DIY Intelligent Design

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Intelligent Design is a theory that says our universe or planet or some part of nature is so complex or works so well, that it must have been designed by some powerful, intelligent being. Adherents to this theory find it hard to believe that the complexity all around us sprang up by accident or by random mutation or as a product of evolution.

A rebuttal to this theory might be known as the "Infinite Intelligent Designers" theory. The intelligent designer must be at least as complex as his creation, or else how could he have conceived of the complex thing? It is similarly unlikely that the complex intelligent designer sprang into being accidentally or randomly or spontaneously or without design, so this entity must have been designed by some prior intelligent designer. If that prior intelligent designer is at least as complex, then He must have been designed by some prior designer, et cetera, et cetera, ad infinitum.

If you believe complexity of humans or animals proves Intelligent Design, then it follows that there must have been Infinite Intelligent Designers.

After chuckling and dismissing both of those ideas, you may feel sad that no supreme being is guiding your destiny. You may have that vast emptiness in your soul that Christians tell you can only be filled by Jesus. I'd agree that some of us feel empty, and some of us try to fit square pegs into our round holes of emptiness, like drugs or money or collecting Precious Moments figurines or Civil War re-enacting. We hope to fill the emptiness, but sometimes the things we choose as filler aren't big enough.

Some people expand the filler all out of proportion until it plugs the hole. You could take a work of fiction that you really love, like the original Star Trek, and you can get yourself worked up enough that you're convinced it fills your emptiness. You watch it all your life, you talk about it with other fans, you write poems or songs or stories about it, you attend conventions regularly and dress up as your favorite character.

Do you know anyone like that? Do they take it too far? How do we judge when it's too far? If it keeps them happy and they are able to function in society, then it ain't nobody's business if they do. Would you tell them to shrink that filler to a more manageable level, let their emptiness yawn around the edges until it threatens to suck them in? I saw a documentary in which a fanatical civil war reenactor admitted that his wife left him because he put too much of his life into that. Right around there is where you want to draw the line, losing your job or family or friends because you only have time for next Saturday's muster at Bull Run.

Average people recognize the potential for obsession among these weirdos who dress up in costumes to pretend they're Lt. Uhura or General Hooker or a jester at a Renaissance festival. Or think about punks, mods, goths, headbangers, b-boys, ravers, straight-edge, bikers, skinheads. Eek! Talk about your obsessed and irrational people! You and I scoff at those people, and average Christians scoff at them too. We think, how can these people get so inspired by some piece of art, some work of fiction, and get so obsessed with it that they have to talk about it all the time, get together every week or month with other fans who are equally obsessed, dress up funny, and generally expand that silly fiction until it fills their empty lives? It takes all kinds, we say, and then we shake our heads.

Then the Christian catches us, puts on the big smile and asks if we feel empty. Because Lord knows, the only way to fill that emptiness is with Jesus. The only appropriate work of fiction to get obsessed about, think about constantly, dress up funny for and fill your empty life with is the myth of Jesus.

That's not intelligent design. That's desperately wishful thinking.

Okay, I'll be fair. As annoying as they may be, we have to give Christians as much leeway as the single-minded civil war wannabes. If you can function and keep yourself happy with your Star Trek filler or your Jesus filler, then that's good for you and it's your business.

Pushing your fiction at my front door, trying to mold society and government around your favorite fiction at the expense of others -- now it's my business. You can tell me that anti-bacterial handsoap ought to be banned by law from public restrooms because it causes rashes on some people, but don't tell me we have to do it because Jesus said so. We should change and improve society in ways that make sense. Not on the authority of Gene Roddenberry or Thor or Fat Albert or somebody's brother-in-law who speaks on behalf of God.

If there is no authority handing you a way of life or a system of morality or a purpose in life, who is going to fill that emptiness? I have a dose of Good News for you, and you don't have to have any faith in me or count on the authority of my BS in Creative Writing. This Good News makes sense in and of itself. Here goes:

To believe that one Intelligent Designer created everyone requires a leap of superstition. It also requires that you ignore the other intelligent designers standing in an infinitely long line, busily designing each other.

It doesn't take a leap of faith to see that humans are intelligent. We have the ability to reason and to design. There are a little over six billion of us at the moment. But each of us has the potential to apply our own intelligent design to our own life. We can accept the power and responsibility of making sense of our own lives, creating purpose for ourselves.

An infinite number of intelligent designers is so hard to wrap your head around, it's absurd. But six billion intelligent designers can happen.

Spread the word. Why theorize about Intelligent Design when you can Do-It-Yourself!

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