What can we tell about the designer from the design? While there is much that is marvelous in nature, there is also much that is flawed, sloppy and downright bizarre. Some nonfunctional oddities, like the peacock's tail or the human male's nipples, might be attributed to a sense of whimsy on the part of the designer. Others just seem grossly inefficient. In mammals, for instance, the recurrent laryngeal nerve does not go directly from the cranium to the larynx, the way any competent engineer would have arranged it. Instead, it extends down the neck to the chest, loops around a lung ligament and then runs back up the neck to the larynx. In a giraffe, that means a 20-foot length of nerve where 1 foot would have done. If this is evidence of design, it would seem to be of the unintelligent variety.
Why are mainline Protestants so adamant in their refusal to confront reality? A strict literal interpretation of the Bible just doesn't jive with scientific fact. Deal with it. And frankly, that doesn't have to mean the end of your faith, though it should raise some serious questions.
One beauty of Darwinism is the intellectual freedom it allows. As the arch-evolutionist Richard Dawkins has observed, ''Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.'' But Darwinism permits you to be an intellectually fulfilled theist, too. That is why Pope John Paul II was comfortable declaring that evolution has been ''proven true'' and that ''truth cannot contradict truth.'' If God created the universe wholesale rather than retail -- endowing it from the start with an evolutionary algorithm that progressively teased complexity out of chaos -- then imperfections in nature would be a necessary part of a beautiful process.
Maybe, the fear is that if they accepted the first couple chapters of Genesis for the allegorical stories they are, they might have to take a similar tack with some other key passages. And that might lead to who knows what sort of bacchanalian orgy.
Hat tip: collision detection.