Tuesday, 7 April 2009

Challenges to Intelligent Design

The proponents of Creationism and Intelligent Design are fond of issuing challenges to Evolution. So here are six questions for them.

Who designed human parasites such as the tape worm?
Nature includes many kinds of human parasite from bacteria to round worms. David Attenborough has refered to "... a little boy sitting on the banks of a river in west Africa who has a worm boring through his eyeball, turning him blind before he's five years old."

Many parasites, like that one, cause severe and debilitating diseases. Why would a merciful God do this to us?

And if God did not design them who did? (And why did God let them do it?)

Parasites are no surprise to evolutionists. Parasitism is just another way to make a living.

Why did God design bats?
Bats are flying mammals and, as flying creatures, rather less successful than birds. If God wanted a nocturnal flying creature what's wrong with owls? Why take a design optimised for life on the ground and modify it for flight?

Come to that why did he design dolphins, whales, penguins and ostriches? What does a ground dwelling biped need with wings?

Evolution easily explains these weird creatures. Evolution is a bodger not a designer. It is hugely ingenious but has no foresight at all.

Why did God design 350,000 species of beetle?
Clearly God LIKES beetles - perhaps they show his image - but why so many kinds? Really a few hundred would seem enough.

Evolution explains why each ecological niche can produce a separate species. Many niches lead to many species. Clear it is. Elegant it's not!

Why do fish that live in the dark have eyes?
There are many species of fish that live in caves and never see light. Most of these species have eyes. Poor eyes but nonetheless eyes. Why did God bother to give them eyes?

Another non-problem for evolution. They have eyes because their ancestors saw light. Evolution
often leaves loose ends.

Why did God take so long to produce humans if that was his real purpose?
The Earth is about 4, 500 million years old whilst humans only appeared within the last 100,000 or so (depending what you count as human). Of course no one would expect God to be impatient but why waste 150 million years on dinosaurs? Did he change his mind?

Evolution is a slow process and has no end in view. We may see humans as its greatest achievement but evolution doesn't care.

Why do unborn humans have tails, gill sacs and full body hair?
These traits are discussed in any decent medical textbook though they don't occur at the same time. Anyone who's seen a premature baby will have seen the body hair. Why bother to create structures that are then lost?

Evolutionists know that nature works with what it finds. It created humans from hairy apes. And if we trace our ancestry back far enough we find - surprise! - fish!

Intelligent design cannot answer these questions or thousands like them. Yet they are easy to understand as the result of evolution.