‘In recent years, many creationists have chosen to recast their argument in the form of “Intelligent Design.” Somewhat subtler, they do not reject the idea of evolution but claim that it follows a plan set out beforehand by a superior intelligence. There again, the “theory” seems to lack a scientific basis, since one of the principle arguments against Darwinism consists in declaring that the world is too complex to be understood.’
(Jean-Baptiste De Panafieu: Evolution in Action -Page 20)
The argument of Intelligent Design is illogical, and tantamount to placing the cart before the horse. The horse must already exist before the cart is designed, and then the horse must be placed in-front of the cart, for the cart to function. Intelligent Design is a mistaken attempt at interpreting the origin of life on the planet, and remains logically ‘flawed’ regardless of how sophisticated the explanation becomes (i.e. ‘irreducible complexity’), or the amount of money that backs the theory. At its base, Intelligent Design inverts human logic, and turns reality on its head. For the agency of ‘intelligence’ to exist, there must first be a properly functioning brain. A brain that does not exist obviously cannot generate intelligence, just as a brain that has not evolved to the level of producing cogent thought, cannot produce intelligence. In the case of the evolutionary development of the brain, for instance, there appears to be a logical progression from the simplistic to the complex (although it has to be said that within general evolution, things do not always get more complex as they find the physical form most advantageous to surviving in their existential environment). The point is that things never appear in a ‘complex’ fashion, with no observable evolutionary history as this is illogical and impossible. Intellect does not, and cannot, stand alone in the universe apart from the human brain that produces it.
Intelligent Design has its basis in the inverted theology of theistic religion, which states that a mythological being – as an act of will – instantaneously ‘generated’ (from nothing) the entirety of existence in its already and fully developed form. According to this theory, the universe did not ‘evolve’ over billions of years, but has rather appeared all at once in its perfected and complete form. This is taken as being ‘proof’ of a god-like ‘intelligence’ at work throughout physical existence. Charles Darwin exposed this theological theory as being entirely redundant in his 1859 ‘On the Origin of Species’, which rejected god’s will and replaced it with the agency of natural selection. Existence is not a grand scheme of divine intelligence, for rather the accumulated reality of innumerable and fortuitous accidents that have been ‘selected’ because they collectively benefit the species. Although it is true that humans use their intelligence to build machines of various sorts, it is also true that the ability to build machines only occurs after the brain has evolved to the state where the intelligence capacity possesses the ability to conceive of such machines, and work-out how to physically produce said machines – prior to this development – there can be no intellectually generated machines. Intelligence precedes machines, but the agency of intelligence itself does not stand alone in the universe, as it is not self-produced and is the product of discernible stages of previous evolutionary development. A fully functioning brain precedes intelligence, just as there are logical stages in the evolution of the brain itself, which acquires ever-more complex and sophisticated functionality as its structure developments.
Intelligence cannot be the fundamental building block of the universe simply because the capacity of intelligence is a random development thrown-up through the general theory of evolutionary development. Therefore, intelligence is a product of biological existence, and not its foundation, just as the intelligently designed cart does not produce the biological entity of the horse that pulls it. Biological life, of course, is often described as ‘mechanical’, or being ‘machine-like’ in its cellular structure and functionality, but other than a convenient allusion, this should not be taken literally, as biological structure did not come about through the agency of the human intellect, but rather through the complete accidents that comprise the developmental process of natural selection. The comparison of biological structures to machines is incorrect if taken literally, as no matter how sophisticated a machine of iron and steel is, it is never ‘alive’. Biological life itself is an accident of tremendous import and sophistication. A human cell cannot be separated into its constituent parts and then reassembled in good working order – as can a machine used in agriculture or printing, etc. If a machine of iron and steel is taken apart (to be cleaned or repaired, for instance), that machine can be reassembled and work perfectly correctly, but if a human cell is taken apart, its life-function ceases immediately, and it can never be re-animated. This is because it is not a ‘machine’ in the human sense of the word, and was not developed by any form of intelligence, human or otherwise.