Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Equal opportunity design

Intelligent design proponents tell us that evolution lacks evidence and that the alternative, a creator God who designed all creatures as we see them today, is equally likely. Their favorite analogy is the clockmaker analogy which basically says that our intuition tells us that everything complex have a designer, therefore humans must have a designer. A little sidetrack: even though our intuition often leads us in the right direction it can sometimes be quite wrong to. Read here.

I have already dealt with the essentials of Intelligent design, and why I think that it is wrong in a previous post. Here I want to focus on a consequence of the intelligent design argument that only became apparent to me after reading an article in the latest issue of my favorite magazine "Skeptic". The article is called "Who designed that?" and is written by Tom McIver. The problem that ID proponents face is the following.

In order to avoid being deemed a religion, intelligent design cannot say that any particular God is the designer, after all there is no rational argument why it should be Yahweh or Allah rather than any other God who designed us and our planet. Now, ID proponents are eager to take their theory into the classrooms to be taught in the biology lessons as an alternative theory to the theory of evolution. In practice, what they really want (in the US at least) is to read from the Bible during biology sessions, and that is where the problem is. Since any designer God is equally unlikely, any religion could claim their time in the classroom and their chance to convert today's students. In essence, Christianity would have to be taught side by side with Islam, Gnosticism, and even the silly religion of Scientology (man I lost my respect for Tom Cruise and John Travolta when I learned that they belonged to this church). In their morning biology session students would be taught about how God created plants and then came the light (have you noticed the severe conflict with science in this?), and then later on came Adam, and from his rib came Eve. In their afternoon biology session the same student would be taught the following.

"The Gnostics taught that God was a mad scientist named Yaldabaoth who had been created by accident and built the earth as a prison for pre-existent human souls. He cloned Adam, raped Eve and kicked them both out of paradise when Christ came in the form of a serpent to liberate them" (excerpt from "Skeptic magazine" number 2, 2007, p.60).

The next fifty biology sessions would be spent going through everyone of these, all equally plausible, alternatives to the theory of evolution. Needless to say, this would be a preposterous scenario. Evolution does have loads of supporting evidence. If you don't believe me, read about an experiment here or about AIDS here. Intelligent design, on the other hand, merely bring up another problem, namely who designed the designer?


Harald Cederlund said...

You might wanna check out this paper that I stumbled across the other day. I haven't read it yet - but it seems to be right up your alley!

rasmussenanders said...

Thanks for the paper, it looks very interesting and I'll definetly take a look at it.