Intelligently Designed Eyeball-Eating Amoebae

Advocates of intelligent design theory have a lot of problems. Yes, we’re talking about the neo-Luddite, 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).

What problems? The same ones that bedevil their creationist brethren — explaining pain, disease, a vast variety of physical disorders, and death. But biblical creationists who believe in a literal, word-for-word Genesis can always use original sin as an excuse to “explain” our physical problems. They’re not God’s fault, they’re ours. Our imperfections, our sloppy design, and our illnesses are all due to genetic degeneration caused by sin.

Alas, the intelligent design boys can’t fall back on that handy excuse, because an essential part of their con game is that their “theory” is science, not religion. They can’t blame sloppy design on Adam & Eve, or maybe the devil. They’re stuck with the claim that everything is the work of their intelligent designer — whose products they’re somehow able to detect because they exhibit complexity or something.

We’ve written a few times about this problem in ID theory. By its nature, the designer’s work should be perfect, or at least overwhelmingly excellent. It should certainly be better than “good enough for survival,” which is all we’d expect from mere evolution. But somehow the designer’s work falls way short of perfection, and the Discoveroids’ doubletalk to explain such defects is always laughable. Lately, of necessity, they’ve become tolerant of exceedingly sloppy design specifications.

Our last post on the subject was The New Theory of Improvident Design. Casey Luskin, our favorite creationist, was trying to explain why we have so much trouble with our backs — despite their intelligent design. As in all things, he wasn’t very persuasive. Anyway, that post links to several others on the subject of sloppy design, in case you’re interested.

That brings us to what we found today. In London’s Daily Mail we read: Millions of contact lens users are at risk of eye-devouring amoeba that can turn them blind. Charming headline, isn’t it? Here are some excerpts, with bold font added by us:

Contact lens wearers are at the mercy of a bug that is found in tap water and gnaws through the eyeballs causing blindness, scientists have warned.

With the Acanthamoeba parasite also found in dust, in the sea and in showers and swimming pools, millions of people are at risk worldwide, including Britain’s 3.7 million contact lens users.

See the problem? The old-time biblical creationists can preach that your eyeballs are being devoured by parasites because you’ve sinned. But the intelligent design “theorists” can’t do that. They’re pretending to be secular, and therefore sin isn’t part of their fantasy science. The intelligent designer — blessed be he! — created everything, and they can’t use the sin of Adam & Eve as an excuse. All they’ve got is the claim that the eyeball-eating amoeba is part of the grand intelligent design. That doesn’t leave them with much of a theory, does it? Well, they never had much to begin with, but eyeball-eating amoebae are inexcusable.

There’s more in the Daily Mail, mostly about keeping your contact lenses clean, and here’s a Wikipedia article on Acanthamoeba.

But we didn’t write this to creep you out if you wear contact lenses, or to discuss an interesting amoeba. The point here is to show that the intelligent designer — if he exists — has a lot of explaining to do. And so do those who sing his praises.

Copyright © 2012. The Sensuous Curmudgeon. All rights reserved.

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8 responses to “Intelligently Designed Eyeball-Eating Amoebae

  1. Ceteris Paribus

    The explanation is exceedingly simple:

    The designer, in his wisdom, created humans with the unique potential to exercise free will, which was not designed into any other creature.

    So the eyeball eating amoebas must have been intelligently co-designed to help encourage humans to exercise their capacity for free will by rejecting the use of contact lenses.

    res ipsa loquitur

  2. Ceteris Paribus

    And if you doubt that this is a sufficiently scientific answer, just compare it to the similar but obviously purely religion based argument: “I’m warning you, if you don’t stop wearing contact lenses you will go blind”

  3. I’m not so sure they never talk about “the fall”. I could swear I got something like that from this set of videos and discussion guides on their Faith + Evolution website. Here’s the section on a book, God and Evolution in which they really trash “theistic evolution” and explain why it’s all wrong. I watched it all a couple of weeks ago. The gist of this is that creationism is the way to go, theistic evolution is really just evolution and not godly.

