Saturday, August 27, 2005

Meals Without Design?

I just saw a very disturbing commercial.

It opens with a voice over telling a story about Ronald Regan and his take on evolution. It said that when he was president, he wanted to invite the leader of a communist government to the mansion for a great state dinner. At the end of the meal, after the sovereign praised the quality of the food, Regan would ask if the leader believed if there was a chef. The commercial shamelessly ends with "Evolution is a lie. Read the Bible."

Assuming the story is true, Regan would committing the fallacy of False Analogy. Ingredients are not autonomous agents seeking to make the perfect meal. They are merely matter (usually dead), uninterested in (and often incapable of) sacrificing themselves to feed others.

Prospering, however, is something all organisms are interested in doing. This common goal extends from the most basic of bacteria to human societies. Thus if Regan thought something as simple as a cook making a layer cake demonstrated nature cannot exist without God, then by logical extension the world economy needs a central planner to function properly. But Regan recognized that people pursuing their own self-interest can create a complex system without design. If only he recognized that ecology and eggs benedict were not the same thing.

No comments: