Today I’m delivering a talk on intelligent design. One of the most commonly overlooked dimensions of apparent design in the natural world, and surely one of the most intriguing, is the presence of symmetry. Consider the wings of a butterfly. Note how each wing is a mirror of the other. Why is that? Why not a chaotic mix of orange and black splotches on both sides that don’t mirror anything?
When we look at this butterfly we ask ourselves: what known causal processes produce such meticulous patterns? Necessity perhaps? As in a crystal or a snowflake? But alas, a butterfly is not a snowflake. For the kind of structure we are talking about here — wings on a butterfly — what known causal processes produce that kind of mirrored pattern?
Go out into the natural world and keep your eyes roving about for similar patterns of design. The nine-spot lady bug is a great one.
The discouraging thing is how often the open enquiry into the possible causal processes that could have been operative in producing such fascinating structures is shut down by one-liners like “Hume” or “Darwin” or “Dawkins refuted that somewhere.”
Ouch. It’s almost as bad as getting reprimanded by your fashionista friend for trying to wear stone-wash jeans to the mall.