We have a new post by Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist of all 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).
Casey is the only Discoveroid who isn’t a “fellow,” so a couple of years ago your Curmudgeon compassionately remedied that cruel insult (see: Casey Luskin Is Named a Curmudgeon Fellow). His latest post at the Discoveroids’ blog is Thank Darwin for Dysteleology! Evolution Can’t Lose.
Casey’s post is a continuation of an old theme, namely that intelligent design doesn’t need to be all that intelligent or well-designed. The last time we posted about it was The Designer Can Be Sloppy, and that links to some earlier posts on the same topic. As we said then:
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.
And as we always say whenever they make an excuse for the magic designer’s less-than-perfect handiwork:
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? If 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?
Another interesting aspect of this “sloppy design” loophole is that it flatly contradicts an earlier Discoveroid dogma — the designer’s miraculous works have been claimed to be flawless, which is why the Discoveroids insist that there’s no such thing as junk DNA. The last time we wrote about that was Junk DNA Dismay, and that links to our earlier posts on the subject.
But the Discoveroids desperately need the “sloppy design” doctrine. It serves the same purpose as the “sin cursed world” of the young-Earth creationists, upon which the YECs rely to justify anything that doesn’t fit into a providentially-created universe.
Anyway, let’s turn to the new Discoveroid blog article. Casey says, with bold font added by us and some of his links omitted:
A short article in Science, The Burdens of Being a Biped, argues for evolution based on considerations of dysteleology. It claims that “A brief tour of the body reveals a number of design flaws.” The problem, the article says, is that humans are built upon a quadrupedal body plan that wasn’t “designed” to walk upright. This supposedly explains why we commonly suffer from back and other problems related to our bipedal locomotion.
Sounds reasonable. Everyone knows our bodies are far from perfect. Were it otherwise, most physicians would be out of business, and there would be no need for dentists. Let’s read on:
So when natural selection fine-tunes a structure, that’s evidence for evolution. But when “imperfect evolution” has “left us with vertebrae that break more easily, weaker bones, and feet prone to heel spurs and sprained ankles,” that’s also evidence of evolution. Dysteleology is great: evolution can’t lose!
Uh huh. We all talk like that. Actually, we don’t. Functional biological structures aren’t “fine tuned.” They’ve been tested in the arena of nature to be sufficient for survival, and thus to primitive observers they may seem fine tuned, but the reality is that they’re adequate, nothing more. And their adequacy is limited to a narrow range of conditions. Don’t believe it? Then just test them — any of them — with heat or pressure, or any other factor that exceeds their evolved capabilities and watch what happens. It isn’t pretty. Okay, let’s continue:
There’s no question that we all face the prospect of bodily ailments we wish we could avoid. But Science has succumbed to the fallacy of arguing for evolution by citing undesirable design. In fact, undesirable features of our anatomy and physiology are no more a proof of evolution than they are a disproof of intelligent design.
Wrong, Casey. Sloppy design of any degree is consistent with evolution, but it most definitely contradicts the concept of an intelligent designer. Here’s more:
Of course it’s possible too that humans suffer from unique ailments having nothing to do with evolution. Maybe our unique problems stem from the fact that we’re one of the only fully bipedal mammals — by far the largest one, at that. In other words, we’re a unique species, so it’s not surprising we suffer ailments “that no other animal does.”
Huh? Surely the celestial designer — blessed be he! — would have taken special care in crafting our unique species. Or if one is more scripturally inclined, in making us “in His image.” The literal Genesis folks can always use original sin as an excuse for physical flaws. The Discoveroids have no excuse, except their growing acceptance of exceedingly tolerant design specifications. Moving along:
There may be an additional explanation for why humans have so many back problems — and it too has nothing to do with evolution. It may, however, have something to do with error or incompetence — that is, on the part of the design’s user, rather than the designer.
Ah yes. There’s nothing wrong with the design, but we don’t know how to use it. Great excuse! But it won’t work. We expect our man-made products, if they’re well-designed, to work perfectly — right out of the box. And they do, or we demand our money back. Surely the intelligent designer should be sufficiently competent to meet those reasonable expectations.
After purporting to quote from the Science article about how our bones are less brittle when we get proper exercise, Casey concludes with this:
So, our bodies work best when they get lots of exercise — but that’s exactly what we lazy folks in the Western world aren’t getting enough of. If our bodies were “designed” to get more exercise, maybe the cause of many ailments isn’t “design flaw,” but user-error. Seems like when used properly, our bodies aren’t so poorly designed after all.
Sorry, Casey. Nice try, but that still doesn’t do the job. Some of the most damaged spines and knees and ankles are those of professional athletes, and they were very well exercised at the time of their injuries. The young-Earth creationists have a better excuse — it’s all Adam & Eve’s fault. But if you Discoveroids want to tout your new theory of improvident design, that’s okay with us.
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