Tag Archives: Design Argument

“Dysteleology”: Bad Design or Argumentum Ad Absurdum?

Mehran Banaei

We live on a wonderful self-sufficient planet filled with endless beauty and bewildering complexity, complexity in interconnectivity of all elements involved in a life-sustaining system, complexity in structural design of each organism. The efficiency of nature`s superb design has been the focus of cutting-edge research and development in technology. Researchers look into nature for inspiration to come up with innovative hi-tech designs to be nature-like in conserving energy, cutting waste materials and to increase productivity. In fact, the entire universe is so intelligently designed that makes a humble person to spontaneously bow down to the Mastermind and the Power who put the universe together. Consider the complexity of single cell which develops to a fully functioning human body with hi-tech apparatus like eyes, heart, mind, etc. Can complexity, order, harmony and beauty arise from chance? Or, indeed it ought to be intelligently designed. Human experience firmly attests that systematic order cannot be caused by chance.

Yet, to deny the reality of a Caused universe, many atheists not only do not feel humble enough to acknowledge the beauty and intelligence behind the creation, they try so hard to find flaws in the system. They nag like a spoiled nit-picking child making excuses to have it his or her way; they stretch their imagination to find “defects” in this magnificent life-sustaining system. From their perspective the entire universe far from being impressive is ill-designed with no thought behind it, in particular when it comes to human anatomy. They have coined the term “dysteleology”, meaning living organisms have many weak features that make them suboptimal. Therefore, life cannot be a product of an Intelligent Designer.

The most common example cited is the pharynx, a single passage shared for three essential functions—the respiratory, digestive and communicative. To atheists no competent engineer would design such a “poor” system that could possibly make one to choke while simultaneously eating, talking and breathing through one single pipe.

Another example is our private part which concurrently used as the means to discharge bodily waste, as well as for sexual gratification and reproduction. To atheists we have “an entertainment complex built in the middle of a sewage system”. How awful!

Additional example given is that of our teeth, which is said to be “too many” for our jaws to accommodate, asserted that is why some people have crooked teeth. Or birth canal is too narrow to allow a safe passage for a newborn’s birth, endangering the life of the mother and her baby. These are all examples of presumed incompetence and dysfunctional design of the human anatomy. From these premises it is concluded the entire universe is uncaused.

Let’s assume they have a point. Are we now expected to overlook the marvel of DNA Double Helix structure comprised of chemical bases arranged in approximately 3 billion precise sequences, or the astonishing complexity of the human brain with 1.1 trillion cells and 100 billion neurons capable of conducting countless calculations, and adopt atheism? All because we use the same organ to have intercourse and urinate. Is this supposed to be an argument? Does the assertion made fall anywhere in the realm of science?

It seems that ironically, these examples are sufficient enough for the likes of Francisco Ayala to declare that I am a lousy defect, yet smart enough to figure out that there could be no Intelligent Designer for my being. Like Richard Dawkins, his attitude is that it is a bad design if one is going to conclude there is an Intelligent Designer involved, but it is a marvellous design if the credit is going to be given to evolution. Surely, he thinks evolution deserves the credit for his nut cracking cognitive capacity.

If the atheist scientists truly think scientifically, they would not then make such an embarrassing blunder. For instance, if all sewage systems could be turned into a popular entertainment center, would that not be an ultimate achievement in the preservation of environment, a triumph of the reduce, reuse, and recycle principle? To have a popular entertainment system in the middle of sewage is not at all a bad design; it is indeed an excellent design. Indubitably, there is a lot of talent and creativity involved behind such an operation which is simultaneously a sewage treatment plant as well as a fun theme park.

Multi-tools are not at a bad design. Consider a handy Swiss army knife or a popular iPhone. iPhone, one small gadget which is an audio and video communication device with radio, TV, camera, GPS, calculator, watch, note pad, calendar, books, photo album, and many more all in one. Is this a bad design?

