Counterpoint: Intelligent Design

By Greg Ellis

“The radical novelty of modern science lies precisely in the rejection of the belief, which is at the heart of all popular religion, that the forces which move the stars and atoms are contingent upon the preferences of the human heart.”

– Richard Adams, English author, Watership Down

Like arguing over the fine print in a union contract, the foregone scientific conclusion on evolution, so far supported by mountains of evidence, had laid to rest the debate of evolution and creation. It was easy to assume the creationist’s lack of objection could be interpreted as concession or even deference, yet they only adopted silence as the plotted on a method to infiltrate the debate.

The idea of Intelligent design is elegant and innocuous. It is that gently placed compromise that tactful lawyers introduce to negotiations in the presence of acrimony, but why the scientific community is so unprepared for the second round of debate is because they did not know the talks were still going on. It came in a series of sweeping court decisions, and a school curriculum that had abandoned the need for myth and pretension and would present a case that had seen the light of day and the scientific method. Surely evolution was not perfect, but not much of science was, particularly by the scrutiny of the fanatics who saw evolution as part of Satan’s itinerary. Aldous Huxley said: “facts do not cease to exist because they are ignored”–or for that matter, because they endure attacks of intellectual abdication by lofty ideas without any scientific merit. Intelligent design is a way of keeping a debate that had died many years ago alive. It presents a dangerous compromise, a request made politely for the scientific community to allow all it stands for to be temporarily uprooted. It speaks to the sympathy of the defeated and attempts to reignite the fire of polemic by retracting its original position and providing a more palatable one.

My biggest objection to the proposition of Intelligent design is that I don’t find it intelligent at all. The theory of evolution is indeed a theory but it is one that has endured the test of time and the fastidious eyes of scientific inquiry. Somehow the new introduction of intelligent design seems as inane as the accusation that Einstein’s Theory of Relativity was a Jewish conspiracy designed to corrupt Isaac Newton’s organic laws. It’s the sleight of hand of organized religion, and the masters of illusion are clever in their ways. Intelligent design speaks to the form of late night infomercial’s false advertising. Trying to resurrect a losing argument by altering its composition but not providing substantive new or refined reasoning is not so much arguing as it is deception.