Tuesday, November 09, 2004

A thought about evolution

The recent discovery of remains of Homo Floresiensis, a newly discovered species of hominid that coexisted with Homo sapiens on the small island of Flores in Indonesia, has apparently created something of a minor uproar in the evolution/creationism debate. A columnist on the Right side of the blogosphere has accused evolutionists of "striking while the iron is hot" in support of their "bogus evolutionary dogma". And at least one creationist has already stated that the discovery supports creationism (hat tip: Evolutionblog).

For those of us who have been dosing up on philosophical morphine, newly uncovered evidence of this sort can only be a good thing for evolutionary theory and science in general. Let's suppose for the sake of argument that this new discovery really is proof of the intelligent design of at least one terrestrial animal species. It still does not follow that God must therefore exist, because the alternative explanation that the "intelligent designer" was some undiscovered intelligent species (or undiscovered human civilization) capable of genetically engineering an animal species has not been excluded. Creationists must be able to prove both "intelligent design" and the impossibility of what one might call "mortal design" before the genesis of that species can be attributed to God.

Technically speaking, even if Homo Floresiensis was proven to have been intelligently designed, that proof would not necessarily imply that Homo Sapiens Sapiens has been intelligently designed. The theory that God's true creations died out on a small island in the South Pacific, leaving us behind as the refuse, might be more shocking to the creationists than the theory of evolution.

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