Intelligent Design: Legos, Star Trek, and iPhones

Here are two stories that are intended to illustrate a point. The first story is an original parable and the second is by another author.

The Parable: Consider the following imaginary conversation between two biologists as they stroll through Legoland. ( With a hat-tip to Bunyan, one of the biologists is named Christian and the other is named Darwin.  As they stroll through Legoland Christian remarks to Darwin that the myriad of Lego sculptures they are seeing obviously did not just appear but were designed and assembled by intelligent beings. Not missing a beat, Darwin agrees that there seems to be the appearance of an intelligence being the Lego creations and that they both know that they were designed and assembled by intelligent beings. However, adds the alternative explanation that a large volume of Lego pieces were loaded into a cement mixer and then dumped that, given sufficient time for many attempts, that the sculptures could have randomly self assembled.  Christian had to concede that the probability of that happening was not zero but was extremely small and that Darwin’s explanation could not be completely ruled out.  Neither of the two men noticed that standing behind them was a child (I’ll call him Andrew). Andrew carefully walks up to the two grown men and says, “Excuse me sirs but I think you’re missing something.  How do you explain the Legos?”

Now the tale by another storyteller. Do you remember Star Trek Episode #118, Lizard man vs Kirk? (you can watch it at—Arena/videos )  It was based on a short story by Frederic Brown. A  Gorn spaceship kills a human colony on a distant planet. The Enterprise pursues the Gorn ship but the Metrons intervene as arbiters of the battle and transport Kirk and the Gorn captain to the plant’s surface. Kirk and the Gorn captain (a lizard-like creature are told that everything they need to make weapons is available to them, presumably placed there by the Metron. The Gorn has superior strength but Kirk makes gunpowder and packs the gunpowder and some large diamonds into a length of bamboo and fashions a crude mortar. He lights a strip of cloth from his uniform with a fuse and fires the crude weapon at the Gorn captain. He then refuses to kill the stunned and wounded Gorn captain. The Metron intentionally provided the pieces of an invention and left them lying around for Kirk or the Gorn to find and fashion into a weapon.

A few weeks ago I had a conversation with Rex, a colleague, about invention platrforms. Most inventions in our daily lives are built on “invention platforms”.  Take the iPhone for example. It is a wonderful invention platform for which many apps are being written every day. The problem is that we usually focus on the apps and take the invention platform for granted and fail to acknowledge the genius of the creator of the invention platform. Which is a greater achievement, the creation of a new invention platform or the use of that invention platform to construct a new invention? I submit, it is the creation of the invention platform. In the same manner that the iPhone app is built on the iPhone operating system which is built on a microprocessor language, which is built on the design of a microprocessor, which is built on chip technology, which is built on digital electronics, etc. I think you get my point. Every bit of technology we used is built on an underlying technology that was also invented by an intelligent inventor. The more versatile and flexible the platform, the greater the genius of the inventor of that platform. Why do we assume that chain is broken at the level of the physical world. Why don’t we view the universe and it’s basic physics as God’s invention platform, incredibly versatile and flexible and designed by an intelligence so great that we can’t comprehend. Since we can’t comprehend so great an intelligence we assume that it all “just happened by itself.

The point I am trying to make is that, in my opinion, the intelligent design debate misses the mark when it stops merely at biology, the Lego sculptures, and does not press to the basic question, why is the universe the way it is with its particles and laws of physics. These were conceived and created by God and are the basic invention platform for all of mankind’s inventions. You see, the fundamental question in the intelligent design debate is really the one raised by Andrew in the parable at the beginning of this essay, “how do you explain the Legos?”  The only response to the amazing genius of the creator of the invention platform we call creation is worship of it’s inventor who created it by his word out of nothing.

Explore posts in the same categories: Science and Faith, The intelligent design debate

2 Comments on “Intelligent Design: Legos, Star Trek, and iPhones”

  1. Jasper Says:

    Intelligent design is an interesting idea. However I presume a deity would be much more complex than any organism and therefore would require an even more intelligent designer.

    • jimmyleedoc Says:

      I was not arguing for an endless chain of increasingly intelligent designers but rather for an ultimate, self-existent designer.

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