Writing at the Huffington Post, John Blumenthal offers a humorous take on intelligent design:
Thanks to Michele Bachmann, the tired concept of Intelligent Design has once again become a topic of conversation among Creationists, most of whom, ironically, often sound like Neanderthals. In case you don’t know, this boneheaded theory claims that the human body is simply too remarkable to have come into being through millions of years of haphazard evolution, and that some super-intelligent deity must have been the engineering wizard behind the miracle of our anatomies.
Miracle? Really? If you’re over 50 and your body is starting to fall apart, it’s pretty obvious that the design is anything but intelligent.
Let’s start at the beginning. If you’ve ever given birth, you know that the notion of a seven-pound baby struggling to fit through an opening that’s roughly the size of a silver dollar is hardly an example of brilliant engineering. Why do turtles, hens and fish have it so much easier? Even the stork idea would’ve been better.
I know, I know. It’s an old argument. But it’s especially useful for driving anti-evolutionists to distraction. The YEC’s will tie themselves into knots trying to deny that the human body is in any way imperfectly designed. The ID folks prefer to give sage lectures about how poor design does not imply no design at all. Whatever. The fact remains that the human body is pretty much of a disaster from the standpoint of basic engineering. We’d better hope we’re the result of a long, haphazard evolutionary process, because any designer responsible for human anatomy has an awful lot of explaining to do.
But Blumenthal does raise one issue that leads to a serious question:
Let’s consider the divinely-inspired concept of mortality. I can understand why the Intelligent Designer created death — living forever would probably be insufferably boring by the age of 200 or so. After all, how many “Seinfeld” reruns can one person endure? And who wants to buy birthday presents for someone for 200 years, unless they don’t already have a blender?
Michael Shermer, the editor of Skeptic magazine has a standard reply to questions about immortality. When anyone asks him for his position on eternal life he says, “I’m for it!”
Well, I’m not so sure. I wonder if fans of eternal life have really considered just how long a period of time is intended by the term “eternal.” I always wonder what exactly one does with eternal life. There are many things I enjoy doing in this life, but it is hard for me to imagine maintaining my motivation through eternity. And I definitely don’t relish the idea of spending eternity, day after interminable day, in supplication to the God who created me. But what else is there to do in heaven?
I really don’t understand people who say life has no point or meaning unless it’s a prelude to the eternity we will spend with God in heaven. This seems precisely backward to me. It is hard to imagine anything more pointless and soul-crushing than the thought that we are just marking time here on Earth while waiting for our real lives to begin after we die. Whatever meaning life has surely arises in part from the fact that it is finite. You have only so many years in which to cram as much experience, learning, love, friendship or whatever else it is that gives you satisfaction, so you had better make every moment count. That’s the realization that gives life its point and its zest.
The world’s religions have nothing to teach us about the meaning of life. They are about Earthly power and nothing more.