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September 22, 2011 / compassioninpolitics

Nobel Prize Winners Who Believe in Intelligent Design

Should intelligent design be taught alongside Darwinian evolution in schools as religious legislators have decided in Pennsylvania and Kansas?

I think it’s very unfortunate that this kind of discussion has come up. People are misusing the term intelligent design to think that everything is frozen by that one act of creation and that there’s no evolution, no changes. It’s totally illogical in my view. Intelligent design, as one sees it from a scientific point of view, seems to be quite real. This is a very special universe: it’s remarkable that it came out just this way. If the laws of physics weren’t just the way they are, we couldn’t be here at all. The sun couldn’t be there, the laws of gravity and nuclear laws and magnetic theory, quantum mechanics, and so on have to be just the way they are for us to be here.

Some scientists argue that “well, there’s an enormous number of universes and each one is a little different. This one just happened to turn out right.” Well, that’s a postulate, and it’s a pretty fantastic postulate – it assumes there really are an enormous number of universes and that the laws could be different for each of them. The other possibility is that ours was planned, and that’s why it has come out so specially. Now, that design could include evolution perfectly well. It’s very clear that there is evolution, and it’s important. Evolution is here, and intelligent design is here, and they’re both consistent.

They don’t have to negate each other, you’re saying. God could have created the universe, set the parameters for the laws of physics and chemistry and biology, and set the evolutionary process in motion, But that’s not what the Christian fundamentalists are arguing should be taught in Kansas.

People who want to exclude evolution on the basis of intelligent design, I guess they’re saying, “Everything is made at once and then nothing can change.” But there’s no reason the universe can’t allow for changes and plan for them, too. People who are anti-evolution are working very hard for some excuse to be against it. I think that whole argument is a stupid one. Maybe that’s a bad word to use in public, but it’s just a shame that the argument is coming up that way, because it’s very misleading.

That seems to come up when religion seeks to control or limit the scope of science. We’re seeing that with the regulation of research into stem cells and cloning. Should there be areas of scientific inquiry that are off-limits due to a culture’s prevailing religious principles?

My answer to that is, we should explore as much as we can. We should think about everything, try to explore everything, and question things. That’s part of our human characteristic in nature that has made us so great and able to achieve so much. Of course there are problems if we do scientific experiments on people that involve killing them – that’s a scientific experiment sure, but ethically it has problems. There are ethical issues with certain kinds of scientific experimentation. But outside of the ethical issues, I think we should try very hard to understand everything we can and to question things.

Charles Townes at the University of California at Berkeley (Link)

Other Nobel Prize Winners on Intelligent Design and Fine Tuned Universe

ALBERT EINSTEIN, Nobel Laureate in Physics (he believed in a God like Spinoza did, but a God who design echoed throughout the universe)
MAX PLANCK, Nobel Laureate in Physics
WERNER HEISENBERG, Nobel Laureate in Physics
ERWIN SCHRÖDINGER, Nobel Laureate in Physics
ROBERT MILLIKAN, Nobel Laureate in Physics:
CHARLES TOWNES, Nobel Laureate in Physics
ARTHUR SCHAWLOW, Nobel Laureate in Physics
WILLIAM PHILLIPS, Nobel Laureate in Physics
SIR WILLIAM H. BRAGG, Nobel Laureate in Physics
GUGLIELMO MARCONI, Nobel Laureate in Physics
ARTHUR COMPTON, Nobel Laureate in Physics
ARNO PENZIAS, Nobel Laureate in Physics
ALEXIS CARREL, Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology
SIR JOHN ECCLES, Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology
JOSEPH MURRAY, Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology
SIR ERNST CHAIN, Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology
GEORGE WALD, Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology (note: he has quotes which defend atheism & deism)
SIR DEREK BARTON, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
CHRISTIAN ANFINSEN, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry
WALTER KOHN, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry

You can find an quotes from these 20 Scientists who were Noble laurets as well as noble laurets in other categories (peace & literature) by clicking on the above link. Also you can go to Detecting Design which has additional quotes from Nobel laurets on the issue of intelligent design, including scientifically grounded ideas like the anthropic principle and the fine tuned universe.

