August 21, 2017

Evolution vs. Intelligent Design

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Whether out of boredom, pure cussedness, or faulty genetics, a goodly number of our Doodlebug Island residents allowed themselves to get caught up in the controversy currently entertaining the rest of America–namely evolution vs intelligent design. The furor has died down, and evolution has been restored to its former position as the single best theory available, but not before much wrangling, vituperation and near bloodshed; and strangely, not with the slightest involvement of the theory’s advocates.

No, the dust-up appeared to be the work of that small percentage of our population given to the notion the universe cannot operate or even survive without being properly labeled and attributed. Visions of a Creator in dire need of what might simply be perceived as meddling helped them overcome the more becoming rectitude of simple, personal belief to raise a holy war whose single purpose was to invest science with an enlightened view of creation.

But, no sooner had this small army of warriors launched the attack to demonstrate the planning and mindfulness they thought inherent in creation than it was itself attacked by an even larger group, satirists who suggested that if the I.D. people saw themselves as examples of such design, they had lost their cause on prima facie evidence. They quickly adopted the letters L.O.I.D. (Lack of Intelligent Design) as an acronym and had membership cards printed which featured those letters embossed over the printed picture of a fish suspended on a stringer.

Taken by surprise, the I.D. folks made a tactical error. They turned their attention away from evolutionary teachings to this new enemy; they had their own cards printed, and upped the ante by importing speakers from a number of scientific disciplines who espoused their cause. The latter pointed out how uniquely the earth is positioned in space in order to establish climate and temperature; and how those many conditions and circumstances are met as to allow life to flourish. Genesis, they stated, was the most rational explanation of the intelligence that had to be present. “At least they argued that this possibility deserves to be considered, if only as a companion theory to evolution. After all, the latter announces itself as a theory, not established fact. We are aware that mutations occur,” they continued, “that viruses and germs change to deal with new conditions, that genetic engineering is possible. We merely wish for recognition and acknowledgment of the intelligence necessary for the implementation of creation.”

“Show us the intelligence inherent in a food chain,” countered the LOIDs. “If life could subsist on something other than itself, you might have a point. But it can’t. Life, on any level, appears to be the attempt to avoid predation while acting predatorily. Show us the intelligence in the corrupting influence of power whether it’s governmental, social or political. Where is the intelligence in starting or waging wars, discrimination against women and minorities, the perpetuation of classes, and the tolerance of poverty? You argue that Genesis is the most rational explanation of creation. That isn’t possible to know, but intelligence appears to play little part in the aftermath of that sort of creation.”

Unprepared for an attack that brought the very nature of intelligence into question, the I.D.’s tried to shift the discussion back to familiar ground. “The degeneracy of mankind doesn’t gainsay the wisdom of creation,” they countered. “We reject the idea that mere accident can be credited with life on earth. Obviously, we are not in a position to judge either the wisdom of the creation of which we are all a part or the aftermath of that creation. We can only honor the intelligence behind it all and learn to respect the design whether we understand it or not.”

It was a weak argument and they knew it–more of a protest than an appeal to reason. But they’d been used to questioning evolutionists regarding how species, while they might evolve over time, can morph into different species? Now, finding themselves on the defensive, they had only the appeal to emotion, and they themselves knew it was specious.

None on either side changed his or her mind, which, given the obtuse nature of mankind, isn’t surprising. In the end, each side wore itself out, though feelings have not entirely subsided. School instructors continue to teach evolution although with a little more sensitivity. Church attendance remains about the same. Surprisingly, both camps felt only sadness, one because it lost, the other because it won.

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