Friday, May 27, 2005

Intelligent Design Vs Evolution

The New Yorker explains the definition of intelligent design, the counter concept to evolution that's fueling heavy debate:

First of all, intelligent design is not what people often assume it is. For one thing, I.D. is not Biblical literalism. Unlike earlier generations of creationists - the so-called Young Earthers and scientific creationists - proponents of intelligent design do not believe that the universe was created in six days, that Earth is ten thousand years old, or that the fossil record was deposited during Noah's flood. (Indeed, they shun the label "creationism" altogether.) Nor does I.D. flatly reject evolution: adherents freely admit that some evolutionary change occurred during the history of life on Earth. Although the movement is loosely allied with, and heavily funded by, various conservative Christian groups - and although I.D. plainly maintains that life was created - it is generally silent about the identity of the creator.

The movement's main positive claim is that there are things in the world, most notably life, that cannot be accounted for by known natural causes and show features that, in any other context, we would attribute to intelligence. Living organisms are too complex to be explained by any natural - or, more precisely, by any mindless -process. Instead, the design inherent in organisms can be accounted for only by invoking a designer, and one who is very, very smart.

Drawing from this premise, I assume that the underlying prejudice in humans is this: we believe that our intelligence and place in the world is so superior to other life forms that if we cannot know for a fact when and how the world began, there must be some supernatural force, beyond our comprehension, that has "designed" life.

This complexity, I.D.'s defenders argue, lies beyond the abilities of Darwinism to explain. Second, they claim that new mathematical findings cast doubt on the power of natural selection. Selection may play a role in evolution, but it cannot accomplish what biologists suppose it can. more...

This statement backs up my cynicism about the topic. Once again, we assume that we are so sophisticated in our use and understanding of mathematics and science, that there's no way the inconsistencies could simply be our own intellectual limitations and the limitations of human knowledge to date.

Does it even enter into the mind of scientists and think tank participants that maybe we just don't get it yet? That perhaps there are processes in nature that have baffled us, that are as close to being that "supernatural force" we seek in science and religion?

For such a brilliant species, we are made ignorant by the very ego which defines us.


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