Wednesday, November 29, 2006

UD on the Road

My grand theory of Unintelligent Design was intended to explain all of those inexplicably stupid attributes which could never have survived the ongoing process of natural selection, proving both:

a.) that the universe was crafted by a supreme Designer, and

b.) that this Designer, like us, is unintelligent.

When I first wrote about it here I challenged readers to actively seek out evidence that we have been created by a, well, less than perfect mastermind. I challenged readers to see their world through lens of UD, and to look for those fatal flaws in our design which point to our supremely flawed Designer.

I, too, have taken up this challenge, and I am finding unintelligence all around me. Especially on the road.

One key component of our unintelligent design is our inability to identify that which is in our best interests, and how to realize that interest. Our instincts, our impulses, our fundamental drives all slip right on past cognition. Nowhere is this more evident than when we are driving.

How often do we see drivers pitch vehicular hissy fits, swerving from lane to lane trying to go just a little bit faster, only to find that each manic lane change has cost them more of their precious time? Such crazy driving is a drastic miscalculation both of one's interests (preferring haste to safety) and the behaviors most likely to produce the desired end (hasty, reckless driving ultimately slows one down). But while this may be the most obvious example of our unintelligent design, it is not a particularly humorous one.

However, in the past few weeks, I have observed two more humorous examples of UD on the road:

A Penny Saved is a Penny Earned, but What Does it Profit a Man to Gain a Penny But Lose His Life?

On the way to the hospital for my wrist surgery I saw this strange sight, which may prove once and for all that some of us love money far too much. A man was jaywalking across a busy road, which is dangerous enough without being distracted by what David Wilcox call "shiny junk." Having safely negotiated his way past the hoards of oncoming vehicles, the man stopped just before the curb, turned around, and bent over to pick something up. Oh lucky day, he might have thought to himself, as the cars whizzed by his face. Some poor sucker dropped a penny!

I know that our crazed capitalist culture has followed in the long human tradition of assigning some contrived value to certain symbols, allowing you to exchange those symbols for something you might actually have some use for. In fact, we have elevated this silly human practice to whole new heights, placing these symbols at the center of our public religion. But even in such a money-obsessed culture, it is hard to blame this man's actions on anything other than faulty wiring, clearly the work of our Unintelligent Designer.

Vanity (Mirror), Vanity (Mirror), All is Vanity

Driving to pick Adam up from his preschool today, I saw a late-model Toyota Corolla swerving aimlessly between lanes. First I thought, Isn't it a bit early in the day to be that sloshed?, but I soon realized that the culprit wasn't alcohol at all. The car's rear view mirror was aimed not at the traffic behind the car, but directly at the driver's face.

The "operator" of the vehicle - I can't bear to call her a driver again, as the car was driving her at least as much as she was driving it - was, with the vehicle in motion at well over 60 miles per hour in HEAVY TRAFFIC (can you hear me screaming?!?) doing her hair and make-up!!!!! Talk about being all dressed up with nowhere to go!

How can we explain the genetic survival of traits that so clearly misidentify one's interests and the behaviors needed to secure such interests except to say that they were willed by a sovereign, yet stupid, Designer? Or, to put it another way, if we are made in the image of God, what exactly does that say about God?


Troy said...

Maybe it was a magic penny.

Tom said...

For a good idea of how UD applies to musicians and criminals (some of my favorite people) check this out.