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« The Abacha in Obasanjo | Main | Self Concept and its Problems »

November 22, 2005

Intelligent Design by an Insane God

by Ozodi Thomas Osuji, Ph.D. (Seatle, Washington) --- One has followed the attempt by some Christians to get American schools to teach what they call intelligent design. Apparently, these Christians do not like the implication of Charles Darwin’ (Origin of Species) doctrine that human beings, like other biological organisms, evolved gradually on planet earth, and that chance determined how they evolved.

Evolution (hypothesis) teaches that animals adapted to the exigencies of their environment and that as the environment changed, they mutated, changed along with it. Those animals that adapted to changes in their environment survive and those that did not, died out.
This hypothesis further holds that animals are in perpetual struggle for survival and that the strongest (fittest) among them survive and the weakest die off.
Economists tell us that food and other resources from which human beings obtain their sustenance are scarce and that those animals that can chase others out of where resources are found in abundance survive and those that are chased off (perhaps into reservations and Bantustans, deserts), die or survive marginally.
Evolution hypothesis suggests that human existence on earth is not from what was described in the Christian Scripture (Bible, Genesis).
Christians, one understands, believe that human beings did not merely evolve and adapt to their environment but were created by an intelligent and loving God. Furthermore, they do not seem to like the implication that follows if human beings were produced by random events. It would seem that if human beings were produced by accidental concatenation of events that they have no more worth than other things produced by chance events?
If Human beings were produced in the same manner as trees and animals, human beings are not more important than those organisms? We cut down trees and burn them; we kill animals and eat them, or just for the sport of it. We do not feel guilty or remorseful from doing these things.
If human beings are just like trees and animals and are the product of chance adaptation to the ecology, it logically follows that they have no more value than trees and animals. Shoot and kill them for the sport of it and do not feel guilty or remorseful.
Apparently, Christians fear that if you reduce human beings to the same level as trees and animals, you devalue them and make it possible to hunt them, as game hunters hunt animals, and take pleasure in killing them.
(When you come to think of it, animal and plant cells are just about the same, except that plant cells have vacuole and can make chlorophyll from light energy, from photons, through a process called photosynthesis).
If evolution hypothesis is accepted, it would seem that human worth is a fiction and there is no reason why a fascist like Hitler should not kill off any group he considers unintelligent (such as blacks, Jews, and Slavs). The powerful has a right to kill or use as slaves the perceived weak.
In America, racists like David Duke consider black persons unintelligent and only fit for slavery and set out to either kill or convert them to slaves.
If the Universe is an amoral place, those groups slated for death and or slavery can refuse to die or be enslaved and fight back and either kill or enslave those out to kill or enslave them. In a random, amoral universe, just as Hitler had a right to wish others death, others had a right to wish him death. In such a world, as Thomas Hobbes (Leviathan) would say, people would live in a perpetual state of war and human life would be “nasty, brutish and short”.

Looking at the complexity of the human body, it is difficult to accept that it was a product of random evolution. What comes to mind is that some intelligent force could have put in time and effort to design this complex machine?
Having conceded that the human body was probably designed by an intelligent force, pure reason leads one to ask: why did he do it?
This very complex machine is going to die and rot. Why take the time to design this complicated machine if only it is going to die, decompose and return to the elements, atoms and particles of matter from which it was made?
We are born and must die. Give or take, a hundred years, and the human being dies and his body returns to carbon, calcium, oxygen, potassium, sodium, magnesium and the other elements from which it was made. Why would an intelligent force take the trouble to design such a complex machine that would die and smell to high heaven?
(Have you seen a decomposing human body? It smells worse than garbage. The body that you value so much is no different from feces when it is dead. If you want to retain the illusion that your body is valuable, please stir clear of battlefronts with dead and decomposing bodies.)
The human body is subject to attack by virus, bacteria, fungus and other microorganisms. The human body has a built in biological defense mechanism that constantly fights and destroys the microorganisms that are trying to make a meal of it. (Human thinking, aka mind, also has built-in psychological defense mechanisms with which it fights off threats to its worth. For example, people fight off the threat to the value of their bodies’ worth by denying that they shall die and rot like garbage. Every where, human beings deny death, but die they must.)
Ultimately, microorganisms wear down the human body. Why would an intelligent and caring force design a body and bid other organisms to constantly attack it and have it defend itself (through its immunity system)?

