Intelligent Design The Definitive Source on Intelligent Design

A Slightly Technical Introduction to Intelligent Design

Biology, Physics, Mathematics, and Information Theory
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Intelligent design — often called “ID” — is a scientific theory that holds that the emergence of some features of the universe and living things is best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID theorists argue that design can be inferred by studying the informational properties of natural objects to determine if they bear the type of information that in our experience arises from an intelligent cause. Proponents of neo-Darwinian evolution contend that the information in life arose via purposeless, blind, and unguided processes. ID proponents argue that this information arose via purposeful, intelligently guided processes. Both claims are scientifically testable using the standard methods of science. But ID theorists say that when we use the scientific method to explore nature, the evidence points away from unguided material causes, and reveals intelligent design.

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DNA: The Message in the Message

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We are so conditioned to expect scientific breakthroughs that exceed our expectations, Barr observed, that we reflexively reject any idea that science has limits. Yet science reveals not only the rich possibilities of nature but also its limitations. To give obvious examples, we know that we will never fulfill the alchemists’ dream of chemically transmuting lead into gold. We know that a parent of one species will never give birth to offspring of another species. Science reveals consistent patterns that allow us to make negative statements about what natural forces cannot do. To persist in seeking natural laws in such cases, Barr suggested, is as irrational as any primitive myth of the thunder gods.

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DNA and the Origin of Life

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This article appears in the peer-reviewed* volume Darwinism, Design, and Public Education published with Michigan State University Press. Stephen C. Meyer contends that intelligent design provides a better explanation than competing chemical evolutionary models for the origin of the information present in large biomacromolecules such as DNA, RNA, and proteins. Meyer shows that the term information as applied to DNA connotes not only improbability or complexity but also specificity of function. He then argues that neither chance nor necessity, nor the combination of the two, can explain the origin of information starting from purely physical-chemical antecedents. Instead, he argues that our knowledge of the causal powers of both natural entities and intelligent agency suggests intelligent design as the best explanation for the origin of the information necessary to build a cell in the first place.

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An Evaluation of Ten Recent Biology Textbooks And Their Use of Selected Icons of Evolution Evaluated

In general, an “A” requires full disclosure of the truth, discussion of relevant scientific controversies, and a recognition that Darwin’s theory — like all scientific theories — might have to be revised or discarded if it doesn’t fit the facts. An “F” indicates that the textbook uncritically relies on logical fallacy, dogmatically treats a theory as an unquestionable fact, or blatantly misrepresents published scientific evidence. Read More ›

Second Thoughts about Peppered Moths

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Every student of biological evolution learns about peppered moths. The dramatic increase in dark forms of this species during the industrial revolution, and experiments pointing to differential bird predation as the cause, have become the classical story of evolution by natural selection. The same careful scientific approach which established the classical story in the first place, however, has now revealed Read More ›

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Why Do We Invoke Darwin?

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Darwin’s theory of evolution offers a sweeping explanation of the history of life, from the earliest microscopic organisms billions of years ago to all the plants and animals around us today. Much of the evidence that might have established the theory on an unshakable empirical foundation, however, remains lost in the distant past. The modern form of Darwin’s theory has been raised to its present high status because it’s said to be the cornerstone of modern experimental biology. But is that correct?

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Intelligent Design Revisited

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The thrust of the e-mails was that ID is not science-based but is purely a matter of — Biblical creationism in disguise. It cannot be tested in a lab (can macroevolution or any historical science be reproduced in a lab?). As such, ID should only be taught in public schools, if at all, under the rubric of philosophy or religion, not science. Besides, it is just one alternative theory. If you teach it, in fairness you must teach all other competing theories. But not all scientists agree that ID lacks a scientific foundation.

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Yes, Intelligent Design is Detectable by Science

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Editor’s note: The online journal Sapientia recently posed a good question to several participants in a forum: “Is Intelligent Design Detectable by Science?” This is one key issue on which proponents of ID and of theistic evolution differ. Stephen Meyer, philosopher of science and director of Discovery Institute‘s Center for Science & Culture, gave the following reply. Biologists have long Read More ›

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What Intelligent Design Is — and Isn’t

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So what is ID, really? ID is not a deduction from religious dogma or scripture. It’s simply the argument that certain features of the natural world — from miniature machines and digital information found in living cells, to the fine-tuning of physical constants — are best explained as the result of an intelligent cause. ID is thus a tacit rebuke of an idea inherited from the 19th century, called scientific materialism.

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Not a Chance

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On August 4th, 2004 an extensive review essay by Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, Director of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture appeared in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington (volume 117, no. 2, pp. 213-239). The Proceedings is a peer-reviewed biology journal published at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. Dr. Meyer argues that no current materialistic theory of evolution can account for the origin of the information necessary to build novel animal forms. He proposes intelligent design as an alternative explanation for the origin of biological information and the higher taxa.

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Entry on Intelligent Design

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Intelligent design begins with a seemingly innocuous question: Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause? To see what’s at stake, consider Mount Rushmore. The evidence for Mount Rushmore’s design is direct — eyewitnesses saw the sculptor Gutzon Borglum spend the better part of his life Read More ›

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A Positive, Testable Case for Intelligent Design

In 2009, I discussed a paper in BioEssays titled “MicroRNAs and metazoan macroevolution: insights into canalization, complexity, and the Cambrian explosion” which stated that “elucidating the materialistic basis of the Cambrian explosion has become more elusive, not less, the more we know about the event itself, and cannot be explained away by coupling extinction of intermediates with long stretches of geologic time, despite the contrary claims of some modern neo-Darwinists.”

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Conservation of Information in Search

Measuring the Cost of Success
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Abstract: Conservation of information theorems indicate that any search algorithm performs, on average, as well as random search without replacement unless it takes advantage of problem-specific information about the search target or the search-space structure. Combinatorics shows that even a moderately sized search requires problem-specific information to be successful. Computers, despite their speed in performing queries, are completely inadequate for …

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