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"The Quixotic Message", or "No Free Hunch"

Steve Reuland (aka "theyeti") takes a humorous but well-referenced look at the inconsistencies of the Intelligent Design movement and its advocates.

"The Quixotic Message", or "No Free Hunch"

by theyeti *

[contributed January 22nd, 2003]


[Author's note: This collection of contradictions and absurdities was originally composed and posted to the discussion board. It was later decided to put it up on the web so that it can be exposed to a larger audience. This collection is meant to be lighthearted and funny, though it does highlight some serious issues in the ID debate. If this presents a problem for you, then go read something else. Furthermore, at the urging of several readers, I decided to make a references page to document these inconsistencies. It can be reached by clicking on any one of the numbered references below. If you feel that this would detract from the humor, then feel free to skip it. But as Dave Barry would say, I'm not making this up...]


On Intelligent Design...

  • ID is whatever we say it is, and we don't agree.

  • Greater and greater numbers of scientists are joining the ID movement, which is why we keep referring to the same three year after year. [1]

  • ID is not creationism, and can be perfectly compatible with evolution. This is why we're asking schools to teach the "evidence against evolution".[2]

  • We're not creationists, except for those of us who are, but the rest of us won't confirm that we're not. But if you call us creationists, we'll complain to no end. [3]

  • The correct stance on issues like an ancient Earth, the common ancestry of organisms, and natural selection can be worked out later, after we've convinced the public that they should be rejecting at least one of these. [4]

  • ID is a widely accepted theory in the scientific community. Just last year, over 100 scientists signed a statement which does not support ID, but does say that they are "skeptical" of Darwinism. The opinions of tens of thousands of other scientists don't count, because they're all biased. [5]

  • ID is a program for research into the science of design, nothing more. Part of our research plans are to produce coloring books for preschoolers, and to make ourselves more likeable at parties. [6]

  • ID is a scientific theory for detecting purpose and teleology in nature. But don't ask us what that purpose is, because that's a religious question that's separate from ID.

  • The Designer could be anything from God to a space alien. But the Raelians, who believe it was a space alien, are being illogical.

On Darwinism...

  • Darwinism can't explain the evolution of life in every single detail, therefore it's wrong. But don't ask IDists to explain these things, because that's not the kind of theory ID is. [7]

  • Mainstream scientists dare not disagree with the monolithic block that is Darwinian orthodoxy. However, here are a number of mainstream scientists who disagree with each other on some issues, which means that they can't agree on anything. [8]

  • Darwinists are driven by religious and ideological motivations. But since we've removed the picture of God and the phrase "Cultural Renewal" from our website, everyone knows this isn't true of us. [9]

  • Absolutely everything wrong in society is caused by dogmatic Darwinian atheistic materialists. Including stereotyping, demonizing, and scapegoating. [10]

  • Darwinists are responsible for both socialism and laissez-faire capitalism. Both racism and liberalism. Both feminism and sexism. Both animal research and the animal rights movement. And Commie-Nazism. [11]

On philosophy...

  • Philosophers cannot agree on exactly where the line between science and non-science lies. Therefore, anything can be considered science if we say so.

  • If a living system looks well designed, it's evidence for ID. If it looks poorly designed, that's just because we have no way of knowing what constitutes good and bad design.

  • Afterall, we can't tell that it's bad design because we have no way of knowing what the Designer really intends. But we do know that ID will revolutionize culture, society, and law, according to what the Designer intends. [14]

  • Methodological naturalism is an unfair rule that keeps us from considering supernatural explanations. But this would mean that detectives couldn't consider an intelligent agent in a person's death, because as we all know, murderers are supernatural. [15]

  • A good scientific theory like ID should be vague and ambiguous, and refuse to propose any specific details about mechanism or history. Some unspecified being "designed" something, somewhere, at some point in time, somehow, is a perfectly good explanation.

  • The argument from design is not a theological argument, because we aren't necessarily talking about God. But any rebuttal of the design argument is theological, because it requires us to say "God wouldn't do it this way", and this is not legitimate. [16]

On the Evidence...

  • Since the peppered moth case has been proven problematic, natural selection is disproven. The other 1,582 studies of natural selection in the wild, as well as the numerous laboratory studies, don't count. [17]

  • And peppered moths don't rest on tree trunks. The actual datasets of moths found in natural positions in the wild, off but also on trunks, are irrelevant because researchers have captured thousands of moths over the years in their moth traps, and not once has a moth in a trap been found on a tree trunk. [18]

  • Since moths don't rest on tree trunks but instead higher up in the branches, this means that birds can't get to them, because there is a magic barrier preventing birds from visiting tree branches.

  • As demonstrated above, moths don't rest on tree trunks, which means that the photographs showing the contrasting conspicuousness of moths on tree trunks found in textbooks are FRAUDS, FRAUDS, FRAUDS. All the other staged animal photos in textbooks are however unobjectionable.

  • The fact that more inclusive groupings, such as phyla, appeared before more specific groupings, such as genera, is evidence against evolution. Likewise, the fact that Europeans first appeared before Tony Blair is evidence against shared human ancestry. [19]

  • Evolution can't produce novel information, because any change to an enzyme that increases substrate specificity reduces the reactivity of the enzyme with other compounds, which is a loss of information. Similarly, any change which increases the enzyme's generality is a loss of information because the enzyme has lost some specificity. [20]

  • Life could not come about by natural means because it has Specified Complexity. Specified Complexity means something that cannot come about by natural means, therefore life must exhibit Specified Complexity. [21]

  • It was very nice of our loving Designer to design an immune system to protect us from the deadly diseases He designed.

  • The fundamental unity of living things means that there is only one Designer. The extraordinary variation among living things, including their tendency to kill each other, just means that our singular Designer is very creative and whimsical. [22]

  • Lateral gene transfer, which is a powerful mechanism of evolution, is evidence against evolution.

  • The fact that the laws of the universe are perfect for life is evidence for a Designer. The fact that the laws of the universe can't produce life is evidence for a Designer. [23]

  • Irreducibly Complex structures require multiple parts. Therefore they can't evolve. If someone demonstrates how a structure that requires multiple parts could have evolved, that just means that it wasn't Irreducibly Complex.

  • IC structures must be molecular systems. Except mousetraps.

  • "Indirect" pathways are wildly unlikely and as hard to find as leprechauns, and are therefore only a "bare" possibility but not a realistic one and can be safely disregarded, despite the detailed attention paid to them by every major biologist from Darwin to Dawkins. [26]

  • The ID hypothesis, on the other hand, bears no resemblance to leprechauns.

[*]"theyeti" is a pseudonym of Steven Reuland. Comments, suggestions, additions, or threats of eternal damnation can be sent to