Intelligent falling (IF) is a parody of the intelligent design (ID) movement. It is a pseudoscientific supernatural explanation of the effects of gravity. 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".
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. IF apologists jokingly 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 a parody of the demands to "teach the controversy".
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". Intelligent falling was the subject of an article in The Onion in August 2005.
- '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 (14 June 2002). "letter to editor (was Greensburg Salem curriculum)". Newsgroup: alt.atheism. Usenet: firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Elf Sternberg. "Gravity is God given". Newsgroup: sci.skeptic. Usenet: 1024441816.691379@yasure.
- Simpson, D.C. (May 16, 2005). "Teaching Gravity". I Drew This. Keenspot. Retrieved 2012-07-07.