Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

What is the best argument against intelligent design?

Here is an article on Evolution News which summarizes how opponents of intelligent design behave when confronted with intelligent design.

Here’s the executive summary:

The outline of the story is now, sadly, a familiar one. Professor wants to discuss intelligent design (ID). Intolerant atheists throw a fit. College quickly capitulates to the demands of the atheists. Professor is censored.

The scenario played out again this past semester in Amarillo, Texas. I’ll give the identities of the parties involved in just a moment, but for now, let’s note some twists unique to the situation. According to internal communications, campus administrators feared that disgruntled atheists would stage a “disruption” if the ID class went forward. The atheist leader got so “intense” in arguing for Darwinian evolution over intelligent design that college staff called the police on him, apparently potentially concerned over their own safety. And get this: the intolerant atheists call themselves the “Freethought Oasis.” You can’t make this stuff up.

And the punchline:

 All told, in various e-mails [Freethought Oasis leader] Farren and his group were described as:

  • “VERY intense”
  • “obsessive”
  • “fanatical”
  • “aggressive,” “verbally aggressive,” and showing “aggressiveness”
  • “I don’t know where the free thought comes in though, seems more like the lack of”
  • looking for a “fight”
  • showing a “desire to kill the class”
  • “representing a group of people, was disturbed by the class and indicated his intent to enroll students who might potentially create a disruptive environment in the classroom. — a ‘protest’ if you will”
  • “disruptives”

That’s a pretty telling list of words that came from multiple people in the [Amarillo College] administration.

The article documents all the things that anti-intelligent design people do. They celebrate successful bullying, and they don’t want to engage different ideas with reasons and evidence. Even if you are not a scientist, it’s very easy to get an idea of whether intelligent design is true or not by watching how opponents of intelligent design conduct themselves. How far do you think atheists would go to silence people who disagreed with them? In an atheistic universe, there is no design for how humans ought to behave. There are no human rights that need to be respected. Anything is permitted in an accidental universe.

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9 Responses

  1. Will S. says:

    Here is an interesting argument; at least, against how ID has been taught, thus far.

    Though I am a believer in ID, I think he raises a good point, one we ought to consider, perhaps at least in how we teach it, if nothing else.

  2. WK,

    Out of curiosity, what do you think is the best argument against intelligent design?

    • Intelligent design is the idea that some parts of biology are best explained by intelligent causes, the same intelligent causes that you see in action when you write programming code or a blog post or a Scrabble word. Two places where ID proponents make their case for intelligent causes are the origin of life and the Cambrian explosion. At present, there is no known explanation for the intelligent causation needed for these two areas. There have been naturalistic attempts to solve each problem, e.g. Stuart A. Kaufmann for the origin of life, with his theory of self-organziation, and Stephen J. Gould’s punctuated equilibrium. For a full listing and refutation of all current non-intelligent OOL theories, see Stephen C. Meyer’s “Signature in the Cell”. For a full listing and refutation of all current non-intelligent Cambrian explosion theories, see Stephen C. Meyer’s “Darwin’s Doubt”.

      At this point, if I were a naturalist, I would just say that some other embodied intelligence is responsible for the two phenomena, and that they evolved somewhere else. Of course, we wouldn’t have any direct evidence for those aliens.

  3. John Pryce says:

    The best argument against ID is atavisms, which don’t make sense except in light of the notion that there were earlier versions of the same creatures that lived under different conditions.
    Atavisms such as the 5-gene sequence necessary for synthesizing ascorbic acid (or vitamin C); the human genome contains this sequence, but it’s BROKEN. God choosing not to give us this ability is explainable, but how do you explain his giving us a BROKEN gene sequence?
    Another is the fact that one human chromosome (I think chromosome 2) has an extra non-functional telomere, which is the mid point where chromosomes form to make a pair. This is believed to be the fusion of the chimpanzee chromosomes 11 and 12 (I think it was those), which explains why we have 46 and they 48. Why would God give us something that looks so much like evolutionary evidence, right in our genome?

    • John Pryce says:

      Oops. Sorry, I got the second atavism right, but I described it wrong. The telomere appears at the END of the chromatid, not at the midpoint. The rest was essentially correct: Chromosome #2 (I think it’s 2) has a defunct ENDPOINT in the middle of the chromatid, and the other chromosome pairs don’t, thus indicating that this chromosome pair was formed by the fusion of two existing pairs.

      • John, you don’t understand what intelligent design is. Intelligent design is compatible with common descent. Intelligent design argues for intelligent causes being the best explanation of specific phenomena, but not everything in biology requires intelligent causes to explain, e.g. bacterial resistance. The two most common arguments for ID are the origin of life and the Cambrian explosion. So giving an argument for common descent doesn’t affect that. BUT I like your argument, and that’s why I approved it.

        • John Pryce says:

          If your definition of ID is that evolution happened but God was guiding it the whole time, that’s… okay with me. It doesn’t seem very Biblical to me, but I’m cool with that.

          That must mean, however, that you reject Michael Behe’s definition of ID then? And you reject the argument from irreducible complexity?

          And finally, the Cambrian Explosion took place over 30 million years, and -more importantly- the Earth was teeming with life already before that. The CE is the era where enough hard body parts – of the type likely to survive decomposition long enough to fossilize – evolved; it was not the origin of life nor the origin of species, and it was NOT the beginning of evolution either. That happened at the formation of the first single-celled organism with a nucleus.

          So why you would regard that as evidence of Intelligent Design is unclear, given that we actually do know that life existed beforehand.

          And while the origin of life is as yet unknown, the Watson&Crick experiment in the 50s proved that the building blocks of life – amino acids, the basis of proteins – could and would form spontaneously under certain natural conditions. Whether this is how life formed or not is irrelevant: it establishes that at least one of the necessary steps for the genesis of life (double entendre intended) could have happened without supernatural help.

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