“The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection. ID is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion.

In a broader sense, Intelligent Design is simply the science of design detection — how to recognize patterns arranged by an intelligent cause for a purpose. Design detection is used in a number of scientific fields, including anthropology, forensic sciences that seek to explain the cause of events such as a death or fire, cryptanalysis and the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). An inference that certain biological information may be the product of an intelligent cause can be tested or evaluated in the same manner as scientists daily test for design in other sciences.

ID is controversial because of the implications of its evidence, rather than the significant weight of its evidence. ID proponents believe science should be conducted objectively, without regard to the implications of its findings. This is particularly necessary in origins science because of its historical (and thus very subjective) nature, and because it is a science that unavoidably impacts religion.”

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Posted by Keith E. Buhler

15 Comments

  1. “The theory of intelligent design (ID) holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause rather than an undirected process such as natural selection.

    Perhaps this is the confusion. If the opposite of “intelligent cause” is “undirected process” then is it any wonder that natural selection might produce the “illusion of design?” Natural selection is a direction. The direction is survivability (via reproduction). Darwin simply calls it fitness, but it’s the same thing. So survivability (via reproduction) of a species directs the otherwise apparently random modifications during reproduction. It can produce an incredibly complex system.

    ID is thus a scientific disagreement with the core claim of evolutionary theory that the apparent design of living systems is an illusion

    Evolution makes no such claim, and it certainly isn’t its core claim. Evolution says that descent by modification with natural selection is the explanation without making any claim as to whether there is design present. Descent by modification with natural selection does not exclude the possibility of design.

    Since “design” is still not defined, I don’t know how it could ever be ruled out. This definition of Intelligent Design seems to be saying that design is anything created with a directed process. In which case, evolution is simply unintentional design. If this is true, then is the real problem that evolutionists don’t consider intent?

    Intelligent Design is simply the science of design detection

    So be it. What does this have to do with evolution? So go ahead and detect design in nature. Does that mean nature is not natural? The hypothesis is, then, that descent by modification with natural selection cannot produce results that are “detectable as designed?” If this isn’t true, then Intelligent Design and Evolution are not at odds. If this is true, then explain why they cannot.

    ID is controversial because of the implications of its evidence, rather than the significant weight of its evidence.

    This is an ID mindset, that evolutionists are atheists vehemently denying deity. I’m a conservative born-again Christian who believes that Genesis is either simply not literal. Or God, for some reason, created everything with the appearance of evolution.

    Evolutionists (those who bother to pay attention to ID advocates) believe that “Evolution is controversial [to creationists] because of the [inferred] implications of its evidence, rather than the significant weight of its evidence.”

    …it is a science that unavoidably impacts religion

    It’s avoidable. It doesn’t even impact a literal interpretation of Genesis unless you let it. Intelligent Design still requires supernatural any way you look at it (and that is the point as illustrated above). With supernatural, anything is possible. So even a Biblical Creationist is well aware that God must have created some things with the appearance of age. Why not also the appearance of history? God created fossils, perhaps – fossils are part of the design. That’s the wonderful thing about supernatural – it has no rules. In fact, this is exactly the attribute that makes it ascientific.

    Reply

  2. Evidently, some people believe design can take place without a designer. Do automobiles arise randomly from junk yards? Or are they designed and manufactured by people?

    Many systems found in nature are so irreducibly complex that the idea of them having evolved is ludicrous. It is mathmatically impossible and I do mean by a long shot!

    Consider the motility of certain bacteria that swim in viscous liquid environments by rotating helical propellers called flagella. Some bacteria boast a marvelous swimming device, the flagellum, which has no counterpart in more complex cells. In 1973 it was discovered that some bacteria swim by rotating their flagella.

    The bacterial flagellum acts as a rotary propellor. The flagellum is a long, hairlike filament embedded in the cell membrane. The external filament consists of a single type of protein, called “flagellin.” The flagellin filament is the paddle surface that contacts the the liquid during swimming. At the end of the flagellin filament near the surface of the cell, there is a bulge in the thickness of the flagellum. It is here that the filament attaches to the rotor drive. The attachment material is comprised of something called “hook protein.” The filament of a bacterial flagellum, unlike a cilium, contains no motor protein; if it is broken off, the filament just floats stiffly in the water. Therefore the motor that rotates the filament-propellor must be located somewhere else. Experiments have demonstrated that it is located at the base of the flagellum, where electron microscopy shows several ring structures occur.

