Not That Intelligent

I finally put my finger on what bothers me about Intelligent Design: the argument that the design of creation points to or even proves the existence of a creator.  What bothers me is it’s not that intelligent.

This in itself has to be regarded as a stupid statement.  In the creation-evolution debate.  The backwoods, low-brow, Bible-thumpers are the Creationists.  They are the ones Clarence Darrow made sport of.  The Intelligent Design crowd are intellectuals, highly educated, and usually some sort of scientist.  So to say what they say is not that intelligent must be stupid.

What has always bothered me about their argument is that it is nothing new.  This is the centuries old “argument from design” aka the Teleological Argument.  This is Hebrews 11:3.  As the existence of a cabin proves the existence of a cabin builder, so the existence of the world proves a world builder.  This argument long preceded Darwin.  And according to Stephen C. Meyer, latest fair-haired boy of the Intelligent Design crowd, by Darwin’s time it was considered defunct.  Yet Meyer believes that modern science can “’revive and resuscitate the classical argument from design’” (World, Dec. 19, 2009, 41).

Meyer gets his inspiration from Darwin and Darwin’s predecessor 19th century geologist Charles Lyell.  Both these men believed you should be able to explain what has happened in the past by what is happening in the present.  In their closed system, one devoid of God, only the processes going on now can explain where we came from.  Creationists have long pointed out that the processes going on today are of breaking down not building up, decay not regeneration.  These processes don’t yield creation of new life or evolution to higher forms.

Whereas Creationists take on Evolutionists on the basis of evidence: fossil record, catastrophism versus uniformitarianism, age of the earth, etc, ID takes them on by conceding their point, by conceding their principle of reasoning: that we must explain what happened in the past based on what is now happening.

Meyer believes that our ability to see deeper by microscope than Darwin did will enable us to see indications of the Creator in the design.  He specifically mentions “digital code that’s stored in a DNA molecule, or the tiny little miniature machines, the nanotechnology, the sliding clamps and turbines and rotary engines that biologists are now finding inside living cells’” (Ibid., 38).  But the argument that being able to see farther and deeper with microscopes will enable us to see the face of God doesn’t seem any different than when scientist said that the Hubble telescope’s ability to see farther into space meant we were going to be able to see the “face of God.” There is one difference.  The 1980s scientists had the decency to enclose the God they thought they would find in quotes.

About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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