Peer Reviewed Literature on Intelligent Design
Sure, there are noble laurets who disagree as well….but the fact that a viable controversy exists….proves that further investigation is warranted and valuable. (that materialism and definitions of what a scientific hypothesis should be are used to exclude it from consideration is both tragic and a giant elephant in the room for scientific materialism which ultimately has large gaps from its inability to deal with intelligent design theory in a integrative way). Also, those scientists are likely reacting to what they see as an attack on science rather than a synergy between the two theories. For more on the reason it makes sense as a theory that overlaps with science (even if the hypothesis may be somewhat outside of what we call science in the strictest sense). If you read earlier articles on Compassion in Politics you can read about the Peer reviewed articles which favor the intelligent design theory/hypothesis (read articles that favor ID and are peer reviewed here). I also suggest reading this essay (Evidence for Design in Physics and Biology) by Dr. Stephen C. Meyer who came to the theory as an agnostic scientist. You can read short summary of Dr. Meyer’s bio here:

Dr. Meyer is a Cambridge University-trained philosopher of science, the author of peer-reviewed publications in technical, scientific, philosophical and other books and journals. Meyer earned his Ph.D. in the History and Philosophy of Science from Cambridge University for a dissertation on the history of origin of life biology and the methodology of the historical sciences. Previously he worked as a geophysicist with the Atlantic Richfield Company after earning his undergraduate degrees in Physics and Geology. Dr. Meyer has recently co-written or edited two books: Darwinism, Design, and Public Education with Michigan State University Press and Science and Evidence of Design in the Universe (Ignatius 2000). He has also authored numerous technical articles as well as editorials in magazines and newspapers such as The Wall Street Journal, The Los Angeles Times, The Houston Chronicle, The Chicago Tribune, First Things and National Review.

Here is a full list of articles on intelligent design written by Stephen Meyer and you can read a list of scientists who dissent from Darwinism here for even more proof of the cracks in the edifice of the theory.

My Reflections on the Intelligent Design Debate
I believe in evolution. I believe in intelligent design. I’m not sure what my opinion is of macro-evolution and I’m pretty sure I’m not a young-earther in the traditional sense, but there are certainly others who share my opinion on both of these issues (See peer reviewed article links & the dissent from darwin as well as the article by Stephen Meyer, which is an incredible article). I believe that textbooks should at least teach the controversy for greater public awareness of the issue. Does intelligent it belong in a science textbook? Does intelligent design belong in the science classroom? I’m not entirely sure. Perhaps its more of a civics, government, or history issue rather than a science one. However, it seems that science looses even more if its not included in a scientific context (i.e. they have to re-clarify and re-explain their approach or position on intelligent design at a later date). The current policy seems to be one of avoidance of conflict and controversy….but thats just an elephant in the room.

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  1. compassioninpolitics / Sep 22 2011 4:08 am

    In case you were wondering about Charles Townes additional qualifications, I suggest:

    Ph.D., California Institute of Technology, 1939, Professor at Berkeley since 1967; member National Academy of Sciences; Nobel Prize in Physics, 1964.

  2. Richard Forrest / Sep 22 2011 7:50 am

    What utter nonsense!
    “Intelligent design” – as has been demonstrated over and over again – is little more than “Scientific” creationism thinly disguised to evade US law against teaching religion in schools. It’s a fundamentally dishonest movement which relies on misrepresentation, distortion and outright falsehoods to promote it’s cause – as was demonstrated so clearly in the Dover v. Kitzmiller trial.
    To claim support for ID from any scientist who has expressed a belief in a God it downright disingenuous, especially as most of the scientists on the list are dead, and have no forum to protest at against being misrepresented. Many scientists who utterly reject ID believe in God.

  3. Rick Ryals / Sep 22 2011 2:25 pm

    What happened, Dick, did they finally throw you out of the babble-origins group?

