Creationists are not designers

by admin on 11/14/2014

Creationists are not designers, nor have they ever studied how the process of design actually works. But creationists, proponents of intelligent design have one truism on their side: things are not created ex nihilo.

Who could blame them? The teological argument goes back to as far as Plato, who himself was famously critical of the majority of Arts (for the argument’s sake, let’s refrain from discussing whether design is really art or not), especially the puritan’s favourite sweethearts: poetry and painting. The ignorance of intellectuals in design matters is also seen in the “creation” of the watchmaker argument which was meticuously “designed” by Paley. He asserts that the watch exhibits analogous complexity when compared to the Universe and as it would be preposterous to assume that the atoms forming the watch just happened to assemble together by sheer chance, the same improbability must be taken into account when talking about the inception of our universe.

In other words, since we know that the complexity of the watch requires intelligence, or a designer, the Universe also needs such a master blacksmith to put all those quarks and strings and energies together. But the watchmaker argument is inherently fallacious and misleading because if indeed a thought-experiment, it compels you to stay inside the box, you cannot escape the barren path and think from the proper perspective.

The problem with Paley’s watchmaker is that he would not be able to make the watch on his own; the designer never starts with a blank slate. Paley does not consider the whole tradition of watchmaking, or in fact any art or craft. The very first attempt to come up with something entirely new is, well, an attempt. But since we are creative creatures, it is our nature to not give up after the prepubescent troubles. It is not surprise, therefore, that by the process of trial and error we mature, we grow, we develop better understanding of the problems faced by previous generations. Step by step we “evolve” from the “essayer” into the maker, craftsman, artist, designer. We learn by failures of our colleagues. Only after we have acquired certain amount of knowledge can we start to design something new. But mind you, it will never be entirely new. If you analyse every single product made in the history, you will always be able to find traces of the worn shoulders of forgotten giants. We said that nothing is created ex nihilo, which is a truism; things are created by remixing, or in more appropriate terms, by re-designing. As Jan Michl summarizes: “The term design neglects that the designer is in principle dependent upon the knowledge of previous solutions manifested in previous products and without this knowledge is his (the designer’s) own production impossible – the results of which are incomprehensible”.

If God is a designer, he built upon other’s work and I am afraid that immediately causes a stack overflow error.

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