A couple of weeks ago I was stuck at home with pneumonia, and one afternoon, after one part or other of the Lord of the Rings trilogy finished, I found myself face to face with Maury Povich. Merciful heavens. I have never seen a more wretched hive of scum and villainy, and I ran a community theatre for over twenty years.
It was almost enough to make one abandon one’s belief in Intelligent Design. I mean, really, who could think that an intelligent force would design creatures capable of those kinds of choices? In one sitting, I saw a woman fail a lie detector test and thus be proven a multiple adulterer; a woman confess to her fiancé that she was having an affair with her female neighbor; and a woman dying of colon cancer confess to her boyfriend that she’d been unfaithful more than 100 times and couldn’t be sure that their two children were his. I missed the segment where a man confessed to his wife that he made pocket money as a male prostitute, but that’s probably just as well.
There ain’t nothing intelligent in the incredibly untidy lives these people have lived, nor in their insane compulsion to confess their missteps, nor to do so on national television. If one were looking for patterns that betrayed the presence of an Intelligent Designer, one would not find it on Maury Povich. Quite the contrary.
I suppose that if one examines the tenets of Intelligent Design, no one is making the claim that this Force (whoever she is) is necessarily benevolent, and I know there will be those who take refuge in the old shibboleth of Free Will, but if I’m going to invent an all-powerful Intelligence who can operate outside the laws of the physical universe, I would hope I at least had the sense to make sure that He/She/It had our best interests at heart.
That got me thinking, in my fevered, antibiotic-induced way, about other particular shibboleths of the IDers. One of their favorites is the eye: how remarkable, how complex it is; surely it couldn’t have just evolved, could it?
Oddly, I remember thinking in 4th grade, as we studied the structure of the eye, that something was screwy with its design. I mean, the cones and rods are backwards, aren’t they? Shouldn’t they face toward the incoming light in order to be most efficient? And what’s up with the blind spot? Why would you run all your cabling out through the middle of your CRT?
And then I thought… testicles. Testicles. If there were ever any fleshy bit that just screams out “random selection,” surely it’s testicles. What kind of Intelligence would design something as stupid as testicles? Let’s face it, guys, any one of us could come up with better ideas on how to stow those puppies in a better place.
For one thing, we might have decided to make sperm a little tougher so that they could survive at 98.6° instead of having to be stored in little dangly pouches outside the body. We could have snuggled them up there somewhere and encased them in protective cartilage or something. Could have made that a pretty useful kind of thing, too, sort of a built-in implant kind of thingie.
But no. There they are, all wrinkly and silly, just waiting to be whacked by a teammate or opponent, or a lover, or even an excited 18-month-old. What’s intelligent about that? Not much, in my opinion.
Discernible purpose in the design? I suppose you could make a case for pleasure, that they’re awfully fun to play with, if not to look at, but I don’t imagine that’s the kind of case that most Intelligent Designers are willing to make in public. So what kind of Intelligent Force would design such a thing?
And then it occurred to me, in a flash of inspiration. If one is willing, as that President Bush has recently said, to explore all sides of the controversy, then the answer is pretty obvious: testicles are clearly the product of the fiendish Intelligence of the Flying Spaghetti Monster.
Isn’t it obvious, guys? We were made in his image, right down to the noodly appendage. This is the only possible explanation that fits in with the agenda of the IDers: Testicles are a testament to the FSM’s almighty power, not to mention his sense of humor, and are a daily reminder to half the population of his presence, or at least of his impetus.
So there you have it: either we can think that testicles are the result of one too many random switches being thrown, an evolutionary path that hung a right instead of a left (sorry…) a long time ago, or we can recognize the overwhelming Intelligence behind their design. Seems an easy choice to me.