A being so powerful and so full of knowledge as a God who could create the universe, is to our finite minds omnipotent and omniscient, and it revolts our understanding to suppose that his benevolence is not unbounded, for what advantage can there be in the sufferings of millions of the lower animals throughout almost endless time? This very old argument from the existence of suffering against the existence of an intelligent first cause seems to me a strong one;
Consider that Darwin loved shooting birds. Shooting birds is an act that induces suffering for the bird and the bird’s family.
In the latter part of my school life I became passionately fond of shooting, and I do not believe that anyone could have shown more zeal for the most holy cause than I did for shooting birds. How well I remember killing my first snipe, and my excitement was so great that I had much difficulty in reloading my gun from the trembling of my hands.
“How I did enjoy shooting”
If there is bliss on earth, that is it”
So Darwin thinks that an intelligent being would not inflict suffering on other creatures, yet he himself inflicts suffering for his own blissful pleasure.
Darwin implicitly assumes he himself is an intelligent being since he presumes to know what God ought to do in managing the affairs of creatures on Earth. Yet Darwin argues intelligent beings won’t cause suffering, yet Darwin himself, an intelligent being, does the very thing he claims an intelligent being wouldn’t do. Would Darwin therefore argue Darwin doesn’t exist because Darwin causes suffering in the world? His line of reasoning is most ironic.
So I would say, by Darwin’s own behavior, suffering in the world is not at all evidence against ID. Maybe suffering in the world is evidence the Intelligent Designer doesn’t behave in way we find acceptable to ourselves. I presume the birds that were Darwin’s victims didn’t find Darwin’s “intelligent” behavior acceptable to them either, but the existence of their suffering was not proof against Darwin’s existence nor Darwin’s intelligent designs (such as loading and aiming his guns).
This observation may not make the thought of ID endearing, but it hopefully negates Darwin’s complaint that an intelligent being would not allow or even inflict suffering on creatures.