25 January 2007

On Problems With ID Rhetoric

Note from the LuapHacim, 11/14/2012: The views expressed in this post do not necessarily reflect my current beliefs and convictions. Even if they do, I would almost certainly express them in different words today. Time changes people, and I am not exempt. Nonetheless, because of its historical value, I will not modify or remove this post. It tells you (and me) something important about where I've been. Read on at your own peril.

I'm not as rabidly opposed to -- or supportive of -- the Intelligent Design movement as some of my friends are. In fact, my interest in it has been mostly an academic one, because I'm fascinated with how the group has managed to re-brand creationism for a more post-modern society. I think the world was intelligently designed, but I don't think that can be proven by empirical means, and I don't think my making a fuss about it will change anyone's mind on the matter. Besides, molecular biology (the only field with anything like valid ID scientists in it) isn't my bag, so I can't evaluate their claims very well anyway.

What I can evaluate is the language that they use in support of their agenda, and, quite frankly, it amuses me. A lot. For instance, the infamous Bananas: An Atheist's Worst Nightmare video, starring former child star Kirk Cameron and the Australian founder of the Institute for Creation Research, Ken Ham. It does an excellent job of mocking itself, so I'm not going to say anything more about that.

I would, however, like to comment on this video that someone from my church sent me a link to, claiming that it was "as fantastic as the story it tells."

It's essentially a version -- in a painful form of doggerel -- of the old Watchmaker analogy. Since cells are complex, the argument goes, there must be something that made them complex. A few lines jumped out at me as especially interesting:

"cells of all shapes like blobs filled with fluff" -- Yes, this is how the writer, Dave Hawkins, describes living matter. I guess that's what happens when you're forced to rhyme with "stuff." He is, of course, setting up a strawman so he can later tell us that although it looks simple, it is actually irreduceably complex.

"The marvels we see with a microscope's stare / make a watch look so simple, we dare not compare!" -- The writer correctly observes that these two classes of things (watches and cells) are incomparable ... but then he goes on to ignore this fact: "A cell and its wonders amaze all who see, / And a cell, like a watch, by chance cannot be!" He's glossing over the most important objection to his argument: a cell is not a watch. A cell is a biological entity, and it thus will behave in a way that is quite different from a manmade object like a watch.

One more poke before I let the horse die: "He's the masterful 'watchmaker,' Lord over all!" There was a time when Bible-believing Christians had very significant reasons for avoiding the "watchmaker" epithet for God. They left that for heathens like Ben Franklin. :-)

What am I trying to prove? Nothing. I'm just amused.

No comments: