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Unintelligent Design - Comments

Apathy personified's Avatar Comment 1 by Apathy personified

A major problem is that the people arguing for creationism or intelligent design tend not to have a clue about human anatomy - so claim intelligent design, without realising the implications of that (that there 'intelligently' designing god is a crap designer and engineer).

They also make grandiose statements like 'The atmoshere at the surface of the earth is transparent to em radiation in the 400 - 700 nm wavelength range, the same wavelength our eyes see - therefore our eyes are intelligently designed. That one really pisses me off.

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 08:18:00 UTC | #219463

J Mac's Avatar Comment 2 by J Mac

I couldn't even read this article, was it any good? I read the first several lines, and while I think I agree with where it's going I could have no response other than "DUH, did this need to be written?"

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 08:23:00 UTC | #219465

yesspam's Avatar Comment 3 by yesspam

(6% of all skydiving fatalities, for instance, are from divers that forgot to pull their ripcords),

How do they know?

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 08:25:00 UTC | #219467

Count von Count's Avatar Comment 4 by Count von Count

Nice article. I hadn't heard the points about human memory raised against intelligent design before (which serves a fairly direct counter to the work 'intelligent').

Richard Dawkins illustrates the point about a local maximum rather well in episode 3 of Growing Up In the Universe (which is well worth the watch and can be found for free here).

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 08:27:00 UTC | #219468

Manson's Avatar Comment 6 by Manson

Clean, clear, intelligent... but at no time overtly intellectual, ivory tower, or condescending.

Bravo, sir.

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 08:28:00 UTC | #219470

J Mac's Avatar Comment 5 by J Mac



Maybe they DIDN'T pull the cord, but I cant quite imagine how one could forget. Traveling towards the ground at 120mph saying to yourself "gee, I forgot why I came out here, I know I was supposed to be doing something, I just don't remember what."

If this is the case they're letting far to many senile people go sky diving.

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 08:28:00 UTC | #219469

Logicel's Avatar Comment 7 by Logicel

Ah, the author penned Kluge! Nice gentle but very firm presentation of the obvious (different styles for different folks).


in which new life forms represent random modifications of earlier life forms --

New life forms result both from random errors in the DNA code AND from the non-random influence of natural selection.

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 08:49:00 UTC | #219478

Szymanowski's Avatar Comment 8 by Szymanowski

Take, for instance, human memory, and the trouble we often have in remembering even the most basic facts -- where did we put our keys? Where did we park our car? Because our brains so often blur our memories together.
Nah, it's because of free will. Or something.

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 08:59:00 UTC | #219484

Disbelief's Avatar Comment 9 by Disbelief

4 spines, cool!

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 09:23:00 UTC | #219504

Ailes du Serpent's Avatar Comment 10 by Ailes du Serpent

Well, the basic premise of the article ("Hey, how's this for a counterargument against ID, we're not so intelligently designed after all, here's example A, B, C ... ") isn't a particularly new one.

It IS however a good simple punchline argument to give to the undecided masses to immunize them against creationism. Believers themselves however are mostly too deep through the looking glass, that they rather 'rationalize' reality than scrap their fantasy premise:
The most common creationist retour to the question "If Intelligent Design is valid, how come there is (imperfection X,Y,Z) ?" is something like "Well, obviously it all WAS perfect, but after the FALL OF MAN it became tainted...", and they think that this is an answer at all ("What do you mean you don't understand? It's RIGHT IN the Bible!").
At least it evaporates the farce idea that Intelligent design has nothing to do with religion.
The other possible answers aren't much better either: If you "don't know yet why there is imperfection A,B,C, but ID nevertheless is true, don't worry, trust me, because see here this minor fault in evolution..", you should should up and do more research (yeah right).
But I digress, everyone knows about the tediousness that is arguing with these guys.

Anyway, as I said before, the argument of the article is a nice quick no-brainer against ID to use for the public.

