Intelligent Design The Definitive Source on Intelligent Design

A Slightly Technical Introduction to Intelligent Design

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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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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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A Brief History of Intelligent Design

Some trace the origins of ID back to the natural theology of William Paley and the arguments of the thirteenth century Catholic philosopher Thomas Aquinas. Other critics of ID acknowledge that “design arguments are not new, for the debate over design in nature began at least as early as the ancient Greek and Roman philosophers. The Greek philosophers Heraclitus, Empedocles, Democritus, and Anaximander believed that life could originate without any intelligent guidance. Plato and Aristotle, both advocated that a mind was required to explain life's existence. In more modern times, Isaac Newton asked in his treatise Opticks, "Was the Eye contrived without Skill in Opticks, and the Ear without Knowledge of Sounds? And these things being rightly dispatch’d, does it not appear from Phænomena that there is a Being incorporeal, living, intelligent, omnipresent…" The debate over design continued vigorously among scientists and philosophers — not just theologians — at the time of Darwin in the 19th century. Read More ›