There has always been an absurd inconsistency about the intelligent designer who is ceaselessly promoted by the neo-theocrats at the Discovery Institute‘s creationist public relations and lobbying operation, the Center for Science and Culture (a/k/a the Discoveroids, a/k/a the cdesign proponentsists).
No, we’re not talking about the Discoveroids’ silly refusal to identify the designer as Yahweh. That’s just a legal game they’re playing, which doesn’t fool anyone. We’re referring to the quality of the biological work supposedly done by their unnamed magical designer — blessed be he! — who does so many wonderful things without leaving a bit of evidence as to his methods or even his existence. The designer’s miraculous works are usually claimed to be flawless, which is why the Discoveroids insist that there’s no such thing as junk DNA.
But every now and then, when it’s undeniable that a biological feature is flawed, the Discoveroids have a problem. We’ve always been aware of it, which is why we posted this almost three years ago: Buffoon Award Winner — The Intelligent Designer.
Unlike the openly religious creationists, who blame such embarrassments on the sin of Adam & Eve which has degraded God’s originally perfect creation, the Discoveroids have to admit that sometimes the designer’s work is less than perfect. That’s when they start inventing hastily-contrived excuses, as was done in Klinghoffer: Your Spine Is a Great Design
And that isn’t the only example. As we wrote last year (see Discovery Institute Tolerates Bad Design), Casey claims that poor design is still design. When he announced that principle, we asked:
[I]f poor design is nevertheless the handiwork of the great celestial designer — whose name dare not be spoken — then how, pray tell, does an ID “researcher” know when he’s looking at evidence of ID?
The answer to that question is obvious — they’re just blowing smoke — and to demonstrate that there’s a new Discoveroid blog article: Can Humans Improve on Nature? If So, What Does it Mean for Intelligent Design? It has no byline, which means the article speaks for the whole creationist outfit. Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us and their links omitted:
Biomimetics — the imitation of natural designs — is one of the hottest trends in science and engineering, illustrating the promise of intelligent design-based science. [BWAHAHAHAHAHA!] Evolutionists are trying a new comeback, though. Sure, they say, nature is inspiring; unquestionably, nature has some pretty good designs — but we can do better.
Man has always imitated and sometimes improved on nature — from the wearing of furs in winter to breeding better crops. Who knew that was “intelligent design-based science”?
Then (presumably this is evolution’s attempt at a comeback) they talk about and allegedly quote from an article in Caltech’s quarterly magazine, Engineering and Science which (according to the Discoveroids) says:
In the lab, Mory Gharib studies how zebrafish hearts develop. Why? “He likes to steal their tricks, one-up them by enhancing what Mother Nature has accomplished, and find new applications where the tricks could come in handy.” … “We can actually be more clever than nature,” Gharib says. “We can get inspired by nature and use engineering to come up with better functions. Just look at 747s — they fly from LAX to La Guardia much more efficiently than any bird could.”
That’s followed by a bit of Discoveroid sarcasm:
Mother Nature must be a pretty lousy designer if her offspring can show her up so easily.
Indeed. Then the Discoveroids attempt to disparage the work of the Caltech researchers regarding the zebrafish’s heart that “uses a simple yet elegant mechanism called an impedance pump,” after which they say:
Even if humans could improve on nature’s designs, would it diminish the explanatory power of intelligent design?
Yes, it most definitely would. William Paley’s pre-scientific watchmaker analogy has a certain appeal if one finds a marvelously constructed watch; but not if one finds a barely-functional, slapped-together piece of junk.
The Discoveroid paragraph continues:
Has Mother Nature done a sloppy job? ID theory does not require natural designs to be perfect. Even a poor design demonstrates purpose and design if it requires intelligent causes rather than undirected processes to account for its origin.
There they go again. Clearly, it’s now Discoveroid doctrine that the magical designer doesn’t have to produce perfection, or even impressively competent works. We already know that evolution isn’t perfect — its results need only be good enough to achieve survival. But surely the magical designer is better than mere evolution. If not, who needs it, and how could one ever detect its handiwork?
Here’s their final paragraph, and frankly, we just don’t get their point:
Now if they can create an impedance pump that builds itself from materials in its environment and copies itself flawlessly for thousands of generations without human intervention, or build a superhydrophobic carbon nanotube array that produces seeds that grow into beautiful works of art as well as functional systems, or design a 747 that lays eggs that hatch into new 747s, then they will really be something to talk about.
The first item was accomplished by evolution, and as for the others … it looks like evasive babble. We don’t know what they’re saying, but one thing is clear — it’s now Discoveroid doctrine that their intelligent designer doesn’t have to produce anything better than evolution does, which is pretty much an admission that their “theory” is not only unnecessary but also ridiculous.
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