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Almighty Designer, The
Guest Editorial by Jimm Lasser

I have a wish: At this year’s AIGA conference, before security can grab a hold of me, I hope take the stage and ask the audience to join me in offering membership to a new member.

I want to welcome God.

Yes, God is a designer!

Don’t take my word for it, ask the proponents of the fabulously rebranded creationist theory called “Intelligent Design.”

Intelligent Design was born out of opposition to the theory of evolution. The majority of ID advocates state that their focus is on detecting evidence of design in nature, without regard to who or what the designer might be. However, advocates list God or an alien life force as two possible options. What is most interesting to us is how the word “design” has seemingly become a buzz word beyond the art and business bookshelf, and is now spreading into theories of our very existence.

I say it is a good thing. I think if we can count God as part of our profession, I cannot imagine how we would lose arguments with clients over type size, color palettes, etc. All those doctors and lawyers who thought they had all the esteem and respect of our communities will be jealous. Respect will be ours! Hear me now: No more second-guessing of “Designers” again.

Pretty soon I predict everyone who doesn’t want to be second-guessed will become a “Designer” of some sort. Police will be “Safety Designers,” Mothers will become “Life Designers,” teachers will be “Learning Designers” and Sanitation Workers will be “Cleanliness Designers.” Are you listening Mr. President? Jump on this! You want that whiff of eau de all-knowing-lord? “Mr. Designer-in-Chief” has a nice ring to it.

Of all the new “Designers” who will jump on the band wagon, WE surely will take to this new position most easily. There is a little “God-complex” deep down inside every graphic designer. It comes with the territory; it’s that “creation-thing.” We build a life for ourselves making sandcastles that outsiders too easily alter or, worse yet, knock down. Nonetheless, we keep building, no matter what others might say. It is a true infection, this profession. Unlike the artist, who always gets his or her way (because the client is themselves), Designers have to weather assaults from all sides to get their creations to fruition. If it isn’t your client, it’s your creative director, your significant other, your mother. Yet we are always back for more, no matter the cost. We’re tough. The fittest always survive.

Jimm Lasser, Esq. (1974-    )
On the stormy morning of Sunday, December 9, 1974, Nancy Lasser, wife of Alan, gave birth to a boy. He was born on a bed of poles covered with corn husks. The baby was named Jimm, after Comedian Red Foxx. The birth took place in the Lasser’s rough-hewn cabin in Winnetka near Chicago, Illinois. Alan Lasser was a dermatologist and a farmer. Nancy Lasser had little or no accounting schooling and could not write french poetry. Jimm spent a short amount of time in a log schoolhouse, before graduating from the University of Michigan, Vanderbilt University School of Law, and the Portfolio Center. Jimm attended school dressed in a raccoon cap, buckskin clothes, and pants so short that several inches of his calves were exposed. Jimm earned his first dollar ferrying passengers to a steamer on the Ohio River, and designing T-shirts for the 84-year old James Toast at sharpastoast.com. He was a member of the charter class of John Bielenberg’s Project M, spoke out against the Dred Scott Decision, and has won many decorations for valor in battle.

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PUBLISHED ON Aug.30.2005 BY Speak Up
Jason Tselentis’s comment is:

How marvelous it is to know that I am in good company. But the question that plagues me about God as designer is this, What's his favorite typeface, and does he use InDesign or Quark?

On Aug.30.2005 at 08:56 AM
Andrew Twigg’s comment is:

Jason, Quark is of the Devil. I should know, my parents are ministers.

On Aug.30.2005 at 10:03 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

However, advocates list God or an alien life force as two possible options.

But those are, of course, completely silly and have been thoroughly debunked in favour of the much more realistic FSM.

What is most interesting to us is how the word “design” has seemingly become a buzz word beyond the art and business bookshelf

Well, 'intelligent design' is just another very clever (and, sadly, effective) use of the language by right wing think tanks. They are definitely a marvel to behold in the way they are able to frame and design their arguments with language. Perhaps one of the greated marketing successes of the last several decades.

On Aug.30.2005 at 10:47 AM
Rob’s comment is:

Does this not then beg the question, who designed G-d?

On Aug.30.2005 at 11:43 AM
jarrett’s comment is:

god designs itself. all of us can design other stuff, that isn't that unique.

also, just noticing the authors bio is kind of in that vein which suits a god wanna-be well.

On Aug.30.2005 at 11:50 AM
gregor’s comment is:

God is a design in process. at the moment the religious right is the designer, creative director and account manager.

On Aug.30.2005 at 12:02 PM
mother’s comment is:

fun to read..

gregor is right.. god is a process..

On Aug.30.2005 at 12:06 PM
Matthew Rodgers’s comment is:


If you haven't watched The Persuaders, i highly recommend it. Part 4 The Science of Selling tells you all about where they are getting these marvelous "harmless phrases" that allow their ideology to be mainstream and radical at the same time.

On Aug.30.2005 at 12:12 PM
Matthew Rodgers’s comment is:


If you haven't watched The Persuaders, I highly recommend it. Part 4 The Science of Selling tells you all about where they are getting these marvelous "harmless phrases" that allow their ideology to be mainstream and radical at the same time.

On Aug.30.2005 at 12:12 PM
*cg’s comment is:

So if we assume that God is a design in process or a work in progress... what are we? Aren't we the work in progress? Isn't He the Creator.

But of course that would depend on what one believes or doesn't believe.

I know I am not perfect, which would make me a design in process.

