Sunday, May 17, 2009


Turtles All the Way

The Billings, Montana Gazette has a write-up of David Quammen and, given this "Year of Darwin" and his self-described stint as "a tinpot Darwin expert," a nice thumbnail sketch of Darwin and his work.

I particularly liked Quammen's take on Intelligent Design Creationism:

We should teach it where it belongs ... in comparative religion, alongside Christianity, Islam, Zoroastrianism, and the old Hindu belief that earth rests in space supported on four really big elephants that stand on the back of Chukwa the giant turtle.

I'm not sure that's a fair description of ID, though. Instead of an example of sincere religious belief, ID might be better taught in social studies as an example of a movement more interested in achieving political goals than in truth.

Intelligent designers always talk about how the world reveals a designer. You can't have a picture without a painter, you can't have building without a designer, you can't have a river without a river-maker, you can't have a grain of sand without a grain of sand-maker. Uh, wait, what??

But no one seems to ask them if a designer is theologically sound. Who's do say that God had to design anything? Perhaps God, could just speak the universe into existing by saying something. I think there was a book written about God that say, God said, “let there be light, and there was light” It didn't say, God thought about all the aspects of light and then designed light to be pretty darn good. According to this author, God just spoke and there was light.

Design is something man has to do, because man is not omnipotent. If you were omnipotent you would not need a design. You would simply point your finger or twitch your nose or say, let there be light. It's time we stop fighting intelligent design in the science arena, and fight it in the theological arena.

Something along the line of Kirk Cameron's 10 questions, there are 10 questions we should ask a ID'er.

1.Couldn't an omnipotent designer create a world that wouldn't need to be destroyed by a flood?
2.Couldn't an omnipotent designer create a world that didn't need to be destroyed in an apocalypse?
3.What kind of omnipotent designer would throw his creation into an eternal lake of fire for eternal damnation?
4.Why would an omnipotent designer need animal and human sacrifices?
5.Why did an eternal designer wait until 6000 years go, if He's been around eternally?
6.Isn't the concept of a designer creation, a violation of the first law of thermodynamics since matter and energy can not be created or destroyed?
7.If the designer could rain down manna on the hungry, why doesn't He?
8.Why can we only see design in the complex and not the simple? We don't see design in a river or a grain of sand, only in the inner workings of bacteria? Why don't we see evidence of the design in everything?
9.Why would the designer throw his creation hurdling though space at near one half the speed of light?
10.Why are there thousand of different religions if evidence of the design is so complete?
Immanuel Kant suggested that there is something less-than-divine about a designer:

"Thus the proof could at most establish a highest architect of the world, who would always be limited by the suitability of the material in which he works, but not a creator of the world, to whose idea everything is subject, which is far from sufficient for the great aim that one has in view, namely that of proving an all-sufficient original being."

Critique of Pure Reason
tr. & ed. Paul Guyer and Allen W. Wood
(boldface in the original)
Of course, IDers would sniff that they aren't (necessarily) biblical literalists and deny in high dudgeon that they are creationists. They would say that there is design in the simple, it's just more obvious in the complex. As to the incompleteness of the evidence for design (and, therefore, God) they have an answer (of sorts) involving free will.
Of course, IDers would sniff that they aren't (necessarily) biblical literalists and deny in high dudgeon that they are creationists.Let them. If the ID movement has to denounce their belief in the Christianity to make their theory work, then they loose all of their following.
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