Intelligent design leads to forsaking atheism
By Jerry Bergman
Why did the court rule against teaching intelligent design in the Dover, Pa., case? Judge JonesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ ruling was summed up by one commentator as follows: Critical analysis of evolutionism leads to intelligent design, which leads to the Creator requirement. The Creator requirement leads to religion, which leads to God. The courts have consistently ruled that the state cannot hinder or aid religion Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and that teaching intelligent design aids religion.
Of the many examples I know of people who left atheism and became theists because of intelligent design, I will cite only two.
Antony Flew, professor emeritus at Reading University, was a leading 20th-century intellectual and author of many books including Ã¢â‚¬Å“Atheistic Humanism.Ã¢â‚¬Â Although as a youth Flew was a devoted Christian, during his teens he rejected Christianity because of his study of Darwinism. He concluded that evolution could fully account for the creation of all life Ã¢â‚¬â€œ and that no need existed for a Creator who had been put out of work by science. Flew eventually became a leading defender of atheism for over half a century.
Flew kept reading and thinking about this topic, though, and eventually came back to the theism of his youth. His conversion was primarily because of his study of intelligent design. As he told The Associated Press, his views were now similar to the Ã¢â‚¬Å“American Ã¢â‚¬ËœIntelligent DesignÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ theorists who see evidence for a guiding force in the construction of the universe.Ã¢â‚¬Â Michael BeheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s and William DembskiÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s books were especially influential. Flew added that an argument from design, Ã¢â‚¬Å“assures us that there is a GodÃ¢â‚¬Â and that DNA research has provided us with Ã¢â‚¬Å“a new and enormously powerful argumentÃ¢â‚¬Â for design. Flew stresses that the main reason for Ã¢â‚¬Å“believing in a First Cause God is the impossibility of providing a naturalistic account of the origin of the first reproducing organisms.Ã¢â‚¬Â He states that his whole life has been guided by the principle of Socrates, Ã¢â‚¬Å“follow the evidence where it leadsÃ¢â‚¬Â and, in this case, it led him to theism.
The second is Harvard Medical School professor Dr. Timothy Johnson. Johnson is most well-known as an ABC News medical correspondent, and for his many documentaries. His new book on intelligent design titled Ã¢â‚¬Å“Finding God in the Questions,Ã¢â‚¬Â a New York Times best-seller, both defends intelligent design and reviews his own spiritual journey beginning from his childhood religious beliefs to his acceptance of skepticism, then back to belief. He discusses in detail why, as a scientist, intelligent design was critical in his journey from agnosticism to belief.
Johnson graduated from high school as valedictorian and, after two years of college, decided to become a minister. His theology studies at the University of Chicago, instead of deepening his faith, caused him to lose it. In his words, Ã¢â‚¬Å“under the challenge of some very bright and skeptical teachers at the University of ChicagoÃ¢â‚¬Â he began to Ã¢â‚¬Å“doubt most everythingÃ¢â‚¬Â he had learned. This included the belief that the Bible was GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s word, that Jesus was GodÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s son, and that God rules the universe. No longer a believer, he graduated and was ordained but did not enter the ministry. He elected to study medicine, partly because of his seminary field placements in hospitals.
He came to believe in God only after many years of examining in detail the major questions that trouble many of us. He began by questioning the evolutionary belief that the universe is a product of only time, natural law, and chance. After extensively studying the scientific research, especially intelligent design, Johnson concluded that our inner and outer universes are not only far too vast and complex to be the result of natural forces but are constructed so as to force the conclusion that they were created by an intelligent designer. Johnson concluded the footprints are found everywhere, from the human conscience to our basic need to form the complex social relationships that shape our lives.
Johnson cites the major intelligent design literature, which he recommends highly. His journey parallels that of many people today and is why intelligent design has been a major means for many to convert from atheism to theism, and why courts rule teaching it is religious advocacy. The above are only two case histories involving conversion from atheism to theism because of intelligent design discussed in a book I edited that will be published this fall by Master Books.