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Intelligent Design vs. Evolution Theory Essay

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Updated: May 9th, 2021

Introduction

Over the years, the field of natural sciences has been dominated by the unending debate pitting the intelligent design theory of existence against the evolution theory. The two theories belong to different schools of thought that seek to explain the origin of various elements that make up the environment and the factors that contribute to their existence (Ridley 14). Many scientists have tried to understand different life forms based on the explanations given in the two theories.

The evolution theory was the first to present the phenomenon of existence as explained by its creator, Charles Darwin. In theory, Darwin argues that new species of various organisms tend to develop from old ones through a process called natural selection. Since then, the theory has received a lot of criticism from people who believe that the structural composition of living organisms depends on a design inspired by supernatural intelligence (Sewell 9).

The vocal criticism of the evolution theory led to the development of the intelligent design theory. Unlike the evolution theory, which is highly substantiated through scientific disciplines such as geology and genetics, the intelligent design theory relies majorly on the religious beliefs that people have with regard to the supernatural abilities of God (Ridley 31). The intelligent design versus evolution theory debate has a long way to go before anyone can give substantial evidence to prove the phenomenon of existence.

Discussion

Intelligent design refers to a scientific theory explaining the origin of life-based on the religious argument about the existence of God. The theory has been greatly dismissed by the supporters of the evolution theory as just a resemblance of science that is founded on fallacious assumptions (Sewell 12). Its proponents believe that certain elements of the earth and the structure of living things could not have been a result of an aimlessly drifting process such as natural selection, as argued by the evolution theory.

Arguably, intelligent design theory cannot be classified as a science because it does not have any form of experiential evidence or justifiable premise to support its concept. The intelligent design theory was developed by the Discovery Institute in the United States, which has demonstrated a high degree of resistance to change with regard to elemental Christian and political ideologies (Sewell 20).

The developers came up with two major arguments, namely irreducible complexity and specified complexity, that sought to discredit the evolution theory. The main argument made by the two concepts is that biological and informational features of human beings are hardly a result of natural selection, but that of design owing to their highly complex nature (Ridley 38).

The concept of irreducible complexity was developed by a biochemist called Michael Behe. He explained it as a term to describe a system that is made up of several interacting parts that complement each other to perform basic functions, in that if any single element is removed or stops working them, the whole system shuts down (Muehlenbein 36). However, critics of the concept who are also proponents of the evolution theory argue that it is wrong to assume that the essential elements of a system have to be there from the start.

The reason behind their argument is the fact that evolution happens in a manner that removes some existing elements of a system to ensure or enhance functionality (Sewell 29). Although the irreducible complexity is a commonly applied concept in arguing against Darwinism, the developer acknowledged that it lacks rational proof, as evidenced by the rejection it received from the field of science.

Specified complexity is a concept that also seeks to explain the logic behind the intelligent design theory. Developed by a physical chemist called Charles Thaxton in 1986, specified complexity argues that elements transmitted through DNA come from an agent inspired by a specific kind of intelligence (Sewell 51). This explains the reason why members of a family tend to exhibit a number of similar traits because their DNA is designed in a particular way. According to the proponents of this concept, it is very hard for complex specified information to occur through processes such as natural selection because they lack a clear definition (Ridley 69).

Such events can take any course because they do not follow any design. However, critics argue that the argument does not hold any basis because there is no scientific evidence to prove that complex specified information does not exist naturally (Sewell 66). Proponents of the intelligent design theory face this challenge very often with regard to giving a reasonable basis for their arguments. The evolution theory boasts of having several peer-reviewed research papers that substantiate their explanation of existence.

According to Darwin’s theory of evolution through natural selection, organisms tend to change a lot over time. These changes are necessitated by variations witnessed in traits that are inherited, thus allowing an organism to have enhanced adaptability to its immediate environment and bear offspring (Newman 73). The theory is backed by two main arguments. The first one states that all living organisms in the universe are related to each other, thus have a shared connection.

It further argues that the diverse nature of life is a result of population changes necessitated by natural selection. This means that during the evolution of the environment, certain factors were eliminated while others got some improvement to match the needs of the developing species. The second argument is based on the concept of descent with modification, which entails the ability to live organisms to survive through varying environmental conditions and at the same time meet their immediate needs (Newman 89).

