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February 16, 2012 2:31 pm

Who Created the Creator? Who Designed the Designer?

avatar by Moshe Averick

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The Cat's Eye Galaxy. Photo: NASA via wiki commons.

As I have pointed out many times in this column the origin of life is one of the greatest mysteries facing science today. As renowned physicist Dr. Freeman Dyson recently wrote:

“The origin of life is the deepest mystery in the whole of science. Many books and learned papers have been written about it, but it remains a mystery. There is an enormous gap between the simplest living cell and the most complicated naturally occurring mixture of nonliving chemicals. We have no idea when and how and where this gap was crossed.” (A Many Colored Glass: Reflections on the Place of Life in the Universe, Freeman J. Dyson, Charlottesville, VA: University of Virginia Press, 2010, p. 104)

The obvious answer is that the gap was never crossed by some unguided process, but that life was created/designed by some super-intelligent being. The atheist/materialist vehemently denies, not only the truth of this conclusion, but that such an answer can even be considered! Why? As is implicitly pointed out by Dyson – a point on which there is unanimous agreement – it is certainly not because the atheistic scientist has some plausible naturalistic explanation for how the “enormous” gap from non-life to life was crossed. What then?

The Philosophical Dilemma

Most people are unaware that many, if not most, prominent atheist thinkers reject the idea of a creator, not because of a Scientific alternative (there is none) but because they feel this approach is philosophically untenable. To their understanding, the question of “Who Created the Creator?” presents us with a philosophical barrier so formidable that it cannot be breached. Ergo, we are left with only one viable alternative: some unknown naturalistic process. The late atheistic propagandist, Christopher Hitchens, put it this way:

“[I was asked] where is the first cause…how can you do without a first cause? [My answer is] because it only gives you a sterile infinite regression. Where did the first cause of the first cause come from? The argument from design gives you the same problem; who designed the designer?

Dr. Jason Rosenhouse, Associate Professor of Mathematics at James Madison University

In our case we are more concerned with the aspect of the dilemma that is articulated as “Who Designed the Designer?” Atheistic mathematician Jason Rosenhouse poses the question in the following manner:

“Proponents of Intelligent Design [assert] that living organisms exhibit a certain kind of complexity…that is most plausibly explained as the result of intelligent design…the complexity of [the simplest living bacterium] is used as the evidence that a certain sort of designer exists.”

Rosenhouse points out what seems to be the inherent problem in proposing such a solution:

“This leads to a problem. The existence of complex entities was precisely the phenomenon in need of explanation. Hypothesizing the existence of something more complex than the thing to be explained only replaces one problem with a far greater one. If [the first living bacterium] can only be explained as the product of design, then any designer capable of crafting the [first living bacterium] must also be so explained. The result is an infinite regress of designers, each invoked to explain the existence of the one before.”

In fact, the High Priest of modern “militant” atheism – Professor Richard Dawkins himself – uses this same idea as his trump card to justify his rejection of God the Creator and Intelligent Design:

“Seen clearly, intelligent design will turn out to be a redoubling of the problem. Once again, this is because the designer himself immediately raises the bigger problem of his own origin…any entity capable of designing something as improbable as [the  first living bacterium] would have to be even more improbable than [the bacterium itself.] (The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins)

While the question posed by Hitchens, Rosenhouse, and Dawkins is a reasonable one, the answer they propose – that some as yet unknown unguided process produced the first living organism – is anything but reasonable.

The Solution

One of the skills stressed in Talmudic study is that when posing a logical difficulty, one must struggle to formulate the question as precisely as possible. Many times, the largest part of finding a solution to a difficulty is asking precisely the right question. Properly presented, the question of “Who Designed the Designer?” is as follows:

Any functionally complex and purposefully arranged form of physical matter (a Boeing 747, a calculator, a bacterium) or functionally complex specified information (the front page of the Boston Globe, machine code of a computer, DNA of a bacterium) must itself have a creator/designer at least as complex as the object in question. How then do we escape the dilemma of an infinitely regressing series of creators?

When the question is posed properly three points immediately become clear; three points which bring us very close to the solution to our problem.

(A) “Who Designed the Designer?” is a question that applies to physical matter.

