Friday, August 22, 2008

Complexity has Always Been an Argument Against Intelligent Design

Poor Denyse O'Leary, in an article so bad it apparently was flushed down the infamous UD memory hole, scores an own goal with this feeble analysis:

"It's not easy being an evolutionist these days. You have to feel a pang of pity for the critics at New Scientist, who have resorted to a new argument against intelligent design:

The more complex things are, the more we see that there's no way intelligence could have created them.

That's right — complexity is now an argument against intelligent design. From yesterday's print edition:

As Socrates knew, the really intelligent know the limits of their own ability, an idea we seem to be relearning. You might say supporters of intelligent design have it backwards: the more we observe the complex workings of our universe, the more we must conclude that no single intelligence could have created them."

What Denyse and the rest of the ID crew seem never to understand is that complexity has always been an argument against ID. The hallmark of intelligent design is efficiency, not complexity. The designs we see in nature more resemble a Rube Goldberg machine than something designed intelligently. This is the natural consequence of design by an shortsighted process like evolution.

Think about the difference between a house designed by one builder, and a house that was built and then modified over the years by several different builders. Which is more complex? Which is more intelligent? The modified house models evolution far more than the house build all at once, for each builder had to work with what he had, rather than having the ability to create what he wanted from scratch.

When we look at a halibut, with both eyes scrunched onto one side of his face, we see complexity, yes, but it is the sort of mindless complexity of evolution, not the imagined complexity of a mythical intelligent designer.

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