"Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That's their natural and first weapon." ~ Gloria Steinem

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Intelligent Design and why it's lame-o

In May, I went on a road trip with my family. It was fun, and yet somehow I ended up standing in Yosemite National Park, drying dishes after breakfast, arguing with my parents over whether or not Intelligent Design should be taught in universities. My dad strongly believes in ID, and feels it should be given equal time alongside evolution. My mom doesn't really care (she believes evolution isn't necessarily driven by God, but was created by God to function the way it does), but feels it should at least be presented as an alternative theory--if not in the science curriculum, perhaps as philosophy.

These arguments stymied me--at the time. They appear perfectly rational, right? Consideration, that's all we want! Present the ideas and let the college students decide for themselves; we're not talking about intellectually malleable elementary school children here. Perfectly reasonable. Right?

As I say, at the time, I was stumped. I had a visceral reaction to the idea, but couldn't frame it in a way that my parents would accept or even entertain. Indeed, I couldn't even frame it to myself, apart from that ID is wrong.

At the time, all I could think of for the "ID is just plain wrong" position was a lack of evidence for it. But in order to successfully state my position to my parents, I needed positive evidence for its factual incorrectness, not just a lack of evidence to support factual correctness. And I had none.

See, I'm not in the habit of considering Intelligent Design as a viable option; I discarded it long ago and promptly banished it from my head, making room for more worthwhile thoughts.

After some searching in the dusty, secret corners of my brain, I found it--evolution isn't "intelligent" in the slightest. If there really is some entity with their finger in the world, whether they're actively involved or just "created the process", then that entity by no means fits into the definition of any god worth devoting one's entire life to.

No, this god is pretty fucking stupid. This god relies on trial and error to get its "creations" to the point where they function on any level whatsoever. We are subject to horrific, naturally-occurring deformities--kids born without faces, to name just one.

You can say that god doesn't prevent suffering--for whatever reason--but why create it that blatantly? Why design a system that inherently results in suffering for those creatures you pretend to love the most? For that matter, why are animals, who supposedly have no awareness of their creator*, subject to the same set of birth defects and suffering? It's pointless for them; they can't grow spiritually, offer suffering to god in atonement for sins, or any of the other reasons my mom gave me for human suffering. Pointless suffering, knowingly inflicted by someone who should know better, is just cruelty.

"It is contrary to human dignity to cause animals to suffer or die needlessly."**

Contrary to human dignity, to be sure--but not, apparently, to godly dignity.

And so, I am supposed to believe that this system was designed by an all-powerful entity who could have, if he'd wanted to, designed it in such a way that his creations would not have to suffer as a result of his design--but he did not?

If your god exists, and is as kind as you say he is, Intelligent Design would be an example of idiocy and cruelty--not intelligence.

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