Intelligent Design The Definitive Source on Intelligent Design

A Slightly Technical Introduction to Intelligent Design

Biology, Physics, Mathematics, and Information Theory
Link

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.

Read More ›

DNA: The Message in the Message

Link

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.

Read More ›

DNA and the Origin of Life

Link

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.

Read More ›

Intelligent Design Revisited

Link

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.

Read More ›

Yes, Intelligent Design is Detectable by Science

Link

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 ›

Read More ›

What Intelligent Design Is — and Isn’t

Link

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.

Read More ›

Entry on Intelligent Design

Link

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 ›

Read More ›

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.”

Read More ›

The Evolution of the Long-Necked Giraffe

What Do We Really Know?
In the following article the assertions of three supporters of the synthetic theory concerning the evolution of the long-necked giraffe will be discussed: the statements of Ulrich Kutschera, Richard Dawkins and Kathleen Hunt. The data so far obtained show that there are many suggestive but untestable hypotheses on this topic and that we really know nothing about the evolution of the long-necked giraffes. Moreover, a close examination of the evidence reveals several deep problems for any of the current hypotheses explaining the origin of these species exclusively by mutations, recombination and selection. Read More ›

On the Origins of Life

Link

I suspect it would be more prudent to recall how much has been assumed: First, that the pre-biotic atmosphere was chemically reductive; second, that nature found a way to synthesize cytosine; third, that nature also found a way to synthesize ribose; fourth, that nature found the means to assemble nucleotides into polynucleotides; fifth, that nature discovered a self-replicating molecule; and sixth, that having done all that, nature promoted a self-replicating molecule into a full system of coded chemistry. These assumptions are not only vexing but progressively so, ending in a serious impediment to thought.

Read More ›

Searching Large Spaces

Displacement and the No Free Lunch Regress
Link

Searching for small targets in large spaces is a common problem in the sciences. Because blind search is inadequate for such searches, it needs to be supplemented with additional information, thereby transforming a blind search into an assisted search. This additional information can be quantified and indicates that assisted searches themselves result from searching higher-level search spaces–by conducting, as it were, a search for a search. Thus, the original search gets displaced to a higher-level search. The key result in this paper is a displacement theorem, which shows that successfully resolving such a higher-level search is exponentially more difficult than successfully resolving the original search. Leading up to this result, a measure-theoretic version of the No Free Lunch theorems is formulated and proven. The paper shows that stochastic mechanisms, though able to explain the success of assisted searches in locating targets, cannot, in turn, explain the source of assisted searches.

Read More ›

The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories

Link

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.

Read More ›

Using Intelligent Design Theory to Guide Scientific Research

Link

Intelligent Design theory (ID) can contribute to science on at least two levels. On one level, ID is concerned with inferring from the evidence whether a given feature of the world is designed. This is the level on which William Dembski’s explanatory filter and Michael Behe’s concept of irreducible complexity operate. On another level, ID could function as a “metatheory,” providing a conceptual framework for scientific research. By suggesting testable hypotheses about features of the world that have been systematically neglected by older metatheories (such as Darwin’s), and by leading to the discovery of new features, ID could indirectly demonstrate its scientific fruitfulness.

Read More ›

The Cambrian Explosion

Biology's Big Bang
Link

Both Charles Darwin himself and contemporary neo-Darwinists such as Francisco Ayala, Richard Dawkins, and Richard Lewontin acknowledge that biological organisms appear to have been designed by an intelligence. Yet classical Darwinists and contemporary Darwinists alike have argued that what Francisco Ayala calls the “obvious design” of living things is only apparent. As Ayala, a former president of the American Association …

Read More ›