This is a story about an ardent atheist (one not believing in deities) who is also strongly believed in some type of Intelligent Design (ID).
The theory of Intelligent Design suggests that Creation is not a random act of nature but required intelligent intervention to develop in so many otherwise inexplicable ways.
The late Sir Fred Hoyle was a renowned English astronomer who discovered how carbon (the basis of organic life) is created in the Universe. Sir Fred said of his discovery:
“Would you not say to yourself, "Some super-calculating intellect must have designed the properties of the carbon atom, otherwise the chance of my finding such an atom through the blind forces of nature [random events] would be utterly minuscule. A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question."
In 1949, Hoyle coined the term “Big Bang” theory although he had a different theory for the origin of the Universe. He rejected evolutionary biologists’ theories that life originated on Earth and vehemently opposed the notion that life happened as result of random events. It may be his unusual flair for entertaining analogies to describe the improbability of random events that he is best remembered for:
“A junkyard contains all the bits and pieces of a Boeing 747, dismembered and in disarray. A whirlwind happens to blow through the yard. What is the chance that after its passage a fully assembled 747, ready to fly, will be found standing there? So small as to be negligible, even if a tornado were to blow through enough junkyards to fill the whole Universe.”
"At all events, anyone with even a nodding acquaintance with the Rubik cube will concede the near-impossibility of a solution being obtained by a blind person moving the cubic faces at random. Now imagine 1,050 blind persons each with a scrambled Rubik cube, and try to conceive of the chance of them all simultaneously arriving at the solved form”.
You gotta love this kind of stuff!
While Hoyle dismissed traditional notions of faith, he was pointedly adamant that life was not an accident:
“Once we see, however, that the probability of life originating at random is so utterly miniscule as to make it absurd, it becomes sensible to think that the favorable properties of physics on which life depends are in every respect deliberate .... It is therefore almost inevitable that our own measure of intelligence must reflect ... higher intelligences ... even to the limit of God ... such a theory is so obvious that one wonders why it is not widely accepted as being self-evident. The reasons are psychological rather than scientific.”
For Hoyle, Christianity did not offer enough specific answers about life and death, but he explained his own hopes for an afterlife: “What I would choose would be an evolution of life whereby the essence of each of us becomes welded together into some vastly larger and more potent structure. I think such a dynamic evolution would be more in keeping with the grandeur of the physical Universe than the static picture offered by formal religion.”
In many ways, it seems as though “Sir Fred”, as he was sometimes known, was much less an atheist than a questioning scientist. Accepting nothing on faith or open to chance, he clearly sought answers to the questions we all have…the source of the Design and purpose of the Designer. Hopefully, he has found those answers beyond what he imagined.