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Putting Words to the Universal Design Intuition

The silliest objection yet to the argument in Doug Axe’s new book, Undeniable: How Biology Confirms Our Intuition That Life Is Designed, is that he’s saying because we share an intuition of design, therefore the intuition has merit. Of course not. Many intuitions are flat-out wrong. With others, though, as Dr. Axe explains here, you can put words to them, spell out their logic, and that logic turns out to be compelling — in this case, valid and confirmed by science.

“Putting words to it” is what Axe does in Undeniable. To argue with this intuition, you need to grapple with those words, that logic, and that science.

Axe calls it a universal design intuition but, if you want to be pedantic, it’s more like “nearuniversal.” A friend and I were talking about this distinction the other day. There are indeed a few people who see a butterfly and never in the least feel, or never feel and then suppress, the sensation that surely this took ingenuity to bring into being. But for every ordinary human endowment, there is some minority born with the endowment impaired or absent.

This is generally understood as a handicap, often tragic, certainly a cause for compassion. A congenital inability to sense design? Only in evolutionary biology would that be considered an advantage.

David Klinghoffer

Senior Fellow and Editor, Evolution News
David Klinghoffer is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and the editor of Evolution News & Science Today, the daily voice of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, reporting on intelligent design, evolution, and the intersection of science and culture. Klinghoffer is also the author of six books, a former senior editor and literary editor at National Review magazine, and has written for the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Commentary, and other publications. Born in Santa Monica, California, he graduated from Brown University in 1987 with an A.B. magna cum laude in comparative literature and religious studies. David lives near Seattle, Washington, with his wife and children.