Intelligent Design

Intelligent Design

It astounds me to see how many theist blindly punt intelligent design as “Evidence” for the existence of their God(s). It seems of paramount importance to reiterate its fallibility for those who are oblivious to the issues of invoking design. So here in no particular order are my biggest gripes with the issue of design.

What is design anyway

One of the main arguments for design is complexity in nature, supporters of design argue that complexity in the universe could not have occurred through random events. The analogy they like using is that of a painting, in which the painting implies the existence of the artist that must have produced it. Even Isaac Newton, one of the pioneers of physics fell victim to the design problem when trying to reconcile the complex motion and stable orbits of heavenly bodies, this is what he wrote:

This most elegant system of the sun, planets, and comets could not have arisen without the design and dominion of an intelligent and powerful being.

Another common practice of theist who are not familiar with basic concepts of philosophy or physics is to replace the word complexity with elegance or beauty. How can you say there is no God after observing a beautiful sunset or when walking through a tranquil forest, surely some one must be responsible for such elegance. These theists rarely dig into the core of what they saying, but their reasoning fundamentally boils down to an argument for design.

Irreducible Complexity

There are a few big problems with the premise of design. The most important is with the problem of irreducible complexity, a prerequisite of intelligent design. The complexity required to ratify design is simply not the kind that we see in nature. The universe is not irreducibly complex, natural systems simplify as one extrapolates back through time. This slow system of gradual changes over billions of years is enough to produce the complexity we observe today, thus muting the need for a designer. There is a mountain of observational evidence in astrophysics, geology, paleontology, biology and virtually every other field of science that support’s this.

The un-created creator

The teleological argument also has another gaping hole, if design is a law of nature; and we are to accept that the complexity of nature has to be as a result of a designer, then it surely follows that the entity responsible for designing the universe is at least as complex, if not more so than the designed universe. And if that entity is complex then surely it must also have been designed by a another complex entity, and so on. This is referred to as an infinite regress, and I was once very creatively accused of committing a categorical error by pointing that out. This is a typical ploy by theist to defend this position, they assert that “being designed” is not a property of our designer which terminates the infinite regress. This type of designer is referred to as “The Un-created creator”.  Theist love this kind of supposedly deductive reasoning in which they just haphazardly assert premises as being true: In order for B to be valid, condition A must be met… There for A is true, and B valid.  This could read as follows when applied to the un-created creator: In order for a creator to exist; the creator must be uncreated; therefore the creator is uncreated and so exists. This statement reeks of fallacies, and is worsened by the fact that they do not provide any evidence for how the creator is uncreated other than for saying: “It simply has to be”

The Creation Story

All religions have their own creation that involve it’s own flavour of radical world forging. I’m not going to dig into the children stories of creation, because we now know that the earth was not created in 7 days, or by snakes, or the mating of the water and the sky. We now understand the processes of steller and planetary formation that gave rise to the Earth. Anyone who subscribes to a biblical or religious account of creation is simply wrong.

The un-caused cause

Theist who don’t subscribe to biblical accounts of design or creation like to inject God at The Big Bang. Our reality is governed by cause and effect, like most of us theist rightly cannot fathom existence springing forth from nothing. This is usually where they come up with another poetic buzz name for a designer: “The Un-caused cause”.  This argument states that God is the ultimate cause of the universe coming into existence, the entity that caused the big bang. The argument runs into the same presumptuous issues as “The Un-created creator”, but it goes one step further in its grand stupidity by trying to assert that physics is somehow consistent with this concept. This is a wild leap of faith when our best and most precise instruments cannot make observations about the early nature of the universe. Our fundamental understanding of reality cannot even begin to describe nature before t=0. To inject God there is literally the embodiment of an argumentum ad ignorantiam! This argument translates to: We currently cannot understand the “events” before the big bang, therefore god must have caused it. We’re not even sure the concept of a cause makes sense at the big bang, theist must have some incredible insight into the early nature of the universe to be making such fallacious claims.

Un-intelligent design

There is nothing intelligent about intelligent design. Theist are too quick to make these meaningless philosophical arguments devoid of any evidence, then they make quantum leaps to connect these arguments to God or Allah. There is simply no compelling arguments or evidence that support the existence of a god. This kind of deductive reasoning tells us nothing about reality, and falls horribly short of qualifying as evidence for proving the existence of your personal God.

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