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Saturday 6.11.05: Intelligent Design

"Devolution: Why intelligent design isn't" in the 5.30.05 New Yorker takes a hard look at the pseudo-scientific arm creationism being foisted on public schools.

The intelligent design's movement's main claim is that "living organisms are too complex to be explained by any natural -- or, more precisely, by any mindless -- process. Instead, the design inherent in organisms can be accounted for only by invoking a designer, and one who is very, very smart.

Darwin says complexity comes from generations of tiny random changes. Intelligent Design says only a God could make a tree.

I take issue with the idea that complexity means super intelligence

Wait a minute. I take issue with the idea that complexity means super intelligence. From my observations, it is the simple, elegant thing that is the result of thoughtful design.

Imagine the proverbial visitor from another planet -- or I guess it would need to be from the universe next door. Imagine that visitor looking at the U.S. Tax Code and thinking, "Wow! The guy who sat down and wrote this must be a god!!!" He assumes an instant of creation. He assumes that because something works (the U.S. government actually does collect taxes), the system had to be designed exactly the way it was.

Fact is, if there had been an intelligent designer, the government would function with a tax code no longer than the U.S. Constitution.

Remember the Y2K bug? Our financial systems and communication systems were working just fine. Programmers had to open up the old code to adjust for a 4-digit year. Do you think they looked at the incredibly complex mess they found and said, "Praise be!! Only a god could have written something this complicated!!" No. They knew the "spaghetti code" was the result of evolution. A quick fix here, a tweak there. Adding on rather than reworking. Something simple keeps adjusting to meet today's needs, no one's taking into account "the whole," and before you know it, it's something awesomely, even nightmarishly, complex.

I know that biological evolution doesn't work like the computerized banking system, but you get my point. Complexity happens.

Now hand me my iPod.

 

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