Intelligence and Design

Several folks have been on a tear lately about creationism and evolution. I particularly liked this piece by John Rogers where he points out the logical conclusions of having the President of the US supporting the anti-evolution position. This is similar to what I’ve been thinking myself. I live in an area that is still suffering from the loss of textile manufacturing industry. Although my pocket of the state is relatively affluent, there are adjacent counties that today have nearly 20% unemployment. Those jobs are not coming back and the only way to power on to the future is to create new industry and embrace the changes the 21st century will bring. That will require education and that will require a deep understanding of and appreciation for basic science. When you have an agenda of undermining that, this is yet another mechanism for selling out the future by making sure today’s children will be ill-equipped to compete with the children of China and India and Korea, none of whom have this agenda.

Another take on the whole issue comes from Bill Shunn today, who gives it to Rick Santorum with both barrels. I agree with him in being angry at evangelicals who believe that they have a monopoly on the only possible path to morality. I do what I can to live morally and I’m not doing it because I either fear a patriarch in the sky or am trying to earn an eternal reward. I do it because to do otherwise makes life worse for me and everyone, and doing right makes life better.

It should also be noted that tonight on Radio Open Source, their episode will be about intelligent design and evolution. I am looking forward to hearing it.

9 Replies to “Intelligence and Design”

  1. I don’t understand the argument that people are so complex that they couldn’t be the end result of random mutations and evolution. Since evolution builds on the genes from countless pervious generations, of course it would produce complex structures.

    The other argument is that people must be made by god because they have a soul. This is a truly ridiculous and moronic statement since clearly there is no such thing as a soul, at least in scientific terms. If they can prove there is a soul, then I will be willing to look at their data… It aint gonna happen.

  2. Many theists argue that God must exist because of the presence of intangibles like happiness, anger and love, things they say cannot be explained away by biology. However, an evolutionary biologist would say that emotions are merely parts of the chemical composition of the brain, an organ with complex sets of rules for behavior that have ensured the propagation of our species in the past. For example, love for one’s offspring forces you to care for and protect them, thus ensuring that your genes will be passed on when they have children.

    Being an atheist myself, I agree with the biologists on this point. However, I’m still haunted by one giant puzzle I cannot seem to untangle: Why do I know that I exist? It’s too easy to explain that prescience is merely a “natural” byproduct of the complex human mind. What is its explanation? If I cannot accept that it is “God”, then what is it?

  3. There are many things we will figure out and many we may not. We are intelligent but we can’t know everything. Our burning desire for knowledge has led to this concept of God; to answer the questions we have about ourselves, our world, our universe.

  4. Dave,
    Creationism is a tough nut to crack in the South. Outside of Virgina Highlands or Midtown in Atlanta I think creationsim has at least 50% support. I have no numbers to back me up. But I grew up in the South and some things never change there. As I friend of mine once said about racism in Statesboro, GA – “we stuck in the ditch, and ain’t no come along gonna pull us out..”

  5. This ignorance is going to continue until we begin to stress in public schools that there is no such thing as God. I don’t think this will happen though as most people would be upset by that strategy. It is unnerving for people to be told that their concept of reality is wrong.

  6. “If you don’t understand that there’s absolutely no contradiction between believing in God and evolution, then frankly I’m not going to waste the time trying to jam a rhetorical screwdriver into your pineal gland’s butterfly valve and crank up the air flow.”

  7. Oh my god, there’s two quotes worth snatching into a .sig!

    “if my choice were between these cowards who would turn back the Enlightenment and anal-probing yet intellectually honest Martians, I would grit my teeth, vote for the Martians and learn to visualize my Happy Place during my Probe-Center appointments.”

  8. The Christians often say “Don’t hate the sinner, hate the sin”. My reply is; Don’t hate the religious, hate the religion. There is a clear contradiction between religion and science. God did not create the world in 7 days. Jesus did not turn water into wine. There are so many false and truly ridiculous statements in the bible that saying there is no contradiction between science and religion is simply ludicrous. “Intelligent Design” is “Creationism”. The supreme court ruled against creationism so they simply changed the name. When the hell will the religious zealots leave us alone? You have your own schools where you can teach whatever bullshit you want to so stay out of the public school curriculum and please let’s take “In God We Trust” off the dollar!

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