On Aug.30.2005 at 01:38 PM
gregor’s comment is:

So if we assume that God is a design in process or a work in progress... what are we? Aren't we the work in progress? Isn't He the Creator.

we are e-pro artists, attemting to creat a sound file structure for the mess the designer created. wish us luck.

On Aug.30.2005 at 02:18 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

what are we?

The bug in the code.

My favorite counter to intelligent design is the fact that we're here. No intelligent being would have forced the plague that we are upon this planet. ;o)

On Aug.30.2005 at 02:47 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

Matthew...thanks for the link. Also, a good book on the subject is "Don't Think of an Elephant".

On Aug.30.2005 at 02:50 PM
Pesky Illustrator’s comment is:

My real name is Mark Andresen, not Pesky Illustrator and I used to live in Metairie/New Orleans. I say "used to" because my city is gone. This hurricane destroyed more than houses, Louisiana and the coastal South was a treasure beyond riches. I'm heartbroken and still stunned by what I left behind. I can't find stayed-behind friends - like Larry Bannock, one of the black Mardi Gras Indian Chiefs who taught me how to put passion into my own folk art. I wonder what became of so many.

I'm merely a survivor, one of many now, who escaped at the last moment, taking my wife, my cats and some small items but not hardly enough. There wasn't time. What I had as a home is under water, what I had as a career is gone too. I can start again, I suppose. I want to, but it seems like a long way off. My paper artwork, my computer, my portfolio, all of it, is gone. I can live with that, since I am thankful I escaped with my small family. I am staying with friends in Atlanta, still shaken, and grieving over the news footage of the devistation. You can't imagine how lucky I am.

I worry about the poor people who could not escape, only to find shelter in the downtown sports arena, the Superdome. And even that didn't protect them from the wrath of this hurricane. I heard the roof partially ripped off. No lights, no water, and crowded. God help them all. I'm told there is marshall law there now as the government assesses the damage.

This is equivalent to OUR tsunami or an atomic blast and perhaps God is telling us something about our warlike course. Those troops in Iraq could be better use here. Millions are going to need help, desperately. I tried calling FEMA and the Red Cross today but they are overwhelmed and woefully insufficient. The suffering is beyond comprehension and it will grow worse.

I think of the great people, the musicians who'll not be playing jazz for a good long time. The loss of life yet to be uncovered. The end of Mardi Gras as a happy event. The disappearance of Cajun culture and all those cheerful people who made my life happy. The water may take months to leave. It's because where I lived was below sea level and water cannot escape. The coast of my state, the future of that place will never be the same again.

As designers from all over the world I ask that you help in some way. Not for me, but for the suffering there.

I'm on a borrowed computer so I'll be saying goodbye to all of you for now...

On Aug.30.2005 at 06:09 PM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

Lesson for us all: Attempts to be Clever outside one's areas of expertise usually fall flat.

Thought for consideration: Intelligent Design is actually a straightforward description of what ID-ers believe. That is what makes it a "fabulous rebranding"

Reality check: When years of shouting about & actually educating the wider world about Design, it seems a bit po-faced to cry foul when a part of the wider world that you don't approve of starts to use the word.

Personal opinion: Although the ID post on Design Observer was rather poor, this one was much poorer still.*

Wild Speculation: Children who are taught creationism are happier & have better imaginations than those who are not.


*Don't worry, Armin you've got DO beaten hands-down on the Venezky front (SU, DO)

On Aug.30.2005 at 06:28 PM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

I must apologise for the inconsequentiality & insensitivity of my post in the light of Mark's. We posted at the same time.

On Aug.30.2005 at 06:54 PM
BlueStreak’s comment is:

Mark, I was thinking about you all weekend while watching that beast grow. It had a symmetry I didn't think was possible. You and your neighbors have my deepest sympathy. Please stay in touch if you can.

On Aug.30.2005 at 08:33 PM
Will’s comment is:

Design Maven... a quick question: Who Are You?

On Aug.30.2005 at 09:43 PM
gregor’s comment is:

who is DM?

he is us and we are him and we are alltogether. he is the supreme being.

yes, I know Maven, no need to say it: "shut up Gregor."

just trying to lighten things up ya know

On Aug.30.2005 at 09:55 PM
Armin’s comment is:

I have to admit, this thread has gone in so many unexpected directions that I am now not sure anymore what was what I originally enjoyed about Jimm's article when I decided to post it.

First, and I apologize if this adds to the oddity of the responses so far, I want to extend Mark our support and sympathy.

Second, I am unsure where a discussion about who designed God or people would lead.

Third, we do not question Maven's identity. He simply is

Fourth, I was really interested in Jimm's comment about designers' "god complex"… Is there a certain truth in it? Or a bland generalization?

And, fifth, it's too damn humid tonight.

On Aug.30.2005 at 10:25 PM
Jason Tselentis’s comment is:

There's no doubting the designer's god complex, Armin. I feel most of us have taken that road at one time or another, and perhaps it's shame that keeps us from admitting (seeing) it. That said, it's not just designers that fall down that path. Doctors have often been accused of "omnipotent" behavior. Still, I can't help but wonder, Is the designer's god complex an issue of gender? I rarely encounter designing women that behave in such a way.

On Aug.31.2005 at 06:15 AM
Bradley’s comment is:

I might actually attend the conference if someone tried to induct God as the newest member.

On Aug.31.2005 at 10:25 AM
Tan Le’s comment is:

Mark — life is about picking yourself back up despite the most challenging circumstances. You do it with friends and family and a realization that things are just things, and they can be replaced and remade. Even a career is just a thing.

Keep the faith and we'll look forward to having you back soon.