Swiss Army Knife

iPhone

Atheists should put their money where their mouth is. These fellows are the smart scientists; they should enlighten us, and tell us what a better design for human anatomy is. Where is the best location, both internally and externally for a human genital to be? Is it better to have it on the forehead, center of the palm, chest, back of the neck, or perhaps on front of the neck where it could also be used as a permanent neck tie? How many openings should there be on human body to amend the aforementioned “deficiencies”? Viruses get into our system through mouth, nose and genital. Would additional openings not expose us to further risks, and diminish the beauty and symmetry of the human body?

Birth deaths have nothing to do with the diameter of birth canal as the canal has a great elasticity feature. This feature is common among all mammals. Are all mammals ill-designed? Is there a better alternative? Ayala may prefer to see expanded birth canal by 0.5 cm, have sex with a partner with an enlarged canal, and then tell us how satisfying that would be.

If indeed nature is a collection of poorly designed organisms, why researchers persistently look into nature for perfection and inspiration? The fact is the best sustainable designs that researchers ever came up with were directly plagiarized from nature. Some then have the nerve to act like nature is stupid and we, the plagiarizers are smarter than the plagiarizee.

Let’s examine the track record of what at the time was perceived to be the best manmade design produced by competent multi-discipline engineering teams.

The Titanic was designed to be unsinkable, but sunk on its first journey. The ship was in service only for five days.

The Concorde was at one point regarded by experts as an icon in aerospace engineering, but despite numerous costly upgrades the whole supersonic program was dismantled and declared to be a failure.

In January of 1986, the $5.5 billion NASA space shuttle Challenger, a marvel of human engineering, the most complex spacecraft ever designed exploded just 72 seconds into its flight. All seven crewmembers on board died instantly in an explosion in front of millions of television viewers around the world. The explosion was blamed in part on inadequate design of solid rocket boosters to function under unexpected freezing temperatures. After 10 successful missions, having travelled 42,000,000 km in space, the manufactures learned the inadequacy of their design in a tragic way.

The Challenger’s deficiencies were corrected in the spacecraft Columbia. Columbia had 28 successful missions, having travelled 202,000,000 km in space. Yet, once again in February 2003 at the end of its last mission, the world was stunned to view another disaster due to an unforeseen technological failure. As one expert put it, these accidents were planned by human hands at the moment of the project’s conception. We like to think we got all the variables involved, identified and tamed. Evidently we are unable to.

There are indeed countless examples of blunder in human engineering design. In fact, there is not a day that goes by, that the manufacturers of certain product in a variety of different industries do not recall a product due to a flawed design. There are countless court cases of class action lawsuits filed against manufactures of bad designs by consumers.

The point here is with such a track record, mankind is not qualified to declare what appropriate or inappropriate anatomical design is. The above examples confirm the nature of limited human knowledge. Man can never know the totality of reality, and must not be ashamed of its limitation. The problem occurs when he refuses to accept this and acts like he knows all there is to know, when he plays God. This arrogant attitude is well manifested in the bold claims that atheists so frequently make here and there and follow upon that which they are not certain of. Without pondering on what justifiable criteria should we be using to deem a multi-functional apparatus a defect or suboptimal. What criteria do we use to deem an alternative design a better design? What constitutes a “better” anatomical design? Having eyes at the back of the head, being able to swim under the water and fly like a bird, with life expectancy of 1000 years maintenance-free?

German philosopher Gottfried Leibniz believed God has created the best of all possible worlds, whether it is optimal or suboptimal world is a different matter. But regardless of how one comes to evaluate the degree of optimality, even a suboptimal design is still a design. The universe relentlessly displays evidence that it is designed by an Entity with power and intelligence. This is an unchangeable fact whether one likes it or not.

Moreover, in order to answer the question of what is optimal or not, one has to know the purpose of a thing. If the purpose or goal is uncertain, then one cannot determine if a thing is optimal. Could it not be that the universe itself is optimally designed for a purpose – the purpose being who regards it as optimal, and who arrogantly refuses to acknowledge its intended purpose and design: a test to see who falls into the dysteleological trap?

