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Saturday, May 28, 2005

Intelligent Design?

I remain amused by the intelligent design movement. A recent article in The New Yorker (May 30, 2005) discusses the ID theories of two major ID proponents: William Demski and Michael Behe,(related link) both prolific writers who argue not against evolution – they accept most of evolution’s processes – but they do not accept the randomness inherent in natural selection. They propose that the complexity of cells and life must predicate an intelligent design.

The problem with their argument is, of course, that organisms aren’t trying to match a predetermined design; they are merely trying to survive and produce as many offspring as possible. There are species of fish who have gradually moved from the light to darkness of caves and these species show remnants of eyes or eyes that are covered with skin or degenerate. That’s intelligent?

The intelligent design movement is nothing more than a political attempt to resurrect a religious point of view. Yet, the irony is that the prevalent anti-evolutionist view that to believe in evolution is to begin the path toward atheism, is silly and just plain wrong. As the New Yorker article notes, the major figures in twentieth century evolutionary biology were all religious believers. And certainly one would be hard pressed to propose that John Paul II had become an atheist after his pronouncement that “evolutionary theory was more than a hypothesis.”

But the best argument I can see against intelligent design is human beings. Who in his/her right mind would create a species so subject to disease and the desire to dominate and kill one another. That, for me, is the greatest evidence of all against intelligent design.

Excellent summary of the Kansas hearings.

P.S. "I can give you several examples of new species that have emerged within human observation. The best example that I can give you is the butterfly, the genus of butterfly known as Hedylypta. Hedylypta is a genus of butterfly that feeds on various plants. It's endemic to the Hawaiian Islands, which means it's only found there. And there turn out to be two species of Hedylypta with mouthparts that only allow them -- only allow them to feed on bananas. Now why is that significant? It is significant because bananas are not native to the Hawaiian Islands. They were introduced about 1,000 years ago by the Polynesians -- we know this from the written records of the Hawaiian Kingdom -- and what that means is that by mutation and natural selection, these two species have emerged on the Hawaiian Islands within the last 1,000 years. And I think that's a very good case in point." Ken Miller in "Resolved: That evolutionists should acknowledge creation" _Firing Line_, 4 December 1997, p. 24.

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