Saturday, December 30, 2006

Ineligant Design

My reasoning (to reduce guilt) is that locking our kids in the house by themselves when we go out to the movies or to work or... oh, wait.. "kids" means our two dogs and our cat. Ahem, let me begin again.

My reasoning (to reduce guilt) is that locking our PETS in the house alone during our outings only means that they sleep on the blanket down cellar (where it is probably warmest) while we are away, rather than sleeping under foot while we are home. So, really, there's not much difference. They're just going to sleep and bark at noises wherever we are (home or away).

REALLY, my guilt is that we leave the radio on for them while we are gone. Because I think that they would rather hear voices (and music) than static, I've tried to find a station that remains stable while we are away. There have been many times when I've left a nice clear station going only to come home to a now static-laced channel.

As it turns out, the best (most stable) station I've found is a very anti-science station (some people would call it a religious station).

I cringe hearing the non-scientific arguments against evolution and pseudo-scientific arguments for intelligent design. Part of me worries that SOMEHOW the animals understand and that it would be driving them insane like it would me if I had to listen to that drivel all day. But they cannot... right? To them it's just non-sensical human vocalizations (hmm, I mean that literally for THEM - I understand the words, but it's still nonsense to me).

Last night, or I should say, this morning when I wasn't able to sleep (I'm getting the pre-semester jitters), I was mulling over one of the "arguments" in support of intelligent design and it occurred to me that it was such a perfect example of non-scientific reasoning. BUT, if you've read this far and HATE my bias, then you may be thinking at this point something like, "Well science isn't the ONLY way to think about things!" I'd agree. (Although as "flawed" as scientific reasoning might be, what is BETTER? I haven't heard of it yet.)

Rather than argue, I'll make a comparison:

(1) The argument I overheard had to do with the "obvious" complexity of some things (like eyes) and how "random chance" (a straw-man attack against evolution in and of itself) couldn't possibly account for it. Therefore its appearance MUST have been guided by some intelligent force.

(2) When I was a kid, my father once made a wager with me (the details of which I've forgotten). He took out a coin and, in my eagerness to win a simple 50-50 toss, I agreed to his terms whilst the coin spun in the air, "Heads I win, tails you lose!" Guess who won/lost...

Now, I hope you see that (2) isn't really fair. Then how does (1) = (2)? Think about it. If I were to accept the ID argument that complexity supports the idea of an intelligent guiding force, then what about the simple stuff? Can I hold that up and say, "Here's an example of where no intelligence was guiding?" Doubtful. ID arguments MUST hold that BOTH simple AND complex are the result of intelligent design. Otherwise they begin down the slippery slope of finding the dividing line between what makes something "simple" (or truly random) and what makes something "complex" (non-random). Heads they are right, tails everyone else is wrong.

The reason this argument is non-scientific is because it cannot be articulated in a way that would allow it to be potentially falsified. That is, it is untestable because no matter what evidence you hold up, it must still support the ID bias.

Maybe I should spend that can't-sleep time either finding a new radio station (static MIGHT be preferable) or sitting down with the kids and trying to de-program them.