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The Business of Promoting Absurdities

Mehran Banaei

In the spring of 2000, Audrey Kishline, the founder of “Moderation Management,” one of the pioneers of the “harm reduction” movement to battle alcoholism was involved in an automobile accident having a blood alcohol level of 0.26, which is three times more than the legal limit. The defender of “controlled drinking” and an avid opponent of the “abstinence module,” being totally intoxicated drove the wrong way on a Washington State highway and smashed her car into an incoming vehicle, killing the other driver and his 12-year-old daughter. State troopers found her unconscious with a half-empty bottle of vodka by her side. Kishline was charged with vehicular homicide and sentenced to 54 months in jail. After this tragic incident, she was at least honest enough to admit in prison that her “moderation management program” is a “program for alcoholics covering up their own alcoholism.” The question is: Did she not know prior to this tragedy that her proposed moderation treatment is ineffective?

Drubwang Konchok Norbu Rinpoche the famous Tibetan Yogi Master, at his old age cut his hair in a ritual preparation of his death. However, his “Holiness” the Dalai Lama advised him that his presence in this world is still needed. He ought to live longer to preserve the Tibetan teachings and help his people. Rinpoche agreed, allowed his hair to grow again and decided to stay alive until the age of 100 to help his people.

It may be important to let the disciples and faithfuls to think that a Master has some control over the timing of one’s own death; however, the Master himself would know better that he has no power over his death or others. Contrary to the proclamation made, Rinpoche died in 2007 at the age of 85. Did Rinpoche and his “Holiness” the Dalai Lama not know what it means to be a mortal being?

Charles Templeton was once a prominent and successful Canadian evangelist. For 20 years Templeton played an active role in propagation of Christianity. While in public he gave the impression that he fully adheres to his Presbyterian faith, in private he actually wrestled with the core tenets of Christian faith. He and his fellow evangelist Billy Graham traveled together across North America and Europe to preach the word of God to thousands of enthusiasts gathered in sports arenas. Templeton gradually started to drift away from Billy Graham ideologically. In 1957, after a long struggle with doubt, Templeton finally declared himself an agnostic. In two of his post-Christian books: An Anecdotal Memoir (1983) and Farewell to God: My Reasons for Rejecting the Christian Faith (1995), Templeton admitted to have had great difficulties with the Biblical account of creation, the authenticity of the Bible and the nature of God. In essence, he found what he was preaching to be an incomprehensible theology.

According to a 2010 study conducted by Daniel Dennett and Linda LaScola of the Center for Cognitive Studies at Tufts University, there are many active clergies similar to Templeton whom on the condition of anonymity have confessed to the researchers not to actually believe in the Christian God. What prevents these clergies from coming out of the closet is the economic consequences i.e. loosing their job.

On the other side of the spectrum, Anthony Flew, a long time notorious champion of atheism, struggled to keep justifying an accidental universe despite all odds, something that his long academic career was based on. In early 2004, he abruptly abandoned his disbelief in God and converted to Deism. The dramatic change of mind was based on scientific findings, while in the past he habitually used science to debunk theism. The structure of the DNA double helix made Flew to finally bow down to the Design Argument. This makes one seriously wonder where he obtained the conviction and confidence in atheism, and whether he was ever doubtful of the very beliefs that he was urging others to adhere to all along.

These examples show that Mankind often plays embarrassing games with his own mind. In deceiving others, he first must work hard to deceive himself, as a result often ending up being the first who pays the price of deception. Thus, not surprisingly cognitive dissonance is one of the most extensively studied areas in social psychology where there is an ongoing conflict between one’s vested interests, desires and the inner voice.

