- Paperback: 176 pages
- Publisher: Allen & Unwin (April 1, 2007)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1741149231
- ISBN-13: 978-1741149234
- Product Dimensions: 7.8 x 0.5 x 5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,346,860 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Unintelligent Design: Why God Isn't as Smart as She Thinks She Is
Use the Amazon App to scan ISBNs and compare prices.
The Amazon Book Review
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Top customer reviews
While the book is obviously written with an Australian audience in mind (not surprising, given the author's background), only one chapter ("ID in Australia") is confined to that country.
It's a brief text (160-odd pages, 129 if you omit Part II; wide margins, large font, wide line spacing), but too long for an essay or a magazine article. I think it would be ideal as a basis for an after-dinner discussion in a university common room (vintage port would be appropriate - Williams, as a Fellow of Balliol ,would appreciate that!). I would happily participate!
He sees the "unintelligent design" movement fired by "proud ignorance" and a lust to power. I couldn't agree more but I'd ratchet it up to "arrogant ignorance." Williams means "proud" as in the sort that cometh before a fall. I have little doubt that the creationists and their turkeys in tuxedos, the IDers, will go the way of the dodos eventually as our populations become educated and no longer easily swayed by the charlatans of religious mumbo jumbo.
The book is jeans and t-shirt causal. There are no footnotes or endnotes or a bibliography or an index. He quotes whole passages from people like Richard Dawkins and Jared Diamond but doesn't say exactly where he got the words. He mixes memoir with secular sermon (no soda water), history with incident, and passion with the jocular. He ridicules the notion of an anthropomorphic God, asking if God (in whose image we are said to be made) ever gets a bad back. The very idea of intelligent--intelligent!--design is made absurd. He writes, "Halitosis, farting, vaginal discharge, reflux, snoring, rheumatism, warts, smelly armpits, varicose veins, menopause, brewer's droop...these are not the marks of a designer at the top of his game." (p.71)
Williams spends some ink debunking ID claims to life form complexities so great that they had to have a designer (the main ID delusion). Here he brings Richard Dawkins into the fray in a most delightful way:
Dawkins in his book The Blind Watchmaker is busy rebuking the Bishop of Birmingham, Hugh Montefiore, author of The Probability of God. Dawkins quotes Montefiore: "As for camouflage, this is not always easily explicable on neo-Darwinian premises. If polar bears are dominant in the Arctic, then there would seem to have been no need for them to evolve a white-coloured form of camouflage."
Dawkins gives this mock translation of Montefiore's paragraph: "I personally, off the top of my head sitting in my study, never having visited the Arctic, never having seen a polar bear in the wild, and having been educated in classical literature and theology, have not so far managed to think of a reason why polar bears might benefit from being white."
Williams guides: "Predators need to surprise their prey." He adds, "Bishops, and lay folk too, may like to take the trouble...to see what science has come up with." (p. 57-58) If they do so they might not fall into what Dawkins has called "the Argument from Personal Incredulity," or what Williams has generalized as what I'll dub as "the Argument from Ignorance."
Much of the book is like this, and some of it is very funny indeed and works well as a scathing revelation of the stupidities of the Intelligent Designers. But there is also some very personal writing in the book that surprised me. Williams writes about being a child with a heavy-handed communist father and being in a secondary school in London in the 50s. In short this is a book that engages as much as informs or guides.
Finally I want to address this idea that Williams brings up on page 76. "...[C]onflict is creative and...isolated societies decline. As happened in Tasmania before the Europeans, the technology becomes more primitive and the people languish without invasion, rape and pillage to renew the innovative stock." This is connected with the (specious) argument that the seemingly evil God who is allowing all the carnage is just doing it for our own good. What I wonder is does humankind have the ability to survive the current domestication of some of our populations (think couch potatoes in America). When the war system ends (as I hope and trust it will--eventually) what is to become of the Eloi?
I don't know the answer to that question, but perhaps we will acquire the wisdom to redesign ourselves in a way that allows for greater human happiness over greater periods of time.
To close here is a nice Williams rant: "...[T]he human brain...resembles the creation of the devil rather than of a God. That it is capable of good is beside the point. ID is like a computer program with a built-in virus. ID is a baby born with syphilis. ID is an insult to the intelligence. ID is an insult to God." (p. 76)
Most recent customer reviews
A lot of it is quite personal asides and references, not always easy to follow.Read more