“The Other Intelligent Design Theories”

The synopsis: Religion and brute force failed to quash the idea of Darwinian evolution. Creationists and their Bible verses just irritated nonbelievers. Now Intelligent Design (ID) tries to topple Darwin again, not by offering a viable alternative, but by trying to co-opt the same concepts that have raised science to its current strength. Unfortunately for them, that argument would also open the door to a number of other alternative “theories,” all just as unscientific as Intelligent Design:

[All of these] will have to be let in, or the whole program must collapse under howling derision and accusations of hypocrisy.

Not that the people behind ID have any trouble with their own hypocrisy.

(And yes, the unscientific alternatives include my personal favorite, the “simulation” hypothesis. I support Darwinian evolution as the only viable scientific theory for how life originally arose, but I also think that this reality isn’t the original. It can’t be proven, and thus is not scientific, but I suspect the reason for this is deliberate. As such, that argument doesn’t dissuade me from it.)


  1. The theory of evolution explains how, given a lone single-celled creature and plenty of time, we could see the enormous number of species that exist today and in the fossil record. That’s all it covers, and all it attempts to. There are complementary hypotheses about where that lone cell originally came from, but as yet they don’t have enough evidence to be more than that, though there’s some hope that they could in time.

    If either fail to explain anything, it’s Intelligent Design. Like you, it just says “evolution doesn’t explain everything” and leaves it at that, implying that people have to turn to creationism to fill in the missing bits.

    (Creationism doesn’t explain anything either, it just says — depending on your cultural preference — that a hugely powerful invisible creature waved a magic wand, or breathed, or vomited, or spoke, or masturbated, or gave birth, or fell from the sky, or woke up, or sweated, or dug itself out of an underground realm, or “hovered over the waters,” or shaped some clay, or climbed through a magic reed, or sang, or some other thing, and made it happen. Which I think you can agree isn’t scientifically testable. True or not, if it’s not testable, it’s not science.)

    • Jewish tradition, incidentally, does not take the “hovering over the waters” in a literal anthropomorphic sense. The written Torah is inexplicable without the Oral Torah, its commentaries, to interpret it with.

Comments are closed.