Intelligent Design and Me

by Charles Miller on September 30, 2005

So the Evolution vs Creation debate is going to court again in the USA1, and there are predictable outbreaks of reason across the blogosphere.

At the centre of Intelligent Design is the following core: "There are enough gaps in the theory of evolution that it may be wrong. In its absence, any other plausible theory2 could be correct. Here is our plausible theory, which coincidentally agrees with a few thousand years of Judeo-Christian theology." As others have noted, you could make a similar argument about any counter-theory.

The most interesting thing to me about Intelligent Design, though, is that if you look too closely at it, it's an argument against the Christian God. If you look at the human body, which was supposedly designed in totem rather than evolved, there are so many bits that are useless, inefficient or even counterproductive that we hardly fit into the ideal of being constructed out of clay, so to speak, by a perfect and beneficent God.

Philosophically speaking, a far better fit for Intelligent Design can be found in the Gnostic Demiurge, a flawed and possibly malicious creator who built the world while God wasn't paying attention.

Maybe it's the programmer in me who wants to agree in a way with Cameron's tongue-in-cheek response: that the Universe was created in a 'single line of code', in a single idea, a single law so pure that once set in motion it alone could bring about all that we see when we open our eyes, and all that we don't see when we close them.

Maybe that 'one idea' is God's creation, or even that idea is God Himself. But if it is, He's not going to need to meddle with His creation. He's not going to ever-so-carefully lay down false evidence that the Universe is one thing when it's truly another. And He's not going to create a Universe based on rational laws, then not want us to practice our rationality.

1 I like to explain the schizophrenia of the USA on religious matters as the result of a bunch of pilgrim settlers who left England because the Church wasn't hard-core puritan enough for them3 founding a nation founded based on (amongst other things) religious freedom.
2 This sentence just goes to show how easily you can switch between different definitions of 'theory' if you're not careful.
3 This is, of course, about as accurate as saying Australia was settled by criminals, but I'm going to run with it anyway because it's such a convenient explanation.

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