On Aug.31.2005 at 10:26 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

Wild Speculation: Children who are taught creationism are happier & have better imaginations than those who are not.

So are children that read Harry Potter.

On Aug.31.2005 at 10:38 AM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:


And then there are my kids who will be taught creationism (ID is for wimps) & read Harry Potter...

On Aug.31.2005 at 11:25 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

My kids will likely learn the same. Hopefully with a bit of science thrown in too. ;o)

So sorry to hear about your house and work, Pesky, but glad to hear your family is safe. I'm really going to miss old N.O.

On Aug.31.2005 at 11:46 AM
Tan’s comment is:

Humans are complex. There is room in all of us for both spiritual mythology, as well as rational learning and discovery.

Why can't children be taught to believe in God (whether it's Christianity, Buddhism, Judaism, Islam, etc.) as well as understand the science and theories of evolution?

Why must religious teachings condemn science when we all have the capacity for both?

IMHO, "Intelligent Design" is an incredibly condescending, misguided way to honor the religious teachings of creation, and is nothing more than the "Ebonics" of Christianity.

If God is the greatest brand of all, let's not weaken it by trying to legitimize it with cheap theatrics and marketing double-speak. Hell, why don't you just slap a TM or SM on it and just call it a day?

On Aug.31.2005 at 03:03 PM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

The post so good he posted it twice.

The only thing I would add to that, Tan, is: Why must scientific teachings condemn religion when we all have the capacity for both?

There is plenty of shit flying both ways.

Speaking as a Christian, I find it very sad that much of Christianity has become afraid of science. Especially when they have such a rich history together (from the Reformation through to Darwin--e.g. Newton, Pasteur, etc.)

Not to leave anyone out:

Take a look at classical Islam & its scientific advances in mathematics & astronomy. Look at Islam today.

If I knew more about them, I could probably give examples from the history of China connecting a deep religiousity with their ancient innovations.

~Sweeping generalisation alert!~

Religion used to drive people to understand more about the universe. Now it it seems to be a means to shut it out.

On Aug.31.2005 at 04:12 PM
Tom B’s comment is:

Why must scientific teachings condemn religion when we all have the capacity for both?

Science doesn't condemn religion, it condemns illogical thinking, ignorance and a willful disregard for available evidence.

Intelligent Design (and Creationism as well) is just simply untrue. This statement isn't a condemnation of anything, it's a conclusion based upon evidence.

Of course we all have the capacity for faith, but surely this must only apply when there is no evidence, or when things are beyond understanding.

By teaching ID to children, we are teaching them that faith is an excuse to ignore evidence when it's difficult to understand, and that they shouldn't question the world as it's presented to them - 'what I say goes because I am right!'

It is this attitude that science condemns - and so it should.

On Aug.31.2005 at 07:27 PM
Drew’s comment is:

just a quick note

A vast amount of the work being done in the science (yes, science) of intelligent design and also helping the 'politics' of getting it in schools is being done by the Discovery Institute which is a non-partisan non-religious thinktank.

Their main goal is not just getting Intelligent Design taught in schools, but adjusting the teaching in school which often represents Evolution and Darwinism as FACT and ignore any/all theorists and theories that challenge it.

On Aug.31.2005 at 10:00 PM
r agrayspace’s comment is:

I am not sure why I am posting in this thread as I feel this discussion is worthless. and most of all sad.

This thread is so sad. So many reasons. Sad sad sad.

Mostly for the tragedy of so many, including our own Pesky Illustrator. My heart goes out to you and your family and to the hopes that your wonderful city will rise again.

I am also saddened by the continuing discussion over the legitimizing of ID and creationism. Biblical literalism is a scourge of complete irrationalism. Quoting scripture to support ideas that the earth is only 6000 years old and saying that carbon dating was put here to deceive us, is SAD SAD SAD.

While I would agree that teaching evolution as absolute fact is not right, I would also argue that is not what is happening. The very nature of science is to evolve and if an aspect of Evolution is contradicted by an overwhelming display of evidence, then it will evolve and become even more TRUE. That is the basis of science. That everything we know is open to change in the light of evidence. Our scientific truths are not absolute but pretty much the closest thing we have to it.

Religion needs to stick to saving the soul and using its scripture to cultivate morals, not to justify wishful thinking in the face of logic. Otherwise we might still believe the earth is the center of the universe. And don't pretend that the ID argument is not of the same vein.

BECAUSE IT MOST DEFINITELY IS. Just in a different century.

On Sep.01.2005 at 09:08 AM
Pesky Illustrator’s comment is:

I have found another borrowed computer. (Damn PCs!)

And I just wish to express my gratidude to those here who have written to me from London to Saudi Arabia, from Berkeley and New York to Cinncinati. Of course, I screwed up the thread like I always seem to do (poor Armin!), but this is relevant to the discussion.

The symetry of the hurricane, the lost city of New Orleans, the people who have come out of the blue to offer help - this is a grand design of creation and choas as it has always been and though batterd I am still standing. And I see new things I never saw before about Design in the real world.

I wish you would all put your anti-religious comments aside. I talk to scientists in my line of work sometimes. Well, when I had work, and you would be surprized at the power of open minds when confronting the micro and macro. Humbleness, not a god-complex. Cliches are just that. We each deserve the respect to believe any larger concept other than ourselves. You're not going to convince anybody differently. It's as productive as political talk. I see my people suffering and talk will not alieviate that. (I understand the frustation with the shortsightedness of human religion claiming a franchise on the almighty creator) - but just for a moment - see that this is both chaos and pattern. Just like it's always been. Show kindness and you will be rewarded in whatever heaven you imagine.

