I just finished reading an article you wrote regarding the ‘evidence’ for
an intelligent designer and I found it so intellectually dishonest that it
inspired me to write you. I hope that someday you come to see the ‘folly’
that comes with accepting ideas such as the ‘anthropic principle.’ Someday
I think you will see that the universe does not exist FOR our benefit but
rather that we exist more or less in spite of it’s seeming ‘brutality.’ I
believe that life exists more or less within a balance of harmony and
disharmony and without the need for an intelligent designer offering us
support. There simply is no evidence for such a being existing in spite of
the clear evidence we have for needing such support. Can I disprove his
existence? No, but then again the burden of proof does not lie with me
right? What major discovery or explanation for how the universe operates
was made assuming an intelligent designer? Gravity? the Atom? Is it not
clear from the Bible and other religious texts that this same
‘intelligent’ designer inspired man to write down erroneous statements
regarding the nature of the universe. Was God simply ‘checking’ to see if
we were doing some thinking of our own and not relying on his servants
Moses or Joshua for our modern view of biology and astronomy? Certainly,
there are things that were written which were later supported by the
evidence but it’s a mixed bag to say the least.;To assume that our
existence within this universe clearly points to ID evidence would be
highly dishonest a statement. Instead, I ask you to make a hypothesis that
can be tested to prove or disprove this ‘anthropic principle’.


Thanks for your comments and challenges. I can see immediately that they
come from a sincere and passionate person.

Let me share with you a couple examples of discoveries which were made by
assuming an intelligent designer. The first example is science itself.
If you read the writings of Roger Bacon, Nikolai Copernicus, William of
Ockham, Galileo and any of the very early philosophers of science, what
you will find is that their starting point was the assumption that the
universe is ordered, based on their belief in a single, unchanging God.
In other words, the origin of belief in order and predictability in nature
was belief in God?in the anthropic principle. It would be fair to say that
this prediction has proven to be true. To take it farther, based on his
concept of God and of beauty, Roger Bacon predicted in the 13th century
that nature would follow mathematically precise laws. Again, this
prediction was proved true over time. I believe the reason his prediction
has proved true is that the assumption he based his prediction on?namely
that there is a single, unchanging God who created an orderly universe?is

You will find in my essay if you read it carefully that I freely state
that the anthropic principle is not strictly “scientific” because it is
not refutable and because it cannot be used to predict the results of
specific experiments. I am being quite intellectually honest here. Given
that I make such an open admission, I am confused that you accuse me of
being intellectually dishonest. In fact you accuse me of making “a highly
dishonest statement.” Which statement is highly dishonest?

Let me make a “scientific” prediction using the anthropic principle. Here
we go. In the next few decades scientists will discover hundreds of
additional facts/constants about how the physical world works which, by
“coincidence” happen to have what seem to be ideal values in order for
advanced life forms to exist.

Let me make another prediction using the anthropic principle. This one is
more specific, so it probably comes closer to being a hypothesis. In the
next generation or so, neuroscientists will discover that the human brain
is amazingly “designed” (to use a biased term) to allow humans to have
religious/spiritual experiences. They will discover a number of facts
about brain chemistry, structure and function which have relatively little
evolutionary advantage, but which are of great relevance to the experience
of “spiritual” reality.

I absolutely agree with you that the burden of proof for belief in God is
on the believer. I have stated that many times in many places, including
it my books. You are right about this.

It is my understanding that the anthropic principle is literally the only
principle by which we can explain why the universe we live in has the
properties it has. Of course, it is also possible that there is no reason
for the universe to have the properties it has. It is possible that it is
completely random. I will freely admit (and I do so in the article you
read) that I cannot scientifically prove the anthropic principle.
Nevertheless, the anthropic principle is clearly consistent with the data.
For you to say that I am intellectually dishonest, you must show evidence
that my thinking is not consistent with the data. The amazing luck of
having a nuclear strong force exactly tuned to allow both hydrogen and
heavier elements to exist, the long list of unique properties which only
water has, without which there would be no life, the precision with which
the energy of the big bang is matched to the gravitational force in order
to allow for long-lived stars to form,?. All of these do not prove the
anthropic principle in the sense that a scientific experiment can support
the law of gravity. However, the fact is that this world view is in
dramatic agreement with the facts. Is it possible that this is all just
luck? I suppose so. However, this requires a coincidence of such
magnitude that atheist physicists have been forced to speculate that there
are an infinite number of universes. Now THAT is religious speculation.
I say the conclusion which is, conceivably, possible, but which shows
greater evidence of unclear, dishonest intellectual reasoning, is the
conclusion that the laws of nature are NOT designed to allow advanced life
to exist. Just last year, Michael Flew, the world?s most renowned atheist
“converted” to deism because of the power of the anthropic principle. Of
course, his change of mind does not prove anything. However, if you read
his reasoning, I challenge you to accuse him of being intellectually

Have you read my book, “Is There a God?”? A new edition is coming out in
about three weeks. It will be available at You will
find in this book a strong challenge to your claim that the Bible has
erroneous scientific statements. I have studied the Bible carefully for
many years. I have a PhD in chemical physics. I fail to find
incontrovertible scientific errors in the Bible.

It is absolutely not a dishonest statement to say that the universe shows
evidence of design. It is an extremely biased statement (although perhaps
not dishonest) to say that the universe does not show evidence of design.
I believe we should hesitate to accuse others of dishonesty unless we have
evidence of willful intent.

John Oakes, PhD

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