In his chapter “Arguments From Design” Christopher Hitchens attacks the concept of intelligent design. This was a frustrating chapter in a number of ways. One reason is that Hitchens got off topic quite often. He would be talking about evolution or intelligent design and then would be reminded about something else that ticked him off about religion. Apparently no opportunity for a potshot should be overlooked, even if it breaks the flow of an argument.
Hitchens’ basic argument is that Darwinian evolution has basically removed any need for God, if there ever was one. He seems to think that Darwinism has explained pretty much everything. He sees Darwinism as more than a theory and intelligent design (ID) as less than a theory. It should be remembered that Darwinism has official sanction to be researched, studied and published, allowing it to develop (evolve) as a theory. At the same time, ID is banished from the conversation resulting in much more limited opportunities to be studied. Still, ID has provided some impressive results despite what Hitchens claims.
There are definitely some limitations to Darwinism. For example, Hitchens cites (sights?) Michael Shermer on the evolution of the eye. Shermer argues that the current form of the eye was a gradual development from a simple eyespot with light sensitive cells. Let us use our imagination. We would have to assume that at one point, no organisms had any eyespots. Then there was one that happened to have mutated with such eyespots. We are not talking about an adjustment to size or colour. Even a simple eyespot would be fairly complex, being able to measure the light and then transmit the information to the brain. And that just appeared? And then kept appearing? And Ockham’s razor really makes that more likely than a Designer? Then there is the thorniest problem, which is the origin of life. How did such life first begin? Hitchens (or Darwinism) has no really answers here.
One of Hitchens arguments is that if there was a Designer, he did a very bad job. After all, there is sickness and age and death and eventually an end to our solar system. Hitchens problem is that he takes one aspect of the Christian worldview, intelligent design, and dismisses it as not answering all the questions. The Christian world view has many other aspects including God’s plan for the human life with an afterlife and a transformation of this world. All of these things must be taken together.