Complexity and Design

YOM's cow (fair use; click through for full image)For their latest trick, Your Origins Matter has reprinted an article from another creationist website called Don’t have a cow, man!, subtitled “Cow’s unusual spots are putting evolutionists in a tight spot.” Needless to say, given that title, it’s from a different slice of the creationist sector of the internet than we are used to.

The article begins:

While doing some research on the Internet recently, we came across this photo of a cow bearing a detailed map of the world on its hide. Was the cow born with these markings or are the spots the handiwork of a skilled Photoshop artist?

The question is rhetorical, the authors of the article aren’t that stupid. The photo that the original article has is actually different, by the way, with the cow in question facing the other way (and leaving off New Zealand and Greenland too, I might add). So what’s so devastating about this for evolution?

Obviously, this cow’s spots were put there by a designer. But our question for evolutionists is this: If you agree that the cow’s spots are designed, why won’t you agree that the actual cow – which is so much more complex than the arrangement of its spots – was designed as well?

Some real cow spotsThe author assumes that we determine that the image is photoshopped because it’s ‘complex.’ That’s bullshit. The original source for the ‘design’ of the spots are the incredibly complex but not designed coastlines of the Earth. Where the design comes in is in it’s placing on the back of a cow, where it clearly does not belong.

Cow spots don’t look like that – they tend not to be as jagged as coastlines, among other properties. The problem is that they look out of place, not simply that they are complex (if cow spots were normally jagged, but you made them smooth in your photoshopped image, the same would apply even despite a step down in complexity). Even excluding the spots the YOM image has clearly been altered in other ways to make the impressive-looking background and abnormally green grass. Finally, we’re talking about images in the Internet – Occam’s razor doesn’t value simple photoshopping highly as an added assumption in this situation.

We come to the conclusion that an object has been designed or otherwise tampered with based first and foremost on our experiences, not its perceived complexity. Saying that the arrangement of spots is designed because it is too complex will lead you to the correct conclusion in the case of the cow spots, but sooner or later you’ll be calling snowflakes designed and dinner plates the result of natural processes. It doesn’t work that way.

The article continues, blasting atheists and evolutionists for their faith-based beliefs:

Evolutionists and atheists will agree that the pattern of the cow’s spots was designed, but they will not agree that the cow itself was designed. That’s because they are committed to their faith – yes, faith! – built on the premise that there is no Designer. Though they can see the complexities of nature all around them, they say that everything was the result of mindless, natural processes.

And that’s why Darwinists have a cow whenever they hear a Bible-believing Christian say that things which appear to be designed actually are designed! If they weren’t so biased against God, they’d know that the cow’s spots reveals the incredibly huge blind spot in their own minds.

Actually, I’ll freely admit that cows are designed (to an extent). Like bananas, cows have been domesticated and modified by humans. But I don’t think that was what the author was looking for…

As for what was actually said in this collection of mixed metaphors, I can only say “I had no need of that hypothesis.” It’s not a premise that there is no captial-D designer, but that that explanation does not best explain the facts.

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One thought on “Complexity and Design

  1. Oh come on – we all know that coastlines were designed – by Slartibartfast.
    And how about willow pattern dinner plates, designed or evolved?
    I suppose the cow got that way because its parents were mated while standing in front of a map of a map of the world? (Genesis Chapter 30)

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