It is a common retort among critics of Intelligent Design. They point to something in nature, some apparent defect or poorly engineered component- maybe a wing, maybe something in the eye, an opposable thumb- and declare, “Look! See! What a grand Creator this must be! He can’t even design a thumb very well. So if there is a Creator, he must be in need of more schooling.”
What I often hear from proponents of ID, by way of response, is that the “poor engineering” is only apparent. Take so called junk DNA. And in that case, it looks like they’re right. “Junk” DNA isn’t so junky after all. But in other cases this isn’t nearly as obvious. In fact, couldn’t our eyes work better, like an eagle’s, for example? Sure. And wouldn’t it be helpful if we had an eyeball in the back of our head? Mugging would be a lot harder, no?
At the end of the day, this argument only goes so far.
So allow me to introduce, Mr. Ostrich.
In His response to trembling Job, God said this:
“The wings of the ostrich wave proudly, but are they the pinions and plumage of love? For she leaves her eggs to the earth and lets them be warmed on the ground, forgetting that a foot may crush them and that the wild beast may trample them. She deals cruelly with her young, as if they were not hers; though her labor be in vain, yet she has no fear, because God has made her forget wisdom and given her no share in understanding. When she rouses herself to flee, she laughs at the horse and his rider.” (Job 39:13-18, ESV).
This is one pretty stupid bird. She leaves her eggs out in the open. She runs in front of cars, err, horses. And she’s forgetful.
Why? Look at verse 17.
God made her that way.
Is that right? When God was pouring wisdom into the brains of the animals, He purposely let only a few drops fall into the ostrich’s brain? Yup. The ostrich is a bird brain.
The application should be clear. There may be things out in the created order that appear poorly designed, or silly, or bizarre. But God made them that way. He did it on purpose. In His wisdom, He made the world and the things in it teem and burst with variation, some of which make us laugh or scratch our heads… Or stare in wonder… Or stare in horror. Just consider those freaky creatures of the deep. Good grief, what’s up with their fang like teeth and glowing tails? But you know, that’s just what so amazing about it all. The diversity. The surprise and alien-esque quality of God’s creatures.
And quickly, let’s not forget that we experienced something called a Fall. Adam sinned and all creation now groans as with the pains of childbirth (Romans 8). Things aren’t going to be perfectly in tune. That’s the point of a curse.
In closing, if you’ve never listened to the Intelligent Design Podcast, “ID the Future,” give it a try, if you’re a science geek. Most of it is way over my head, but I still enjoy listening to it.
A caution is in order. The views of the ID proponents are all over the map. Some believe in common descent. Some don’t. Some seem to have leanings towards Natural Theology. Etc. The movement is not monolithic, so exercise discernment.
Difficulty: Intermediate to Advanced (mostly advanced)
Must Listen Factor: Medium. It’s high if you like science and don’t think the ID movement advances faulty science.
Download Audio, ID the Future. Click the stupid bird.