Fantastic and fascinating editorial turning the purported ‘logic’ of
intelligent design against itself. The only drawback, of course, is
that ID is only superficially about logic, so this isn’t an argument
that will carry any weight with anyone who finds ID appealing.
A fantastic editorial in this weekend’s NYT shreds the idea of
“Intelligent Design” (a pseudo-scientific,
crypto-Christian-fundamentalist way of talking about Creationism
without mentioning God) by taking apart the incompetence and
foolishness of the supposedly intelligent designer.
In mammals, for instance, the
recurrent laryngeal nerve does not go directly from the cranium to the
larynx, the way any competent engineer would have arranged it. Instead,
it extends down the neck to the chest, loops around a lung ligament and
then runs back up the neck to the larynx. In a giraffe, that means a
20-foot length of nerve where 1 foot would have done. If this is
evidence of design, it would seem to be of the unintelligent variety.
Such disregard for economy can be found throughout the natural
order. Perhaps 99 percent of the species that have existed have died
out. Darwinism has no problem with this, because random variation will
inevitably produce both fit and unfit individuals. But what sort of
designer would have fashioned creatures so out of sync with their
environments that they were doomed to extinction?
The gravest imperfections in nature, though, are moral ones.
Consider how humans and other animals are intermittently tortured by
pain throughout their lives, especially near the end. Our pain
mechanism may have been designed to serve as a warning signal to
protect our bodies from damage, but in the majority of diseases —
cancer, for instance, or coronary thrombosis — the signal comes too
late to do much good, and the horrible suffering that ensues is
And why should the human reproductive system be so shoddily
designed? Fewer than one-third of conceptions culminate in live births.
The rest end prematurely, either in early gestation or by miscarriage.
Nature appears to be an avid abortionist…