Suppose that there is design in the universe. Although by some counts it is quite absurd and seemingly random, uncaring and undirected, it does fit together quite elegantly. Humans can design and reason, but humans did not create themselves, hence, design and reason are not inventions of ours. They are in the code.

If there is design in the universe, a lot of people seem to think this means there’s a God. A nearby atheist will ask “who made God?” and the retort will inevitably come around: God is outside space and time and doesn’t need a designer or a cause.

Let’s think about this for a minute. Why does the presence of design, or intelligence, imply that this world is the work of someone named God? Presumably God designed the universe to… have design in it?

Perhaps you see my problem: this entire idea of “design,” and of things having parameters that can be shifted and tinkered with, requires a stage. It requires some kind of a setting where the designer can sit–full of reason, intent, and intelligence–and execute the design by adjusting things that exist. But in this case it is precisely the existence of reason, intent and intelligence (perhaps even sentience) that we are trying to explain in the first place, so it is not clear how positing a grand designer–who possesses all these properties himself–explains anything. It is practically circular.

I suspect that there is an explanation for the existence of all this “design” that is slightly more sensational than the materialists will allow for. But I don’t see that it is evidence for a singular, omnipotent being named God. It could mean any number of things. It could mean that the universe is God. It could mean that human beings are little Pieces of God. It could also mean none of those things.

The universe contains design within itself, and I have some suspicions that that may mean something (sorry, hardcore skeptics)–but it is not clear to me at all that the universe as a whole is designED.


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