Creation/evolution Meaning of life

Intelligent design or the “simple unguided” laws of nature

This year I restarted a hobby that I hadn’t participated in for over 40 years. That is oil painting. One of my fears in restarting to paint was that I would not have the ability I had when I was young and I would just waste my time. Some examples of the art I have been doing in the past few weeks are shown below.

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For the past month, I have been staying in a guest house at the National Institute for Advanced Industrial Science and Technology (A.I.S.T.) in Tsukuba, Japan, while I have been working on some developments of ultra-stable sapphire clocks for the National Metrology Institute of Japan (N.M.I.J.), which is an institute within A.I.S.T.. During my free time, mostly on weekends, I have been oil painting.

TBP coverAlso during this time I have been reading Sean Carroll’s latest book The Big Picture, On the Origins of Life, Meaning and the Universe Itself (2017). In that book, for which I will write a review later, he writes that according to “science” life arose, and has subsequently been driven to evolve by Darwinian evolution, because the apparent design we see has been the natural consequence of available ‘free energy’ (Gibb’s free energy that is available to do work, derived from sunlight), an increase in entropy (the outcome of the Second Law of thermodynamics) and Darwinian natural selection. No intelligence was necessary, he says. The complexity we observe in living organisms is a consequence of the initial condition that we live in certain a time and place in the universe far from equilibrium and the “simple unguided” laws of nature act in a way to produce what we think looks like intelligent design.

He writes:

“The appearance of complexity isn’t just compatible with increasing entropy, it relies on it…The increase of entropy over time literally brings the universe to life.” (p. 235, emphasis in original)

His meaning is that the design and complexity we see in the universe, in living things, is a result of the increase in disorder, which comes about from the dissipation of heat into states that are no longer available to do anything interesting. Everything is headed down to thermal equilibrium.  Life, of course, reverses that process for a while then when an organism dies it loses the battle against entropy.

But his comments have made me think again about this message–the message of even this website. His book is about getting out a message more than it is about science per se. We see design in the universe. A believer in a Creator sees it has the result of Intelligence, but an atheopath sees it only as apparent, the result of chaos and the “simple unguided” laws of nature.

If painting a picture was that simple–the result of chaos and the “simple unguided” laws of nature–then I need not have had any concern. Of course there are famous art works that look like utter chaos and in this post-modern world they are often heralded as beautiful. Jackson Pollock comes to mind, with his paintings fetching millions of dollars at auction.

Jackson Pollock’s Lavender Mist No. 1, 1950.

But even Jackson Pollock is lauded with the ability to weave the colours in a unique way. Intelligence was required, after all. But apparently not for life to begin or evolve over billions of years, so Carroll and others claim.

Entropy acting on a canvas can quickly send it into utter chaos and it is not beautiful. That I can tell you. The default colour from the unguided mixing of colours is somewhere between a muddy brown and grey. It ain’t pretty.

So even with all humankind’s intelligence we don’t get beauty for nothing. It costs something in the design. Why else would someone pay huge sums for a Pollack?

But the message of the atheist apologists, like Carroll, is as the scripture warns.

Woe to them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter! (Isaiah 5:20)

It is not a battle between who has the correct science, or true facts, it is an ideological battle for the minds of the nations. It is about using the cover of what is called “science” (really scientism) to convince people that order comes from chaos and life arose from disorder and the “simple unguided” laws of nature.

By John Gideon Hartnett

Dr John G. Hartnett is an Australian physicist and cosmologist, and a Christian with a biblical creationist worldview. He received a B.Sc. (Hons) and Ph.D. (with distinction) in Physics from The University of Western Australia, W.A., Australia. He was an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award (DORA) fellow at the University of Adelaide, with rank of Associate Professor. Now he is retired. He has published more than 200 papers in scientific journals, book chapters and conference proceedings.

2 replies on “Intelligent design or the “simple unguided” laws of nature”

John, I enjoy immensely your postings and although I am academically qualified in geology and biology, it’s great to follow a creationist physicist who can do the mathematics the cosmologists play with.

My wife does art and card making. I understand the passion and the outcomes of thoughtful art results. Keep up the art and the apologetics of the truth of Scripture.


I wrote a string of computer code that creates a drop-down menu with pictures for one of my websites. There are exactly 391 characters in my code. Of those characters, approximately 310 are absolutely vital to the operation. Remove just one of any of the vital characters and the menu will not work. Add a character among the 310 vital characters and the menu will not work. Change the order of any one of the 310 vital characters and the menu will not work. Remove or add just one character among the non-vital characters and the menu becomes deformed in appearance. It took me a whole day to write this code correctly to make it work! How much more wonderful is the 4 base DNA code created by the Great Designer? Millions of years of random chance didn’t create it. It was a product of intelligent design just as my code was.


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