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The Incredibly Strange Story of Intelligent Design
02-01-2012, 07:19 PM,
Rainbow  The Incredibly Strange Story of Intelligent Design
The Incredibly Strange Story of Intelligent Design


Children in Ohio may be taught life was created by aliens under an education package designed to ditch Darwin’s Theory of evolution. The US state is considering adopting the “intelligent design” theory that life is too complex to have simply evolved – as the Darwin Theory suggests. Therefore says the package, life must have been designed by some supernatural being, maybe God, maybe aliens.
– Herald Sun, Columbus, Ohio, March 2002

Intelligent Design (ID) theory is a highly speculative philosophical argument, popular in recent years, which holds that rich diversity of species on the planet Earth is best understood as evidence of divine (or alien) intervention in terrestrial life.

In a nutshell, ID argues that the Earth is too young, and life too complex for fish, animals and birds to have evolved through natural selection; instead, we must look for a supernatural cause.

Professional scientists object to ID theory on the grounds that it can’t be proven, and so falls outside the domain of science; ID proponents have responded by taking their case directly to the public with a political campaign called “teach the controversy.”

The “teach the controversy” campaign makes scientists (especially those who depend on public funding) nervous, and with good reason – the ultimate goal of the ID movement, as leading spokesmen frankly admit, is to discard the scientific method altogether and “win back” Western culture for the Biblical creator god.

What makes this situation so especially interesting is the fact that leading ID theorists have positioned themselves as intellectual “heretics” struggling against the gatekeepers of scientific “orthodoxy.”

Of course, the idea that ID could actually be taught alongside evolution in public schools has provoked an unprecedented tsunami of scorn from these same, self-appointed gatekeepers. “ID isn’t science!” they object. “If we teach ID, then why not teach students that the Moon is made out of green cheese, or that storks deliver babies?”

I would like to respectfully suggest that children’s stories like the ones I’ve just mentioned aren’t the best analogies for ID theory. A better example might be the Anthropic Principle (AP), a closely related line of speculative reasoning which holds that the Universe itself is so complex and so improbable that it, too, requires special explanation. (We might also note that evangelical Christians are especially fond of AP in its “strong” form, which suggests that our Universe was “fine-tuned” for life by a god-like being.)
Unfortunately for Christian culture warriors, neither of these remarkable notions ultimately supports the old-fashioned idea that life, the Universe and everything represent the singular creations of a perfect, rational Supreme being. (In its totalising singularity, the Genesis metanarrative differs little from the Big Bang and Darwinian evolution scenarios which comprise the “origins story” of the industrialised West).

Rather, ID theory and the Anthropic Principle – and especially their corollary mechanisms panspermia and simulation – seem to reveal the handiwork of multiple, incompetent creators who were themselves created by yet more incompetent creators in another Universe, and so on, extending backwards in time and space to a point of infinite regress.

To put it bluntly: AP and ID do not somehow “prove” the case for the Bible; instead, they unavoidably and inevitably lead us back to a time and place even earlier and more primal than Genesis itself, back to the myths and theological speculations of the ancient Gnostic Christians.

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