One of the common arguments against intelligent design by avowed Darwinists is that no designer would have designed life with so much imperfect. Recently Stephen Pinker echoes the same sentiment of many Darwinian fundamentalists:
Our own bodies are riddled with quirks that no competent engineer would have planned but that disclose a history of trial-and-error tinkering: a retina installed backward, a seminal duct that hooks over the ureter like a garden hose snagged on a tree, goose bumps that uselessly try to warm us by fluffing up long-gone fur.
Apparently these Darwinists think that the only possible life that a designer would create is perfect life, in essence heaven on earth. He claims that a competent engineer would not design that way. As a design engineer myself, I beg to differ.
My son and his friends are particularly fond of what could be called artificial life, role playing games. He and millions of other kids love RPG whether it be computer, console, or table top. Why do they like those games so much? Because of their creative constraints. In role playing games the player has certain constraints that apply to their character and their environment. In the game they must play and make decisions within those constraints to achieve goals, gain new attributes, powers, and levels of play. Now there are lots of RPG games available. What makes a good one? One where the constraints strike a balance between being too easy and too hard. No heaven on artificial life here. If the constraints are too few or too easy, they lose interest. They're boring. It is, in fact, the application of challenging constraint that makes the game interesting and fun.
Who makes these games? Designers, of course. Artificial life has constraints by design. They make that life fun, challenging, and fulfilling. Perfect life is not the goal. Meeting challenges and working within constraints to achieve something *is*.
Good game designers are rare. They somehow use their creativity to design an artificial life where structure, constraint, theme, and change produce a life that the gamer wants to live.
Surely a designer of biological life would be no less creative and purposeful to create a form of life that one would want. Does this mean that life is perfect and biotic reality is "perfect". Of course not. Who would want that kind of life anyway?