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Intelligent Design Is Bad for Christian Theology

Posted by libhom Sunday, January 15, 2006

It can be so funny watching the Christian Taliban stumble with its latest scheme to undermine the teaching of evolution in public school science classes: “Intelligent Design”

The theory, based on the odd assumption that a high degree of complexity necessitates an intelligent designer, may seem superficially helpful to the Talibanists' cause. However, if humans were designed, rather than being the products of evolution, there is a significant problem: aspects of human anatomy and physiology that do not work very well.

In Christian theology, the deity is all-wise, all-powerful, and all-knowing. Such a deity could not produce organisms with flaws such as the following.

  1. Humans have an appendix, an organ that accomplishes nothing for us and can kill us if it gets infected, which is a reasonably common occurance.

  2. Male-pattern baldness

  3. The human cravings for foods that are bad for us.

While items 1 and 3 are easily explained in evolutionary terms, they could only be the results of an intelligent, but imperfect designer, bad news for Christianity. The appendix is a reduced vestige of a caecum, an area of the intestinal tract that primates use to digest cellulose. Digestion of cellulose no longer is done by humans, who can get their nutritional needs met through meat and the remaining molecules of plants.

Humans crave fat and salt because both were scarce for our ancestors. However, in a perfectly designed organism, cravings would match the current dietary environment.

As for items 2, it can be explained through the concept of neutral mutation. Mutations that have no impact on reproduction (and survival's impact is on the organism's ability to reproduce) have no selective pressures and can become randomly incorporated through a process of what is called “genetic drift.” Males going bald would have little or no impact on reproductive levels, especially among ancestors that seldom lived past the age of 30, and started breeding in their early teens.

“Intelligent Design” is as unChristian as it is unscientific. It is so funny when the Christian fundamentalists end up undermining their own faiths while trying to undermine scientific facts that threaten their faiths. If “Intelligent Design” did not threaten science education, it would just be part of a litany of unintentional humor by religious extremists.

1 Responses to Intelligent Design Is Bad for Christian Theology

  1. Xaedalus Says:
  2. Hmm... I agree with Intelligent Design, and I also have to say that you make a VERY good point. I don't think the current proponents of ID do a very good job of explaining the hypothesis (which is what it really is, not a theory). The way they explain ID is a mockery and it's easily refutable. I happen to believe that there is room for Intelligent Design. By what I don't know. Aliens, gods, flying spaghetti monsters, who knows? What I do know is that there are some interesting holes and gaps in the theory of evolution and the big bang. I also believe that reason and logic will help us fill in the gaps, and if we do discover that there was supernatural direction, that we will be able to figure it out. We should never just throw up our hands and say "God did it, that's enough for me". We should use our intellects to figure out HOW He/She/It did it.



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