Perhaps this is all just a hologram and the Creator is the author making it up as he/she goes along and that we are just dreaming. I'm a Gnostic/Sufi at heart I must confess.

I've learned that goodness comes from unexpected places. Goodness is a reflection of the nobler part of our nature. Catastrophes made me focus on what's important. (Though I do wish I saved my Jazz collection.) Maybe it's part of the grand design. And if there is a celestial design team above us, who are we to fathom why and how things happen. We are dust on a spec of dust floating in the vastness of time and space. But I believe in Spirit and I see it at work even now. If you think you can figure it all out, my hat is tipped to you (if I had a hat).

On Sep.01.2005 at 11:21 AM
Chris Rugen’s comment is:

"A vast amount of the work being done in the science (yes, science) of intelligent design and also helping the 'politics' of getting it in schools is being done by the Discovery Institute which is a non-partisan non-religious thinktank."

First off, that's a crock of...falsehoods. Read up. Also, a handy reference tool on Creationist claims. And a succinct article titled, '"15 Answers to Creationist Nonsense' which pretty clearly shows that Creationism is about not understanding science or its purpose, and is about frequently quoting out of context. ID is all PR and branding, with no content. It is a smokescreen for Creationism.

Science is nothing more than a highly systematized approach to the world (hence the Scientific Method). That's it. Trying to force science teachers to violate scientific practice in their science class is bizarre. The problem is that the Creationists are making a faith argument (in other words, an argument that does not rest on demostrable proof) and bristle at the idea that observable fact (the realm of scientific inquiry) would contrast their argument which is, again, a faith-based belief. Instead of allowing faith it's place as a powerful, personal decision, they've decided that their argument has to be litigated into science classes, which is idiotic because it opens the classes up to metaphysics. Metaphysics are, by definition, unknowable and unobservable, and therefore not related to scientific study. Again, ID is there to muddle scientific study, not clarify anything.

As an aside, I bet God would be dismayed at the serious lack of good Aramaic fonts available.

On Sep.01.2005 at 02:20 PM
jo’s comment is:

Perhaps the problem is not whether or not ID should be taught in schools, but whether or not schools are effective venues in which to discuss philosophical ideas about our origins. I've always bristled at the idea that evolution should be taught to the exclusion of other things, or that other things should be taught at the exclusion of evolution. The dichotomy between religion (and/or God) and science is a false one, I think, because one method of thought does not necessarily exclude the other; neither one has all of the answers.

On Sep.01.2005 at 03:36 PM
art chantry’s comment is:

if this is 'intelligent design', then yahweh has a lot to learn. if the aiga began it's 'certification' process, i doubt he (she?) would make the grade.

perhaps if (s)he attented one of them fancy-pants de-zine schools, (s)he might get good enough for target? maybe even pentagram?

On Sep.01.2005 at 04:01 PM
Beefgun’s comment is:

If there is a Grand Designer, he/she isn't hip to hitting "Undo".

On Sep.01.2005 at 06:05 PM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

In light of about half the posts so far, I've got an idea. Why don't we start an all out cut & paste war of smug ideas & pat answers. In the red corner we have quotes from mygodbeatsyourscience.com, and in the blue it's the oh so clever religionisdumberthanscience.com. To make it even more exciting, be sure not to read carefully or do any thinking. Just react.

I think we designers sometimes spend so much of our time presenting other people's ideas we forget to have any original thoughts of our own.


R Gray Space,

You may or may not be interested in understanding the way a world works for a person who is truly devoted to their god; I'll tell you anyway.

It's not comparmentalised. They don't have soul-saving hats that can be swapped for science hats depending on the situation. Their spiritual life permeates everything. It is not a parallel life or a holy day life. It is life.

Telling a Christian to put his Christianity (or insert other religion of your choice) on the shelf when he is looking at science is like telling you to set aside air while you are at work. A Christian cannot grapple with understanding the world outside his Christianity any more than you can sit at your desk and work outside of the air.

For some spiritual people this means hiding from science. That's too bad. For some (probably a lot more than you think) it means embracing science as it is meant to be, a tool (for understanding, not for pushing an agenda, & definitely not as an object of worship).

On Sep.01.2005 at 07:50 PM
r agrayspace’s comment is:


I have no trouble understanding that a Christian cannot live outside their Christianity. I am not suggesting that they have to "Switch hats" or whatever.

I just believe that "biblical literalism" (ie quoting one line of scripture to prove gays are AWFUL and unloved, shrimp is evil, shaving is wrong or the earh is not so old) is truly misguided. Its not using what is essentially a fable for its true purpose. As a moral compass to navigate the murky waters of man's free will.

I admire those that have the faith but maintain the balance between the ability to interpret and the need to take the source of faith LITERALLY.

On Sep.01.2005 at 08:20 PM
Chris Rugen’s comment is:

"I think we designers sometimes spend so much of our time presenting other people's ideas we forget to have any original thoughts of our own."

So true. But I'd argue that it doesn't just affect designers. Particularly so with this debate as it is played out in the media. ::shudder::

Honestly, if someone argued that ID should be presented in social studies, history, philosophy or some other analogous course, I don't think it would be a problem. It's a belief held by a non-trivial number of people. It's that they're setting it up against science. But their beliefs dictate that they must, because Biblical literalism requires it. I agree with Jeff. You can't separate it out for most people of faith. It pervades everything. Science is a chosen perspective on the world and existence, as are religions.

