Intelligent Design by Aliens: It's Turtles all the Way Down

Tuesday, May 06, 2008 at 10:28 PM

Among the many endearing aspects of zealous Christians is
the tendency to be, let's say disingenuous, as the least
offensive of the possible descriptions. When called on the
fact that "Intelligent Design" (ID) theory is little more
than creationism once removed, some ID proponents point out
that, hey, they aren't saying who the intelligent
designer is...could be aliens.

certainly might explain why so many human traits are...alien in some way (alien to reason, alien to sense, alien to self-interest, etc.). But it really explains nothing. If aliens created "the universe" who created the aliens? Are the aliens, in fact, so improbably efficient and workable that we must also infer that they, too, are the product of intelligent design? If so, who designed them? Even better aliens? And if so, who designed those aliens?

The whole absurdity reminds me of a joke:

A noted scientist goes to a backwater village to give a talk to the locals. The town's library is filled to capacity, and the scientist describes the basic laws of the universe as the audience listens intently. As the scientist gets to the theory of gravity, and how this keeps the planets and other bodies in place, a stout woman in the front row nods shakes her head back and forth disapprovingly. Unable to continue with this woman so obviously disagreeing, the scientist stops his talk and speaks to the woman:

"Madam, you obviously disagree with me. May I ask on what grounds?

The woman sighs and says loudly, "Everybody knows the earth rests on the back of a giant turtle."

The scientist chuckles and says "but on what does that turtle rest?"

"On another turtle," the woman answers confidently. The scientist shakes his head in annoyance and says, "But madam, on what does that turtle rest."

Another turtle," the woman says.

"But madam," the scientists starts again, only to be interrupted by the woman who confidently says "It's no use Mister, it's turtles all the way down."

And, of course, the real believers in ID do not think for one moment that we and the universe are the product of alien engineering. They think it's God, they believe it's God, and no matter what you say, it's God all the way down.

And so it is among the people who simply cannot bring themselves to say "I don't know." As if the concepts of God, universe-creating aliens, and the like is less frightening than "I don't know."

And to add the salt of silliness to the wound, one Casey Luskin writes on the site Evolution News that ID proponents do not, in fact, posit that aliens could be our designers. First he notes the following statement from Richard Dawkins:

Intelligent design "theorists" (a misnomer, for they have no theory) often use the alien scenario to distance themselves from old-style creationists: "For all we know, the designer might be an alien from outer space."
Then Luskin sets out to disprove this statement:
So I decided to determine if this was how ID proponents really behaved. A Google search for the phrase "For all we know, the designer might be an alien from outer space"-which Dawkins attributes to ID proponents-turns up only one hit: his [Dawkins'] article.
That's pretty strong evidence that Dawkins is lying, huh? You find a lengthy phrase in the man's article, search for precisely that phrase, in quotes, and turn up....the article from which you took that phrase. Shocking.

Any reality-based skeptic, of course, would not search for that precise phrase, precisely because it's only likely to turn up the article from which you got it (absent plagiarism, of course). Such a skeptic would instead search for the general concepts that the phrase articulates: intelligent design alien designer

And presto, here's the Intell igent Design Society of Kansas with a few FAQs:

q.. Isn't the "Intelligent Designer" just another way of saying "God"?
a.. Of course not. The Intelligent Designer could be advanced aliens or the Christian God. We don't say which.

q.. If it could be either aliens or God, why does your logo show the Christian God?
a.. We had to pick one or the other, and it just happened to be that one. We definitely don't rule aliens out. We even have an alternate version of our logo in case that turns out to be the case:

q. Do you really believe it could be aliens? a.. No.

Luskin somehow couldn't find that. Nor could Luskin find Eric Rasmussen's blog entry arguing against a piece by Daniel Dennett in the New York Times which hypothesized alien designers:
Dennett is quite right that the space-visitors hypothesis is just like the ID hypothesis. Look at the name: "Intelligent Design". It's not "Divine Design". ID people admit that they have not pinned down the identity of the designer in the theory. So Dennett's example does not work against ID.
I quit reading the search results after that. It was obviously Casey at the Bat all over again, and once again poor Casey had struck out. And struck out looking.

It's no use, Mister, it's God/Aliens/disingenuousness all the way down.


For a sampling of what is happening
in the scientific and education communities,
to view 3
"EXPELLED: No Intelligence Allowed"
movie trailers and a Bill O'Reilly interview.



You quoted Richard Dawkins assertion that the intelligent design proponents "have no theory". That is correct. "The theory of intelligent design" is nothing more than Casey Luskin's pseudonym. Mr. Luskin uses that pseudonum to state his opinion that an intelligent cause is the "best" explanation for "certain features of the universe and of living things." His complete opinion reads: "The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection".

By using the pseudonym "The theory of intelligent design", Mr. Luskin often succeeds in tricking people to concluding that there is a scientific theory named "intelligent design". But there is no such scientific theory! It's just Mr. Luskin's cleverly disguised opinion.

Intelligent design is a ruse. A rhetorical trick. A fraud.

For a sampling of what is happening
in the scientific and education communities,

Guess you don't have any problem using someone else's site to promote your movie, huh? More unintelligent D sign.

There was a bumper sticker around some years back:


Mahr's law...that this nation is contaminated with too many Larry-the-cable-guy then, correct.


Over and out.