Friday, December 09, 2011

Read Along: Christian Apologetics Ch14

Today we continue with chapter fourteen of Read Along with Apologetics315, a weekly chapter-by-chapter study through Christian Apologetics: A Comprehensive Case for Biblical Christianity by Douglas Groothuis. Please leave a comment on your reading below. This is where you can interact with others reading the book, ask questions, or add your own thoughts. Series index here. Click below for the audio intro, chapter 14 study questions PDF, and summary:

[Audio Intro] – Dr. Groothuis introduces this chapter.
[Chapter 14 Study Questions] (with kindle locations) – PDF study guide.
[Podcast Feed RSS | Podcast in iTunes] – Click to subscribe to the audio.

Chapter Fourteen: Evidence for Intelligent Design
(pages 297-329)

Chapter fourteen investigates the intelligent design approach and concludes by exploring the implications it has for Christian apologetics. Groothuis offers ID as an alternative to Darwinism. He notes that: “Darwinists often brush aside criticisms by claiming that even if their theory betrays some weaknesses (which, of course, will be worked out in time) it wins by default, since no other theory has replaced it. Thus, in order to discredit Darwinism (1) Darwinism must be brought into question by the evidence, and (2) another scientific model must be put in its place.”

After comparing the difference between origin science and operation science, the author answers five common objections to ID. Then he goes on to explore the arguments for design from biology, such as irreducibly complex molecular machines, the language of the DNA code, and the origin of life from non-life. After answering more objections about design “flaws,” this chapter concludes by looking at the role ID may play in an overall case for theism.

Notable quotes:

Intelligent design proponents do not claim that a Designer contravenes the ongoing processes of nature in such a way as to make the study of regularities impossible, as theistic evolutionist Kenneth Miller has charged.12 Rather, ID argues that key features of the regularly functioning natural world are best explained by the influence of design at some stage in the distant past. (Christian Apologetics, p. 300) 

Accounting for the constitution of the bacterial flagellum or the origin of life on earth is not about predicting what will happen in the future; it is about explaining past events historically according to the best evidence and reasoning available(Christian Apologetics, pp. 302-303)

Holding religious beliefs about the origin and nature of life on earth does not disqualify someone from giving legitimate scientific arguments for these beliefs, which depend on no uniquely religious assumptions(Christian Apologetics, p. 304)  

Darwin set up a possible refutation of his theory of gradual and undirected evolution: “If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed, which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down. But I can find out no such case.” (Christian Apologetics, p. 308)  

Standing alone, it cannot provide a full apologetic for Christianity. Rather, ID provides strong evidence against the reigning naturalism in the realm of biology, as well as some support for theism as an overarching worldview(Christian Apologetics, p. 329)   


  1. Which arguments for intelligent design do you find most convincing?
  2. Are supposed “design flaws” a problem for the theory of intelligent design?
  3. What role does philosophical naturalism play in how one approaches the design question?
Next week
Chapter Fifteen: The Moral Argument for God