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Sunday, Aug. 28, 2005

COUNTERPOINT

Intelligent Design: One chance encounter explains it all


Special to The Japan Times

Ijust happened to be reading the Kansas City Star the other day when a fascinating article caught my eye. The Star reported, in its Aug. 2 edition, that the Kansas Board of Education has approved a draft of new science standards proposed by supporters of so-called Intelligent Design.

I must confess that I have long been intrigued by this theory referred to as ID. And, by God, I'm not the only one.

George W. Bush, speaking to a group of Texas reporters at the White House on Aug. 3, said that ID should be taught in U.S. schools alongside evolution. Moreover, the president has been joined in this opinion by some powerful folk, including Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Penn., who calls ID "a legitimate scientific theory"; and no less than Australia's Education Minister Dr. Brendan Nelson, who told the National Press Club in Canberra on Aug. 10 that "life on Earth is too complex to have evolved purely through Darwin's theory of natural selection." And it isn't only Dr. Nelson for whom life on Earth is seemingly too complex, but a growing horde of thinking people as well as politicians.

Intelligent Design is a theory of the origin of human life according to which intelligent causes are believed to control its development. A recent Gallup Poll in the United States found that 45 percent of Americans believe that human beings did not evolve, but were created approximately 10,000 years ago. All in all, 80 percent of Americans claim that God created humans in their present state or has guided their development.

Well, I felt that I just had to get to the bottom of this theory of Intelligent Design. So I went right to the source and contacted the Dorothy Toto School of Intelligent Design in Rumsfeld, Kansas. It was a miracle, too, that the phone was answered by none other than the principal of the Dorothy Toto School himself, I.M. Lord. The following is a faithful, if you will, transcript of that interview.

Thank you, Mr. Lord, for giving this interview to The Japan Times.

No need for the "Mister." Just call me Lord.

Thank you, Lord.

Pleasure.

So, what exactly is Intelligent Design?

Look, you and I are made up of DNA, right? The odds against DNA assembling by chance are 10 to the power of 40,000 to 1. You wouldn't break the bank at Las Vegas with those odds, eh? (laughter) The odds against there being a Grand Designer who created DNA are 2 to 1: either He exists or He doesn't. Which odds are you going to bet on?

Are you kidding? It's pretty obvious, isn't it?

You can bet your bottom dollar it is. And let me tell you, most of the people in this country are putting their money on ID. How could something as complex and beautiful, say, as an oil well come into being if everything was just made at random? Darwinism is all mindless, higgledy-piggledy bunkum. No, science is too serious a profession to be left to the scientists. Someone had to step in, and we were the chosen people.

It sure looks that way. So what are you planning to do to win over all those skeptics with PhDs?

First we're putting out our own "Dictionary of Life." This will explain absolutely everything and a lot more.

What sorts of things will be in your dictionary?

Well, definitions, for instance. Take evolution. We define evolution as "a process by which Intelligent Design throws out a lot of useless human theories and biases, such as atheism, Darwinism, communism (the chapter's almost closed on that one), relativism and pacifism."

And we are about to issue ID cards to all followers. In the future, if you are not an ID-card-carrying member, you won't be able to get into any place of worship, gun club or bowling alley in the United States of America. And if Gov. Jeb Bush of Florida has his way, all rides in Disney World will be half price for ID-card carriers from one month before the congressional elections in 2006. We are also issuing a special card in Spanish for Miami Cubans.

Wow, that's one hell of an incentive. But if an Intelligent Designer is behind all creation, then how do you explain things like deaths from a tsunami?

Look, these natural catastrophes bring out saintliness in the survivors, you know. Life is designed as a kind of driving test. Some people are good drivers and others just drive their car smack into a big wall. Besides, the Earth is still going through a few growing pains, and I'll be darned if there isn't a bit of collateral damage thrown in on the way up.

But, Lord, what about Holocausts? And genocide of all sorts, like the native Americans who were. . . .

Hold your horses. Whoa! Intelligent Design doesn't claim that everything that happens looks good when it happens. There's a lot of backtracking along the way. But we are being led to a better place, even if a few don't quite make it all the way. When I say a better place, I mean, heck, a place like Kansas. We here in Kansas think somebody pretty smart must have created a state like this. The motto of the Dorothy Toto School of Intelligent Design in Rumsfeld, Kansas, is "There's no place like home."

(It was then that I posed my final and potentially most fiendishly difficult question to I. M. Lord.)

You talk about backtracking. If the Designer of Intelligent Design is so intelligent, how come he made George W. Bush president of the United States?

(There was a huge pregnant pause over the telephone line, and, thank heavens, I. M. Lord's answer came to me just before the time on my Double Happiness telephone card ran out. Over a sea of static I heard his answer as to how it was that Bush became president.)

Well, he was the natural selection.



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