One of the main biblical arguments for the existence of God is the amazing beauty, complexity, and integration of the created, living world. As the scriptures report:
what may be known of God is manifest in them, for God has shown it to them. For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead, so that they are without excuse
But this "argument from design" proves nothing, according to the atheist. In fact, we see so many flaws in the design, that this argument seems riddled with just as many contraindications in nature. Chief of which is the lowly FART.
You see, for the argument from design argument to work for the atheist, all must be perfect, or the argument does not hold. Not only that, if there is anything painful, or even smelly in creation, that is evidence of imperfection. That’s right, smelly. As one confident atheist recently wrote:
…when Christians contemplate the obvious beauty, the amazing complexity, the obvious integration of the divinely designed fart are they not actually contemplating God’s handiwork? For all those people thinking about converting to Christianity, all they need to do is smell their own farts and they will smell evidence of God. Next time you are asked, "does God exist?" all you need to do is fart and explain the evidence.
Such wisdom seems to have descended from the Gods themselves – that is, if we weren’t trying to disprove their existence with such wisdom in the first place. Let us unpack the many assumptions hidden in this odoriferous pile of eloquence, and see if we can’t find out what the atheist has been feeding his mind before excreting his thoughts at us.
1. Design requires perfection
You see, if anything is less than "perfect" in our estimation, we may discard all other evidences of design, and all other amazingly improbably coincidences of nature, for to claim design, we must have perfection. However, note that we are free to use such phrases as "evolution has assembled some amazing machines" and "nature has constructed such intricate structures." These anthropomorphisms don’t mean that we BELIEVE there is intelligence at work, but just that the highly intricate and finely balanced features we see in nature are so mind-boggling to our finite minds that they appear to almost have been designed. We are merely using this as a tool to express our amazement at the beauty of nature.
But it wasn’t designed – no, that would require more than the beauty that amazes us – it would require a printed trademark, a voice from heaven, or at least, farts that don’t smell bad.
2. Anything that is painful, inefficient, or smelly is imperfect, hence, no design.
Based on our first premise the second is added. We define perfection as that which pleases us. That which displeases us must be evidence of imperfection. So, despite the fact that farts release gases formed during digestion in a harmless way from the body, this functionality’s essential character is overridden by our disgust at the smell.
By extension, the existence of excrement is also evidence that there is no design in nature, because that too smells bad. Not only that, it carries disease. I mean, that is, unless you turn it into the ground and let bacteria digest it. Then you can plant your food and the excrement makes your plants grow. OK, THAT sounds like design, but we’re really talking about the trump card against design – FARTS.
3. Examining minutiae such as smelling our own farts can lead us to meaningful decisions about God and the design of the universe.
That’s right. You see, if all is designed, then farts have something beautiful to tell us about God. And if farts can not seem amazing to you, or show you God’s grandeur in designing reality? Then the opposite must be true. If farts are really gross things, then either God is gross, or does not exist for letting such evils exist. And really, does anyone really like the smell of farts? Then we rest our case that there is no God, and no design in nature.
I wrote this piece based on a real argument that a recent anti-design commenter made on our site. I was amazed that an intelligent person would actually use such an example and think it meaningful. Well, we all make mistakes, but this one deserved enshrinement, if for no other reason than the fact that farts are funny. AND, because now I can outline my own theology of farts, and what they tell us about God and ourselves. And THAT will not be satire. Really. Or maybe not.