It’s been a long time since I’ve visited the crew over at William Dembski’s abandoned blog Uncommon Descent, but this post by scordova caught my eye. He’s wrestling with the problem of malicious “designs” in nature, and gets right to the heart of the matter.
Can the Intelligent Designer of life create malicious designs? If the flagellum and other parts of bacteria are intelligently designed, it would raise the question whether microbially-based diseases and plagues are intelligently designed. It seems the best inference from the evidence is that even malicious designs are also intelligently designed.
Always the ID dilemma. Once you start confusing function with purpose, there’s no reasonable way to stop inferring design for everything, even the nasty stuff. And since ID, apart from superficial lip service to polytheism and panspermatism, is just window dressing for good old-fashioned fundamentalist creationism, the presumed design of the more “malicious” aspects of nature poses a theological problem of no small proportions.
I have to commend the writer for taking an unusually frank and forthright position on the topic.
So from the standpoint of Christian theology, God creates malicious designs. If you’re not a Christian, then trying to solve problem of malicious design and the notion of a loving God isn’t a problem. But if you are a Christian, then the explanation of why all the bad things in the world are happening cries out for an answer. I’ve stated before, that one possible explanation is that this is God’s makes heaven more meaningful by making the present world miserable. (See 2 Cor 4:17 and Romans 8:20).
Apparently, contrary to what you might have heard, heaven’s not really all that great. God has to invent things like spina bifida and raped altar boys and murdered babies so that heaven will seem better by comparison. Not that it really matters, because the only people who suffer from such things are, well, people.
How is it possible God finds guilt in a little baby? I will venture my humble opinion by saying God left answers for us in the pictures of intelligently designed biology. When we exterminate other creatures for our own good will and pleasure (like that rat or cockroach), we don’t think of ourselves being unjust, in fact, just the opposite. Hard as it is to accept, perhaps in the scheme of things, humans apart from God’s mercy and love, are like those detestable cockroaches which we give no thought to exterminating.
Now let me stop right there and point out that the writer does not, I believe, regard babies as being “like detestable cockroaches.” He’s considering the possibility that they might be, and that he might need to resort to such a misanthropic assessment in order to account for the inconsistency between ID and his faith. But he’s not absolutely committed to the idea, and would probably prefer a better solution if there were one.
This post is dramatic, not to say sensational, especially because it is trying so hard to grapple honestly with the problems posed by ID, even for believers. They want to impose the Gospel on the cosmos and make everything reflect a certain worldview, and they find that the real world is strangely impervious to worldviews. Their dogmas and superstitions don’t fit reality, and have to be bent and twisted in unpleasant ways at times. The above post is merely a sample.