In debate circles and discussion forums on atheism vs. theism or deism; Darwinism vs Intelligent Design (ID) all across the world today we hear that ID is stuck with a serious problem. According to the opponents of ID such as the late Christopher Hitchens (who was one the worst reasoners by the way on this subject) the ID, uh hum, stopper goes like this,
“…the postulate of a designer or creator only raises the unanswerable question of who designed the designer or created the creator.” – God is not Great, page 71.
Hitchens goes on to say that this question has never been answered by those in the design camp and he implies that it is a serious objection to ID. This is a very strange statement, and an incredibly presumptuous one at that. It is of course equal to the old argument, “Who made God?”.
The 1st error here is that the question is based on the assumption of infinite regression of Gods creating Gods, Designers designing Designers. But infinite regressions in logic are logical absurdities, since all infinite regression propositions are such.
The most curious thing however is the stupidity inherent in such bold assertions as Hitchens made, and so many of his fans following. Truly the so-called New Atheists can’t hold a candle to the old ones, who tended at least to be much smarter and somewhat less smart-ass. On the one hand the assertion seems to be based on the logical absurdity of infinite regressions, and on the other it foolishly demands an answer to a logical absurdity. Then it claims that not being able to answer a logical absurdity is somehow important in the challenge of the “who designed the designer” rebuttal.
Besides being a nonsense question, if one assumes an infinite regression of designers, it is indeed unanswerable, as are all logically absurd questions. A simple example of a nonsense question is “Is the color green square or round?”; or “Can God create a rock so big he can’t lift it?” – which questions generally come from the minds of children not yet trained in reasoning, logic and critical thinking, not from highly educated fools like Hitchens et al.
But here is another answer to the question at hand, supposing we are not implying an infinite regression: Who cares!?
Why should anyone care if the designer himself were designed? Once you’ve gotten to the designer of the thing you’re examining, it doesn’t matter! That becomes a second and separate inquiry altogether.
Consider the following:
If I’m trying to figure out who designed the car across the street, I may be able to get to the correct answer by a simple search – checking the logo on the front or back of the car. Now, once I’ve determined who that designer is, why should I look any further? Suppose I discover it was made by Honda. Why should I inquire as to who designed the designer, i.e. who created Honda? The question may indeed interest me but once I’ve gotten to the cars’ maker, that is sufficient, all by itself, to be able to postulate that the car was indeed manufactured by a specific designer.
Now, here’s the real issue; in ID I’m not even looking to know who the designer is! The whole purpose of ID is not to determine the designer of life, but to determine that it was indeed designed rather than self-assembled by some other non rational process.
Do I really need to know who the designer is to determine that it was indeed designed or whether it came to be by a chance series of events by some other process? The answer is no. No more than claiming that when determining that some structure was designed or not, I can’t logically postulate design until I know exactly who designed it. This puts the cart before the horse. Obviously I cannot postulate a designer until I’ve adequately determined design. Can you even imagine what the state of archaeology would be if archeologist were not allowed to claim that some ancient structure was designed and built, rather than a mere natural occurrence!? Yet archeologists are always proclaiming the discovery of some artificial artifact, all while having no idea who made it! The death of archeology would be the result.
Design must be determined first. This is not hard. Otherwise postulating the identity of the designer is absurd and futile. Moreover once design is determined, with reasonable certainty, the question, “Who did it?”, is an entirely separate research issue.
Atheists always fail to see this distinction and thus fail to come up with more intelligent questions. Why? Because their minds are on hold in strict materialism. For them it has to be 100% natural, no intelligence allowed, no goals, no purpose, no guidance allowed. So as soon as a design inference is made, they are forced by their metaphysics – not evidence, not science – either to deny design or change their metaphysics, their religion of materialism.
After denial, they come up with the intellectually void and irrelevant rebuttal, “Who designed the designer”!
1. Intelligent Design proponents may or may not care one whit who the designer is. The most important thing to understand is that the question of identity is irrelevant until design has been adequately supported by the evidence.
This of course assumes that design detection is scientifically possible. Is it? Of course it is!
Design detection is practiced every day in other fields such as forensic anthropology, arson investigations, genetic manipulation determining and many other fields. No one questions the ability to determine intelligent design in those areas. Only in biology! Only there do we find such vehement, apoplectic fits being had by opponents. This fact alone should get any honest enquirer thinking that something is gravely wrong in Darwinian fundamentalism.
Have atheists never heard of the NAZCA lines? Stone Henge? Or hundreds of other things I could mention that were clearly designed by some intelligence, but that nobody has a clue WHO they were? Are there known designers to these artifacts? If atheists know who the designers were they should enlighten us, the world would like to know. Wait a second! They don’t know?! Then, following their own specious reasoning, we should stop claiming these things were designed! Ludicrous, to say the least.
The fact is that they don’t know who the designers are for these artifacts and yet I am sure none of them would deny that they are designed. Do they know how they were designed? The answer again is no. Does that mean they were not designed? Again, ludicrous and spurious logic to say the least.
So again how is it legitimate for atheists to say that that such artifacts are designed, and yet deny the same exact principle in biology? Double standard much? There is not enough data to make any determination of the identity of the designer(s). When and if we can identify the designer of organic life on this planet we might have some data to work with in determining the origin of that agency.
2. But it gets worse for them. Suppose I have indeed discovered the designer’s identity. The question, “Who designed the designer?”, is still irrelevant because, hey I’ve found the designer and I need not go further back.
Why should I? Only if I have evidence that the designer was also designed and so on … back infinitely again, and back to logical absurdities again, since it is impossible to determine an infinite regressions’ beginning, since by definition there is none.