Saturday, April 30, 2011

7 Things Worth Knowing about Intelligent Design

According to the theory of Intelligent Design, it is possible to infer from empirical evidence that some features of the natural world are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than unguided processes. The “ID movement,” as it is sometimes called, is quiet recent. It originated with the publication of several books between 1984 and 1992 and a small meeting organized by Berkeley law professor Phillip E. Johnson near Monterey, California, in 1993.
Jonathan Wells, a key figure in the ID movement and author of the famed Icons of Evolution, notes seven things about ID worth knowing:
    1. The word “intelligent” emphasizes that “design” in this case is not just a pattern, but a pattern produced by a mind that conceives and executes a plan. Any natural causes involved are guided by intelligence. Writing a meaningful paragraph on a computer depends on various physiological, mechanical, and electronic processes, but without a mind directing them they would not produce the paragraph.
    2. ID is not a substitute for ignorance. If we don’t know the cause of something that does not mean it was designed. When we make design inferences- and all of us make them every day- we do so on the basis of evidence; the more evidence, the more reliable the design inference.
    3. ID relies on scientific evidence rather than on Scripture or religious doctrines. It is not biblical creationism. Intelligent Design makes no claims about biblical chronology, and biblical creationists have clearly distinguished their views from ID. A person does not even need to believe in God to infer intelligent design in nature; otherwise, prominent atheist Anthony Flew could not have been persuaded that the evidence in nature points to design.
    4. ID does not tell the identity of the designer. Although most proponents of ID believe that the designer is the God of the Bible, they acknowledge that this belief goes beyond the scientific evidence. Thus ID is not the same as nineteenth-century natural theology, which reasoned from nature to the attributes of God. Instead, ID restricts itself to a simple question: does the evidence point to design in nature? The answer to this question- whether yes or no- carries implications for religious belief, but the question can be asked and answered without presupposing those implications.
    5. ID does not claim that design must be optimal; something may be designed even if it is flawed. When automobile manufacturers recall defective vehicles, they are showing that those vehicles were badly designed, not that they were undesigned.
    6. ID is compatible with some aspects of Darwinian evolution. ID does not deny the reality of variation and natural selection; it just denies that those phenomena can accomplish all that Darwinists claim they can accomplish. ID challenges only the sufficiency of unguided natural processes and the Darwinian claim that design in living things is an illusion rather than a reality.
    7. ID can apply on two different levels. Design may be detectable in specific features of living things, but it may also be detectable in natural laws and the structure of the cosmos. Most people who consider themselves ID advocates maintain not only that design is empirically detectable in the cosmos as a whole, but also that some features of the natural world (such as the shapes of rocks and cliffs) are not designed in the same sense that other features (such as the information in DNA) are designed. [1]
    For those interested in learning more about ID, go here.
    Courage and Godspeed,
    1. Taken and slightly modified from Jonathan Wells, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design, p. 7-9.


Jacob Allee said...

This is a good concise explanation of ID Theory. Thanks.

Chad Vaughn said...

Thanks Chad for sharing this on the blog and also in class Sunday. I know when I first heard the term ID it was difficult for me to differentiate between it and the 6 day Creation account in Genesis. This information helps make the distinction. But I agree there should be more collaboration between the two.

Thanks O.C.!

Anonymous said...

The main thing to know about "intellgent design" is that it is a fraud. Since there can exist no means of showing, with respect to any design, that an "intelligence" was NOT involved in it, no information can derive from any thesis that it WAS. Which means that there is no way of determining whether "intelligent design" even exists.

craig said...

Just looking around us at many things which we take for granted one must quickly realize that they were created by intelligence far beyond anything that we can begin to comprehend. Just look at our planet which is an astounding accomplishment that only the mind of God could create. All of this just happenstance? Even the creation of our own minds and bodies is something way beyond our understanding. Then one must try to comprehend and magnificence of our vast universe. Happenstance? You have gotta be kidding!!!

Chad said...

Hello Anonymous One,

"Since there can exist no means of showing, with respect to any design, that an "intelligence" was NOT involved in it..."

Correct me if I'm wrong, but if you could demonstrate how the "design" came about naturalistically, wouldn't that show that an intelligence wasn't involved?