    If you haven’t seen the site, enjoy ;-). I don’t recall you posting about this before, but then I don’t remember everything. By the way, I had a hard time finding this page on the F + E website. I can’t even recall how I got there this time, so bookmark this page if you want to come back.

  4. I agree that this is a conclusive, “smoking gun” refutation of intelligent design. So does Sir David Attenborough, btw, so we’re in good company. The organism he’s referring to in the quote below (from 2003) is the Loa loa parasitic worm. (Attenborough subsequently downgraded himself from atheist to agnostic in a 2005 BBC interview.)

    …when Creationists talk about God creating every individual species as a separate act, they always instance hummingbirds or orchids, sunflowers and beautiful things. But I tend to think instead of a parasitic worm that is boring through the eye of a boy sitting on the bank of a river in West Africa, [a worm] that’s going to make him blind. And [I ask them], ‘Are you telling me that the God you believe in, who you also say is an all-merciful God, who cares for each one of us individually, are you saying that God created this worm that can live in no other way than in an innocent child’s eyeball? Because that doesn’t seem to me to coincide with a God who’s full of mercy’.

  5. NeonNoodle mentions Attenborough’s parasitic worm. I remember that, and it’s probably what triggered my reaction to the eyeball-eating amoeba. But I think Attenborough was referring to God. The preachers have the “sin-cursed world” to blame for such things. Buy that or not, it’s an “explanation” that gets God off the hook. But the intelligent designer has no excuse.

  6. I’ve been working on a variation of Paley’s Watchmaker ‘proof’, and would appreciate any suggestions/crits on this work in progress.

    It goes something like this: Imagine you had grown up in the Arctic regions, isolated from knowledge of the rest of the world, and then travelled to the Amazon rainforest. In short order, you would be certain to encounter something you had never seen before: a large and symmetric spider’s web. Like Paley’s presumed innocent coming across a watch in a field, you would at once recognise the inherent complexity of the web: the regularity of the spacing and angles between the strands, the anchorage, etc. , though the purpose of it might escape you, at least at first. You might well ponder from whence this web arose, and presume it must have been carefully designed by a superior intelligence.

    And further imagine here that, while contemplating the great intelligence that must be possessed by the web’s designer, a passing fly becomes entangled in it, and a massive spider emerges from its hiding place nearby to devour the prey — and then go on to repair and restore the web.

    Would one then presume spiders to have a deep command of trigonometry and engineering in order to ‘design’ and build such artifacts? And if so, is this an accurate analogy of the fallacy at the heart of the Argument from Design?

    Discuss 🙂

  7. Megalonyx says: “you would at once recognise the inherent complexity of the web”

    That’s specified complexity, you dolt! Otherwise, I like it. I can imagine Rev Paley and his twin brother, both of whom go on exploratory journeys. Then they meet up and compare notes. I suspect the spider-god is the one that both assume is worthy of veneration. He’s been seen in action.

  8. The IDers have surreptitiously prayed themselves into a corner.

    The “complexity argument” doesn’t impress me at all, because good – or elegant – design is streamline. We are a good example of the result of layers and layers of improvements, tweaks, abandoned ideas, and vulnerable and experimental parts; in othe words, an evolved machine.

    Speaking of original sin, deceptive God, omnicient God, etc., Calvinism actually accounts for some of those sticky subjects. The doctrine is necessarily convoluted because it asserts that God has 2 plans, but only one is the Real Plan, and that may or may not be the one revealed to you (and which will save you) because everything is preordained, anyway. Thus, somehow God can be both omniscient and blameless, and man still the author of his own sin, even if inadvertent. Calvin was a right masochist, if you ask me. Uh-oh, another Biblical smokescreen: religious fervor masking self-contempt and deviant sexuality.