It isn’t THAT secret, really – most anti-rational rants are right out there where you can see them. But religionists can and do use back-door approaches that can be at least semi-effective.
With that in mind, we take a look at New Scientist’s guide: How to spot a hidden religious agenda.
This article deals primarily with the backdoor “Intelligent Design” jihad and covers such secret jihadist terms as “irreducible complexity” and “scientific materialism.” Rather than explain these terms in detail here, you should read the article. I will expand with my own thoughts below…
I will only add briefly to the discussion on the subject of irreducible complexity since the author glossed over it.
Irreducible Complexity is a philosophical argument from ignorance: Stripping away the verbiage, it all comes down to “I don’t understand how this could have happened, therefore it could not have happened naturally.”
Favorite Creationist/Intelligent Design arguments for complexity often involve things such as bananas and eyes. Bananas are supposed to be perfect for human consumption… but IDers apparently don’t realize that wild bananas are far from “ideal” for humans; they have tough skins, nasty seeds, and aren’t very sweet. Selective breeding brought us the bananas we see in the store today. People did that, not some diety.
Meanwhile, the eye seems pretty complex until you realize that all its components exist separately in nature: The shape of the eye is created by the well-known natural process called envagination (same as your stomach and every other pouch-like part of your body). Light sensitive cells exist all over in nature; creatures with pockets of light sensitive cells but no lens and even light-sensitive bacteria. In other words, no irreducible complexity here! And so it goes, always coming back to “I don’t know how that works, so God must have done it.”
Now let’s bear in mind that Intelligent Design/Creation science (hereafter referred to as “ID” for short) is not in ANY sense a science: There are no creationist laboratories, no creationist experiments. What would they test in such labs? New circular arguments?
ID consists solely of linguistic philosophical arguments which attempt to poke holes in scientific theory. ID’ers act as if the only alternative to evolution would be some god. They want you to believe in a God creator – that’s why they do what they do and that is why ID is religion not science – but since ID only tries to delegitimize scientific evidence and does not offer any proof of a particular alternative, you could just as well believe that life on earth arose because of advanced aliens, alternate-universe intrusion or the Flying Spaghetti Monster – should you choose to accept their arguments.
The typical ID argument is based around some vague idea that “life is just too complicated to have evolved…” Yeah, sure, life is too complicated to arise spontaneously… so then what… God created it? If that’s true, then wouldn’t such a God be even more complex than mere earth life, being infinite and all-powerful?
So if earth-life is too complicated to have evolved, then so must a living God be too complicated and therefore must have been created by an even more powerful super-being. ..who of course must have been created by yet another even bigger Super God.
Oh no, they would say, God just exists; he is perfect, infinite and eternal. He wasn’t created.
Okay, then life on earth wasn’t created either. Earth life is far from infinite and is nowhere near “perfect” so it is much easier to believe that life “just is” than it is to believe some unseen non-material Superman-God “just is.”
This would be obvious if you didn’t start your debate from a pro-religion bias.
And by the way, try explaining the perfection of creation to someone with a genetic disorder. Look at the baby born with no brain, or half a heart, and tell me how perfect it all is.
That’s right, if you bother to look around very much you’ll see just how imperfect, flawed and half-assed it all is. Life works, but barely. In every given population of anything, there are a lot of genetic failures. The religious person just refuses to open his eyes and see. In other words, if someone or something created all life, then he/she/it did a very crappy job. Evolution is what makes the most sense when all this information is taken into account.
As a philosopher and theologian, I love arguments along the lines of “why do I exist?” and “what is the meaning of life?” They’ve been my “bread and butter” for decades. These are philosophical arguments, however, and the attempt to turn such arguments into anti-science crusades will, ultimately, only bring harm to both religion and science ..as well as humanity.