(What is BEAR?)
Our third installment comes in the form of a response to the contention that an intelligent designer is the best explanation for the life we see today.
ID person: "A designer is the best explanation, blah blah blah..."
Evolutionist type: "But if a designer did all this, then what about the poor design of the _____? Why did(n't) God the Designer do what any human engineer would have done, and ... the ... ?"
A few responses to this:
1) If naturalism is true, to precisely what standard, what teleology, do you compare this? There is no designer, therefore no design. There is no "good" design and therefore no "bad" design. If the designer had _____-ed the _____, who are you to dictate that that would definitely be better than the way it is now?
2) And so what if there exists some "appearance of design"? It's all in your imagination, because it WASN'T designed.
3) Maybe the designer tried really hard and managed to design life more or less as it is but couldn't get all the minutiæ down pat, like he wanted. Consider this the counterpart argument to the Flying Spaghetti Monster - no one believes it, but it's conceivable, a thought experiment.
4) Maybe the designer just didn't design it like you would have, bottom line. Why should anyone think that even your "new and improved" design would be preferable to the designer's? What was the designer trying to accomplish? You don't know, so how can you assume you know how to make the organism better?
It would reduce pain or discomfort, you say? It would help it run faster so it could escape predators? It would allow every member of the species to obtain and maintain a Swiss bank account in the millions of dollars? How do you know that's better? Why should anyone think your vision of the way the world should be is to be accepted by anyone else? You're into ToE, which posits death and genetic mistakes as two of the main driving forces of the mechanism, and you're all of a sudden into how awesome life is and better genes are?
5) In every design, there are trade-offs. My eyes can see a large cone of the 180º of sight available from the front of my head. Maybe my eyes could be moved further to the sides of my head, but then I'd lose out on focus and have to cross my eyes all the time.
Maybe I could have been made with wings, or gills, as John Loftus sorta-famously suggested. But then I'd have to have the musculature and different skeletal structure to support the wings, and different lungs to work with the gills. And those would be subject to different strains, sprains, and breakages. The different lungs would be subject to all sorts of other diseases, from parasites and different germs floating around in the water I'd breathed in. And then these skeptics would complain about THOSE, no doubt - there just can't be a designer b/c he forgot to make us immune to these diseases, these sprains, these bruises.
Would they ever stop complaining until they were made like God? No, and then they'd no doubt complain that they were still subordinate to God.
6) You think you're such a big hotshot and you could do it better? Do it.
Create one single-celled organism out of dust.
Then, before you break out the bubbly, get your own dust and do it again.
This anthropocentric hubris is sad and funny at the same time. These people claim to be so focused on the empirical and the reasonable, the observed, and here they are poking fun at God, acting like they could do better. How do they know they could do better? Sure, humanity has been able to make TVs that last for years. But many decades? Hard drives, which sometimes fail catastrophically right out of the box. Space shuttles and lunar craft and space robots, which have a fairly high failure rate as well. Obviously, humanity has invented and done many amazing things, but no one is perfect and no one has ever made anything that is perfect. And no human has ever created an organism! These armchair critics are apparently only interested in throwing rocks and mockery, but they've never even gotten close to this accomplishment, nor can they even bear to give credit where it is due.
7) In reality, God created the world good. What everyone always forgets is that after Genesis 1&2 comes Genesis 3 and the fall of man. Sin has a very powerful and deleterious effect on the entire world, and God's perfect design has become imperfect because of sin in the world. God will redeem the world and make it perfect again, but not yet. Skeptics conveniently and frequently forget Christianity's doctrine of the fall when it comes to these arguments.