Intelligent Design Theory Is the Result of Reason, Not Dogma

There’s an assumption out there among many that a belief in design, as opposed to chance, as an explanation for everything we see around us is a religious claim that begins with the Bible.

But the truth is, people have been reasoning to the conclusion of intelligent design for millennia. One example of this is Cicero (106–43 BC), a Roman philosopher who wrote this in his On the Nature of the Gods:

Who would not deny the name of human being to a man who, on seeing the regular motions of the heaven and the fixed order of the stars and the accurate interconnection and interrelation of all things, can deny that these things possess any rational design, and can maintain that phenomena, the wisdom of whose ordering transcends the capacity of our wisdom to understand it, take place by chance? When we see something moved by machinery, like an orrery or clock or many other such things, we do not doubt that these contrivances are the work of reason; when therefore we behold the whole compass of the heaven moving with revolutions of marvelous velocity and executing with perfect regularity the annual changes of the seasons with absolute safety and security for all things, how can we doubt that all this is effected not merely by reason, but by a reason that is transcendent and divine? …

Can any sane person believe that all this array of stars and this vast celestial adornment could have been created out of atoms rushing to and fro fortuitously and at random? or could any other being devoid of intelligence and reason have created them? Not merely did their creation postulate intelligence, but it is impossible to understand their nature without intelligence of a high order.

Not only did Cicero think belief in design was reasonable, but he clearly thought that not believing in design was unreasonable—indeed, not even sane. This was clear to him just through observation, before the development of science revealed the incredible intricacies of the mechanics of nature that go far beyond anything Cicero could have imagined.

As human beings, we’re all capable of recognizing design, even without knowledge of all the scientific details (see Douglas Axe’s Undeniable, which not only argues for our ability to intuit design but also backs up this intuition with the science and math that demonstrate it), and this is—dare I say—by design. As it says in Romans 1:

[T]hat which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse.

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Amy K. Hall

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