New Movie Addresses Intelligent Design

May 2, 2006 | By | 3 Replies More

Joel Keller recently posted regarding the newly released movie “Who’s the Dodo?  Intelligent Design Circus.”

I haven’t yet seen this movie (I plan to), but there is an obstacle to Intelligent Design so simple that even young children recognize it.  I hope the movie addresses this question head on (Keller’s review doesn’t address this issue):

If everything that is complex had to be designed (this is ID’s highest principle), then the Designer must have been designed.   It follows that that Designer must have been designed as well.   In other words, Intelligent Design is based on an eternal regress.  It only “works” if you throw out the most important rule after playing one round of the game.

“Who designed God?” is a question ID must answer with a straight face for ID to have any credibility.  And the answer can’t be “no one” without destroying the entire foundation for Intelligent Design.  If the answer is, nonetheless, that “no one” designed “the Designer,” how is that conclusion any less absurd than suggesting that natural selection (i.e., no sentient being) sculpted the multitude of critters we find on Earth.

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Category: Evolution

About the Author ()

Erich Vieth is an attorney focusing on consumer law litigation and appellate practice. He is also a working musician and a writer, having founded Dangerous Intersection in 2006. Erich lives in the Shaw Neighborhood of St. Louis, Missouri, where he lives half-time with his two extraordinary daughters.

Comments (3)

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  1. T-Web says:

    If an earlier god designed the god who designed the god who designed the god (etc. ad infinitum) who designed US, what happened to all those earlier gods? did they all die of cancer or something? if THEIR prayers couldn't save them, what chance do my prayers have?

  2. terrence says:

    Or in other words:

    Everything needs a cause;

    God is part of everything;

    God didn't need a cause;

    NOT everything needs a cause.

  3. grumpypilgrim says:

    The other ID hypothesis that gains traction with some people is the notion of "irreducible complexity," which claims that some "designs" in nature consist of cooperating parts that cannot perform their function if any one of the parts is removed. This, too, is a red herring, and for much the same reason as the complexity argument that Erich discusses. In both cases, the arguments begin with what we see in nature today, then work backwards in time. In the complexity argument, it begins with nature as we see it today and claims that the probability of all these life forms arising is almost zero. This argument is like rolling dice for a billion years, then looking backwards in time and declaring, "Wow, if I had to roll that same sequence of numbers again, the odds would be virtually zero that I could do it." Well, sure the odds of that happening are virtually zero, but this does not alter the fact that you did, indeed, roll that sequence the first time. It's a nonsense argument.

    Similarly, in the case of so-called "irreducible complexity," the argument begins with a complex structure that we see today, then proposes to hack off some essential element of that structure — in effect, running the evolutionary clock backwards. "Oh, look, if I hack off my left leg, my right leg, by itself, won't do me much good for running." Well, sure, that's true, but evolution isn't about impairing an existing, highly-evolved structure; it's about each individual creature using whatever structure it does have to try to out-survive and out-reproduce other individuals who share the same environment. One leg might not do you much good in a world of two-legged competitors who can more easily escape being eaten than you can, but one leg might do you a lot of good in a world of no-legged competitors. Or, more likely, two longer (or stronger, more nimble, etc.) legs might do you a lot of good in a world of shorter-legged (or weaker, more cumbersome, etc.) competitors. Seen in this light, the "irreducible complexity" argument is also a strawman: it starts with a highly-evolved structure that we see today and suggests that we work backwards in time, whereas evolution began billions of years ago and worked forward.

    I hope everyone who now believes in creationism someday recognizes that their arguments are not just fallacious, but disingenuous. This is not to say that a Supreme Supernatural Creator cannot exist, merely that non-scientific dogma is a highly unreliable, and unlikely, source for scientific truth.

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