Slate: Monty Python’s flying creationism


William Saletan has a very funny article on Slate titled The Brontosaurus Monty Python’s flying creationism.

Behe offered a number of interesting criticisms of Darwinism. But it’s impossible to focus on any of these criticisms, because they were so completely overshadowed by the brontosaurus in the room: ID’s sophomoric emptiness.

It seems that more an more media and scientists are realizing the scientific vacuity of Intelligent Design.

Note: I have corrected the many spelling errors. I blame it on an unfamiliar keyboard:-)

Saletan then shows the similarities between Behe’s testimony and a famous Monty Python sketch.

Saletan concludes that Intelligent Design remains totally vacuous.

The interrogation goes on like this for pages and pages. Like the theorist in the Monty Python sketch, Behe throws up a blizzard of babble: process, intelligent activity, important facts. What process? What activity? What facts? He never explains. He says the designer “took steps” to create complex biological systems, but ID can’t specify the steps. Does ID tell us who designed life? No, he answers. Does it tell us how? No. Does it tell us when? No. How would the designer create a bacterial flagellum? It would “somehow cause the plan to, you know, go into effect,” he proposes.

The new definition of Intelligent Design: “Somehow, somewhere, someone used something to cause some unknown plan to go into effect.”

Can ID make testable predictions? Not really. If we posit that a given biological system was designed, Rothschild asks, what can we infer about the designer’s abilities? Just “that the designer had the ability to make the design that is under consideration,” says Behe. “Beyond that, we would be extrapolating beyond the evidence.” Does Behe not understand that extrapolating beyond initial evidence is exactly the job of a hypothesis? Does he not grasp the meaninglessness of saying a designer designed things that were designed?

Indeed, and yet Behe’s ‘arguments’ seem to still appeal to the creationists who seem to be deaf and blind to how non-scientific they are. All they hear is what they already know, namely that life was designed. Who needs more details…

Saletan gives his own definition of Intelligent Design as follows

So, this is my theory, which belongs to me, and goes as follows. All intelligently designed things are brought about by an intelligent designer through a process of intelligently conducted design. If it’s good enough for Monty Python, it’s good enough for biology class.


I still like my revolutionary idea, The Squint Algorithm of Intelligent Design. If you look at it and squint, and it looks designed, it IS designed. QED.

Of course it works. It’s infallible. Look at Mount Rushmore. Squint. Looks designed. Look at a random pile of sand. Squint. Not designed.


And no, my theory doesn’t have your pathetic level of detail.

does it have to be a random pile of sand?

“Does it have to be a random pile of sand?”

Now now, don’t be silly. We know quite well that, since the Intelligent Designer made the entire Universe, that sand is designed to appear that way… Can you imagine the impossible odds of it being a different configuration than it is now?

If you use the squint method, it all becomes clear - vaguely. Quick, let’s replace the scientific method with it…!

I enjoyed this article so much that I actually performed it live on my cable access show, “The Atheist Experience.”

You can download an MP3 version of the audio from[…]05-10-30.mp3

Please skip ahead to 41:00 in the broadcast. The skit lasts for 4 minutes and 35 seconds.

True Story: A Friend of mine was stopped by a policeman when he was racing home from University to see an episode of the Monty Python series originally screened in the early 1970’s. When asked to explain why he was speeding the policeman let him off !!!!

In those days missing that fantastic originality was no small matter.

Pricking pomposity is best done with humor.

The Python team split and 2 of them made a series call “Ripping yarns”

Biologists may find this amusing

Across the Andes by Frog

A stuffy typically English stiff upper lip military type takes on one of the last great challenges left for explorers.

Be sure to check the link for for the Himalayan Sleeping Frog.

For any younger readers the early 1970’s were pre-VCR

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on October 29, 2005 5:52 PM.

Experts in creationism trials – Shallit be? was the previous entry in this blog.

Dover school board member Heather Geesey: “You can teach creationism without its being Christianity,” is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.



Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.381

Site Meter