On Sep.01.2005 at 08:24 PM
hynes’s comment is:

One thing I've found over the years, no matter what the debate is on (politics, faith, science, etc.); taking second or third hand knowledge with preconcieved notions never help people find the truth. Whether you believe in ID or evolution; the best thing you can do is approach the subject with the most open mind possible to see if in fact what you believe does hold true. If you're a Christian, approaching the subject of does science in fact support my belief is important. If you're not a Christian - the same applies. Ultimately faith comes into play for any idea. It comes down to what can you trust in the most securely.

On Sep.01.2005 at 09:45 PM
Tom B’s comment is:

I'm surprised that so many people just don't understand what science is.

We can't pick and choose what we want to believe. Reality isn't dependant upon what we would like it to be - we must discover it through hard work.

As Jeff said, science is a tool - a process for discovery. It isn't a standpoint from which to view the world. Someone who starts with a preconceived idea and then looks for ways to convince others that this is true, isn't a scientist.

There seems to be an undercurrent of 'politically correct' subjectivity running through these arguments. We should 'be able to choose'.

Well I'm sorry but I don't agree with this. We can't 'choose' reality. The whole point to education is that you learn from an expert who knows more about a subject than you do. You can't just choose that you don't want to agree with that expert (unless you can come up with some convincing evidence).

To appeal to a sense of fairness (we should respect the views of people with different beliefs) is a lousy argument. Just because you respect someone doesn't make them right.

Science is all about 'switching hats'. If you can't 'switch hats' then you're more or less admiting that you'll never be able to discover reality. From this standpoint you're either 100% correct, or 100% wrong.

On Sep.02.2005 at 05:57 AM
Von Glitschka’s comment is:

Creation is design.

A while back I watched a Discovery Channel program that had over a 100 scientist attempting to create a nano bot and their collaborated design efforts were inspired and based on a real bug found in nature.

So you have over a 100 highly educated men applying unlimited hours of educated knowledge, wisdom and design to replicate the design of something they all believe came about by random chance and was void of a designer.

That is irony at it's apex.

On Sep.02.2005 at 06:32 AM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

R, either you are hanging out with the wrong kind of Christians or you believe what you see on TV. Also, you are squashing the quoting of scripture out of context together with a belief in the literality of the Bible. They are 2 different things

Tom B, don't hold onto "reality" so tightly. You may find that it slips away leaving you nothing but a cramp in your hand. The more real science (as opposed to people who read something once on creationismsucks.com and run around making shrill noises about the Supriority of Science) understands about reality the more it realises that it doesn't know a heck of a lot. I know even less, but here a a few things to think about with your wine this evening.

Why can two particles be in the same place at the same time unless you are observing them?

Why is the universe about 4 degrees warmer than it should be?

Why is the universe bigger than it should be for its age?

Are dark matter & dark energy real, or are they a convenient explanation for why the universe holds together because they can't think of anything better?

Are there parallel universes?

What did the Big Bang bang from?

Why is "the placebo effect" powerful enough to heal?

These are all questions that scientists are grappling with.

And a personal one: When my sister was a kid and she fell and smashed her forehead on a sharp stone and and her body went rigid and her back arched backwards and her eyes rolled back into her head and she stopped breathing and we were more than one hour away from any hospital, why was she immediately & instantly fine when my father layed his hands on her and prayed for her? Why did she not even have a bump or a headache? Why did the the trauma specialist that we spoke to afterwards say that she should be dead?

"Reality" is a lot more fluid than you might think. When I was in school neutrons were the smallest things that my texbooks knew about. That was reality according to the experts.

On choosing reality: People can do it, and they do do it every day, including you. If you think you have some kind of objective grasp on "reality", you are kidding yourself and you understand very little about how the human mind works.

My advice: put your reality up for sale on ebay & go buy a sense of wonder. Pesky knows some scientists who can help you out.

On Sep.02.2005 at 06:52 AM
Tom B’s comment is:

Come on, don't preach. A list of 'great mysteries' is just patronising.

Reality is still real regardless of whether I know about it or not. I'm not claiming to have all the answers. I know that I know very little

Creationism does claim to have all the answers. That's what I'm arguing against.

And no, we can't choose reality. We can choose what we believe, but that won't change reality. I don't think I have an fully objective grasp on reality, but I certainly think that there is a reality out there.

Or are you trying to say that it's all just an illusion?

On Sep.02.2005 at 07:37 AM
r agrayspace’s comment is:

I think we need to get back to talking about typefaces and stuff.

On Sep.02.2005 at 08:33 AM
Tom B’s comment is:

Good call R!

I don't want this to turn into a genuine falling out.

I do respect everyone's opinions and I really appreciate these discussions.

Jeff, I admire your conviction and I mean you no disrespect.

So lets talk about typefaces and stuff.

On Sep.02.2005 at 08:55 AM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

A list of 'great mysteries' is just patronising.

Tom, I'm sorry if it came across that way. I listed those things, not to try to give weight my understanding of the way the universe came to be, but to inspire thinking, not even thinking toward a particular direction, just thinking about big things. We (humans in general & designers in this context) spend far too much time thinking about inconsequential things like typefaces and stuff.

These "great mysteries" really get me excited (I read the New Scientist for fun too, so that may not be entirely normal.)

You may have noticed that no where in my excessive postings have I tried to convince anyone to believe like I do. My aim is simple: These types of topics are usually just shouting matches between two opposing sides, usally just repeating what they heard somehere else (like on DO last month), usually not listening except to find weaknesses in the other team's arguments. All I want to do is kick people a bit, make them feel uncomfortable, convince them to have a little look beyond their cosy dogmas & be afraid, inspire them to go renew their sense of wonder, to try being "wrong" & see what happens.

