Ard Louis on Intelligent Design
In his post on Monday, Karl Giberson writes that, “My primary concern about ID is that it promotes the idea that nature has gaps in it that God must intervene to fill.” Similarly, in this short video, physicist Ard Louis echoes these same doubts about Intelligent Design, noting that his primary resistance to the movement is based on theological grounds as opposed to scientific. That is, he suggests that accepting Intelligent Design is a bit like acknowledging that God “[couldn’t] get the world right the first time around”.
To illustrate this point, Louis recounts a famous exchange between Newton and his rival Leibniz that occurred when Newton was working out his theory of gravity. Newton found that in the solar system, planets are unstable. He tried to explain this aspect in his theory by suggesting that God occasionally reforms the planets to stabilize them. Leibniz dismissed this claim as nonsense and that in fact argued that this line of thinking was demeaning to God because it discounted God’s power. Moreover, Leibniz said, God doesn’t do miracles for wants of nature—he does miracles for wants of grace. This means that God doesn’t make miracles just to “fix” things in the past. Further, as Louis points out, these “correctives” are not mentioned in the scriptures, thus it makes many of ID’s claims seem theologically unlikely.
Commentary written by the BioLogos editorial team.
Ard Louis is a Reader in Theoretical Physics and a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Oxford, where he leads a research group studying problems on the border between chemistry, physics and biology. He is also the International Secretary for Christians in Science, an associate of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion and served on the board of advisors for the John Templeton Foundation.