    The face and the mermaid on Mars were plausible ID theories until technology gave us a closer look at the evidence to establish that they were just natural rock formations like faces in the clouds. This was the expected result of the investigations but the bigger question is, “Did we bother to take a closer look to find out?”… and the answer is, HECK YES!

    So the question of whether or not ID can be classified as science is a matter of evidence, and there are a number of highly reputable atheist theoretical physicists who are on record saying that the evidence for ID is so strong that it requires extreme and unestablished speculative science to explain it away, for example.

    So the question becomes, “Should we take a look to find out?… since we know that ID is promoted by people from a politically right winged American think tank who think that the ID is god.

    Well, Georges Lemaître thought that the big bang was evidence for the literal interpretation of Genesis, so what?

    In other words, it is only fanatics and ideologues on both sides who kill plausible science in the name of their sacred culture war between the two religions… Copernicanism vs. Creationism.

    Both are equally motivated by anything but honest science.

    And Richard Forrest is like, the perfect example of this…

  4. compassioninpolitics / Sep 22 2011 10:40 pm


    They are dead isn’t an argument. Darwin is dead too. So your argument is equally a reason to be skeptical of Darwinism and Neo-Darwinism.

    Also, you haven’t gone through the list to determine if they are alive or not. The guy from Berkeley still is. Also, the work of Stephen Meyer is cutting edge.


    The examples of Copernicanism & George Lemaitre aren’t particularly instructive. Yes, people of faith have made mistakes in the past….so have scientists. Scientists aren’t some how unique as a category of the academy in terms of isolating themselves from arguments from the outside. The hyper-analytic focus, while it can be helpful in certain circumstances, has the tendency to create barriers where they don’t need to be. Da Vinci’s work was so amazing because he saw past these simplistic barriers and gatekeepers.

    You mention that these people are fanatics (Richard Dawkins anyone…..hes a preacher if I’ve ever seen one and many skeptics and atheists find his fantacism equally problematic along with the rest of the neo-atheists). It may be true of some advocates…but Steven Meyer converted based partially on the evidence he found of design. I particularly think this is true given that biologists are insulted when physicians tell them their most cherished demi-god has no clothes….given the nature of arguments in the academy over theory and competing budgets…..I’m not surprised. (admitedly this is just my theory or take on the situation….but it makes logical sense given scarce resources and how reading and re-reading in a given discipline can hyper-focus a person in a given area–its the hammer and nail issue–when you have a hammer….everything looks like a nail)

    And I would say this is an argument for design: “highly reputable atheist theoretical physicists who are on record saying that the evidence for ID is so strong that it requires extreme and unestablished speculative science to explain it away, for example.” That ID makes as much or more sense than multi-verse theory seems to be an argument in favor of ID.

    I’m ultimately a little confused about your position Rick….do you disagree with both sides? do you agree with both sides?

  5. leebowman / Sep 22 2011 10:43 pm

    “Many scientists who utterly reject ID believe in God.”

    Name two. Never mind, I’ll name them. Kenneth Miller and Francis Collins, both TE’s. They both claim to be religious, thus beleiving in God, but one who set the universe in motion, then left the theatre. But lucky for Him, evolution took over and did what HE couldn’t do.

    Then there’s Francisco Ayala, who may and may not believe in God (he won’t say), and who sides with evollution as the accidental cause of all life forms. Why? Because everything is poorly designed. But is this convoluted logic what they really believe [accept from the data], or are they simply short-sighted and disillusioned simpletons? Naw, it’s political. They know better, but fear for their grant money and reputations.

    The three of them, like so many other working scientists, have to keep their faith under a barrel or face censure by their fellow materialist adherents. But even so, they’re under constant fire from their know-it-all cohorts.,9171,1090921,00.html

  6. Rick Ryals / Sep 22 2011 11:29 pm

    I both agree and disagree with points of both sides. There is a third, purely scientific choice other than design and chance that gets buried by the debate.

