Priest Debunks Intelligent Design

The arguments aren't new but the credentials of the person making them are important. Groups like the Discovery Institute will often trot out a "former atheist turned Christian" to help them advance their waning cause, as if that lends weight to their side. Their problem is they are trying to make a scientific case for design over evolution, so what matters most is the science...which they have none to support their case. In the following article, former priest Francisco Ayala shows that not only does intelligent design not fit the mold of good science, it is also an insult to God because ID (if it were true) would mean that God is a hopeless incompetent in the field of engineering.
As an example of the unintelligent design of living organisms, Francisco Ayala points to the human birth canal, which is small enough to make childbirth difficult, and the human jaw, which often comes with crooked teeth or wisdom teeth which must be removed.

“Our jaw is not big enough for our teeth,” said Ayala, who gave up his collar for the classroom of the University of California at Irvine. “Any engineer who would design a jaw big enough for its teeth would be fired.”

Attributing this design to God would be accusing God of incompetence, he said in a lecture this week at Northwestern University's Alice Millar Chapel. Instead, the situation could be easily explained by natural selection.


Dwayne said...


You might also enjoy this radical take on faith , science and the politics of sectarianism.

Intelligent design/creationism is not only cherry-picked science, it is faulty theology as well. Startling as it may seem, by continually protesting that “blind” chance could only lead to “accidental evolution”, all denialist forms of creationism contradict the Bible's clear teachings that chance occurrence in the universe (randomness), is always under God's direct control!...Oops! More:


It's called: "Intelligent Design Rules Out God's Sovereignty Over Chance"

Codswallop said...

Please note: this guy is a former priest. The RC church recognizes evolution. ID/creationism is not taught by the church.

The skepTick said...

Thanks...organizations like the Discovery Institute who promote ID like to advertise their former atheists. The RC church has gone out of its way to say that ID is not welcome in their conferences. But I take your point...a better example would be to see a former IDist come out against ID. Still, ID's underpinnings are religious, despite transparent claims to the contrary.

mynym said...

Intelligent design/creationism is not only cherry-picked science, it is faulty theology as well.

The same could be said of Darwinism and puerile "panda's thumb" type arguments. With respect to "blind chance" I noted this in a recent comment on Uncommon Descent:

I’ve never understood why ID proponents try to enter into a dialectic with Darwinists based on chance.

What is chance? Is it a cause without and effect or an effect without a cause?

Ironically the notion of chance is a science/knowledge stopper, it is an assertion which stops the study of cause and effect. A scientific view rooted in the study of cause and effect would be that chance is an illusion brought about by an absence of knowledge. Even the examples that people use to argue for the creative power of “chance” combined with a process of filtering like natural selection can be surrounded by knowledge based on an actual scientific view. For instance, some use a coin toss to illustrate the concept of chance. Yet since chance is actually just an illusion brought about by the absence of knowledge it is easy to point out that if the trajectory of the coin, its mass, the force it was flipped with, etc., was all known then “chance” disappears as one advances toward a knowledge of how the coin will come to rest. Chance is ignorance, chance is nothing but a mental illusion caused by ignorance, yet it’s typical for proponents of Darwinism to argue as if it something which somehow “explains” all there is to know of knowledge itself. It seems to me that the correct reply to them is not to argue based on chance but to point out that chance is a mental illusion caused by ignorance with respect to cause and effect. But I could be wrong.

Cleanser said...

Every design goes through revisions. Think of software -- there's beta testing, then Version 1.0, then 1.1, then bugfixes, then a major re-release... when are People v6.7 going to be available?

A literal reading of the Old Testament makes God out to be a bit of a jealous immature whackjob. I doubt he'd have written himself that way.