Studies have established that human beings in the contemporary world are struggling to match up with the rate of technological advancements. Statistics show that one out of twelve people today struggles to find a suitable mate due to the highly dynamic nature of social interactions brought about by technology. Experts argue that these kinds of challenges are not brought about by the removal or reduced functionality of any elements that make up the human structures (Ridley 107). Instead, they are caused by the changing environment that does not meet the needs the current generation evolved to handle adequately.

One of the common elements of the two theories is the religious aspect applied in their developments. Intelligent design theory is considered as the theistic retort to conventional science with regard to the question of existence, while the evolution theory applies as the primary story of creation for atheists (Muehlenbein 61). Proponents of the intelligent design theory believe that their argument provides more meaning and purpose to the story of existence. On the other hand, believers of Darwinism comprehend that there is a story of an unguided process that makes everything out of nothing through indiscriminate changes and adjustment strategies (Newman 102).

Critics of Darwinism use this explanation to discredit the theory by challenging its proponents to explain how a process could begin from nothing without being influenced by an intellectual force. However, studies have established that all human imaginations about their existence are embedded in the evolution theory and the notion that God designed the process. For example, contemporary human behaviors such as homosexuality have the subject of numerous studies that have tried to find any possible linkages in the evolutionary heritage of human beings.

One of the most interesting elements about the evolution theory is the manner in which it helps one understand the past and, most importantly have a hint about the way the future will look like. Proponents of Darwinism argue that the evolution of human beings over the years is substantiated in the eternal struggle that has characterized human life over the years (Newman 119). The struggle is believed to have resulted in change that later transpired into progress.

Through the progress being witnessed with the current generation, it is possible to predict that the subsequent ones have a better chance of reaching perfection (Ridley 132). The introduction of the intelligent design theory created a lot of controversy because of some of these reasons.

Research has established that people that care about being reasonable and ideological commitment would rather be ridiculed than supporting the arguments of the intelligent design theory. It is evident that the explanatory power of the evolutionary theory cannot be disputed owing to the fact that it is backed with fossil records that demonstrate the way an organism transitions from one stage to another. The modern science that is taught in school teaches a lot about the life cycle of various organisms, as argued by Darwinism (Newman 131). Over the years, the intelligent design theory has failed to account for any of its claims, thus weakening its hypothesis.

For example, the argument it raises through the concept of irreducible complexity lacks the necessary scientific backing because it fails to explain scenarios where different organisms have similar parts, yet their adaptation mechanisms are very different. The biggest weakness harbored by the intelligent design theory is the inability to substantiate its arguments with evidence. Experts argue that certain claims can also be explained using scientific evidence (Ridley 221). The arguments of intelligent design are mainly based on the religious ideologies about the existence of God, who the creator of heaven and earth.

Conclusion

The concept of existence has been the subject of numerous debates across the world for many years, whose center of attention has been the two theories that offer differing explanations. The debate between intelligent design and evolution theory is highly controversial owing to the fact that each theorist seeks to give his or her own understanding of different life forms. The proponents of the two theories keep looking for new information to discredit each other’s understanding of the universe and its elements. Developed from the concept of God being the source of an intelligent power behind existence and other elements of the universe, the intelligent design theory applies as atheistic response to mainstream science.

The evolution theory bases its arguments on the evidence contained in numerous fossil records that show the way parts of the body have evolved from one generation to another. With regard to explaining the concept of existence in the universe, the evolution theory is better placed because it is simple, self-explanatory, and has a high predictive success. These elements make it easy for anyone to understand the origin of the various species across the universe, as well as give a successful prediction of the way they will look in the next couple of centuries.

Works Cited

Muehlenbein, Michael, editor. Basics in Human Evolution. 1st ed., Elsevier, 2016.

Newman, Robert. The Encyclopedia of Evolution. Cargo Publishing, 2015.

Ridley, Matt. The Evolution of Everything: How Small Changes Transform our World. Harper Collins Publishers, 2015.

Sewell, Granville. At the Beginning: And other Essays on Intelligent Design. 2nd ed., Discovery Institute, 2015.

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