The creator of the universe is really clever

Karl Giberson is a honcho at BioLogos. BioLogos is about “Science and Faith in Dialogue,” about Science & the Sacred. Francis Collins is a scientist, Karl Giberson is a scientist. Karl Giberson explains why he has reservations about Intelligent Design.

BioLogos enthusiastically endorses the idea that the universe is intelligently designed and we certainly believe that the creator of the universe is intelligent. We consider the evidence regarding the fine-tuning of the universe to be provocative and compelling. Our reservations about ID certainly do not derive from any rejection of the rationality of the universe.

The rationality of the universe? What’s rational about the universe? It’s too big, for one thing. It’s too cold for another, too full of surprises for another, too hard to breathe in for one more. What’s so rational? And…rational according to what criteria? Ours? Obviously not. God’s? But that just begs the question.

Anyway. What I really wonder is what he means by saying “we certainly believe that the creator of the universe is intelligent.” What can any human mean by that? What do we mean by “intelligent”?

We mean “intelligent according to us,” of course. We’re human beings, saying human things, seeing things from a human perspective. “Intelligence” is something we attribute to ourselves and perhaps in small amounts to some other animals. It’s something we name as existing in some of the evolved animals in the organic top layer of this one planet. Does it seem at all likely that the same quality could exist in an entity that “designed” and “created” the universe? Not to me it doesn’t. We recognize something we call “intelligence” in entities of a certain size with a certain amount of brain tissue. The universe doesn’t seem to be the kind of thing that could be “designed” and “created” by a similar entity magnified enough times to be bigger than the universe (you have to be bigger to be outside it, because you have to be outside it before you can design and create it). It’s not enough to be bigger than Texas, or bigger than the earth, or bigger than Jupiter – bigger than the universe is a whole different order of bigger. Does it make sense to think we can make educated guesses about what kind of personal qualities – intelligence, courage, politeness – an entity of that size might have?

I don’t think it does. I think it’s just a packet of words that people mouth, without really thinking about them properly. If they actually thought about them, the oddities would slow them down. It’s very easy to say we certainly believe that the creator of the universe is intelligent, but making sense of it is another matter.

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