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 09:30:00 UTC | #219509

Quine's Avatar Comment 11 by Quine

Comment #231889 by J Mac:

I couldn't even read this article, was it any good? I read the first several lines, and while I think I agree with where it's going I could have no response other than "DUH, did this need to be written?"

I find it very well written. IMHO, yes, it needed to be written because it is accessible by people who have not studied all these separate areas that converge to make the case.

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 09:52:00 UTC | #219519

fizhburn's Avatar Comment 12 by fizhburn


You took the words out of my mouth.

If only there were some way to get the folk -- or rather, that segment of the population that is not active ID obfuscators but thinks ID is a viable alternative to evolution -- to actually read such articles. Readers at HuffPo are a self-selected sample. Maybe if we could get it featured on Little Green Footballs?

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 09:58:00 UTC | #219522

brian thomson's Avatar Comment 13 by brian thomson

A more prosaic example of unintelligent design: testicles. Wouldn't they be safer on the inside? Yes, but it just so happens that sperm production is higher at lower temperatures... so we've evolved to have them on the outside, where they're vulnerable to damage. Designed? Well, if that means that skateboarders and Jackass cast members have fewer children, well... that's Evolution, baby!

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 10:28:00 UTC | #219544

Ex~'s Avatar Comment 16 by Ex~

Well written.

Here's a story a fellow atheist told me, it's not my story, but I thought it was a good one:

"When I was in biology class, my teacher took a model of a spine out of his desk. He laid it across two chairs, and pounded on the top, showing us how it was sturdy as a rock, and barely moved. 'How amazing', said the teacher 'perfectly suited to bear the weight of a deer'. Then he took the spine, set it rightside up, and attempted to weight it down with a pile of books. The spine shook back and forth, wobbling frightfully, unable to bear the tension. 'Unfortunately', said the teacher 'this is a human spine.'"

No rational person should really need much more explanation. The spine was built for animals on all fours. That we still use the spine, and we don't have anything more suited for walking upright, is a testament not only to evolution, but a perfect witness against the stupidity of "intelligent design".

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 10:42:00 UTC | #219562

Michael P.'s Avatar Comment 15 by Michael P.

Spot on... and, as a Louisianian, I hang my head in shame.

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 10:42:00 UTC | #219561

InfuriatedSciTeacher's Avatar Comment 14 by InfuriatedSciTeacher

I find a definite need for this article to be written, although to most readers and posters here it falls into the "DUH, we knew that" category. Anything that makes common sense and the varied branches of science more accessible to the deluded masses is important enough to print. Remember, Jindal is a front-runner for the Republican VP candidacy.
As for further examples of poor design in humans... one would think the existence of the appendix, who's sole function appears to be to cause life threatening infection, would be a solid enough example for ID proponents. I'm sure the response to that would be something along the lines of "God works in mysterious ways", or a question as to how evolution explains its presence.

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 10:42:00 UTC | #219559

fsm1965's Avatar Comment 17 by fsm1965

Well written, as is the book Kluge.

The book explains in more depth how the body and mind, whilst looking "intelligently designed", most certainly are not.

They appear "thrown together" by an amateur engineer. Exactly what would happen if evolution (with no foresight) would end up with, not the best, but a workable solution to the problems faced by the organism.

One of the examples is of the failure of the mind to be rational: e.g suppose you want a cold beer and were asked what it would be worth if it were fetched from a shop or from someone's house. Rationally the answer should be the same, but the mind would value them differently...

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 12:18:00 UTC | #219601

Johnny O's Avatar Comment 18 by Johnny O

Nice article, but how can they possibly know this...

6% of all skydiving fatalities, for instance, are from divers that forgot to pull their ripcords


Sun, 17 Aug 2008 13:02:00 UTC | #219616

Duff's Avatar Comment 19 by Duff

I thought the same thing. But, I suppose, there have been a fair number of the "soon to be dead" divers who were observed by other divers, or people on the ground, who having watched this "operation" as it proceeded, were struck by the "fact" that the divers seemed to have forgotten to pull. Maybe most of them pulled, but it was too late. Who knows?

