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Intelligent design could be smarter

It seems that the squabbling sects of young-Earth creationists, young-universe creationists, old-Earth creationists, progressive creationists have stopped screeching in their tower of babble – at least publicly – at each other over meanings of biblical minutiae. They’ve embraced intelligent design as the point of the wedge that will crush all the immoral natural science that doesn’t match a literal reading of the Bible. Theistic “science,” where all explanations must match scripture, will restore our society to the straight and narrow, though it may cost us our technological lead over other nations.Some sects must be biting their tongues, though. The generic designer of intelligent design, separate now from the true God, means no redemption, so why bother to believe in that? Might as well be an agnostic heretic. Of course, if intelligent design is a Trojan horse to start the assault on our current philosophy of science (which is based on observation, and testable explanations of the natural world), then their silence is more understandable.Creationists may have manufactured a controversy in a few friendly politicians’ minds, but there is no controversy about the overall theory of evolution in the field of science. Gravity, relativity and quantum mechanics have more controversy than evolution. Politicians would be better off making sure consideration of both sides of an argument applied to public policy decisions (like energy and climate change policy) where there are legitimate choices to be made rather than trying to push supernatural beliefs into science class. One of the criticisms of intelligent design is it makes no predictions and assumes only absolute unquestionable answers so isn’t testable. Why not test it with the same critical thought process intelligent design proponents use to attack evolution and all the scientific evidence of fossils, anatomy, molecular biology DNA and that every branch of biology is permeated and explained by the theory of evolution?Shouldn’t something called intelligent design at least be intelligent? Seems a bit careless and a waste of time to throw away – twice – most of the life you’ve designed in two mass extinctions 65 and 250 million years ago.Why’d it take so long to get to what we arrogantly assume is the finished product, us? Sobering thought that dinosaurs could have assumed the same with daddy T-Rex assuring junior of his unique place in the world before uttering a reptilian “Damn!” as a meteorite lit up the sky.Strange that the ultimate creation happens to destroy everything (including itself) that gets in its way and believes in many different designers, each of which insists its creation believes only in it and kills off those created by any other almost as intelligent designer. Not a great blueprint for harmony and all the other stuff Jesus talked about. Perhaps the intelligent designer and Jesus aren’t connected? Or our idea of intelligence is too limited to understand.Still the intelligent design public relations machine is well funded and not restrained by fact, so it may gain public acceptance. If so, some churches better start saving up. There’s going to be one hell of a class action lawsuit against the agents of whoever designed backs and knees. They’re patently not suitable for upright bipedal motion and obviously a lazy short cut, using an old inappropriate design instead of starting over. Worse than GM’s Pinto, if you ask me.Most religions have creation stories, which are often parables to explain symbolically a God that is beyond words. To see these creation myths as literal accounts that must be believed is a strange, relatively modern development. Faith used to be about commitment and actions even when in doubt. Now it seems to be about absolute belief in narrow dogmas often selectively chosen by self-proclaimed holy men.The Bible is full of parables that can justify or prove almost any course of action. Some religious leaders cherry pick those that support their personal points of view. Christian fundamentalist leader Pat Robertson’s call for the assassination of the democratically elected president of Venezuela because his country has oil and he inconveniently doesn’t like the divine U.S. is a case in point. This isn’t Christianity, it’s Pat Robertson pushing his own fanatical beliefs from a preacher’s pulpit.It doesn’t seem right that religions place much more emphasis on unquestioning belief than how a person acts. Any god who would welcome the mindset of a Pat Robertson but show Gandhi the door is pretty warped.Plato’s question “is something good because God commands it so or does God command it because it is indeed good” suggests goodness can be independent of God and dependent more on us because we are able to choose how to act. Fundamentalist leaders of all faiths are often on the wrong side of Plato’s quote as they assume the role of God’s mouthpiece with absolute decrees while decrying relativists who dare to think and argue about what is good.Exodus sanctions selling your daughter into slavery, Leviticus condemns those who wear clothes of mixed threads. These could be problems for most of us.Alan Braunholtz of Vail writes a weekly column for the Daily. This column, as with all personal columns, does not necessarily reflect the views of the Vail Daily.Vail, Colorado


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