Why don’t cars evolve?

On the May 30th post entitled “Do car engineers turn to Darwinian evolution or intelligent design?”, Casey Luskin writes:

Don’t read into this post too much.

I am sorry, but even with the disclaimer, there is plenty to read into this post. Casey Luskin thinks that the use of the term “intelligent design” and not evolution when designing cars somehow lends credence to ID. It doesn’t.

The comparison of human engineering to biology is ridiculous. Even so, it is a frequent tactic used by IDers. Taking Luskin’s analogy of automobiles provides an excellent example. First and foremost, cars are not biological. Cars do not have baby cars that are slightly different than their parent cars. Cars do not grow from a single cell, but instead are put together from thousands of different parts. Cars do not actively seek out food to survive. Cars do not compete with other cars to survive and reproduce. Enough differences yet? Whether you are talking about laptops, subway systems, or cars, IDers will try to use human design as a parallel to intelligent design. Don’t buy it.

If my body, like a car, was intelligently designed, I would be calling my body a lemon and trying to get my money back. I have allergies, asthma, and scoliosis, just to name a few problems. 75% of adults in the United States require glasses. 23% of people will succumb to a disease that is wholly self-inflicted on a biological level. How is that for intelligent design?

On a serious note, Luskin brings up the point that evolutionists say that intelligent design threatens to destroy science. There is a lot of truth to that statement. Science is based on testable hypotheses, mathematical calculations, experiments, and facts. Intelligent design, on the other hand, is based on no experimental evidence, a preconceived notion, and the denial of evolution. When people stoop to the level of accepting this sort of sloppy thinking, then science suffers. In a recent article in the New York Times, Brian Greene writes an excellent summary of why science is important:

Science is a way of life. Science is a perspective. Science is the process that takes us from confusion to understanding in a manner that’s precise, predictive and reliable — a transformation, for those lucky enough to experience it, that is empowering and emotional. To be able to think through and grasp explanations — for everything from why the sky is blue to how life formed on earth — not because they are declared dogma but rather because they reveal patterns confirmed by experiment and observation, is one of the most precious of human experiences.

Update: The Skeptic’s Guide 5X5 podcast also covered this post.