Bad Design Is Still Design

A common response to the Intelligent Design movement by its vocal opponents is that the universe may appear to be designed but it seems that things could have been better designed.  They point to natural catastrophes, disease, and instances in biology of alleged imperfect design.  Of course, no one is doubting that things could definitely be better in this universe and the faith has solid answers for both the flaws in the universe and for the hope of ultimate transformation. Nevertheless a couple of things should be pointed out:

1. No one can reasonably claim that the universe and life does not appear designed.  Even some of the most militant atheists such as Richard Dawkins admits that the universe and life appear to be designed, but they do not think that it really is.  They believe that little Lego toysets can build themselves given enough time and material.

2. The opponents of ID who claim bad design as a rebuttal are generally two-faced.  These are often the same folks who wax eloquent about the beauties of pictures of the stars and galaxies taken by the Hubble Space Telescope, or praise the wonders of life-it's amazing diversity, order, and the fact that it is beautifully based in information found in the genes of all life forms.  They  stand back in awe at the order, symmetry, and organization of physical reality and it's amazing correspondence with mathematics.  And they've spent their lives in research and study because they are amazed by what they see out there in space and down here on earth and in here in us.  Yet when such opponents of ID hear a believer stand back in awe and say, "Ah!  Look what the Lord has done!" they have an apoplectic fit and gasp in elitist horror at such simple praise as they shout, "we didn't mean you to take all these pictures that seriously, He's not that good of a designer!"  One may praise Mother Nature, or evolution, or the universe, or life itself, and quite safely speak without drawing ire, but dare to mention God and prepare to be subjected to snarky sarcasm and spite.  Indeed the same folks who will point fingers and throw rocks back at you for praising God as the designer, will turn around and preach the wonders of raw evolution and it's powers of creating such diversity, (apparent) design, and beauty.   Such folks just don't get that you are not necessarily quibbling with or even questioning the details of astronomy or biology per se (indeed there are many diverse positions among Christians on creation), but just as you praise the author of a book and not the press operator who ran off the copies, we are stopping to stand in awe of the Author of the universe, the One who actually conceived the whole thing and brought it about.

3. Ultimately, the retort that the universe is badly designed fails because it is a non sequitur.  If something is badly designed it does not follow that it is not designed at all.  Of course, the truth is that the universe is a marvelously designed place with awe-inspiring order and life is incredibly complex, beautiful, and efficient, and the most amazing thing is that we have minds that can discover and understand this universe that we live in.

This all reminds me of what God told the atheist at the end of that well-worn joke: "Get your own dirt."  Exactly.

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