“Equal time.” Sometimes when the other side of an issue is presented, opponents decry that both sides were not given the chance to argue their case. “Bias! Give us equal time.” But this kind of objection is usually special pleading. We who don’t buy the scientific establishment’s story that “evolution is a fact” and “believing in a Creator is anti-science” are used to having our position ridiculed and dismissed by evolution proponents. It appears the shoe is on the other foot.
The theory of naturalistic, materialistic, purposeless, unguided evolution has such a privileged position in secular cultures that there is no hope for “equal time” for those who think the scientific evidence points to Creationism or Intelligent Design. Critics of evolution only hope for respect in the discussion. Popular Christian apologist Lee Strobel hopes to bring a semblance of “equal time” to the discussion of science. In his book, The Case for a Creator: A Journalist Investigates Scientific Evidence That Points Toward God (CFAC), the reader is treated to a challenging yet fast-paced narrative of the author’s interviews with noted scientists in various fields who question the evolutionary dogma commonly accepted by the public. The third in his original trilogy of apologetic works (the other two are The Case for Christ and The Case for Faith), CFAC makes an informative, interesting, and (for many) compelling case that the Christian God is the author of creation, and that science gives evidence of this.
Like so many students in America, Strobel recounts his journey from child-like faith in God to atheism. When presented with the teaching and evidence for evolution in middle school, he intuitively understood that if Darwin’s theory of evolution were true, then God would be out of a job. His school textbooks and the march of scientific progress convinced him to trust the scientists and abandon the preachers. But years later, his wife’s conversion to Christianity spurred him to use his journalistic training to reinvestigate the evidence for the Christian truth claims. Among other topics, Strobel studied the scientific evidence for the competing theories of evolution and creation. During this quest, he discovered that the “icons” of evolution in which students are indoctrinated in (e.g., Stanley Miller’s experiment, Darwin’s tree of life, Haeckel’s embryo drawings, and archaeopteryx) were now-discredited by many scientists—including proponents of evolution. This discovery led the author to learn that many scientists have serious doubts about Darwinism which they are willing to voice and publish to the detriment of their professional reputations. Then Strobel pursued these scientists who are able to articulate and maintain an intellectual position that holds science and faith together in harmony. With seeds of doubt planted in the theory of evolution, which he thought to be truth universally held by everyone with a brain and proper education, Strobel embarked on a journalistic investigation to pose tough questions to experts in various branches of science who hold the position of Intelligent Design. Chapters 5-10 of CFAC narrate his search:
Chapter 5. The Evidence of Cosmology: Beginning with a Bang. Expert: William Lane Craig.
Chapter 6. The Evidence of Physics: The Cosmos on a Razor’s Edge. Expert: Robin Collins.
Chapter 8. The Evidence of Biochemistry: The Complexity of Molecular Machines. Expert: Michael J. Behe.
Chapter 9. The Evidence of Biological Information: The Challenge of DNA and the Origin of Life. Expert: Stephen C. Meyer.
Chapter 10. The Evidence of Consciousness: The Enigma of the Mind. Expert: J.P. Moreland.
The final chapter presents a summary of Strobel’s investigation that serves as a “cumulative case” for a Creator. Although the “cumulative case” strategy for arguing one’s position is vulnerable to the “leaky bucket defense” (see fn. 2) it is an appropriate strategy when the alternative theory of Darwinism has reached a crisis in current scientific thinking. So what is Strobel’s cumulative case for a Creator? It is a two-pronged case. First, he attempts to establish doubt of the positive evidence of evolution.
- Evolution demands naturalism as its underlying premise. Philosophical naturalism implies that “nothing produces everything, non-life produces life, randomness produces fine-tuning, chaos produces information, unconsciousness produces consciousness, and non-reason produces reason” (277). Is this worldview plausible?
- The biological scientific requirements for evolution to occur are increasingly understood within the scientific community as insurmountable. As the fossil record has filled out since Darwin, the evidence for evolution has grown significantly weaker, particularly in light of the Cambrian Explosion. The origin of new and increasingly complex biological information is unexplainable within the Darwinian paradigm.
Second, he attempts to foster belief in the positive evidence of design.
- The Kalaam Cosmological Argument concludes the universe has a cause that brought it out of non-being into being (existence). Nothing is self-caused, for that is illogical.
- The laws and constants of physics that govern the universe are finely-tuned to make life habitable on earth. The anthropic principle strongly points to a designer.
- Earth seems to be positioned in such a location in the universe to make it a unique environment capable of sustaining life. Not just any life, but teeming with life. Furthermore, the earth resides in the rare habitable zone in our galaxy that makes our astronomical vantage point exceptional for scientific observation and discovery.
- Modern biochemistry reveals the inner working of cells in which we observe irreducibly complex biological machines. Some of these are cilia and bacterial flagella. These (among other) biomechanical wonders render evolution unbelievable. Not to mention the certain existence of other cellular wonders we have not discovered yet!
- DNA is in the realm of biology. This genetic information code contains immense amounts of specified complexity. No know evolutionary process is able to even begin to produce new and increasingly complex biological information. On the contrary, the only know source of specified complex information known to exist is creative, purposeful intelligence.
- Human beings differ from all other creatures in their ability to think about their thoughts. This is consciousness. Although the empirical science of exploring the relationship of mind and body is still in its infancy, preliminary findings suggest there is a mind separate from the body (i.e., we are not at bottom computers made of meat). Some research suggests empirical evidence that the mind may continue to exist apart from the body. If this is the case, then naturalism and materialism are not true by definition.
This two-part case makes up the bulk of the book. But Strobel, as a Christian, wants to guide the reader from a theistic position to the Christian position. Due to space and scope limitations, in CFAC he can only point the way forward. Strobel notes that the scientific case (natural revelation) yields information about the universe’s designer that is in complete harmony with the God of the Bible. For each of the following attributes of nature’s Intelligent Designer, he quotes a Bible verse to demonstrate their compatibility. What are these attributes? “Creator, unique, uncaused and timeless, immaterial, personal, freedom of will, intelligent and rational, enormously powerful, creative, caring, omnipresent, given humankind purpose, provides for life after death” (284-285). Strobel’s steps from this theistic proof to Jesus and Christianity are documented in his two earlier books.
In my reading of various hostile reviews of CFAC, I note that Strobel’s critics lambast his method as shoddy, biased, hypocritical, sham journalism. The criticisms tend to fall into two categories. Some will seek to discredit his project altogether a priori due to a presupposition that science is only allowed to pursue naturalistic, materialistic answers. This is a bit like a detective refusing to interview plausible suspects because they don’t fit his rules of investigation. “It can’t be him because it can’t be him!” Others will complain that Strobel’s case did not give evolutionists a positive hearing. “We demand equal time!” Come on. On the grand scale of things, evolutionists have the least to whine about. The Case for a Creator isn’t equal time, but it’s a small step in the “equal time” direction.
Summary article by Lee Strobel
Summary of key chapters by Alex Damon
Creation.com (Young-Earth Creationist)