What is the psychological state of a man who builds a career on obtuse ideas that are indefensible and contrary to basic common sense, ideas that there is no shred of evidence to support them? For instance, have you ever heard of anything more ludicrous than a claim, which stipulates that complex design aimlessly happens, rather than being planned ahead by an intelligent designer? Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss advocate that this vast universe was created out of nothing with no primary cause, and then finely tuned by sheer luck, resulting in endless complex life forms with conscious awareness. “The Greatest Show on Earth” evolved randomly with no external guidance, but by a blind, unconscious automatic process. Forces of nature and natural selection at work are the given explanation for the existence and apparently purposeful form of all life, itself having no purpose at all. It has no mind and no mind’s eye. It does not plan for the future. “It has no vision, no foresight, no sight at all. If it can be said to play the role of watchmaker in nature, it is the blind watchmaker.” The zenith of such an absurdity is that this belief is shamelessly presented in a prestigious package labeled as modern science with one primary goal: to exclude God the First Cause and to counter the intelligent design argument advocated by theist scientists and philosophers like Copernicus, Galileo, Kepler, Newton, Paley and the Islamic scientists of the Golden Age.

Below is a picture of the inside of a Rolex watch, which is intelligently designed and manufactured by Swiss engineers for a specific purpose. Is there any doubt that this watch has a designer and maker?

Rolex08b

The photograph below is a magnified picture of supposedly not designed tights joints of Issus, a planthopper insect, one of the fastest accelerators in the animal kingdom. What kind of logic would justify the claim that it is made by random mutation with no purpose or foresight? The components in the machinery below are much finer and complex than a Rolex watch. It requires greater precision and engineering expertise. It is a living machine with consciousness, yet atheists are resistant to acknowledge that the organism is designed because of the inevitable implications.

Issus-02-0913-de

How did atheists manage to pass premature conjectures as science and get away with it so easily? They use subtle techniques that obscure the line between persuasion and deception. At first they deviously changed the most fundamental and natural question in Man’s mind from the time immemorial: How did the universe come to be, is it caused or uncaused, to the nonsensical question of: Are “science” and “religion” inherently incompatible with each other? Having successfully interjected blurry concepts like “science”, “religion” and “God”, their subsequent common campaign strategy has been to be vociferous and vigorously popularize their own atheistic agenda. They claim to be standing on the rational side and wrap their ideas in a nice attractive package labeled modern science. They keep using words such as reason, logic, rationality, science, knowledge, open-mind and free-thinkers, regardless of how preposterous their overall claim sounds like. Conversely, they stigmatize their opponents as religious, irrational and close-minded creationists and even frequently demonize them as fanatically dangerous, etc. They pretend that their atheistic view is a product of rationality and scientific approach, but theism is a product of psychological need and desperation. In their research, case studies and television documentaries they are selective to that, which is supportive to their argument, i.e. to dismiss the notion of “God” they only concentrate on cracked pot figures. They repeatedly make inconclusive and circumstantial claims, then get a few of their like-minded colleagues to say: “Yes, he is right.” From that they make a circuitous conclusion which has nothing to do with science, for example, Darwin forces us to reject the belief in a Benevolent Grand Planner.

In debates, they are very choosy about who do they debate with. They dodge tough questions, constantly interrupt their opponents or the interviewer, repeatedly speak over them and spread misinformation. They appeal to fear mongering, misrepresent their opponents’ position, for example if one disagrees with the mechanism of Natural Selection, he is then painted as “anti-evolution”, “anti-science” or “history-denier”. They make giant bluffs and hope that no one would catch their bluff, i.e. Darwin blew away the Teleological Argument, a self-created universe from nothing or Multiverse. They maintain a tight grip over a favoured scientific paradigm in academic settings where the preferred ideas are institutionalized as truth. Subsequently, many of these atheists in the process have gradually come to believe their own lies.

Academic science is a profession just like all other professions. Indeed, in a material world where crooks can be found even among federal judges, police chiefs and heads of states, it is erroneous to assume that there are no crooks and opportunists among atheists, professors and scientists, and that they are immune from the alluring temptations of wealth and power.

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