I was given the opportunity to do a paper in my English class on Intelligent Design. I only had 2 1/2 hours to write it and this is what I came up with. I had very limited use of the internet and it was NOT a research paper. The professor is (I think) Christian and knows that I am an Atheist. She was very excited to read my paper. I am posting it here because I would like feed back on the arguments I presented. I told her without proper research my ideas might have a few holes in them and she understood completely, again this was for an English paper.
Any help on the ideas I presented would be greatly appreciated :) I hope this is in the right forum.....
Is Intelligent Design Really Intelligent?
Is life on earth the result of intelligent design or did it all happen by chance? Intelligent design (or ID) is the theory that a superior being put the universe into motion. The majority of people who believe in intelligent design also believe it goes further than that, that God has a hand in our every day life. A smaller percentage believe that we are here due to evolution, that everything happened by chance. From my point of view Chance seems more logical. The ideology of Intelligent design does not justify birth defects; it can not be proven in the science lab; and is not an adequate argument for “gaps” in science.
A disturbing problem with the theory of Intelligent design is the overwhelming amount of birth defects, both structural and functional/developmental. Birth defects are caused by defects in our genes as well as environmental hazards. Intelligent design, with the accompanying belief in God, is that humans should be perfect. We were made by God in his image. Perfect. If that were true then our genetic code would not mutate. Hence there would be no birth defects and/or genetic mutations/mishaps. This however is not the case. The Center for Disease Control states that 120,000 babies in the United States are born with birth defects each year. If you look at this situation through the scope of evolution you will see that mutations in genetic code fit very well into the science of evolution.
The way our species has evolved over time has brought us to become a science dependant race. Everything from understanding our place in the solar system, to the atoms and molecules that make up our bodies, to the types of foods we can safely ingest, we got from scientifically testing theories, which is the reason we have the answers to those questions. Intelligent design is not a probable or acceptable theory due to lack of being able to test it which is why the scientific community does not recognize it.
There are some who view science as a great tool of the human race, however they can not let go of the emotion that accompanies Intelligent Design. They see the gaps in science as unexplainable and therefore attribute these unexplainable instances to ID. This is called using the God of Gaps rationalization. Using this argument is not conducive to science because everyday science is understanding more and more about the universe and the world in which we live. At one point in time science thought the earth was flat, but due to exploration, we came to the conclusion that the earth was in fact round. This is the way that science works.
Intelligent design, as fascinating as it might seem to some, is not a theory of scientific measures at this point in time. It simply plays on the emotions, as opposed to the intellect, of humans. So in the words of Christopher Hitchens I leave you with this “Exceptional claims demand exceptional evidence.", and Intelligent Design does not give exceptional evidence.
Great job on a quick treatment of the subject.
Just a minor nit on the technical-side, but "intelligent design or did it all happen by chance" is a false dichotomy. If the universe is deterministic then it didn't happen "by chance", it happened as a result of following the laws of nature. There could still be questions about the initial conditions, but it changes what is meant by 'chance' pretty substantially.
We don't know if the universe is deterministic or not. There are still interpretations of Quantum Mechanics that allow for determinism [and there are still some questions in the Bell inequalities test results; but even IF they hold up, they only eliminate local hidden variable possibilities].
Current Bell test results are summarized in wiki: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bell_test_experiments
that seems to be the way religious people look at it. "It all happened by chance!"
In my experience, they tend to attribute events to God's will, destiny or miracles, rather than to chance. "It was God's will this plane crashed, it was its passengers' destiny to die, it's a miracle the plane didn't crash on an urban area. Thank God I was too late to board that plane!"
No, what I mean is christians think evolution = chance. here is a perfect example of what I'm talking about from that elizabeth johnson chick that's been derailing this discussion:
Well of course there is, it's all around you, it's in you. Are you seriously suggesting that the body in which you now dwell, the miracle of human thought, the very eyes you use to read these words exist from mere chance? Ludicrous.
We may disagree about how we got here, but to believe that all the diversity of life came from a primordial soup seems as far fetched as you claim my beliefs are.
This is the exact reason I chose the word "Chance" :)
"by natural processes" perhaps? I agree that even if there is a true randomness found it still makes more sense -- and randomness does not prevent order (for an example, look at the behavior of Strange Attractors -- even if you randomly perturb the system it tends into a certain orderly states even though these small chances compound over time to change the state evolution of the system (known as the Butterfly Effect)).
Sorry for my other off-topic posts.
I note that, if you teacher happens to really be a Christian, the question might well be a trap, as it can be undertood in two different ways --
* Assuming ID is a theory - is the theory intelligent? I.e., is it sound, falsifiable, scientific, supported by evidence?
* Assuming ID is a fact - is the design itself intelligent? Did God do a good or lousy job?
Being in the dark about the teacher's beliefs and motives, I'd opt for a different angle of attack:
* the hypo-semantic approach: "Intelligent Design is intelligent by definition."
* the raw materialist strategy: "Intelligent Design can't be intelligent, a design is immaterial and thus lacks a brain, and a brain is required for mental processes, such as abstract thought, reasoning, etc., which are associated with intelligence."
* the no-clue non-cognitive gambit: "Mr. Intelligent Design didn't comply with our requests to pass an IQ test yet, it's impossible to know whether or not he's intelligent at the moment."
What's neat here is you can choose the answer first (Yes/No/Don't know) and make your pick accordingly.
Thanks for responding :) Even if she is in fact a christian, she said (repeatedly in class) that she likes being the "devils advocate" which to me says she will always ask questions about the subject at hand. I spoke with her several times about the content of the paper and she understands that the paper is viewing ID as * Assuming ID is a theory - is the theory intelligent? I.e., is it sound, falsifiable, scientific, supported by evidence? * This paper was to be my point of view and informative.
I love the other angles you have posted and I will be sure to think of them if I ever get another chance to write a paper about ID.
Intelligent design really just comes down to lack of interest in reality.
I couldn't agree more :)