I try to pick on Christians & non-Christians equally, but since I am a Christian, I find it easier to see when someone gets it wrong about my faith.

One final note before I stop. The Bible gives a 2 chapter synopsis (plus a few other bits here & there) of the creation of the world. To say that creationism claims to have all the answers (whether you are a creationist or Tom B is just silly.

On Sep.02.2005 at 09:15 AM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

Sorry, Tom

I was writing as you posted. I'm much nicer in person than I am on screen. I don't see of this is personal attacking (either coming or going); it's about the clash & mesh of ideas & possibly even truths. And although it is not directly related to design, I think it can inspire new thinking which can inspire new design.

On Sep.02.2005 at 09:37 AM
Greg’s comment is:

I wanted to grab some text from above here, and be really coy and mean to people who don’t share my beliefs, all the while making people who do share my beliefs say “Yeah! Right on!”

I wanted to get people who don’t believe as I do and those who say they're on my side to both introspectively consider their own positions, by saying something that utterly made sense, that would change someone’s mind even just slightly.

I really wanted to look smart and funny and charismatic, all the while actually being those things.

Then my heart broke.

I've never been to New Orleans. Most of what I know comes from those who have, and they all tell a story of a city with an unbreakable spirit, a true and noble sense of itself, and to hear Mark and a friend’s parents and Harry Connick Jr. on TV, to hear the disbelief in their voices at the magnitude of the destruction breaks my heart.

So let me say instead this, regarding the possibilities of God and science: figure it out for yourself. Don't listen to anyone's rantings, don't let a disaster in your life or a bad break or a good break decide for you. Use what evolution or God or Allah or Yahweh has granted you: the power to think, to feel, and to change.

On Sep.02.2005 at 09:53 AM
Frank McClung’s comment is:

Lately I've been trying to understand the connection between God as designer and people as designers. As you know God has quite a design portfolio.First, you have all the standard portfolio pieces that He's well known for: the intricacy of the human body, the beauty of nature and the expansiveness of the universe. Then you have the not so often recognized design projects where He's art directed and architected: Noah's ark (one boat, one family, a million animals, very simple materials and the charge to save the human race from a flood…talk about design challenges); the Temple in Jerusalem (won't even go there); identity development for His "company" (hmmm…a timeless logo to express His love for the next 2000 plus years, connect with people across all cultures and genders, be simple for the poorest of the earth to use…glad I didn't get that creative brief), and the list goes on. When you consider His design portfolio, you realize that all His designs lead us closer to an intelligent and compassionate designer.

I think we get in trouble when our design leads people to ourselves or to something else…money, power, greed, whatever. We need to uncover the heart of design. What does it look like? Does this mean that design work has to be "religious" in nature to qualify? I hope not. Take your thumb for instance. Nothing religious there, but so perfectly functional that it points to a magnificent Designer.

So what do we do the next time a client wants us to design a piece to sell widget x or service y? Say no, and only do religious stuff? Our Greek tendency is to want to compartmentalize our spirituality into secular and non-secular, religious and non-religious. This thinking widens the gap between our passion and our profession. And I don't see any evidence at all in the natural world that God as a designer made secular thumbs and religious thumbs. They are all just thumbs. Is there a rule of thumb here for us?

On Sep.02.2005 at 11:47 PM
Frank McClung’s comment is:

I'm not one to jump onto the latest tragedy wagon and blog, but living in the South and having traveled through New Orleans several times, I'm greatly disturbed by what I'm seeing. Not just the devastation, but the lack of real response by the Federal and State government. People are dying, and officials are just taking their sweet time to get substantial help to New Orleans. I'm also moved by other designer's stories like Mark.

As such, I want to do something to help (Armin, hope this is the right place to post). To help our neighbors in New Orleans restore and renew their lives after the hurricane, I've has created a t-shirt for purchase at CafePress. All work on the t-shirts is donated pro-bono. As a designer, I'll be looking specifically at ways the money from the sale of these t-shirts can be donated to non-profit organizations that will re-establish the visual arts in New Orleans communities. If you would like to design a t-shirt for the effort, just send a 200dpi 10x10inch PNG file to frank[at]b-l-a-n-k.com, and we'll post it on CafePress. I know you can come up with something better than I did. Join me and spread the word.

On Sep.02.2005 at 11:57 PM
Pesky Illustrator’s comment is:

Thank you, Frank. Well said.

I think we need to get back to talking about typefaces and stuff.

Note to self: Make Bold Condensed Sans Serif "Help" sign.

Ask Zuzana...

On Sep.03.2005 at 03:43 PM
Ben Weeks’s comment is:

It seems to make much more intuitive sense that God makes things and has a purpose for them.

What about when things go wrong?

Jesus is constantly trying to give us every opportunity to draw near to him and trust him. Some people are so opposed to Jesus they give themselves over to hate, pride and anger and even enforce this darkness inside them on others.

If God forced us to love him, that love would be false. So for the time being evil exists in this world. This is a stark constrast to heaven where there will be no sorrow or tears. No pain, only love, peace and joy in the presence of God.

We will be transformed and for those who've trusted him, the capacity for evil will cease to exist. forever. Why not begin this process now and trust him today?

Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the father except through me."

That's a pretty clear peice of signage! One way!

On Sep.04.2005 at 11:42 PM
Von Glitschka’s comment is:

Creation can and does inspire designers to mimic it in order to solve real-world design issues. The ending keynote speaker at this years HOW Design conference showcased several examples of such and encouraged designers to look at the design within creation itself.

