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What is Intelligent Design?

January 28, 2005

Sharon M. writes:
I really don't understand what Intelligent Design is all about -- or the arguments against it. It's a mish mash of techno babblings that goes *swoosh* in one ear out the other and right over my head.


I guess you need a firm grasp on biology and astronomy to *get it* because I don't.


You ought to write an article "What is Intelligent Design?" and covering the basics for amateurs like me. Baby stuff -- you crawl, then walk, then run. Try "I.D. for Dummies".


From my understanding it boils down to: "I.D. is based on the belief life is too complex to have simply formed on its own, therefore God did it." (And of course the Christian God is credited.)


I have a real problem with that. Go back 3.8 billion years ago, approximate date of the oldest known fossil material -- and go back earlier in time when life began evolving. Who says that life came about *poof* overnight when complex organisms like Humans themselves are a product of less-complex life, one-celled organisms -- spanning FOUR BILLION years of evolution? [Human Evolution, Mother Of Man - 3.2 Million Years] The origins of life itself could have evolved over time. DNA could have evolved from something less complex. Humans didn't pop into existence, [our first ancestors only came on the scene around four million years ago]. If humans didn't, why should DNA? Just because it seems complicated today after four billion years of evolution does not mean it was so four billion years ago.


ED BABINSKI: It only takes 9 months for a human to arise from a single cell, yet creationists are absolutely certain that given a couple billion years, and even the directing hand of God (as in theistic evolution), a single-cell could NEVER become a human being, and upright large-brained apes could NEVER become human beings.


That's because they would NEVER dare doubt the words of a pre-scientific scribe, as they literally understand them.


I really don't understand how "Well, it's too complicated to understand therefore God did it." And to me, physics is complex, astronomy and genetic engineering -- those subjects are way beyond my grasp -- but if I were to study them, I'm sure I would learn quite a number of things. How long ago was DNA discovered? In the 1940s or 1950s? [ see footnote #1 ]
Creationists have barely given science the time to even crack the human gene and jumping the gun saying "It's too complex." Given another 75 years or so, it'll probably become common knowledge how DNA works -- and perhaps something more on its origins and perhaps even the big question: Abiogenesis, the origins of life itself.


I think Intelligent Design is summed up as: "Impatience on behalf of Creationists"

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ED BABINSKI: You're right on target, sounds like "impatience" to me too.


But then, many creationists are impatient for everything to over, the whole shebang, rapture, Armageddon, etc. *sigh*


Perhaps you have a better definition than mine?


I mean isn't "It's too complex to understand, therefore a supernatural being did it"... the basis for all superstition? and superstition does not belong in the classrooms of the public school system.


Speaking from personal experience, what I see happening with such a hypothesis built on superstitious belief "it's too complex to understand, therefore a spirit did it", is telling children, it's a waste of time to study deeper into the origins of life... pack up your books, you won't need them -- forget that chemistry or biology degree -- it's a closed case. Thus, a student that would have potentially became another Francis Crick or James Watson to advance the understanding of DNA and origins of life -- well, they decide to become an engineer in an unrelated field that avails opportunities to exercise their critical thinking skills.


It's the same old song from the Dark Ages. "It's too complex, therefore why waste time studying it? The Bible has laid it all for mankind in black and white... the greatest mystery of all! Read! Learn."


How many centuries will that book hamper scientific progress and enlightened thought?


What's ironic about the whole thing is that they say "It's too complex to understand therefore it cannot be explained." They're really ones to talk, when it comes down to their Bible. How many denominations have sprouted from one Christianity due to differences on interpreting one little book?


That's chaos... That's confusion that will never be understood. One little book. Yet, all of them believe they hold the monopoly on the one and only truth, and everyone else is wrong. Since the Bible cannot be explained, perhaps we should just throw in the towel and hang it up -- abandon the Bible --and never waste our time reading the Bible again. Afterall, it's "supernatural" in origins, and therefore impossible to understand or decipher. They've been trying for two thousand years, and haven't gotten any closer to a coherant interpretation than the early fathers of the Church. Give up and not even try to investigate and superstition rule the day. That's what Creationists would like science to do in its pursuit of exploring the origins of life.


Hypothetically speaking:

The Bible itself states that God is not the author of confusion.

(Too complex to understand?)

1Cor:14:33: For God is not the author of confusion...


Logically speaking, since the New Testament God is a God of orderly reason, then it should be safe to conclude the discovery of how the origins of life came about, are right around the corner. Surely the good Lord used a scientific process that can be replicated in a lab, and in time, scientists will stumble upon it. [/sarcasm]


I really don't understand where they're coming from in their reasoning. "The origins of life is too complex to understand therefore we need the Bible to unravel it." God is in the chaos and confusion of life origins? Then God is also in the chaos and confusion of car wrecks where people are ripped mercilessly apart by natural forces. God is in the chaos and confusion of dangerous animals and deadly microorganisms which mankind has been plagued with for millions of years and tends with daily. God was in the Anthrax that circulated around 9/11. God is in the chaotic confusion of deadly weather formations like Tornados, Hurricanes, Avalanches and Blizzards and God can be found in the meaningless confusion of deadly geological events like Tsunamis, Volcanos, Floods and Earthquakes. I suppose those too are "too complex to explain", well, primitive and superstitious savages might would think so. Actually a good meterologist or seismologist can explain those "awe-striking events" quite well and without need to mention a god. (And, need I add that despite the passing of decades and centuries of studying, these scientists are still making efforts to refine their techniques to predict catastrophic geological and atmospheric conditions, to save human lives.) Unlike Religion, Science is never a "done deal", and certainly never "perfect"... though far less frequently "false" in what it asserts.


The way I see it, it's only one more historical hurdle for science. Intelligent Design seems to me like Superstition's last ditch effort to drag scientific progress backward. But if there's one thing human history has proven that is that Science will go forward.


I think you understand I.D. just fine. *smile* They try to win over the crowd with improbability calculations, but such calculations do not take into account the fact that nothing is inherently probable, since you have to do the hard work of studying what life DOES, how it moves and lives and how it develops and changes from the tiniest scale to the largest scale, even the social scale. And that takes increasingly detailed knowledge about molecules and life in their living matrix, something the I.D.ists have no time for, since they have one answer and one answer alone to all such questions:


"You Need Lots of Dees Here Molecules Working Togeder To Make Dings Work, Lots of 'Um Molecules, Yup, One Dare, and Anuder One Dare, And, Anuder Over Dare, and Some Down Dare, And, Oh Heck, Just Say Da Designer Did ID. Class Dismissed!"


Footnote #1
Englishman Francis Crick, American James Watson with the help of two English scientists, Rosalind Franklin and Maurice Wilkins discovered DNA through x-ray diffraction in the year 1953. In 1961, Drs. Watson, Crick and Wilkins won the Nobel Prize in Medicine. Dr. Franklin died before she received the famous award.

Source: My Name is Gene, N.L. Eskeland, Ph.D and N.C. Bailey, Ph.D
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