Natural forces like earthquakes, volcanoes, hurricanes, tsunamis, floods, tornadoes, draughts, and famine destroy human beings, as they destroy trees and animals. This year alone, thousands of human beings have died from tsunami in East Asia, from earthquake in Pakistan and from hurricanes in the United States of America. Each year, at least, a million human beings die from the above mentioned natural forces.
If a loving and kind God created human beings, why would he permit his creation to be destroyed by these natural forces?
One assumes that that creative force also created the natural forces that destroy human beings and, as such, had the capability of designing them in such a manner that they did not destroy his supposed pride of creation, his idol, human beings.
It would seem that if there is an intelligent force that designed human beings that he is, in fact, a sadistic one. A God that took the time to create complex biological organisms and then bid them fight with each other must be the quintessence of an evil force!
Just think of it. All animals survive on the back of other animals. To survive, human beings must eat vegetables, fruits and meat. That requirement entails their destroying trees and killing animals. Have you gone to an animal slaughter house, where chicken, cattle, pigs and other source of meat that grace your table are “packed”? It is not exactly a pretty sight. Expose a sensitive child to the killing of animals and give him nightmares; therefore, we hide that gruesome but inevitable business from the perception of our children.
Life on earth subsists on the death of other lives. A god that designed such a life system seems an evil god.
Have you seen a child die and seen what that death does to the mother of that child? I have seen a woman go into catatonia and clinical depression from the death of her beloved son. First, she went into catatonia and for two weeks was in a waxy, inflexible posture, not moving on the bed she was lying. Second, she became depressed and lost interest in the activities of daily living; she had no interest in food, grooming her body, work, play; she simply wanted to die. She was in that existentially depressed mood for the balance of her earthly life.
What kind of intelligent and loving God would do such dastardly thing to a Christian woman of the highest moral order? And hers is by no means a unique situation. Have you gone to battle fronts where human beings mow each other down? People are killed at war fronts as if they have no worth. Usually, after great battles, hundreds and sometimes thousands of dead bodies litter the battle field. Days latter, these bodies rot and smell worse than feces. A few weeks after a sustained battle, you have to cover your nose to deal with the stench from rotting bodies.
Ah, think of Hitler’s gas chambers and six million dead Jews. Think of Hitler’s prisoner of war camps and the millions of Slavic prisoners in them; he starved them to death, but not before they had been used to do hard labor for the Third Reich. What kind of intelligent and caring god permits these gruesome commonplaces in human existence?

One has read some of the theological and philosophical arguments in favor of God’s creation of the world. Consider Aristotle’s idea of an uncaused cause and Christian theologians (examples are Origin, St Augustine, Thomas Aquinas, Anselem, Erasmus etc) efforts to use such logical ideas to rationalize belief in God. If you have time to kill at airports, you could read these interesting materials. In the final analysis, however, they are not persuasive, for everywhere one looks, one sees evil.
What seems plausible is that if a god created this world of pain and suffering that he could be a sadistic, evil god? A Jewish clinical psychologist, Helen Schucman, in her book, A Course in Miracles, suggested that an insane part of God, the Son of God, invented this world. To her, the world is insane and was invented by an insane part of God.
One is, therefore, urging the proponents of intelligent design to consider the possibility that an intelligent but evil god designed this world? (Alternatively, could the real God and his real creation be in a different world: unified spirit state, the opposite of our separated, material world?)

PS: Evolution is not a theory; its contention has not been proven true; it is a useful hypothesis; it is probably better than the equally unproven but dogmatic hypothesis found in the Bible. Evolution hypothesis has not accounted for human intelligence. It is not convincing to say, as neuroscience and biological reductionism holds, that thinking, mind, is epiphenomenal.
Cartesian skepticism probably remains the best position in these contentious matters. We need further evidence before we can make up our minds.
Is this agnostic position a cop out? Okay, do what Kierkegaard suggested: make a leap of faith in favor of one of the contending hypotheses on the origin and nature of human beings. Faith, however, is not reason. As long as you know what you are doing, you are in good hands.

Ozodi Thomas Osuji
(206) 464-9004

November 19, 2005

Posted by Administrator at November 22, 2005 06:26 AM


Very Interesting.. since Creationism is to all intents and purposes faith-based, there should be an overt effort NOT to advance it as a scientific challenge to Evolution. If one were to calculate mathematically the probability of spontaneous abiogenesis, one might be tempted to view favorably the claims made by Creationists that there must have been an Intelligent Force or Being that set things in motion. Now, most faiths have a creation myth, and there is nothing that says that Creationists must necessarily be Christians. In my opinion, if Creationists advanced their beliefs, not as challenges to time-tested empirically verifiable hard science, but as "missing links" or perhaps as an "alternate view", I don't know why such should elicit the vexatious displeasure of rigid, empirically-bound science wonks.

Posted by: A at December 2, 2005 06:39 AM

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