A lotus leaf has a nature resistance to mold and when a designer studied why he saw how it works and then took that same design and applied it to paint that resists mold when painting buildings. Another was a 'green' method for air conditioning a building without the energy use of a normal AC unit and that was taken from a termits nest and how they naturally vent and the same design principle was applied to a new apartment complex and works as a natural cooling in hot weather and heat source in the winter.

Many stories all of which we've probably heard have the origins in nature. Velcro is another good example of observing how creation works and mimicing it.

Design is nothing more then the skillful application of knowledge. So when design is found there has to be a source by which it was derived.

Hence attributing our known systems and their order and design as being the product of random chance is at best moronic. Nothing that is ordered can come about by random chance and chaos it can only become ordered by an outside agent applying knowledge and design. My kids bedroom proves the second law of thermal dynamics.

And the secular science of statistical probability militates against evolution. Our world has billions of people, each persons body has millions of strands of DNA, each strand of DNA has hundreds if not thousands of connector bars between the helixes and if you calculated the chance that just one of those connector bars came about by random chance as evolution states it is a number that is simply so large it is nearly impossible to comprehend.

I like how it was described by Michael Stubbs.

How efficient is chance at producing design? The following is fascinating. The question is: What is the expected probability for chance to spell the phrase—�the theory of evolution’? This phrase by chance would involve the random selection and sequencing of letters and spaces in the correct order. Each letter from the alphabet plus one space (totaling 27 possible selections) has one chance in 27 of being selected. There are 20 letters plus 3 spaces in the phrase—�the theory of evolution’. Therefore �chance’ will, on the average, spell the given phrase correctly only once in (27)23 outcomes!!

This computes to only one success in a mind boggling 8.3 hundred quadrillion, quadrillion attempts (8.3x1032) (gasp!). Suppose �chance’ uses a machine which removes, records and replaces all the letters randomly at the fantastic speed of one billion per microsecond (one quadrillion per second)! On average the phrase would happen once in 25 billion years by this random method. If, as evolutionists would have us believe, the earth has been in existence for approximately 5 billion years, then �chance’ could take five times this time to spell out its own success, even at this phenomenal rate of experimentation. And this phrase is infinitely simpler than the smallest life form, and children of average intelligence could perform this same spelling task within a minute or so.

I've studied creation science for over 15 years now. It's a passion of mine. I've seen debates between leading proponents of evolutionary thought and creation science and it has never been a close debate when it was all said and done.

If you want to read a sad historical fact of the practical out workings of evolution you need to read the story of Ota Benga.

Something most eveolutionists like to forget. I've saved the article on my server and you can read it here:


On Sep.05.2005 at 12:12 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

Hence attributing our known systems and their order and design as being the product of random chance is at best moronic.


it is nearly impossible to comprehend.

As is the belief that one person's god did it at the exclusion of all the other gods out there.

On Sep.06.2005 at 11:22 AM
art chantry’s comment is:

lordy lordy lordy!!!

have i got a bridge i wanna sell you guys!!!

i feel compelled to start yammering on about crop cirlcles, ufos, bigfoot and the little people and ghosts are everywhere. everything is crawling with spirit. then we turn to dust, only to be reborn as a newt. and none of these truths are based on anything more than blind faith.

intelligent design, ID or "id" is a really really feeble concept based on faith only. there is nothing else involved. so, if that's enough for you, i got this cool bridge that god told me to sell you. he spoke to me, and mentioned you explicitly as a potential follower. he says you should abandon all belief in anything but his teachings as conveyed through me (i'm working on a book). and the first tenent is to abandon all worldy presumptions (you can give the money to my organization) and follow me (and his teachings) without question. faith, dudes, have faith!!

now, about that bridge.

what, you want me to PROVE IT???? isn't that science?

or is this all just design at it's most basic levelk? HUMAN design?


On Sep.06.2005 at 11:43 AM
Tan’s comment is:

Von — trying to understand the cause and consequences of random actions and reactions in our physical universe is the basis of quantum mechanics.

Random probability is one of the components of Einstein's theory of relativity, and its affects in nature, human evolution, and physics in general has been addressed and studied by countless numbers of physicists, including Stephen Hawking and Brian Greene. Greene wrote a book, which was made into a terrific NOVA series, called The Elegant Universe, which to date, is the most comprehensive explanation of Einstein's work as it relates to modern theories such as the String theory of matter.

Science's quest to master and comprehend universal probability and interconnection — essentially to understand how God works — is referred to as Einstein's Unified Field Theory.

Creationists and doomsayers have predicted that the day scientists achieve that theory will be the end of man and the universe as we know it—because they claim that a world with pure science is a world without faith.

But does that suggest that faith can only be sustained by blissful ignorance and an unwillingness to satiate our human curiosity? How is that better for mankind?

On Sep.06.2005 at 02:57 PM
Steve Mock’s comment is:

Faith and science are one. Why manufacture this false choice, i.e. we must pick one or the other? I respect things I cannot understand every day. Cannot imagine a life without mystery and wonder and cold hard facts.

On Sep.06.2005 at 05:35 PM
Tan Le’s comment is:

So I was watching HBO this morning before leaving for work, and the movie Contact was on. That movie's topic is exactly what we've been discussing on this thread — science vs. faith, or if you'd rather, science and faith.

There's a nice scene when when Palmer (Matthew McConaughey) asks Ellie (Jodie Foster) if she believes in God. She said that as a scientist, she would need facts to truly believe in anything one way or another. And that without proof, how do people who believe in God know that they're not simply delusional?

Palmer replies: "Proof of God?...Well, ok, Ellie did you love your father?"

