Which intelligent design?

Debates about the beginning of life often dissolve into clashes between supporters of evolution and supporters of creationism or “intelligent design.” But the conflict doesn’t have to fall into an either/or paradigm. The fact-based evolutionists assume their opponents, the intelligent-designers, are all part of the Judeo-Christian-Islamic triad of major religions. But there’s more than one way to design a universe, as the following list of the Top Ten Intelligent Designs indicates.

1 God made it (Judaism/Christianity/Islam): God created light and a watery planet, then separated the sky, sea and land before creating flora and fauna (including man). Man was lonely, so God created woman (though she might not have looked like Brigitte Bardot). Man and woman did fine until that little conflict over fruit from one particular tree—the first recorded instance in which the threat of capital punishment failed to have any deterrent effect.

2 Family dysfunction (ancient Greek): Gaia (the earth) created Uranus (the sky). They mated, producing a variety of gods and monsters—the Titans. Uranus hated and imprisoned his children, but one of them, Cronos, got loose and killed his father. Then the Titans produced the later pantheon of Greek gods, including Zeus. They also invented daytime television drama.

3 Butterball (ancient Indian Rig Veda): The giant Purusha had a thousand heads, eyes and feet. When the gods killed him, he turned into butter. That butter became the elements, the birds and plants, and eventually, the four castes of Hindus.

4 Follow the rules or get off the island (ancient Japan): The gods created two demigods, a brother and sister. The siblings stood on a floating bridge and created an island, then married. But because the woman spoke first during the wedding ceremony, they had malformed children. So they tried it again, this time following the rules, and created the islands of Japan, its people and a few more gods.

5 Break an egg, scratch an itch (ancient China): A cosmic egg produced Pan-Gu, the first being. The yin of the egg became the earth and the yang became the sky. Pan-Gu, right, held the sky apart from the earth and the fleas on his body became people.

6 Snakes on a Mother Goddess (Aztec): Coatlicue, a serpent-skirted female god, became pregnant and gave birth to a fully armored god of war, who killed her and threw her head into the sky, where it became the moon. No word on where the people came from.

7Cry me a tribe or two (Egyptian): Atum, who had an all-seeing eye, willed himself from the watery chaos of Nun, then spat or vomited out a son-god and a daughter-god. Chaos settled into order, but the son-god and daughter-god took off. Atum sent his eye to look for them, and when he found them, was so happy he cried. His tears became people.

8 Party gods gone wild (Babylonian Enuma Elish): The gods of fresh and salt water spawned a younger, rowdier generation of gods. These Animal House gods made so much noise that they started a war between the gods, eventually resulting in the creation of the earth and its people. Talk about a hangover.

9 Rhubarb-pie people (Zoroastrianism): Ahura Mazda created a white bull. Angra Mainy, an evil spirit, killed the bull and from its carcass came many plants and animals. Ahura Mazda also created the first man, who was also killed by Angra Mainyu. After 40 years, his body became a rhubarb plant, which then became the first two humans.

10 People-lickin’ good (ancient Norse): Contact between the world of fire and the world of ice created a giant and a cow. The cow licked the first humans into being from the ice. Their sons killed the giant to create the world.

by Kel Munger, based on rankings from LiveScience.com