Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Malevolent Design

By now I'm sure you've heard of Intelligent Design, which focuses on alleged irreducible complexity, and perhaps even Incompetent Design, which focuses on the mysterious designer's shoddy handiwork, but have you heard of Malevolent Design? This takes ID and turns it on it's head. The Intelligent Design Creationists always love to focus on the benevolent to be found in nature such as a flagellum or an eye. But why stop there? Why, unless you are intentionally avoiding the negative in order to preserve an image of deity that loves everyone? Why not take things a bit further and look at the flip side of the equation? Seeing as I lack belief in all gods and goddesses and have no such agenda to preserve anything about their alleged personalities, I shall delve full into this fascinating mythological concept.

Malevolent Design (hereafter MD), simply put, is the secondary negative quality that one should see if one first sees intelligence. If there be a master designer then one should be able to gauge how he feels about his creations by the interaction between them. There various body parts should spell out he/she/them/it's intentions. Are we the darlings of a deity or merely part of an experiment led by a pantheon of gods on Lab Earth? Are we no more than white mice to be toyed with in order to test out new MDs and their effectiveness?

Mosquitoes have a special facial appendage known as a proboscis. This appendage has six parts, two pairs of cutters for opening up the skin of the victim and two fine tubes. One is for sucking up blood and the other is for dripping in anticoagulant, which keeps the blood from clotting. Why would a benevolent designer create such a little monster? And why, for their traveling companion would said designer create special pathogens to go along with it?

Mosquitoes carry many diseases. They include Malaria, West Nile virus, Dengue Fever, Encephalitis and Yellow Fever. All of these diseases kill indiscriminately, cutting swaths through the young and old, especially in third world countries. Death from these is neither quick nor pleasant. They kill regardless of religion, race or social status. The believer and Atheist can die just the same without medical treatment. Why would the mysterious designer create these tiny beings? To watch us die slow, torturous deaths? To see if he/she/them/it could overcome the immune system that he/she/them/it designed previously, kind of like a hacker breaking into his own program?

Carnivores have sharp teeth, perfect for cutting flesh, a strong digestive system perfect for digesting meat and various other body parts that aid them in acquiring their victims. A great white shark, for example, has rows upon rows of very sharp, serrated teeth that, when lost, turn to replace the old ones. They can smell minute traces of blood in the water from miles away. It would appear to show excellent signs of MD! Is it too far off to assume the designer wants his other creations, upon entering the water, to be eaten by this beast if given a chance?

There are countless other examples I could cite to show the prevalence of the neglected obvious but these few examples prove my point: if you believe you see intelligence, there is malevolence right along with it!

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