My 2015 book “In the Beginning and Other Essays on Intelligent Design” includes a couple of chapters dealing with the “compensation” argument (anything can happen in an open system without violating the second law of thermodynamics), a chapter on the big bang, which includes the differential equation modeling the expansion of the universe that shows a singularity in the finite past, a chapter on the fine tuning of the laws of physics, and a chapter on quantum mechanics. The chapter on quantum mechanics shows that not only is human behavior not completely determined by physics, but even the individual particles of physics have a sort of “free will” of their own, even their behavior is not completely predictable, even in theory.
The last chapter contains a summary that I think is worth sharing:
Science has been so successful in explaining natural phenomena that the modern scientist is convinced that it can explain everything, and anything that challenges this assumption is simply ignored. It doesn’t matter that there were no natural causes before Nature came into existence, so he cannot hope to ever explain the sudden creation of time, space, matter and energy and our universe in the big bang. It doesn’t matter that quantum mechanics is based on a “principle of indeterminacy,” that tells us that every “natural” phenomenon has a component that is forever beyond the ability of science to explain or predict, he still insists nothing is beyond the reach of his science. When he discovers that all of the basic constants of physics, such as the speed of light, the charge and mass of the electron, Planck’s constant, etc., had to have almost exactly the values that they do have in order for any conceivable form of life to survive in our universe, he proposes the ““anthropic principle” and says that there must be many other universes with the same laws, but random values for the basic constants, and one was bound to get the values right.
When you ask him how a mechanical process such as natural selection could cause human consciousness to arise out of inanimate matter, he doesn’t understand what the problem is, and he talks about human evolution as if he were an outside observer, and never seems to wonder how he got inside one of the animals he is studying. And when you ask how the four fundamental forces of Nature alone could rearrange the basic particles of Nature into libraries full of encyclopedias, science texts and novels, and computers, connected to laser printers, LCDs and keyboards and the Internet, he says, well, order can increase in an open system.
So it is very satisfying to me to see the research of scientists like Michael Denton, Robin Collins and Guillermo Gonzalez (start at the 4:25 minute mark of the video below for a short discussion; section 2b of the study guide includes some relevant video links), which shows those scientists who are convinced that nothing could possibly be beyond the reach of their science, that the reason they have been able to reach so far with their science in the first place is that the laws of physics and the conditions on Earth have been fine-tuned to make this possible. They have been set up.