How “Pattern Recognition” Helps Us Demonstrate the Existence of God

by J Warner Wallace

The “appearance of design” in biological organisms is undeniable. Famed atheist, Richard Dawkins, once wrote, “Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” In my book, God’s Crime Scene, I offer a template of eight common characteristics of design. When we observe a number of these attributes in any questionable object, we are reasonable in inferring the existence of a designer. I described one of these attributes as the “Echo of Familiarity.” When an object under question strongly resembles another object we know is designed, this “echo of familiarity” should be considered as we try to determine whether a designer was involved in the object we’re investigating. Let me give you an example.

When my sons were young, they each had a police officer costume. As part of their costume, each had a plastic toy pistol shaped to resemble the old revolvers my dad’s generation of police officers used to carry. They weren’t precisely fashioned, but their shapes certainly echoed the design of real pistols, and my boys used them to effectively recreate a number of imaginary “cop and robber” games. These toy pistols were obviously the product of intelligent design, and even my young sons recognized the pattern similarity when compared to the pistols with which they were familiar (the ones used by their father and grandfather).

In a similar way, we’ve discovered biological micro-machines that resemble other known designed objects. One such machine has become the icon of the Intelligent Design movement. Biochemist Michal Behe wrote about the bacterial flagellum twenty years ago in his famous book, Darwin’s Black Box. The flagellum bears a striking resemblance to…


How “Pattern Recognition” Helps Us Demonstrate the Existence of God | Cold Case Christianity