As molecular biologist Douglas Axe recalls, the Greek philosopher Gorgias (born about 483 BC) spent a lifetime pondering the nature of existence. At last he arrived at a firm conclusion: “Nothing exists.” In a presentation at the 2020 Dallas Conference on Science & Faith, Dr. Axe used Gorgias to illustrate his point that “expertise does not necessarily drive you in the right direction.” Sometimes it does the exact opposite. How could that be?
When Dr. Axe was planning his book, Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed, he considered doing as other scientists have done: distill a lot of technical literature down for a lay audience. But he ultimately decided that that was to “play into the hands” of those atheists and materialists he was arguing against. They would simply tell his lay readers that the readers were in no position to judge even an ultimate question like this — the origins of life — and must instead docilely confirm the majority or “consensus” view of people holding PhDs in the correct fields. As Axe says here, “I firmly believe you don’t need a PhD to decide whether we are cosmic accidents or not.”
Professor Axe’s Personal Story
Axe tells some of his own personal story, which I did not know. As a high school student he dissected frogs in biology class and found that uninspiring. It wasn’t until college at U.C. Berkley and grad school at Caltech that he came to appreciate the wonders of life at the molecular level. He realized, “This is engineering, remarkable engineering, far beyond anything humans can do.”
But he explains why, even without his background as a professional scientist, we all already know what we need to know to decide whether life reflects intelligent purpose. This is an affirming and liberating message.