Imagine the most beautiful person you have ever seen, whether it is your significant other, best friend, family member or someone you have only seen in magazines. Picture their face, look at their eyes and notice how the color seems to radiate out from the perfectly round pupils, getting steadily lighter, forming two more perfect circles.
Observe how these sit contrasting beautifully with their white backgrounds and framed magnificently by dark eyelashes, as somebody has designed them. Is it possible that their beauty was just happenstance? Is it not possible that they were not the work of some brilliant designer’s skilled hands?
Intelligent design, a new theory on the origins of life, has begun making waves in the scientific community as a theory to be taught alongside evolution. Intelligent design explains that some of the complexities of life can be described as the work of an “intelligent designer.”
Think of it as explaining the origins of the Sistine Chapel, which could not possibly have been made naturally through evolutionary processes, but rather shows the marks of having been created by an intelligent being, and apply that to the world. Many say intelligent design does not belong in school systems, either because it isn’t science, or because they claim it to be religion trying to sneak in through the backdoor.
Evolution, the long prevailing theory from Charles Darwin on our origins, states that our creation was serendipity on a cellular level, through random mutations of genes. This is the theory being taught in our classrooms, this is how children learn where we come from. Also, this widely-trusted theory has holes, from the now famously discredited 19th-century drawings by Ernst Haeckel that appeared in many textbooks and showed similar embryonic growth among several vertebrate species, to the fossil record that shows jumps from species to species, rather than gradual evolution. Intelligent design fills these holes, so it is logical to teach it with evolution.
The two main arguments in the arsenal of intelligent design proponents are “irreducible complexity,” termed by Dr. Michael Behe, professor at Lehigh University, and “specified complexity,” termed by Dr. William Dembski, associate research professor at Baylor University.
Irreducible complexity refers to systems in biology that are too complex to have randomly evolved into functioning structures. The flagellum of bacteria contains dozens of proteins that it needs to function, and if one protein is removed, it falls apart. How could a system as this evolve gradually if one missing protein means it doesn’t work?
Specified complexity refers to natural processes that are so specific that they are unlikely to repeat based on chance, and it demonstrates an intelligent pattern. Any sentence in Morse code is a specific set of tones that randomly would be near impossible to duplicate, as would the biological patterns fitting into specified complexity. Both of these types of complexity reveal the truth; there must be an intelligent designer.
Intelligent design is not to be confused with creationism, which takes the book of Genesis as the literal explanation of our origins. Intelligent design also acknowledges that the Earth is really much older than the bible suggests and also accepts some change in species.
It also does not identify the “intelligent designer” as the Christian God, but leaves the identity ambiguous, suggesting that is could be a god, or possibly an alien life-form. Intelligent design is not a religious theory; it is based in scientific observations.
Children grow up learning evolution as an absolute and never hear the holes in the theory. They believe without a doubt that evolution is the only logical, correct explanation for how our world came to be. Unlike intelligent design, evolution can’t explain the complexity of life and lacks any logical reason for the appearance of design in nature.
Intelligent design needs to be taught in schools, for evolution just isn’t enough anymore.
Ashley Helaudais can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.