On November 5, 2006, TheScienceNetwork hosted a series of lectures in a meeting called Beyond Belief: Science, Religion, Reason and Survival. Among the lecturers was science rockstar Neil deGrasse Tyson (also known as "that guy from the new Cosmos series"). during his lecture, Dr deGrasse Tyson argued against the validity of the Intelligent Design Theory with a series of counter-examples that he called the "Stupid Design Theory".
He argues that the universe cannot possibly be the result of a Designer (or, if it was, that it is not nearly as intelligent as some assume it to be). These counter-examples are divided in three big areas (I'm paraphrasing from his presentation):
- The Universe is not really suited for life, Earth is an oddity and not the rule:
- Most planetary orbits are unstable
- Star formation is very inefficient (deGrasse quotes that < 3% of a gas cloud actually makes a star)
- In the massive majority of the universe, life as we know it can't exist due to low (near-0 k) or high (above 373 Kelvin) temperatures and several sources of fatal radiation.
- Our orbit around the galaxy brings us constantly closer to a supernova. I haven't checked, but I'm sure most scientists would tell you to stay clear of supernovae if you can.
- Our galaxy will collide with a the neighbor galaxy known as Andromeda. The forecast is not very promising for everything living on Earth.
- The universe seems to be constantly expanding and there's a good chance that it will keep on expanding. This will lead to what is known as the Heat Death of the Universe which would mean no more nuclear fusion in stars, no more useful energy and no more Pop-Tarts for breakfast, forever.
- The Earth has lots of hazards for humans:
- Earthquakes and volcanoes (paraphrasing this MtG card: where do you run when the Earth becomes your enemy?)
- Tsunamis, a side effect of tectonic plates performing frottage on each other, make literal walls of water that hit almost literally like concrete.
- Natural phenomena such as floods, tornadoes and hurricanes tend to be pretty destructive for humans and their particular environment.
- Roughly 2/3rds of the planet's surface is water, which is a shitty substrate to build on. We can't live there
- A good deal of the solid surface of the Earth has extreme temperatures and little to no food for us (the Arctic/Antarctic poles and deserts, mostly)
- We've gone through several massive extinction events. Massive with a capital M. As in, ~98% of every species that has ever lived is no longer here. This is, in part, because we're very close to a ring made of giant rocks that can potentially fall off the sky and hit you on your head really, really hard.
- The Human Body
- There are lots of diseases and conditions that are incredibly aggresive towards humans and are not human-induced. Examples include Childhood Leukemia, hemophilia, sclerosis, Epilepsy, et cetera.
- The human eye, even though it's praised by supporters of ID, is blind to most of the Electromagnetic spectrum
- The process of aging that leads to some irreversible changes: vision loss, tooth decay, multiple cancers...
- The respiratory process is incredibly inefficient in terms of Oxygen consumption.
- "Warm blooded" organisms like ourselves must eat constantly, compared to Crocodiles.
- Our senses can't detect several sources of harm, like ionizing radiation, magnetic fields and potentially lethal gases like Carbon monoxide, Carbon dioxide and Methane
The full session can be found at thesciencenetwork.org and the edited video, source of this writeup is on YouTube.
The discussion of whether this (counter-)argument is valid or not and its reasons are left as an exercise to the reader.