Friday, 20 May 2011

A Thought Occurs.

When the anti-evolution crowd make their 'arguments' for intelligent design, a common one is that you wouldn't expect a computer to assemble itself if the parts were jumbling around in the back of a truck, or an airplane to be assembled by a tornado hitting a junkyard, or a watch to piece itself together.

Beyond the obvious failing with this line of thought - that the mechanical is far, far different from the organic - there's another basic fallacy that has just occurred to me. It's possible I'm the last person on Earth to realize it, but it makes a certain amount of sense.

It's a disconnect in modes of thinking at a very basic level: These people see humanity as the perfect form. The ultimate, if you will, because they believe we were made in the image of their God. Understanding this, the analogy becomes a bit more understandable. A computer, or a watch, or a plane, has a specific form that we're creating when we put the bits together. Similarly, ID proponents believe that humankind has a specific form, one that is the goal of all those bits being put together.

A thought for those ID'ers reading this: Please understand that we do not believe that human beings are the pinnacle of the evolutionary process. It's a process that is ongoing, and had our evolution taken us down a slightly different path - if, for example, we'd wound up with six fingers as the norm instead of five - that this wouldn't have much affected how we view the world. Even if we were drastically different from what we are now, we would have gotten to that state via the mutations selected for by chance and our environments; we'd still consider ourselves human.

In that, your analogy falls apart. There is no end-state that can be achieved; there is no watch we're trying to assemble. We are what we are. If we were something else, we'd be that.

EDIT: It has been pointed out to me that intelligent design and an anti-evolution stance do not necessarily go hand in hand. True enough. I suppose this post, then, is primarily aimed at those who are both.

Another point of curiosity for me; are there any secularists who would argue against evolution? Why? What are the arguments? Makes me curious.

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