Such issues are again making headlines following last week’s remarks by the astronaut Tim Peake, who said he thought the universe could be the result of divine creation. “I’m not religious [but] it doesn’t necessarily mean that I don’t seriously consider that the universe could have been created from intelligent design,” he said.
That the universe could have been? Not that I think well ever find out but it’s possible. That “Let there be light” and the setting of the basic equations and off we go.
These views are mild but will nevertheless be seized on by those determined to see the handiwork of God everywhere they look, from the shapes of bananas to the colour of the sky, a habit that is more common in the US than the UK. And for that we Britons should be grateful, for intelligent design is not just wrong; the idea is misguided and intellectually rotten, a point best illustrated in the study of our own bodies – and in particular our eyes.
Creationists say natural selection cannot explain the wonders and complexity of the eye. It must have been designed by a divine entity, they claim. How else can you explain how it co-ordinates the behaviour of each of its 125m photoreceptor cells to provide us with vision that has colour and depth? It is too complex to have evolved through random, physiological changes, they say.
Yes, yes, we know about eyes. But that’s not what Peake said, is it? He didn’t say “intelligent design” which is the code for God made the details of humans according to Genesis.
Robin McKie is the Observer’s science editor
Even just a journalist about science should know that you on’t disprove one claim by disproving another….