(B) “Who Designed the Designer?” has absolutely no bearing at all on the obvious conclusion that the molecular machinery of the bacterium – which Dr. James Shapiro describes as displaying structural complexities “that outstrip scientific description,” – and it’s digitally encoded operating instructions (DNA) are the result of intelligent causation. If astronomers received a detailed message in Morse code from a distant galaxy they would conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that it was the result of intelligent extra-terrestrial life, even though they could not know “who designed the designer?” To state that a 747 and a laptop computer are the result of unguided processes because we cannot answer “who designed the designer” would be absurd. Just as it is obvious that the 747, the computer, and the Morse code signals are designed – whether or not I can answer “who designed the designer?” – so too it is obvious that the bacterium is designed whether or not I can answer that question.

(C) The dilemma that emerges from “Who Designed the Designer?” does not lead us to conclude that the bacterium is the result of an unguided process, it tells us one thing only: That there cannot be an infinite regression of physical creators. And as we shall see shortly…there isn’t!

Bacterial Cells: "Biochemical and structual complexities that outstrip scientific description."

I pose a simple thought problem: Imagine we are looking at the very first living organism that ever existed in the entire universe. The truth is one of two possibilities: (a) It was created/designed or (b) it was not. Since the only known cause of functional complexity and specified information is intelligent intervention, the only rational conclusion is that it was designed. There simply are no examples of functional complexity or specified information beyond a certain level (for example: a plastic car from a cereal box or a smiley face in the sand with the words “Good morning Dr. Rosenhouse, how are you?” next to it) that are the result of unguided processes. Examples using Darwinian Evolution are irrelevant. Even if we concede the validity of Neo-Darwinian theory, for Darwinian Evolution to proceed there must be pre-existing molecular machinery and a genetic-based information system already in place. This would be a begging of the question.

Since we are speaking about the very first living physical organism, the creator is obviously not physical at all. There is no other living physical organism in existence. In short, we are dealing with a supernatural creator; a creator to whom the natural laws of cause and effect do not apply. A creator who consists of neither matter nor energy and does not exist in time or space does not require a cause or a designer. There is no cause “before” this creator because he does not exist in time; there is no “before.” The concepts of “before” and “after” exist only in time. Modern physics teaches us that time itself had a beginning with the Big Bang. What was “before” the Big Bang? The obvious answer is that there is no such thing as “before” the Big Bang. While this may be an irritation of the mind and beyond the capacity of the human intellect to fully grasp, it does not change its essential truth.

The narrow-minded mistake of these atheist thinkers is that they assumed that the prime reality can only be physical. A paradigm shift in our perception of reality is necessary; We are created and subject to the physical laws of cause and effect, the creator simply “Is.“ Once we are open to the possibility of a supernatural creator, all problems disappear. There is no infinite regression, there is no problem of who designed the designer, and most significant of all, we do not have to take a giant leap of faith and believe that some unknown naturalistic process can transform non-living chemicals into a bacterium which – as described by molecular biologist Dr. Michael Denton – has the functional complexity of a Boeing 747 shrunk down to a millionth of a meter.

"The complexity of a jumbo jet" packed into a millionth of a meter

In fact, the existence of a supernatural creator provides a clear and simple explanation for some of the baffling “mysteries” that atheist/materialist Darwinian socio-biologists and psychologists must struggle to answer: Why are billions of purely physical/material human beings constantly seeking something “more?” Because there is something more. Why do countless billions of purely physical/material human beings yearn to connect with a non-physical, spiritual realm? Because there is a non-physical, spiritual realm. Why is it that for all of recorded human history the overwhelming majority of mankind has been seeking to connect with a supernatural “God” in one form or another? Because he’s there.

The biggest flaw in the simple answer we have proposed is not in the logic, but that some skeptics and atheistic scientists find it psychologically disturbing. So what? Get over it and deal with it.

Rabbi Moshe Averick is an orthodox rabbi, a  regular columnist for the Algemeiner Journal, and author of Nonsense of a High Order: The Confused and Illusory World of the Atheist. It is available on Amazon.com and Kindle. Rabbi Averick can be reached via his website. .

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