms, human beings ought to not exist. If I was designing this universe I would not have people, as they currently are, in it.

I could only have designed our universe if I was insane.  Stop right there. Suppose there is an intelligent designer of the universe and he did it when he was mad? Suppose that in a moment of insanity the designer designed this universe and people?

That line of thinking makes sense to me. I tend to believe that people were designed by an insane force. People are not the product of a rational force but the product of a mad force. If there is God he must be insane to have created people!

If you look at the human body, it seems a wonderful machine and you must remove your hat to whoever designed it. Then you begin pondering what people do with their bodies and stop seeing bodies as marvelous.

People eat food, digest it and extract nutrients from it; the rest of the food is poop which they must get rid of from their bodies. They are like other animals and must poop. It is not a pretty sight seeing people defecate; it were better they did not do that for doing that makes them mere animals. If I designed people I would not have them defecate.

Then you think of sex. People are programed to pursue sex.  Look at people having sex. What do you see? You see two ridiculous people. Imagine the fat and bloated President Trump having sex with a woman would you still have respect for him? Of course not!

No wonder people hide their sexual activity; sex makes them look ridiculous, like mere animals, not the thoughtful gods they seem to be.  Yet, people must have sex for it is through this animal behavior that people come into this world.  Children are born just like other animals are born, through female vaginas. Yukky. I would not design people to reproduce as they currently reproduce if I was the designer of people.

People are designed in such a way that they must feel lonely and seek the company of each other. If people did not desire each other's company there would be no society; they would be like lions and tigers living independent of one another.

Thus people have relationships. Their relationships are the dances of egos accommodating each other. It is battering.

Do you have what I want?? Are you tall, handsome and athletic and relatively wealthy? Are you a good looking damsel who is relatively intelligent so that our offspring is not going to be dumb? If the answer is yes these two people get together, marry and have children.

Our social relationships are predicated on self-interest calculations (no wonder Richard Dawkins and Edward Wilson say that we have selfish genes in us).

You wonder whether it is possible for people to have non-selfish relationships.  Are loving relationships where people come together and live altruistically, giving to each other without asking for what is in it for them, possible?

As long as people live in bodies they must calculate what is in relationships for them. Altruistic relationships seem possible only in a non-bodily state, in the world of light forms where people do not have to struggle for their bodies needs and there are no sexual behaviors.

As long as people live in bodies that will die their bodies have no value; their bodies are worthless (if you cremate their bodies the resultant ashes are not even worth a penny!).

Human worth is an imaginary social construct; people agree to see each other as having worth and dance their dance of "we are worthy".  In truth people are mere animals.

If you want to you can eliminate people. For example, Adolf Hitler wanted to and killed fifty million persons. As we talk, we have a deluded, psychopathic narcissist in the American White House. He may well incinerate North Koreans to prove to his grandiose ego that he is powerful.  And when he kills North Koreans his racist supporters would give him high fives, for he has made America great again!

As an aside let me say this: If the USA uses nuclear weapons on another Asian country that would be the end of the American racist empire.  The world would reject America and America falls. The world tolerated the first time America used nuclear weapons on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 but will not do so again.

The leader of North Korea is obviously an insane prick but we must find a way to disarm North Korea through diplomatic means instead of incinerating Koreans.

The human body has no worth, I suggested, but I just engaged in a bit of moralism in the last paragraphs! Why do so if the universe is amoral?  If the universe is amoral it wouldn't matter if the man-baby in the White House incinerated Koreans!

It would seem that there is a moral aspect of the universe; otherwise I would not have moralized at the prospect of wantonly killing Koreans just because their leader is an attention seeking fat boy who thinks that talking tough makes him tough.

One could conclude that there is a side to people that is not their bodies, a side that has total worth?  In bodiless unified spirit people would be importance itself but in body clearly they have no worth.

We do not know if spirit exists so let us not go there, at least, not in this morning's essay. Let us return to my question, was this universe a product of intelligent design or evolution?

My answer is that I do not know. Looking at the evolution of the universe I am tempted to accept the anthropic principle. But then I ask: what does the universe exist for, why create it?

At age fourteen I rejected my Catholicism and declared myself agnostic. It seems that I remain agnostic. But how then do you explain what folks call spiritual experiences that I have had? I will not go into religion here. So, let me say that I do not know if the universe was created by an intelligent designer or is a product of accidental, random and chancy events.

What do you think?

Ozodi Thomas Osuji

August 11, 2017

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Ozodi Osuji Ph.D

Ozodi Thomas Osuji is from Imo State, Nigeria. He obtained his PhD from UCLA. He taught at a couple of Universities and decided to go back to school and study psychology. Thereafter, he worked in the mental health field and was the Executive Director of two mental health agencies. He subsequently left the mental health environment with the goal of being less influenced by others perspectives, so as to be able to think for himself and synthesize Western, Asian and African perspectives on phenomena. Dr Osuji’s goal is to provide us with a unique perspective, one that is not strictly Western or African but a synthesis of both. Dr Osuji teaches, writes and consults on leadership, management, politics, psychology and religions. Dr Osuji is married and has three children; he lives at Anchorage, Alaska, USA.

He can be reached at: (907) 310-8176