Thursday, May 27, 2010


Intelligent Design advocates often say that “intricacy” is one of the indications that something was designed rather than the result of naturalistic processes. For example, one of the leading ID promoters and a fellow at the Discovery Institute, Casey Luskin, said this[1]:

"Intelligent agents think with an 'end goal in mind, allowing them to solve complex problems by taking many parts and arranging them in INTRICATE patterns that perform a specific function (e.g. complex and specified information)..." [emphasis added]

In fact, intricacy says nothing at all about whether or not something is intelligently designed. As a matter of fact, intricacy often indicates a natural process rather than something that is intelligently designed.

I’ve given other examples before, but one interesting example is the shape of the borders of the states of the United States.

One of the most easily recognizable states is California. A silhouette is shown below.

Note that the western border is very intricate while the northern border (and most of the eastern border) is not intricate at all. They are straight lines.

Does that tell us anything?

Of course it does!

The intricate borders are those that interface with natural barriers or borders – an ocean, a river, a stream, etc. The borders that lack intricacy are “intelligently designed”! At some point in history human beings got together and decided on where those borders were to be located. They then drew the border with the least intricate line possible – a straight line.

Of course most of us are very familiar with the map of California and know that the Pacific Ocean is to the west. That naturalistic cause forms the intricate western border of the state. The intricate portion of the south-eastern border is the result of another naturalistic cause – the Colorado River.

In fact this rule-of-thumb seems to apply to all borders, including international borders. The border between the Western United States and Western Canada is a straight, horizontal line lacking any intricacy. Obviously that portion of the border was “Intelligently Designed”. In contrast the border between the Eastern United States and Eastern Canada is very intricate. Obviously that border is the result of naturalistic forces – the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River.

So as a general rule, when looking at international and state borders, we see:

  1. Where it is intricate, it is the result of natural forces.
  2. Where it lacks intricacy, it is the result of “Intelligent Design”.

There are many other similar examples.

Of course Intelligent Designers DO create complex things as well. Super-computers and the Space Shuttle are obvious examples.

Therefore, the only rational conclusion is that the amount of intricacy in something has nothing whatsoever to do with determining whether or not it is Intelligently Designed.

1 comment:

  1. just curious... but why a blog completely devoted to the idea that creationism is false?