reasons why I find Intelligent Design Creationism reprehensible

  • Scientific:
    • IDC is not based on supporting empirical or theoretical evidence. It’s a theory based on a belief, and evidence has been found (and twisted) to fit the theory rather than the theory being modified to explain the evidence in a truly scientific manner.
  • Philosophical:
    • At the heart of the theory of IDC is the idea that when something cannot be satisfactorily explained (yet), we should give up scientific inquiry. When the going gets tough, turn off your brain, invoke a higher power, and go home.
  • Logical:
    • IDC suffers from a failure of induction–the incidence of complex or complicated things (even if they seem to serve specific purposes) cannot be generalized to imply the existence of an intelligent designer. Randomly generated fractals can meet all our criteria for beauty and be hung next to great works of art, but they did not necessarily involve an artist. A thousand monkeys in a room with typewriters will eventually churn out Shakespearean sonnets, by sheer probability rather than writing skill and intellect. Random processes can be used to develop some mechanisms with gears and cogs that fit together perfectly, but without mechanical design.
    • IDC suffers from a failure of recursion–if we were designed by something intelligent, then that something must necessarily be pretty darned complicated. (Especially if that something is the God that is beyond human comprehension.) By IDC, since the designer is complex, that implies that there must exist a designer who designed the designer. Furthermore, that designer must needs be even more complex, so by IDC, it must have been designed by something else. Et cetera, et cetera, ad infinitum.
  • Engineering:
    • A better name for the theory of IDC might be “unintelligent design.” The human eye, though each part serves a specific purpose, suffers from spherical aberration and partial blindness. Any optical engineer worth his salt wouldn’t dream of using a spherical base for a CCD, and he or she certainly wouldn’t cut a hole in the middle of the chip to run wires through. Humans also have useless organs, like the appendix–for what reason did the designer include something that does nothing but get infected and endanger lives? In a similar vein, there are many instances of extinct life on the planet. Why doesn’t this intelligent designer build failure tolerances into its work? I contend that the designer is not very good at its job.
    • Engineers, the very definition of “intelligent designers,” have begun using evolution itself as a design tool. In some cases, they have found evolution to be a superior tool to guided design. Why would an intelligent designer creating the universe settle for anything less than the best design tools available?
  • Moral:
    • The main purpose of IDC is to provide “scientific” trappings for a belief-based “theory” that IDC proponents have, for whatever reason (I suspect PR), decided to hide. It is an attempt to put a scientific theory and a religiously-inspired belief on the same playing field–one which they should not share. Deception is at the heart of IDC. Yes, some apparently atheistic scientists have espoused IDC–the reason escapes me, but even in their arguments, the inherent “unscientificness” of the theory shows through. They too are trying to provide a scientific veneer for a belief, though perhaps their peculiar belief is not rooted in Genesis.

(Thank you to Nicole for suggesting that the word “Creationism” be properly appended to “Intelligent Design.”  Just one little way to confront that last point…)

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3 Responses to reasons why I find Intelligent Design Creationism reprehensible

  1. Nicole says:

    There is also the fact that IDC does not meet the scientific definition of theory because it has no predictive power. I think you might enjoy reading some of Mano Singham‘s postings on IDC and science. He’s also written a lot on religion in general–he used to be a Christian but isn’t anymore–and quite a lot on politics, too. Plus, he’s a physicist. Should you start leaving comments, just tell him Nicole sent you ;-)

  2. Joseph Shoer says:

    Hey, that’s a great point. However, I’d just like to mention that I don’t mean to put forward a comprehensive argument against IDC here…just the particular reasons why I find the belief loathsome. Otherwise I’d have had a ball listing plenty more instances of “unintelligent design” or specific examples of IDC believers distorting science to their ends as per my first point in the list.

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