12 January, 2009

Intelligent Design vs. Invisible Hand?

Over at Reason magazine's blog Hit and Run, I noticed a post by Ronald Bailey in which he touches on something I've noted here in the past: the apparent cognitive dissonance present in conservative Christians who accept almost as a matter of faith the idea of emergent order in financial markets (Adam Smith's "invisible hand") yet reject the exact same idea in the realm of biological science (Charles Darwin's "natural selection"). So called "intelligent design" proponents argue that biological complexity simply must be the product of an "intelligent designer" yet they and many others who would agree with them have no difficulty eschewing said designer in the case of market equilibria. But there's really no difference between the two in terms of the salient result: emergent order.

Bailey quips, "Intelligent design is to evolutionary biology what socialism is to free-market economics." (although I think he meant "command economics", rather than "socialism" which is rather broad), which echoes what I wrote previously:
Of course, this is not to say that ID theorists ARE Marxists, merely that they seem to be, at the very least, intellectual fellow-travelers. Their rejection of emergent order seems to me to necessitate it. Therefore, it seems to me that ID theorists who desire to remain intellectually consistent must abandon all support for capitalism and support instead a theory of planned economy. For if order is not emergent, then capitalism cannot hope for success.
Bailey also includes a link to Matt Ridley's Spectator essay that prompted his post as well as a couple of other interesting links at his post (linked in the title). Enjoy.

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