Intelligent Design in Nature?

An interesting article has appeared in the journal Nature, and believe it or not, it uses the concept of Intelligent Design. Now don’t get excited. It doesn’t apply Intelligent Design to biology. That would be crazy, wouldn’t it? Instead, the article applies Intelligent Design to the field of anthropology, where the high priests of science still allow the use of such concepts, at least for now.

Simon Parfitt and his colleagues have been looking for clues regarding the earliest presence of humans in Northern Europe. In 2005, they published a study that indicated humans were in Northern Europe long before it was originally thought. Indeed, using scientifically irresponsible dating techniques, that study found evidence of humans in Northern Europe nearly 700,000 years ago,1 which is roughly 200,000 years earlier than had been previously thought.

Now Parfitt has pushed that date back even further. Using data from both magnetic and climate indicators, they say that their newest discovery indicates people were in Northern Europe between 850,000 and 950,000 years ago.2 While their 2005 paper presented anthropology with a bit of a surprise, this one is even more surprising.

You see, using evolutionary preconceptions, it has been thought that “early humans” were rather primitive. Thus, it was not clear that they were smart enough to deal with cold climates, where they would need to clothe themselves, build shelters, and make fires. Since it is thought that Northern Europe was relatively warm 700,000 years ago, the 2005 paper by Parfitt’s team was at least understandable in terms of what people thought these early humans were like. Even “primitive” humans who didn’t know how to clothe themselves against the cold could survive there. The surprise associated with his team’s current paper is that scientists think Northern Europe was colder between 850,000 and 950,000 years ago. As a result, they now have to admit that these “primitive” humans were smart enough to survive colder climates by clothing themselves, building shelters, and making fires. Of course, that doesn’t sound very “primitive,” does it?

So why do I say that the article by Parfitt’s team uses the concept of Intelligent Design? Because the evidence that Parfitt’s team uses to place human beings in Northern Europe at that time has nothing to do with human fossils. Instead, the team found 78 palm-sized stones that have what appear to be intentionally-sharpened edges on them. In other words, Parfitt’s team found the things that the humans had designed. Since palm-shaped stones with intentionally-sharpened edges have all the hallmarks of design, Parfitt’s team assumes that they must have been made by a designer. As a result, they conclude that humans (designers) were there.

Parfitt’s team has already demonstrated that they are not afraid to use the concept of Intelligent Design in their investigations. Indeed, their 2005 paper uses the same kind of evidence for the presence of humans: tools made from flint. Once again, since the flint tools had all the hallmarks of design, they assumed there must have been a designer. As a result, humans must have been there.

As long as the high priests of science continue to allow it, such reasoning will be regularly used in anthropology and archaeology. After all, stone tools and other hard artifacts are much more likely to be preserved than human remains. As a result, when an artifact has all the hallmarks of design, anthropologists will be allowed to make the obvious conclusion that there must have been a designer to make the artifact. It is too bad that biologists don’t have that same freedom. Despite the fact that many things in biology have all the hallmarks of design, the high priests of science do not allow biologists to come to the logical conclusion that there must have been a designer for those things.

Fortunately, there are those who are willing to ignore the dogma that comes from the high priests of science. Instead, they are willing to use the fact that evidence of design indicates the presence of a designer, even in biology. In my opinion, they are the ones who are actually advancing science. Of course, such revolutionaries are always opposed by the scientific establishment, but eventually, that opposition will fall under the weight of the evidence.


1. Simon A. Parfitt, et al., “The earliest record of human activity in northern Europe,” Nature 438:1008-1012, 2005 Available online with subscription.
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2. Simon A. Parfitt, et al., “Early Pleistocene human occupation at the edge of the boreal zone in northwest Europe,” Nature 466:229-233, 2010 Available online with subscription.
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  1. bobxxxx July 11, 2010 10:07 pm

    Calling magic “design” doesn’t make it any less childish.

    You’re a [censored] idiot.

    • jlwile July 12, 2010 3:11 pm

      Ah…the inquisition has visited my blog. Way to preach the dogma, bobxxx!

  2. Josiah July 13, 2010 4:45 am

    Sorry Doctor… The pyre is over that way… :)
    I think I preferred Shooter’s comments.