    I agree that there is an appearance of design, (observational evidence), that is stronger than the lame, (in terms of completeness), theoretical speculation that is necessary to explain it away, but it is not stronger than the natural expectation for a bio-oriented cosmological principle that simply requires carbon based life as something like a specially necessary function of the thermodynamic process, for example only.

    I don’t agree that my example of Copernicanism and George Lemaitre aren’t particularly instructive, but you need to have a very good grasp of ALL of the relevant physics and history that cosmological ID is based on, and I would invite you to accurately educate yourself:

    I am an atheist who isn’t willfully ignorant of fact that nature observably expresses clear purpose at many levels, and it is my strongest contention that it is only the opposing ideological mindset of the culture war that prevents the most natural solution for what the evidence means from even getting recognition of ether side. It’s too inconvenient to either side’s argument, and I’d assert that you’ve proven my point since you were apparently also oblivious to the equally weighted but more natural third choice, having to ask…

  7. David / Sep 25 2011 7:01 am

    There appears to be at least eight perspectives with regard to origins (this list is not exhaustive)

    ATHEISTIC NATURALISM God does not exist. There is no real design (only apparent design) and nature is all there is. [eg. Carl Sagan:"The Cosmos is all that is, or ever was, or ever will be."]

    AGNOSTIC NATURALISM One is unsure whether God exists. Though nature may not be all there is, nature is all that matters.

    THEISTIC NATURALISM God exists. He designed the natural laws. There is no design in the strict sense, and although _in principle_ nature is not all that matters, _in effect_ it is.

    THEISTIC EVOLUTION (WEAK DESIGN). God designed the natural laws so that their ordinary operation would result in the intended outcome.

    THEISTIC EVOLUTION (STRONG DESIGN).To ensure the intended outcome, God not
    only designed the natural laws, but also determined their initial conditions.

    INTERVENTION To ensure the intended outcome, God not only designed the natural laws and determined their initial conditions, but also intervened in subsequent conditions.

    SPECIAL CREATION [old universe/old earth/recent global flood] To ensure the intended outcome, God designed the natural laws, determined their initial conditions, and intervened in subsequent conditions. God created the universe billions of years ago. Although micro-evolution /speciation occur, it is viewed as variation within created “kinds” (baramins) eg. the cat “kind”. Macro-evolution has never occurred.

    SPECIAL CREATION [young universe/young earth/recent global flood] To ensure the intended outcome, God designed the natural laws, determined their initial conditions, and intervened in subsequent conditions. God created the universe only thousands (not billions) of years ago. Although micro-evolution /speciation occur, it is viewed as variation within created “kinds” (baramins) eg. the cat “kind”. Macro-evolution has never

    Note: Many creationists and proponents of intelligent design prefer the term micro-variation to micro-evolution, because they argue no net “evolution” (vertical evolution: information-building evolution) has occured eg. finch beaks in Galapagos

    Phillip Johnson says naturalists define words like “evolution” and “science” in such a way that naturalism is true by definition. Johnson said in World magazine:

    “Evolutionary science is based on naturalism and draws philosophical conclusions to that base. That’s why any theistic evolution is inherently superficial. It leads people into naturalistic thinking, and they don’t realize it.” (Nov. 22, 1997, p.13)


    Evolution: The Creation Myth of Our Culture

  8. Nathan Ketsdever / Feb 25 2012 1:19 am

    I don’t know if this guy believe in ID, but certainly his ideas overlap with its conclusions:

    Heres a podcast about his discovery:

    Quasi-crystals is a cross-disciplinary area of science–it re-conceptualized the notions of chemistry (although he was earlier scorned & rejected by others).

    As I understand it–it posits a rotational symetry.

    Here is a video which explains the basics of quasi crystals:

    Here is Prof. Dan Shechtman himself talking about the discovery:

    * Let me be very clear…I’m not saying he believes in ID, just that he believes in a noted and systematic order in the universe–and that his discovery supports some of the premises & conclusions of ID theory.

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