Way back in the early days of this humble blog we posted Buffoon Award Winner — The Intelligent Designer. The design failures we mentioned were so obvious and unarguable, it never occurred to us that the Discovery Institute would ever attempt a rebuttal.
But that’s what we see today at the Discoveroids’ creationist blog: Is the Human Form Riddled with Bad Design? It was written by Jonathan Witt, a Discoveroid “senior fellow.” They say he has a Ph.D., with honors [huh?], in English and Literary Theory from the University of Kansas. We’ll give you some excerpts, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
He begins by quoting some hell-bound evolutionist who dares to criticize the designer’s handiwork:
“You have no idea how awful the human body is,” Matan Shelomi begins in a recent Medical Daily article. He goes on to argue that the human body is badly designed in many ways, and that this shows we’re the product of blind Darwinian trial-and-error evolution. “To say that humans were ‘intelligently designed’ by a ‘creator’ is to insult God,” Shelomi writes, “because our bodies show no intelligent design at all.”
Gasp — that’s blasphemy! Witt is furious. He says:
Wow, our bodies show no intelligent design at all? Even most atheist biologists grant that living things, including human beings, appear intelligently designed. Professional atheist Richard Dawkins, for instance, went so far as to define biology as the study of things in nature that have the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That’s quite a distortion of Dawkins’ statement. After that extreme example of quote-mining, Witt tells us:
But Shelomi sets aside the engineering marvels of the human genome along with countless other marvels of the human body that far outstrip our most advanced human technologies, and instead focuses on a handful of features he insists are badly designed. The glass for him, in other words, isn’t 99 percent full; it’s one percent empty.
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! Of course our bodies perform the functions required to keep us alive. Were it otherwise, then like 99% of the species of which we have knowledge, we wouldn’t be here — see Wikipedia’s article on Extinction. But if we were the product of an intelligent designer, rather than evolution, why should we have any defects? Witt offers various excuses for the design of our eyes. He quotes Shelomi again:
But our eyes go bad, and sometimes all too soon. “Then you have all of the eye problems like myopia, glaucoma, cataracts — why do our eyes fail so often?” Shelomi asks. “Who designed these faulty things? The answer can’t be a God, because a God so incompetent in designing vision sensors isn’t worth worshipping.”
This is Witt’s response:
Notice he is now doing theology: A God worth worshipping would have designed our eyes and the rest of our bodies so that they are free of defects and disease. This element of his argument, in other words, is a version of the problem-of-pain argument: A good and all-powerful creator wouldn’t allow pain and suffering in the world.
It’s a fair question — an important question. But if Shelomi is going to invoke a theological argument, he should engage the theological explanations, and for that matter, the sociological and historical record showing pretty clearly that, as Lord Acton famously put it, “Power tends to corrupt.”
It looks like Witt is dragging in the Problem of evil. Theologians have been struggling with that for millennia. We’ve never seen it used in a biological context before, so let’s give Witt credit for creativity. Then he says:
[T]hreaded throughout Shelomi’s essay is the assumption that any intelligent designer worth his salt would surely have given humans all sorts of additional powers or capacities found elsewhere in the animal kingdom (for example, the ultraviolet vision he notes that bees possess).
We raised the same questions. Other animals have better sensory equipment, the ability to replace teeth throughout their lives, the ability to regenerate lost limbs, immunity to cancer, etc. We have none of those features. This is Witt’s response:
But let’s pause and ask the question the mad scientists in all those science fiction movies never stop to ask: Is it really a good idea to loose a super-powered subspecies of human onto planet earth?
BWAHAHAHAHAHA! That’s his excuse? Yes. He expands on it in his final paragraph:
It’s easy to think of reasons why it would actually be pretty stupid to do so. Man already is arguably too effective a predator. Just ask the megafaunal species of the Quaternary extinction event — the wooly mammoths and giant sloths and such. Oh wait. You can’t. They’re all dead.
So there you are, dear reader. The intelligent designer, in his infinite wisdom, deliberately designed us with defects. The next time you have to replace your eye glasses with a more powerful version, or visit the dentist, or have trouble with your back, be sure to give thanks to the designer, whose transcendental genius is revealed in your defects.
Although we appreciate Witt’s efforts, we’ll stick with our conclusion from years ago — the Designer is a slob, an incompetent, and virtually an imbecile, who has fairly earned our Buffoon Award.
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