Bad Designs and the Pharmaceutical Industry
by Luke Nix
Irony Found In Drugs
Over the last decade or so, it seems to me that the commercials for pharmaceutical drugs are getting longer and more entertaining. One of the things that I find ironic is that the narrator spends the majority of the commercial explaining the possible side effects of the drug rather than what it is designed to accomplish for the patient. The confusion really begins when they describe the trade-offs: do you want sleep? You must sacrifice breathing. If you want to not be constipated, urination may be uncontrollable. If you wish to escape allergies, you may become suicidal. If you desire to not be so depressed, you might experience a heart condition that may cause death.
Change the Subject- To Intelligent Design
One of the challenges to the theory of intelligent design is that there are imperfect designs in nature. The argument goes like this:
- If an all-powerful and all-loving God is the intelligent designer of the universe, there would be no imperfect designs in His creation.
- There are imperfect designs in nature.
- Therefore, if there is an intelligent designer, he is either not all-powerful, not all-loving, or neither.
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The logic of this argument is valid. If one wishes to show that this argument is not sound (the conclusion [#3] does not follow), then they must show one of the premises (#1 or #2) to be false. Both of the premises are up for debate among ID theorists, but I want to focus on the first for right now.
Purpose in Engineering
In order for us to know if a design is imperfect, we must know what it is "perfect" or "imperfect" to accomplish- in other words, we must know the purpose. In the pharmaceutical industry, in order to accomplish the successful treatment of an ailment, there are implications that are the result of the natural systems in which they are working.
One way to show the first premise to be false is to posit that an imperfection in a design is the result of a balance of multiple purposes in the given system (our natural laws). Engineering requires sacrifices to accomplish certain purposes. Multiple opposing purposes (such as sturdiness and cost) require that no single attribute be maximized. These balances are necessary. Designs that balance the opposing requirements on par with the weight of each of the opposing purposes is said to be a good design; while others that contain an improper balance are said to be poor designs. This is the same with creation…
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