This post, a follow-up to yesterday’s, originally ran 4 August 2016.
What I mean by intelligent design (which is perhaps not what you mean by it) is that All There Is, along with the Way Things Are, which describes the means by which All There Is changes, had to come about by something, and that this Something could not have been Nothing. Nothing is the complete absence of anything. By anything I mean any thing you can think of, or even thought itself, or any thing anybody could possibly think of. Why there is Something, and not Nothing, can only be because of intelligent design, which is to say, because of a purposeful act, the creation of a being of infinite power and intelligence, which is say, by God’s design.
This is the ancient and only satisfactory philosophical answer to the question “Why is there Something rather than Nothing?” The proper answer is always “Because God.” False answers have been many, and in our decadent era “Because Science” is accepted, but this is silly. Science cannot explain any of its precepts; Science only works with what already exists, either material or mathematical, and says what happens downstream. On where the material and mathematics came from, Science is mute or a fool.
Science will say, “Things are, and things are the way they are, because randomness”. But there is no such thing as randomness: it does not exist, and never did exist. And anyway, even if per impossible randomness existed, it has to work on something. Randomness could not have created itself. Or Science will say, “Thing are, and things are the way they are, because of these particular things and ways”, such as vacuums and “eternal inflation”. This proves Science has a short memory and is prone to fallacy, because, of course, the vacuum and inflation cannot explain themselves.
Many are keen to disparage intelligent design, and of course there are many versions of this term, some of which may lend themselves to disparagement, but the reason for the tendency is plain enough. Detractors think that by disproving intelligent design, which is trivially true, they will have won a victory for Science and against God. The old story of the fallacy from desire.
Well, here we are. We men, I mean. And we had to have got here somehow. God, being responsible for creation, had to have known we would show up. Meaning our appearance is not an accident: we must have been planned. Further, we’re different than any other creature in existence. We’re made of blood and bone, which is similar to other material things, but we possess a rational soul, which is not. That rational soul gives us free will (disagreeing with this is agreeing), which makes how we interact with the rest of creation different than how anything else interacts with it.
Now All There Is undergoes constant change guided by the Way Things Are, the latter being just as much a part of designed creation as All There Is. Somehow the Way Things Are brought about the life we see about us out of All There Is, and it even brought those parts of us that are material. Our non-material natures, our rational souls, cannot have been subject to physical forces, for the obvious tautological reason. Therefore our rational souls could not have came about—evolved, if you will—in the same way slime molds came about. Once again, it follows trivially that our rational souls must have been intelligently designed.
What about the rest of (if you will) creation? That must have been designed, too, in the following analogical sense (if I’m going to be misquoted, it’s going to be here).
You’re asked to design a carnival game for kids, a sort of junior wooden pachinko device. Ball goes in at the top, rolls down a board hitting posts along the way, bouncing to and fro, finally coming to rest in one of four slots at the bottom, A, B, C, and D, which, although it’s not part of the analogy, correspond to certain prizes.
Before the ball is dropped nobody really knows which of the slots will have the ball. All sorts of things will cause the ball to land where it does, from the friction of the ball, board, and posts, the bounciness of and wear on the ball itself, the humidity and temperature of the air, even the gravitational field; and many more things comprising the Way Things Are operating on All There Is (the machine and its environment).
Nobody can track all these causes, yet they must be there, because otherwise how would the ball get where it’s going? One thing is clear, the ball can only land A, B, C or D. It cannot land E nor F nor any other letter because these slots do not exist by design.
Evolution is just like that. However changes occur to an organism, whatever mechanism causes genes to shift, the eventual organism must “land” in, and be caused to land in, some slot, or biological niche if you like. Viable organisms are like the slots of the pachinko game, and non-viable ones—the beasts that cannot live because their genes will not produce a living being in a particular environment—are like the slots that aren’t there.
No scientist knows, and more importantly no scientist can know, that the slots we see weren’t designed, weren’t planned for. And the same is true for the slots we don’t see. The reason is simple: whether the slots were designed is not a scientific question, but a philosophical one. Science can tell us what we’ll see given a set of rules (the Way Things Are), but science, as we learned, must be mute on the big question: why these rules?
Therefore, intelligent design is trivially true.