Richard Dawkins and Randolph Nesse: Trying Really Hard to Ignore Design.

There are three things about this video which seemed worthy of commentary:

(1)  The comicality of Dr. Nesse’s habitual use of the word design when describing human anatomy. Even after Dawkins corrects him, Nesse can’t seem to avoid using design language and engineering terminology when talking about the body (as if it actually was designed!)

(2)  The self-refuting nature of Dr. Nesse’s argument against intelligent design. Parroting hundreds of Darwinists before him, Nesse rehashes the same old argument:  that “bad design” in nature proves there is no design in nature.  Darwinists seem to find this argument existentially pleasing—but those of a rational sort tend to find it dim-witted.  Think about it: once you’ve admitted there is “bad design” in nature is it really coherent to suggest, in the same breath, that there is no design in nature?  Let’s face it, bad design is still design.  I may think of better ways to design my watch—but I don’t deny my watch is designed!   Either there is design in nature—however bad it may be–or there is not.

(3)   The unfortunate fact that Dr. Nesse’s example of bad design is really a bad example. It is entirely unclear why the human wrist demonstrates bad design–unless one could know what the designers original intent or “end goal” was, this claim is entirely subjective.  If the designer responsible for engineering the human body had in mind to create an organism who could never be hurt, then, yes, humans are badly designed (even if this were the case, as I pointed out above, this does not prove there is no design in nature.)  However, it seems quite possible, upon observing the human body,  that this was not the designer’s original intent or goal.  As Nesse’s description indicates, the designer seems to have had in mind to build creatures with the remarkable capability of rotating their wrists.  Far from being “bad” design it seems the designer succeeded marvelously in accomplishing his goal.

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4 thoughts on “Richard Dawkins and Randolph Nesse: Trying Really Hard to Ignore Design.

  1. Excellent analysis. Mr. Dawkins also admits that nature gives the “overwhelming appearance of design”, but supposedly, that’s just an illusion. Arguments about “bad design” are idiotic, as you mention. Plus, they’re essentially theological in origin (“God wouldn’t have done it that way). Design can be seen in teleology — purpose and direction that nature should not have if it was evolved from blind, unintelligent, purposeless processes. Good job.

  2. In the same string of sentences Nesse makes several claims that I think are interesting.

    1.The mechanisms work well and appear design however they are so poorly designed and work so poorly that certainly they are not designed.

    Umm ok….. Is it necessary to even address such a claim?

    2.The subject in question would never design itself in such a way.

    I think the ridiculousness of that argument speaks for itself.

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