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Intelligent falling (IF) is a parody of the intelligent design (ID) movement. IF is a pseudoscientific supernatural explanation of the effects of gravity that has become an Internet phenomenon. The joke originated on Usenet, and has appeared in several online parodies. An article about Intelligent Falling in The Onion described free fall as being caused by "the hand of God", as depicted in Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel fresco.
Intelligent Falling proposes that the scientific explanation of gravitational force cannot explain all aspects of the phenomenon, so credence should be given to the idea that things fall because a higher intelligence is moving them. Furthermore, IF asserts that theories explaining gravity are not internally consistent nor mathematically reconcilable with quantum mechanics, making gravity a "theory in crisis". IF also makes the claim that gravity is "only a theory", parodying the claims made by creationists regarding the theoretical status of evolution. Pretend IF apologists advocate that IF should be taught in school along with the theory of gravity so that students can make "an informed decision" on the subject in accordance with demands to "teach the controversy". IF has found common ground with the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a similar critique of intelligent design, and the two are often combined when mentioned in discussions.
In June 2002 a user named Jeff Stubbs posted a draft of a letter to the editor that mentions "intelligent grappling" to the alt.atheism and talk.origins usenet groups. He commented that "I don't like the theory of gravity, I feel personally insulted that engineers design structures only considering physical mass. What about our souls? I propose that science classes also teach the theory of "Intelligent Grappling". There's no way a weak force such as gravity can possibly hold everything onto the planet. It must be God, using our souls, to hold everything together." This was followed by Elf Sternberg posting a "FAQ on intelligent grappling" on the sci.skeptic usenet group. D. C. Simpson published, in May 2005, an I Drew This comic strip titled "Teaching Gravity". This was followed by Joshua Rosenau, a graduate student at the University of Kansas, presenting the idea on his blog, citing Isaac Newton. Intelligent falling was the subject of an article in The Onion in August 2005.
In January 2010 Indian news satire website Faking News used the idea to write spoof news: "Apple dropped from Burj Dubai to validate Newton’s laws disappears". A Turkish Scientist, Prof. Dr. Esat Rennan Pekünlü of Ege University, mistakenly thought that IF was being proposed seriously, and wrote an article in the a popular science journal Cumhuriyet Bilim; he later retracted the article.
- 'Traditional scientists admit that they cannot explain how gravitation is supposed to work,' Carson said. 'What the gravity-agenda scientists need to realize is that gravity waves and gravitons are just secular words for God can do whatever He wants.'"Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New 'Intelligent Falling' Theory". The Onion. Aug 17, 2005. Retrieved 2 November 2012.
- Jeff Stubbs (Fri, 14 Jun 2002 14:17:33 +0000 (UTC)). "letter to editor (was Greensburg Salem curriculum)". alt.atheism. Web link.
- Elf Sternberg. "Gravity is God given". sci.skeptic. Web link.
- Simpson, D.C. (May 16, 2005). "Teaching Gravity". I Drew This. Keenspot. Retrieved 2012-07-07.
- "I've been thinking about this for a while, and I think it's time to discuss my theory of intelligent falling. I was inspired to question the Newtonist dogma on "gravity" when I learned that science cannot explain the movement of three things at once. Sure, Newton's "laws" can explain how two things move, but Newtonists can't explain how a third object would affect that movement." http://jgrr.blogspot.com
- Apple dropped from Burj Dubai to validate Newton’s laws disappears | Faking News