Posted by: BibleScienceGuy | August 21, 2013

10. Evidence for God – Stephen King & the Argument from Design

Stephen King

Stephen King

Best-selling author Stephen King is a striking example of the effectiveness of the Argument from Design.

Born in 1947, King is famous for horror novels and stories of the supernatural: Carrie, The Shining, The Stand, Under the Dome, The Dead Zone, Cujo.

Having never read any of King’s books, I cannot attest to their contents, but reviewers say a number of his books contain profanity, sexuality, and gore. Nevertheless he is an extremely popular, well-known author.

Publisher’s Weekly lists 34 of King’s books in the top 15 best-selling books the year they were published. His newest novel, Doctor Sleep, will be released in September 2013.

King’s many gripping novels mark him as a brilliant writer armed with a razor-sharp mind. It is noteworthy that Stephen King finds the Argument from Design compelling evidence for the existence of God.

Previous articles in this Evidence for God series explained the Argument from Design and demonstrated that it is the best argument to use for the existence of God.

What Does Stephen King Think of the Argument from Design?

In an interview with Terry Gross on NPR’s FRESH AIR program on May 28, 2013, King explained how Design influences his belief in God. Here is an excerpt from the interview.

GROSS: I remember you telling me the last time we spoke that you always believed in God, and it’s a choice that you made, and you just, you choose to believe it.

KING: I choose to believe it, yeah. I think that – I think that that’s – I mean there’s no downside to that, and the downside – if you say, well, OK, I don’t believe in God, there’s no evidence of God, then you’re missing the stars in the sky, and you’re missing the sunrises and sunsets, and you’re missing the fact that bees pollinate all these crops and keep us alive and the way that everything seems to work together at the same time.

Everything is sort of built in a way that to me suggests intelligent design. But at the same time there’s a lot of things in life where you say to yourself, well, if this is God’s plan, it’s very peculiar. And you have to wonder about that guy’s personality, the big guy’s personality. The thing is, like, I may have told you last time that I believe in God. What I’m saying now is I choose to believe in God, but I have serious doubts.

(See Stephen King On Growing Up, Believing In God, And Getting Scared for a transcript of the interview. Or Listen to the Stephen King NPR interview.)

Commentary on Stephen King’s Thinking

King says twice that he has simply made a choice to believe in God. He based his choice on his observation of design in the universe. In King’s opinion, one who proclaims, “There is no evidence of God,” ignores that everything seems to have been intelligently designed to marvelously work together.

King is using the Argument from Design to reach the conclusion that there is a God. He admits that there are major puzzling issues, but nevertheless the evidence of design is sufficient for him to choose to believe in God.

Clearly there are crucial moral and volitional components to belief in God. Yet Stephen King sees clear evidence of design. What may be in question for him is the moral rectitude of what God does. But whether God is “good” or “reasonable” according to King’s standards is a separate issue from whether God exists.

King is an example of the persuasive force of the Argument from Design. King finds the design evidence for God compelling, despite having questions about God’s nature. He felt bound to conclude that there is a God. He questions aspects of God’s character, but the Argument from Design remains intact.

Questions to Ponder
  1. Do you agree with Stephen King’s assessment that design evidence points to an Intelligent Designer? Why or why not?
  2. Is evidence of design a totally separate issue from the identity and character of the Designer?
  3. What concerns about the character of the Designer make it difficult for you to believe a Designer exists?
  4. Share your thoughts on these questions in the comments below. It could encourage or help another reader.

Soli Deo Gloria.

This is the tenth article in the Evidence for God series that discusses the question,
“Is There Evidence for God?”
Read the prequels:
1. Evidence for God – Can You Answer a 6th-Grader?
2. Evidence for God – Design
3. Evidence for God – Experience
4. Evidence for God – Can You Prove God Exists?
5. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – Simple
6. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – Logical
7. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – Biblical
8. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – Old Testament
9. Evidence for God – Design Is Best Argument for God – New Testament

Read the sequel:
11. Evidence for God – Astronomy Quiz

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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday August 21, 2013 A.D.

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them; for God made it evident to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse. For even though they knew God, they did not honor Him as God, or give thanks; but they became futile in their speculations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing to be wise, they became fools, and exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for an image in the form of corruptible man and of birds and four-footed animals and crawling creatures. (Romans 1:18-23)

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Responses

  1. “…reviewers say a number of his books contain profanity, sexuality, and gore. Nevertheless he is an extremely popular, well-known author.” …Which qualifies him as an expert on God? Hmmm?

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    • I did not present Stephen King as an expert on God (nobody is, of course). I simply quoted him as one well-known intelligent person who concludes, “Design shows God exists.”

      Like

  2. If the universe has to have a designer because it’s orderly then god has to have a designer (because any designer with a mind is by definition orderly as well), and god’s designer also needs a designer and so on into infinity. The idea of an intelligent designer being necessary leads to infinite regression and is therefore illogical. This doesn’t mean there necessarily isn’t an intelligent designer, but the basic premise that you can’t have order without intelligent design must in some sense be wrong because you need order to initially come from somewhere, whether god somehow came to exist or just existed or the universe came to be orderly or just was orderly (we know now that the universe was much less orderly in the past than it is now, through astronomical observations, the fossil record and other forms of evidence).

    As for sunrises and sunsets being proof of design we understand those things. And the things we don’t understand don’t necessarily have to be designed or magical because we’ve thought that so many times and been wrong over and over again. Look at greek mythology. Or even look at the bible, everything from snow and rain to sickness and many other things are attributed to god in the bible. We now know that the universe operates on set properties which do not deviate, and that individual events like rain are a byproduct of the same properties that cause everything else. The same gravity that keeps me from floating into space also pulls thousands of people to their deaths every year. It behaves the exact same way as though it does not know or care that we are here, in stark contrast to the notion many people have about a universe that is constantly bending to meet their needs and answer prayers and protect them, which I think is just what we wish were true.

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    • Thanks for reading and for your thoughtful comment.

      The Argument from Design infers design and hence the existence of a designer from observable evidence in nature. The compelling evidence is the organized complexity we see throughout the world. This organized complexity is what suggests a Designer. But the Designer of the universe is not subject to examination for organized complexity in order to infer a greater Designer. The chain of design inference stops at the point when one cannot examine an entity.

      It’s not simply order, but rather organized complexity that indicates design. Intelligent design theorists call it specified complexity.

      It’s not correct that the universe was less orderly in the past. One of the most fundamental laws of physics is the Second Law of Thermodynamics which says that entropy (a measure of disorder) never decreases in closed systems, and the universe is certainly a closed system. In other words, it is impossible for order to increase in isolated systems. So the universe is not more orderly now than in the past.

      I agree that the universe operates according to fundamental physical and chemical laws. But where did those laws come from? Why are they here?

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  3. Yes, I think the point has been made that the evidence for design and therefore for God is strong enough for King that he at least acknowledges that it seems to outweigh his struggles about God’s methods enough for retaining belief in God’s existence despite his doubts about God’s “personality”. And it makes sense that the fact that we don’t understand all of God’s ways should be expected when considering that God’s methods and purposes are way above our limited human understanding.

    Like

    • Thanks for reading and commenting, Vince. You make a good point. I agree with you.

      Like


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