Intelligence is not something that can be hypothetically raised to a higher supernatural power level, and then be used to attempt to discredit empirical science. Intelligence is simply an evolved strategy for survival. The only way that a so called higher intelligence could exist is if it evolved somewhere else in the universe and that is way outside of our paradigm of understanding.

The concept of ‘Intelligent Design’ implies a so called higher intelligence was needed to construct certain complex biological structures such as the human eye and the flagella of certain bacteria. This idea is really quite a silly one because these structures like intelligence itself are evolved survival entities. Intelligence is a major evolutionary survival strategy in humans given the odds they were up against during the early days of their evolution. The world a million or so years ago was full of very large carnivores, poisonous animals and insects, unstable habitats etc. Our ancestors would definitely have needed their wits about them to survive; those that didn’t would perish, gradually leaving only a gene pool that could look after itself. We obviously were not always as so called intelligent as we are today but the genes were in the system (maybe mutation played a part) for natural selection to act upon for the type of intelligence to develop to enable our species survival. Of course there were other vulnerable living organisms on the planet that evolved other very complex methods to ensure their survival e.g. camouflage, flight, team work, replicate morphology (mimicry) to name just a few. And it should also be noted that humans are not the only creatures that evolved intelligence and human intelligence is not necessarily a better type of intelligence than that of other creatures.

You see evolution is not some scheme directed towards some ultimate good, evolution has no foresight. Evolution is just a process by which the environment dictates what genes or gene combinations can survive and those that cannot. Getting back to the point about intelligence being a survival strategy, human intelligence along with other attributes of our make-up has obviously been a major part of our success in populating the world but as we all know over the past ten thousand or so years we have also been using intelligence to further our ability to have power over nature. Some of this power has led to a better understanding of nature and hence further strengthening our place in the world but we have also used intelligence in a harmful way regarding nature. For example we have literally fouled our own nest by pushing more and more carbon dioxide into our environment because of over use of non-renewable fossil fuels leading to global warming. We cut down natural forests sending plants and animals to extinction to grow high yield, low variability crops to satisfy over zealous appetites.

I guess what I am trying to say is that we as humans seem to put the word intelligence into some ‘good’ category when in fact that is not where it belongs, it can be good bad or indifferent.

The idea that the flagella and the human eye required a supernatural higher intelligence implies that these complex attributes are good things. These attributes of morphology are no more good than intelligence itself; again they are strictly evolved survival mechanisms that natural selection has deemed adequate given the selection pressures at the time. The human eye of course is really no better at enabling species survival than the eyes of other creatures. All mammals, birds, reptiles and fish have vision just as adequate, or in some cases better. Insects optical systems work on different principles but have not stopped them from surviving virtually unchanged in some cases for many millions of years more than Homo sapiens have walked the earth. There are some living creatures that were once sighted but now are not because the genes for producing the mechanisms for vision were in some way a detriment to survival and therefore weeded out of the gene pool.

The evolution of things like flagella and eyes seems blatantly obvious to me as it probably does to most biologists. Without the evolution of these attributes, the world would be a much different place and there would possibly be no discussions of Evolution by Natural Selection verses Intelligent Design because we may not have been here to debate the subject.

By George Taylor

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