Ideology / Philosophy / Religion

Unintelligent Design – Another Note on Creationism

File:Fotothek df roe-neg 0006458 022 Formen eines Gefäßes mit Hilfe einer Töpferschei.jpg

Creationists like to be constructed. They don’t like having emerged. But what is wrong about having emerged[1]?

Would a really smart creator first create a sterile universe whose physical laws do not allow the automatic emergence of life and intelligence and then add life to it on top? He would then have to populate this sterile universe with species of organisms one by one and organize these into ecosystems “by hand” Would such an infertile universe not be a rather imperfect creation[2]? If we look at creation as an engineering problem, would it not be by far more elegant to create a set of physical laws rich enough to produce life and intelligence automatically? Many technological developments show a trend towards automation. The more advanced the technology, the more it works by itself.

So a creationist should, instead of believing in intelligent design, believe in a smart creator instead who would set up things and let them run by themselves. The old fashioned creationism, including its modernized “intelligent design” variety, is technologically simply not up to date. Taking a clump of clay and forming a human being from it – well, that is the way of thinking of early neolithic people.

Some time later, there was already some degree of automation.  A few examples: the potter throws the clay and moves his hands up, and the rotating movement of the wheel reproduces the shape automatically around the circle. The farmer does not carry one bucket of water after the other to his plants, he builds a trench. So in the later Neolithic period and early bronze age, automation had already started. By that time, creationism’s basic idea had started to become obsolete already. It is an idea that developed at a time when people had to make each item they used by hand and had to perform every process themselves.

Creationists tend to view the idea that human beings evolved from animals to be an insult to human dignity. But is it not much nobler to be an integral part of the universe instead of being a supplementary add-on pasted on top of an uncreative and, in that respect, rather uninteresting and limited physics? Is the idea of creationism not an ugly clutch, without any elegance?

Viewed from this angle, the debate about evolution versus intelligent design is really ridiculous. Theists and atheists should instead agree on evolution. The intelligent design idea is negating the intelligence of the creator; it is self-contradictory in that respect. A god hand-tinkering each species instead of letting all of them emerge from some simple set of laws would be stupid. Intelligent design would be unintelligent design. Creationism, it turns out, is a blasphemy.

(The picture is fromäßes_mit_Hilfe_einer_Töpferschei.jpg)


[1] This question has, of course psychological and political dimensions which are not in the focus of this post: The preference for “constructedness” may be viewed as an attitude of a dependent personality, of somebody who is afraid of standing on his or her own feet. In other words, it is an attitude of somebody with an authoritarian personality? It is certainly not a coincidence that creationism is coupled to conservatism and right wing political attitudes.

[2] In this post, I am adding a few thoughts on top of my last post about creationism. Some time ago, I have presented these ideas already in a different form.

3 thoughts on “Unintelligent Design – Another Note on Creationism

  1. Would a creator, mindful of happiness, construct thinking heat engines that required fuel which could only be embezzled from other thinking heat engines?

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