Searching for proof in intelligent design

Was the intelligent designer Vera Wang or P. Diddy? I argue it’s a rhetorical device.

This is in response to Tom Ashby’s Wednesday guest column “DNA evidence of an intelligent designer.” Ashby needs to go back and check his Kentucky Wesleyan and Discovery Institute brochures. He also needs to make sure he’s spouting the correct party line.

I hear some of those folks at the Discovery Institute are accepting common dissent these days. I’m not really sure which Insight magazine Ashby is using for his “evidence” of intelligent design because there are at least three magazines published under the title Insight magazine. One Insight magazine bills itself as a “current events magazine published by Washington Times;” a second Insight magazine is all about “entertainment” news; and a third calls itself a “weekly publication for high school and college-age kids, put out by the Seventh-day Adventist church.” Please, please don’t tell me Ashby is getting his science news from a teen magazine. 

Well, anyway. None of Ashby’s possible sources of scientific information are peer-reviewed science publications, i.e. have any scientific credibility. (Oh, and by the way, a Ph.D. in a scientific discipline and a lack of publications in scientific journals does not automatically make one a credible authority on the origins of life. Many highly educated people have very bad ideas; for example, Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber.) Bottom line, Ashby doesn’t have any evidence for “intelligent” design. Saying something “looks like” it has been designed is not evidence of design, scientific or otherwise. Michael Behe’s fondness for trotting out Cuvier’s ancient and discredited “correlation of parts” theory under the guise of “irreducible complexity” is not new or accurate science. “Looks like” is not provable or realistic.

It’s the equivalent of finding a basement flooded and then saying it “looks like” some intelligent force has flooded the basement.

Ashby claims that intelligent design does not believe God is the designer of all life. Well then, who, exactly, is Ashby’s designer? Is it Vera Wang? Or Ralph Lauren? No, no, let me guess … the designer for all of life has just got to be Puff Daddy, excuse me, I think he’s going by P. Diddy now. Maybe Ashby’s “designer” is simply a rhetorical device of the Discovery Institute?

I’ll have to think about that. Ashby’s last two sentences struck me as very interesting.

He says, “Once we accept the probable existence of a designer, we will have opened the door for unimaginable future scientific discoveries. For many, that day has arrived.” Just what are these “unimaginable future scientific discoveries” that you predict?

How is Ashby going to discover these “unimaginable future scientific discoveries” if Ashby can’t, well, imagine or prove them? And who are these people whom intelligent design has aided in “unimaginable future scientific discoveries?”

The last time I checked none of those intelligent design people were on the verge of announcing the cure for cancer. How is intelligent design really going to aid or improve science if, 1. it can’t prove anything and, 2. it doesn’t understand that science requires proof? I guess Ashby will have to go ask P. Diddy.

Jennifer A. Smith is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]