Home > Homilies > Archive

Science Proves That God Does Not Exist!

Fr. Joseph K. Horn
Feast of Christ the King

George Friedrich Handel, in his magnum opus called The Messiah, has a very famous movement called the Allelujah chorus. It’s so famous that it’s one of those tunes that everybody knows, along with the Happy Birthday song, Jingle Bells, and Achey Breaky Heart. The lyrics of The Messiah are right out of the Bible, of course, and the Allelujah chorus says, “He is King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, and he shall reign for ever and ever.” Everybody knows the tune, and everybody knows these words.

But, like a rebellious child, modern society is eager to revolt against being ruled by the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Matter of fact, there is a growing movement to relegate God to a literary genre, to say that God is a myth like Santa Claus.

You think I jest? Check this out. There is a prestigious magazine called Technology Review, edited at none other than MIT, the renowned Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It’s always at the cutting edge of science. Technology Review recently ran an article entitled, “Is Life the Product of a Grand Designer?” In the article, biologist Kenneth Miller attempts to prove that life is not the result of a divine plan of creation by God, but “cobbled together layer upon layer by a tireless tinkerer called evolution”.

This is very strange, since the Catholic Church has made it abundantly clear that the theory of evolution is compatible with creation. We are perfectly free to believe that the way God created life was by a planned, systematic evolution. But this is not enough for modern man, or at least for Kenneth Miller. Miller goes out of his way to show that life could not have possibly been the result of an intelligent design. “We have no King but Darwin!” he seems to be shouting.

The Imperfect Design Argument

For example, he points out that the human eye is poorly designed. The optic wiring and supporting blood vessels are located in front of the photoreceptor cells in the retina. This means that the incoming light has to pass through the nerves and blood vessels, thus degrading visual quality, and creating a blind spot where the wiring pokes through the retina to reach the brain. Miller claims that a much more intelligent design would have been to have the wiring and blood vessels attached from behind, which would have allowed us to see much more clearly. Miller concludes that since no intelligent designer would have designed our eyes the way they are, it must have been the result of blind evolution.

I call this the Imperfect Design argument for atheism. You will be hearing the Imperfect Design argument a lot in coming years as our juvenile species rebels against our King of Kings. Here’s the way to answer the Imperfect Design argument.

The Imperfect Design argument is itself imperfect, in two ways.

(1) It presumes that all things that are designed by an intelligent agent are necessarily perfect. This is a false assumption, since intelligent agents can choose to make something imperfect, for whatever reason, such as planned obsolescence, or experimentation, or whatever.

(2) It presumes that we can always tell what is flawed and what isn’t. It presumes that our understanding of the universe and everything in it is sufficient for us to make infallible decisions about it. But every real scientist knows how false that assumption is; our understanding of reality is constantly changing; every time we discover new facts we are forced to update our theories. Many things that we used to think of as “flaws” we are now learning have reasons for existence; for example, we thought that jungles were just nature gone mad and we were trying our best to obliterate them all. Now we know that jungles are an important part of the ecosystem of our planet. Just because we don’t know the reason for something does not mean that is hasn’t got any reason.

The Imperfect DNA Argument

Miller then continues with a second attack against the existence of God. He says that if God designed human life, then a study of our DNA should reveal that design. On the other hand, if human life is a mere patchwork of evolutionary stages, then our DNA would be riddled with duplicated and discarded genes, and loaded with artifacts as it were of our evolutionary past. Miller happily points out that the latter is the case. Human DNA is littered with hundreds, possibly thousands, of useless pseudogenes, gene fragments, orphaned genes, junk DNA, and pointlessly repeated DNA sequences. Miller says, “it cannot be attributed to anything that resembles intelligent design.”

I call this the Imperfect DNA argument. You’ll be hearing the Imperfect DNA argument against the existence of God more and more in coming years, now that Technology Review has popularized it and attempted to make it sound plausible. But this argument, like the Imperfect Design argument, is flawed, and for two reasons:

(1) It assumes that the presence of unused genes is unreasonable. This is false, as every seasoned computer programmer knows. Programmers build new programs not only from scratch, but also by loading previously written libraries, so as to avoid re-inventing the wheel. But libraries almost always contain more than what’s necessary for each particular programming task. Thus the finished program will always contain sections of code which are never executed, called “dead code”, and which are clearly evidence of authorship by an experienced programmer. The larger the software project, and the larger the design team, the more dead code is found in the final product. Microsoft’s Windows and Hewlett Packard’s RPL operating systems both contain so many sections of dead code that reverse-engineering them feels very much like the human genome project. So dead code in human DNA is actually evidence of design by intelligently guided evolution.

(2) It assumes that we can always tell which genes are useful and which are superfluous. This assumption is falsified every time we identify a new gene in the DNA sequence (what we thought before to be superfluous we now know to have a purpose). A real scientist bases theories only on facts. The Imperfect DNA argument looks at what we don’t yet know, and makes a theory based on that. It is bad science, and I’m saddened that such an otherwise excellent magazine as Technology Review would run such an article.

Note added 7 September 2012: Wow, was I ahead of the curve on that call! Yesterday the news came out that scientists have “debunked” the concept of “junk DNA”. Check it out HERE.

So please remember: you’re going to hear these arguments more and more as people try to topple our King of Kings from his throne. If they say God doesn’t exist because reality is imperfect, or they say that there is no evidence of an intelligent design in DNA, remind them that the world was naturally perfect before the fall of Adam and Eve, and the imperfections we now see in nature are not accidental at all. Of all the imperfections we know, death is the worst, but death is no accident, or the result of evolution. Death is the wages of sin. But God so loved us that he sent his only son, Jesus, to redeem us from sin and death by his own sacrifice on the cross, which we renew every day at the holy sacrifice of the Mass, at his request. Sounds like a pretty intelligent design to me.

And if anybody refuses to see your point, and claims that the imperfect design of the eye is proof that God does not exist, then pray for them. None is so blind as he who refuses to see.

Home > Homilies > Archive