Ard Louis on Intelligent Design

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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.


About the Author

Ard Louis

Ard Louis is a Professor of Theoretical Physics at the University of Oxford, where he leads a interdisciplinary research group studying problems on the border between chemistry, physics and biology, and is also director of graduate studies in theoretical physics. From 2002 to 2010 he was a Royal Society University Research Fellow at the University of Cambridge and the University of Oxford. He is also an associate of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion. He has written for the BioLogos Foundation, where as of November 2011, he sat on the Board of Directors. He engages in molecular gastronomy. Prior to his post at Oxford he taught Theoretical Chemistry at Cambridge University where he was also director of studies in Natural Sciences at Hughes Hall. He was born in the Netherlands, was raised in Gabon and received his first degree from the University of Utrecht and his Ph.D. in theoretical physics from Cornell University.

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