Here are three explanations for the development of life.
- Intelligent Design
- Evolution by Natural Selection
Which one is the only one hostile to Christianity? Answer below the fold.
Observation shows that Christians and Evolution can coexist. Evolution has adherents from all faiths and none, and it’s hard to see that a literal reading of the Bible could actually be anti-Christian. In fact the only explanation which is inconsistent with a Christian God is Intelligent Design. The position of the Discovery Institute is that it is impossible to say who the designer is, it may be God it may not, it’s impossible to tell. Intelligent Design they argue, says nothing of the designer.
This is false.
Using the same logical standards as employed by Intelligent Design theorists it is entirely possible to deduce many qualities of the designer(s).
Here’s the first. The designers have an interest in design. To borrow the favoured analogy (biologists may want to find something to bite on) – if the probability of a cell forming by chance is the same as a tornado travelling through a hangar and assembling a 747, then the chance of a designer creating a life form by accident is also the same. If we accept that life is ‘irreducibly complex’, then design must have been intentional. The designers have an interest in their creations, which also implies a purpose.
Just because there is a purpose to creation it doesn’t necessarily follow that humanity is the purpose. As JBS Haldane noted the designers do seem awfully keen on beetles. However ID would suggest that humans have a key role to play in creation.
This is because another strand of ID thought is that the universe is fine-tuned to make intelligent life, such as ours possible. Does the Earth pose a habitable environment adapted to humans as opposed to other animals? The Earth has an astonishing array of environments and humans seem uniquely adaptable to take advantage of them. We seem to have dwellings in more or less every terrestrial environment. If we accept this is an environment built for humans what can we say about its purpose? ID provides the tools.
Take the bacterial flagellum. It’s like an outboard motor so under the laws of ID it is literally an outboard motor. This might involve some violence to the meaning of the word literally, but this is not the issue. The point demonstrates that, in ID, if something is like something then it is something. The flagellum is like a motor so it is a motor. What is the fine-tuned environment like?
Consider the cow. The cow lives a charmed life. The fields are constantly managed to provide a dependable supply of food. It has machinery developed to milk it thus removing a major cause of mastitis. During the winter months it is housed in a barn and fed whilst snow covers the ground. If any of these factors were not fine-tuned then cow life, as we know it, could not possibly exist. Thus a farm would appear to be a fine-tuned environment. Is the Earth a human farm?
I think not. There is a clear and demonstrable purpose to a farm. If designers were eating humans or their produce then we could conclude that the designers are farming us. However it is bacteria, scavengers or tigers in Las Vegas which eat us. None of these seem to also practice design. Thus the farm explanation of ID can be ruled out. There is another managed environment which does fit rather better.
Humans not only kill animals for food. They also kill them for sport. Game reserves are ecologically diverse habitats often created to favour one species, for instance the deer parks of England. Nevertheless they form ecosystems built from diverse species not unlike the Earth. The favoured species also tends to be unique in its type. One species of deer for instance. As a correlation the Earth has just one species of human. Could the Earth be a park for the hunting of humans?
Again there is the question of whether or not there is evidence for a hunt. This can be found in game parks in the remains of hunting equipment whether it be ammunition or a broken bow or whatever. How would designers hunt humans? The answer is in sex.
The designers gave humans a powerful libido and also the tendency to mate during any time of a female’s cycle. This is rare and thus indicates that reproductive organs were of great interest to the designers. They also produced a variety of bioweapons specifically designed to be transmitted through sexual behaviour.
The ideas that sexual diseases are a divine creation sent to plague humanity is not new. Many fundamentalists believe that AIDS is a punishment from God. If God is mentally retarded then this is plausible. A mentally retarded God would be unable to foresee the deaths of haemophiliacs or children from the disease. Logically this position is hard to hold. While many elements of design in nature seem to be a bit stupid the punishment from God theory fails to explain the sheer variety of sexual diseases. A designer interested in humans and a dislike of sexual immorality would create a variety of types of human and just one disease, the Painful Sex-Death Virus. Yet there is a huge variety of sexual diseases. How can this be?
Sexual diseases are like the weaponry used to hunt deer. One could use an atlatl, or a bow and arrow or semi-automatic weaponry for hunting armour plated deer. The device used reflects the skill and the interests of the sportsman. Equally the variety of sexual diseases suggests that these reflect the interests of the designers. By flagellum logic these diseases are literally hunting weapons. They must surely be created as such if they are irreducibly complex.
Equally just as one hunter tends to have a favoured weapon, so the designers also seem to have their own chosen tools. The SARS designer based somewhere in Asia now seems to be having another go at humanity with the Bird Flu Virus.
Thus there are some conclusions that Intelligent Design does permit us to draw about the designer.
- Designers design intentionally
- Designers design with a purpose
- Designers design with an intent that features should be used.
- One who believes the designer should be obeyed would advocate use of these features in the example above this would be, a libido and sexual organs.
- The vast variety of diseases and lack of diversity of humans indicates that the purpose of creation is the spread of disease rather than humans.
Both the concept of a malevolent designer and the concept of designer who desires promiscuity is contrary to the view of mainstream Christianity. It would appear to be false to state that ID would put Christian doctrine in schools. The closest theological equivalent to the conclusions of ID would appear to be Satanism. This would be coherent with the press releases of the Discovery Institute which do not rule out the possibility of a Satanic creator.
Following the logic of Intelligent Design the idea that designers consistent with Intelligent Design could be the Christian God is about as likely as a whirlwind flying over the keyboard of a computer at the Discovery Institute and typing out the Bible (King James Version).
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The reason ID has proven successful in gaining support from some sections of the community is that some people think that the Bible is a optional part of Christianity. Evolution doesn’t say anything about God or Satan because these are not issues evolution tackles. If Evolution is atheistic then recipe books, road maps and email addresses that don’t mention God are also atheistic. For evolution any God that exists is not part of the creation and so outside the theory.
For ID the opposite is true. The creator is intimately tied to creation because the designer designs and so ID does make claims on the qualities of a creator. ID is the only explanation of creation which explicitly requires that we should be just as willing to credit Satan with creation as the Christian God.