Tuesday, August 23, 2005


Intellectual design is a mental case of complexity

Recently I gave a short speech at a national institution, that has asked to remain nameless, about the touchy subject of intellectual design. Being an expert on the subject, having read all the major religious dogma as well as a cookbook by Dom DeLuise, I offer the text of that speech.

At the heart of the debate over intelligent design are these questions: Can a scientific explanation of the history of life include the actions of an unseen higher being? And if so, why would an unseen higher being give an owl’s throat what the definition included?

The proponents of intelligent design, a school of thought that a lot of people these days insist should be taught alongside evolution in the nation's schools, say that the complexity and diversity of life go beyond what evolution can explain. So, kids should consider a large invisible man, usually drawn with a beard, who lives somewhere in the sky, as an alternative.
Biological marvels, they say, point to the hand of a higher being at work. However, the question arises why a higher being would have to work. And just what does a higher being who can create anything need with a career?

But let’s face it, a complex biological phenomena like blood clotting could not have arisen through evolution, could it have? But could the same big, deep voice that came to Moses with ten rules for a good life be the same guy who took time out to develop the human blood-clotting system? Why should someone with such talents have to design anything? A master of all that is should just be able to snap his fingers. Did I just write “his” fingers? Is it a guy? If it is, we surely know he doesn’t care. What guy cares about anything?

It is an argument that appeals to many Americans of faith, the same people who have made reality TV shows so popular. But mainstream scientists say that the design approach suffers from fundamental problems. For one thing, these scientists say, invoking a higher being as an explanation is unscientific, although it has created some fine holidays. Science, after all, does not allow miracles. Science explores how the material world works and says nothing about why we are here, how we should live or who is responsible for coming up with the name Haystacks Calhoun. And in that quest, science says, there is no need for otherworldly explanations. So what do we teach kids? This is the subject of my next speech, sometime in the future, God willing.

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