Ellie: "My father? Yes, I loved him very much."

Palmer: "Ok then, prove it."

The ending of that movie might be a little bit of a letdown, but I admire it for trying to address the science and God issue.

So yes, there are many things in this world that defy hard facts and evidential explanations. Love, spirituality, fate, etc.

Evolution may not be one of those things, but like I said earlier — we all have the capacity for both science and faith.

On Sep.07.2005 at 01:24 PM
Darrel’s comment is:

Why manufacture this false choice, i.e. we must pick one or the other?

Few folks do pitch that. It's namely the IDers that are pushing for the either/or argument.

On Sep.07.2005 at 05:47 PM
Tom B’s comment is:

The point is not that we should choose between science and faith - Tan is right to say that we have the capacity for both.

But it is wrong to say that the two are the same.

Faith doesn't belong within science (and vice versa).

Religious faith is, by its nature, not part of a mechanical universe. And Science is a deliberate attempt to surpress our personal beliefs (our faith) in order to shed new light on the world around us. In order to learn about to universe, we must first learn to discard our initial assumptions - and start from a state of ignorance.

Science isn't about ultimate truth. It's about discovering things we don't know - about mysteries.

To wonder is to be curious. Wonderful things are those that make us think. Science is wonderful.

Faith is a complete confidence in something. We are faithful when we stop questioning - when we reach a solution. This doesn't sound much like wonder to me.

Awe on the other hand, is to be in fear of something we don't understand.

If having faith makes someone happy, that's great. But trying to force faith into science makes me angry, because that's trying to take away my sense of wonder, and replace it with fear.

On Sep.07.2005 at 06:24 PM
Steve Mock’s comment is:

If we have the capacity for both, then why not teach both? Yes, faith is not science is not faith, but they are one in the sense that both worlds represent great gobs of knowledge and wisdom that I think any curious person would want to at least check out. No, I do not think matters of faith belong in the science lab. No. But I do think humans could benefit from learning at least a little bit about all the great faiths of the world. Not as a means to proselytize, but simply as an act of learning.

(Here's where we insert thoughts about schools should only teach shit that keeps the economic machine rolling.)

I think it's kind of neat that one cannot make another believe. That's alright. But as a means towards understanding each other, why not arm our youth with some rigorous, intellectual comparative studies? Not what to believe, but how other people - many people - believe? Well-rounded minds and all that.

The more we understand, the less we will fear.

A little more back towards topic: Does it strike anyone else as curious that so many creative, interesting people flat out reject the notion of a creator? Those I consider most gifted: poets, painters, musicians, writers, etc. seem to be - more often than not - staunch, proud atheists. Hell, many probably contemplate the concept more often than a believer would. I would just as soon punt and upgrade to agnostic.

Just wonderin'.

On Sep.07.2005 at 08:58 PM
Tan’s comment is:

Well, Steve — both are taught, but just not in the same classroom. Every religion has its system of education, and whether it's a temple, a monastery, a mosque, or a church—schools are held based on the tenets of each faith.

Now, if you're suggesting that religion be taught in public schools along with science, then that's a whole other issue. Unless it's a private, parochial school, a religious curriculum of any kind in a public classroom is a clear violation of Amendment 1 in the Bill of Rights ensuring freedom of religion and the absence of it.

There is another option. In college, I took a unique antiquities class where we studied parts of the Bible and the Torah as works of ancient literature. We examined character development, plot structure, writing style, etc., just like any other piece of literature. I remember writing a thesis paper on the similarities in scriptures structure between Buddhism and Judaism. And ever since then, I've been fascinated in all types of religious scriptures and how they form the basis for that religion.

So I do agree that the more things that students are exposed to, the bigger their world becomes. But it just has to be done in the right context.

On Sep.08.2005 at 02:16 AM
Jeff Gill’s comment is:

Tan wrote:

Creationists and doomsayers have predicted that the day scientists achieve that theory will be the end of man and the universe as we know it—because they claim that a world with pure science is a world without faith.

But does that suggest that faith can only be sustained by blissful ignorance and an unwillingness to satiate our human curiosity?

Yeah, it does, but that suggestion would be wrong (which is where you stand, I think), and the people who make it should be slapped. Tan, are you aware of any current creationists who talk this way, or is it an old leftover idea that's still kicking around?

Tom B:

Good luck on your compartmentalisation of life project. Probably once you get your system all worked out you won't have to get angry when people challenge it.

Personally, I'll take all the science I can in my faith & vice versa. If my faith falls apart anytime a scientist makes a discovery, it's worthless. The uncomforatable, fearful, awesome moments when some previously unknown reality challenges my understanding of the world are the watershed moments of life. I think you get more of them if everything's not in tidy boxes.

On Sep.08.2005 at 07:22 AM
Tom B’s comment is:

I think you get more of them by asking questions, and looking for answers.

On Sep.08.2005 at 09:50 AM
Darrel’s comment is:

If we have the capacity for both, then why not teach both?

No one is arguing that. It's teaching faith AS a science that is the problem.

I'm actually all for teaching theology in schools. As people, we are basically tought the one belief system our parents teach us and tend to lack an understanding of the wide range of belief systems in other cultures (including our own).

Does it strike anyone else as curious that so many creative, interesting people flat out reject the notion of a creator?

Perhaps artists/designers see the fact that humans, themselves, can improve things on this planet and slowly decide they have less of a need to depend on the unknown. I dunno. Just a theory. I'm not so sure that atheism and creative professions trend together to begin with.

On Sep.08.2005 at 12:52 PM