A while back I decided I was going to stay away from political news, but I’ve decided it limits my available topics too much.
Arstechnica had a post bashing Intelligent Design (ID) today. The whole debate is really the same arguments being re-hashed over and over. I hate seeing these circular debates, and I wish people introduced new ideas into the discussion. I have such a proposal, but first — a little background.
I’ve thought about this debate over Intelligent Design. If people want to believe God made life, that’s cool. What’s not cool is then claiming the whole theory has nothing to do with God. I once saw a debate between that Dawkins guy and someone else, and it went something like this:
Dude: Intelligent Design is not religion.
Dawkins: How can you say that!
Dude: It’s a scientific theory, just like Evolution.
Dawkins: You can’t test it. It just claims God made the world.
Dude: No. Intelligent Design does not claim there is a God. Only that life was designed.
Dawkins: Ok. So who is this designer?
Dude: Intelligent Design doesn’t make that assumption of who the designer is.
Dawkins: Who is the designer?
Dude: I’m telling you: Intelligent Design only advocates a designer, not who the designer is.
I’m sure many people have seen similar lines of questioning to this in various debates. Typically, such debates end up something like this:
The Creator is Someone Offensive but Equally Likely
You: Is the designer God?
Dude: Well, Allah, God, Jesus – different religions might refer to the Designer as different things since ID is secular in that respect.
You: Could it be Satan?
I’m not joking here. It is difficult to deny this point without pulling out scripture so most people are forced to accept it as equally likely under ID. Unfortunately, that point doesn’t make ID any more or less correct, it just admits Satan (or a flying spaghetti monster) could have made the world. This does nothing to further the discussion, but it is the usual knee-jerk response.
The next example is what I wish was more often pushed during discussion:
Polytheism as a Counter Theory
You: How many Designers are there?
Dude: ID makes no claims about the nature of the designer.
You: Any reason why many Designers is less likely than One?
I am not sure if you’ve learned about this, but one of the great mysteries of biology is why there are two genders when population survival would be simpler if there was only one sex. There are various theories about this, but the question is further complicated by the existence and survival of hermaphroditic animals (hamlets, snails, worms). Well, this is a tangent, but you get my point. Why only one, right? Most animals have two parents, so why not the Designers of life as we know it? No, really. Think about this. Without bringing in religious texts, why only one? Doesn’t it seem equally, if not more likely, that there are two Designers by looking at most higher order animals (especially humans)? Doesn’t it seem like there is more evidence of multiple designers rather than one?
Again, this argument does not serve to invalidate ID. You can’t invalidate a theory that can’t be tested. However, it goes to show how incredibly non-secular ID is. People can roll their eyes at the Satan/FSM comments because nobody says those things and means it (usually it’s in sarcasm), but a polytheistic argument using my biology example should be highly understandable. I’d love to see a monotheist push ID as a multi-designer theory because it will never happen since it is not a secular concept.
Even if ID caught on in public schools, it should be forced to mention the Designer as “Intelligent Designer(s).” If you are offended by this idea, it is because you agree with me in that Intelligent Design is not secular.
You can’t separate religion from this debate, folks. And that’s why it doesn’t belong in public schools.