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Wednesday, May 11, 2005

Univision's Challenge to Intelligent Design

I have been thinking lately about God, the universe, and Spanish-language television. 

This Explainer piece in Slate discussed the Intelligent Design movement.  The author writes:

Intelligent Design adherents believe only that the complexity of the natural world could not have occurred by chance. Some intelligent entity must have created the complexity, they reason, but that "designer" could in theory be anything or anyone. The design argument was first put forth in 1802, when William Paley proposed the "divine watchmaker" analogy: If we assume that a watch must have been fashioned by a watchmaker, then we should assume that an ordered universe must have been fashioned by a divine Creator. Many traditional Creationists have embraced this argument over the years, and most, if not all, modern advocates for Intelligent Design are Christians who believe that God is the designer.

This has me thinking, naturally, about Sabado Gigante.  (I will not explain the reference.  If you know, you know.  If you don't, you're just not watching enough Spanish-language television.)  I think Sabado Gigante may play an important role in settling the ID vs. evolution debate, although I think the arguments are fairly complicated and I'm not sure on which side they finally settle.  Is Sabado Gigante evidence of an irreducibly complex system with a designer?  Or is its profound disorder, its pure randomness, a standing refutation of any argument that ours is an ordered universe?  I am not sure.  But I am fairly certain that Sabado Gigante holds the key to this scientific and existential mystery.

Posted by Paul Horwitz on May 11, 2005 at 07:19 AM in Culture, Religion | Permalink


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I just wanted to be the first person to mention St. Augustine in the comments to this post. There. I'm happy. :-)

Posted by: Paul Gowder | May 11, 2005 6:18:47 PM

It's true. God may have wanted it that way. But one can win any argument about God by showing that inconsistencies must have been the will of God and are part of a plan that we cannot comprehend.

I recall a young earth advocate saying that the dating techniques of scientists are based on an assumption that physics laws were current all the time. Maybe God just changed them later. Why? Here's the killer answer: It's a Mystery.

But if God created man, then God is responsible for man's ability to think logically and spot these problems in arguments for the existence of an omniscient, omnipotent, omnipresent god. So it's God's own damned fault for my having doubts about God's nature, much less existence.

Posted by: Dennis J. Tuchler | May 11, 2005 5:59:54 PM


Although I don't really subscribe to the predominant judeo-christian theory of an infallible God, let me just note that from the "failures" you identify (species dying off and wisdom teeth), it does not necessarily follow that the creator is fallible. Maybe God wanted these species to fail and to put you through the misery of wisdom-tooth extraction? Perhaps as some kind of test of faith or character-building experience?

You may not buy that (and I'm not saying I do), but this is what a true believer would tell you. And said true believer would further tell you, if you are skeptical as to God's reasons for creating these failures, that we aren't capable of understanding God's reasoning; and if we were capable, then we would be God; which is heresy.

It is okay to say that you can't believe in this conception of God because it doesn't make sense that an infallible and perfect creator would want its creations to go extinct or to die in horrible natural disasters. This may be a sufficient basis for you (and me); but it is not an "if-then" proof of the non-existence of an infallible creator.

Posted by: amosanon1 | May 11, 2005 11:46:11 AM

One nice thing about "Intelligent Design" is that it lets one live with an imperfect god -- one who (which?) makes mistakes. After all, things didn't always work out. Species arose on this planet and then died off because somehow things didn't work out for them. Other species arose with many of the problems of the nearest preceding species. Think: Wisdom teeth, adenoids ...

So, if a god created all that's here, then that god is a fallible god. That's kind of comforting because it lets us live with a god and at the same time does not force us to explain all the apparent screw-ups that seem to have produced todays world.

Posted by: Dennis J. Tuchler | May 11, 2005 10:35:00 AM

Very, very amusing post.

Posted by: Gimble Zagnut | May 11, 2005 8:21:52 AM

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