Wednesday, November 30, 2011

No, Virginia, Intelligent Design Isn't Dead

I recently received this query from a young girl:

Dear Recursivity:

Some bloggers, like Jason Rosenhouse and Jerry Coyne, have said that intelligent design is dead. Papa says, "If you read it on Recursivity, it's so." Please tell me the truth; is ID really dead?

(signed) Virginia O'Hanlon, 115 W. 95th St., New York

and here is my reply:

Virginia, those little bloggers are wrong. They have been affected by the skepticism of a skeptical age. They do not believe except what they see. They think that nothing can be which is not comprehensible by their little minds. All minds, Virginia, whether they be men's or children's, are little. In this great universe of ours man is a mere insect, an ant, in his intellect, as compared with the Christian god and his inordinate fondess for beetles.

Yes, Virginia, intelligent design still lives. It flourishes as certainly as fundamentalist and evangelical Christianity exist, and you know that they abound and give to your life its highest beauty and joy. Alas! how dreary would be the world if there were no creationists. It would be as dreary as if there were no Virginias! There would be no childlike faith then, and everyone would have to read biology textbooks and learn what the theory of evolution actually says. Bill Dembski and Michael Behe and Phil Johsnon would be out of jobs. We should have no enjoyment, except in sense and sight. The eternal light with which religion fills the world would be extinguished.

Not believe in an Intelligent Designer! You might as well not believe in fairies! You might get your papa to hire men to try to find traces of the Intelligent Designer, but even if they did not see Him, what would that prove? Nobody sees the Designer, but that is no sign that there is no Designer. The most real things in the world are those that neither children nor men can see, like David Berlinski's mathematical achievements or Denyse O'Leary's command of the English language. Did you ever see fairies dancing on the lawn? Of course not, but that's no proof that they are not there. Nobody can conceive or imagine all the wonders there are unseen and unseeable in the world.

You may tear apart the baby's rattle and see what makes the noise inside, but there is a veil covering the unseen world which not the strongest man, nor even the united strength of all the strongest men that ever lived, could tear apart. Only religion and intelligent design, not science, can push aside that curtain and view and picture the supernal beauty and glory beyond. Is it all real? Ah, Virginia, in all this world there is nothing else real and abiding, except maybe Howard Ahmanson's checkbook -- if you know what I mean.

No Intelligent Designer! Thank God! he lives, and he lives forever. A thousand years from now, Virginia, nay, ten times ten thousand years from now, we will continue to smear scientists and destroy public education. As long as there are credulous Christians and Muslims looking for something, anything, to prop up their faith, intelligent design will live. As long as there are Religious Right warriors like Bruce Chapman able to dole out the big bucks to third-rate law school graduates like Casey Luskin, intelligent design will live. As long as there are ignorant sociologists hoping to cash in like Steve Fuller, ID will live. As long as faux journalists like Denyse O'Leary need you to buy their books, ID will live.

Don't believe everything you read, Virgie baby. Intelligent design's still around.


Anonymous said...

::slow clap::

Unknown said...

You are really god oops I meant good!
Need to ad you to my blog list.


Grumpy Bob said...

It's alive and kicking in the UK unfortunately, where the old tired tactics honed in the USA are being rolled out by a triumvirate of evangelical christians via the Centre for Intelligent Design.

Spirula said...

Of course it isn't dead! Has she never heard of the ressurection! Zombie Designer always comes back looking for more brains.

And always find them.


Janet Nathan said...

One of the best pieces of writings I have read in a long time. Thank you. It's so good that I would think you could change the views of some of the believers in ID, but I have to remind myself that they have their agenda and/or they are blissfully ignorant and brainwashed.

Anonymous said...

Jeffrey, I am afraid of death. Are you? I doubt you are, so I am really sorry for you. Remember Voltaire and how he died. Allow me to give you a bit of advice. If I were you, I'd be extremely careful about saying in public things concerning world views and their implications. Simply because you might as well be wrong in at least some of those statements. Take care.

Jeffrey Shallit said...

Dear Anonymous Coward:

I have no idea what you're trying to say about Voltaire. Wikipedia says "The accounts of his deathbed have been numerous and varying, and it has not been possible to establish the details of what precisely occurred." If you have something to say, why not say it directly, instead of pussyfooting around.

I also have no idea what you're trying to say about worldviews, either. As for being wrong in public, it's happened before and it'll happen again.