Did we get off topic???

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 13:09:00 UTC | #219618

Jesus86's Avatar Comment 20 by Jesus86

A study published earlier this month showed that people's moral judgments are more severe when made in a disgusting, soiled pizza-box filled office than when in an office that is neat as a pin.

This isn't surprising. Context matters. When your social environment is going to hell in a handbasket, you take more severe steps to halt the process. Only a Platonic or Kantian purist would say that moral rules are some crystaline structure that can be known by pure abstract reason, that is impervious to context.

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 13:21:00 UTC | #219623

kkelly's Avatar Comment 21 by kkelly

20, I probably would also find it unsurprising if it was the opposite; that when lax moral standards are the norm you're more understanding and accepting of violations.

In this case, I think it was visceral disgust evoked by the dirty food refuse that was misappropriated to fuel harsher moral judgements.

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 13:33:00 UTC | #219627

Jesus86's Avatar Comment 22 by Jesus86

21, Thanks for offering an opportunity to elaborate. If the context is perceived as hopeless, you have a point. People in a hopeless social environment tend to give up -- and not only stop punishing violators of the code, but even become violators themselves. Clearly the messy office environment did not evoke this level of hopelessness.

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 13:45:00 UTC | #219640

Pattern Seeker's Avatar Comment 23 by Pattern Seeker

If an ugly child throws an ice-filled snowballs, for instance, we judge that child to be delinquent, but when an especially attractive child does the same thing, we excuse him, saying he's just "having a bad day."

...and if an average-looking child throws an ice-filled snowball he's telling you to fuck off!

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 14:27:00 UTC | #219669

sundiver's Avatar Comment 24 by sundiver

Never understood why the creationists never counter-argue that this is proof that stuff built on the last day of the week has always been crappy...

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 15:06:00 UTC | #219693

Laurie Fraser's Avatar Comment 25 by Laurie Fraser

Jesus 86 -

People in a hopeless social environment tend to give up -- and not only stop punishing violators of the code, but even become violators themselves.

That pretty succinctly sums up the state of well-being in many Aboriginal communities in Australia. It's a telling point, one that affirms that moral absolutism is deeply flawed.

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 18:08:00 UTC | #219743

appaZ's Avatar Comment 27 by appaZ

The lunacy of the concept of ID is well documented. I have suggested to various backers of this deluded notion that, if the big guy in the clouds made us all to be just like him, then he is in bad shape. Also, if we are supposed to be so unique, made in his image as it were, then why are we so much like everything else. A puzzling, querky, roll your eyes around kind of glance is the best responce I have had to date.

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 18:16:00 UTC | #219745

Jesus86's Avatar Comment 26 by Jesus86


Q: If God is good and all-powerful, why is there evil in the world?
A: He's an under-achiever.
-Woody Allen


Australia is hardly unique. It happens all over the world. The famous Ik are another example. Hopelessness is a terrible thing.

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 18:16:00 UTC | #219744

Jesus86's Avatar Comment 28 by Jesus86

The lunacy of the concept of ID is well documented.

Let's not go overboard. The concept of ID is not flawed. It really is a valid criticism that the existence of "irreducibly complex" biological structures would refute of the theory of evolution by natural selection. It just happens to be a fact that no known example of an irreducibly complex biological structure exists.

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 18:33:00 UTC | #219750

kkelly's Avatar Comment 29 by kkelly

28, Have you learned NOTHING from the 'first cause' argument?

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 18:36:00 UTC | #219751

Jesus86's Avatar Comment 30 by Jesus86

29, Let's not confuse the "first cause" argument and the argument from design. ID is a challenge to the latter, not to the former.

Sun, 17 Aug 2008 18:40:00 UTC | #219753