    The bacterial flagellum is a nanomachine made of about 30 different proteins, each of them in multiple copies ranging from a few to tens of thousands. (All but one of the proteins are unique to the motor and are not found in any other living system. From whence, then were these protein parts co-opted?) It is constructed by self-assembly of these large numbers of proteins, each into a different part that exerts a different function, such as a rotary motor, bushing, drive shaft, rotation-switch regulator, universal joint, helical propeller, and rotary promoter for self-assembly.
    Flagellar proteins are synthesized within the cell body and transported through a long, narrow central channel in the flagellum to its distal (outer) end, where they self-assemble to construct complex nano-scale structures efficiently, with the help of the flagellar cap as the assembly promoter. The rotary motor, with a diameter of only 30 to 40 nm, drives the rotation of the flagellum at around 300 Hz, at a power level of 10-16 W with energy conversion efficiency close to 100 %.

    The structural designs and functional mechanisms to be revealed in the complex machinery of the bacterial flagellum could provide many novel technologies that would become a basis for future nanotechnology, from which we should be able to find many uses. Yes, modern engineers are studying the DESIGN of these motors to apply the technology to today’s solutions!

    It is notable that the transport systems, the assembly systems, the proteins themselves, the arrangement of all the proteins-all of these must be done properly and in the correct order or the motor will not operate. Missing one piece of the puzzle stops the whole thing. So how could this motor evolve step-by-step if it is inoperable without the entire mechanism in place? How did the transport and assembly portions of the puzzle evolve? Macroevolutionists have no answer, because this system is obviously designed, an intricate and incredibly wonderful nanomotor that is beyond our ability to reproduce.

    Reply

  3. Evidently, some people believe design can take place without a designer.

    I covered this. “Design” isn’t defined, except maybe as “the work of a designer.” With this definition, natural selection is the designer, so the work appears designed.

    Do automobiles arise randomly from junk yards? Or are they designed and manufactured by people?

    Designing and manufacturing are two distinct works here. How does I.D. propose things in nature were manufactured?

    Cars are not self-replicating are they? Do they compete for survival? Do you understand the theory of evolution?

    Again, this was a discussion about whether I.D. is scientific or not. Yet your strategy seems to be to poke holes in evolution. Does poking holes in evolution make I.D. seem more scientific? It isn’t relevant here and is a case of a disjunctive syllogism.

    It isn’t correct either, so here we go…

    Many systems found in nature are so irreducibly complex that the idea of them having evolved is ludicrous. It is mathmatically impossible and I do mean by a long shot!

    This is misleading. I can’t tell if that was the intent, or if you don’t understand irreducible complexity. Irreducible complexity is a barrier to evolution only on the grounds that evolution requires gradual changes and irreducible complexity is ostensibly impossible without nearly simultaneous changes. It is not math.

    However, components in apparently irreducibly complex systems can be recruited from other uses. This is one way that the parts to a system can be nearly in place before the system is operational. The system can often begin operating with horrible efficiency but gradually optimize so that the original functions of the components are no longer detectable.

    Irreducible complexity is bad design. It introduces possible points of failure. Saying that something that can’t evolve must have been designed is a case of argumentum ad ignorantiam.

    How does the theory of Intelligent Design explain the the coming together of bacterial flagella?

    Again, I’d love to debunk your bacterial flagella, but this discussion isn’t about defending evolution, it’s about defining Intelligent Design. And, to no surprise, there is already an explanation for bacterial flagella.

    Studying the “design” in bacterial flagella for use in modern motors is a good idea. Evolutionists are doing it in spite of being evolutionists. We are already aware of the design in nature. It is survivability via reproduction. Things are designed to survive to reproduction.

    In other words: Intelligent Design is not about getting the “design” into textbooks, it’s about getting the “manufacturer” into textbooks without mentioning one at all. You are not debunking that point. You are tossing out red herrings.

    Reply

  4. Evidently, some people believe design can take place without a designer. (me)

    I covered this. “Design” isn’t defined, except maybe as “the work of a designer.” With this definition, natural selection is the designer, so the work appears designed. (warren)

    Answer- Natural selection happens as a result of chance, there is no design involved.

    Do automobiles arise randomly from junk yards? Or are they designed and manufactured by people? (me)

    Designing and manufacturing are two distinct works here. How does I.D. propose things in nature were manufactured? (warren)

    Answer- Anything manufactured must needs be designed first. ID points out that design is evident (DNA being the blueprint, eh?) and this rules out chance. Macroevolution depends on natural selection, which depends on chance.

    Does poking holes in evolution make I.D. seem more scientific? It isn’t relevant here and is a case of a disjunctive syllogism. (warren)

    Answer- Since the battle is between ID and macroevolution, yes, poking holes in macroevolution is ushered in to the discussion.

    Many systems found in nature are so irreducibly complex that the idea of them having evolved is ludicrous. It is mathmatically impossible and I do mean by a long shot! (me)

    This is misleading. I can’t tell if that was the intent, or if you don’t understand irreducible complexity. Irreducible complexity is a barrier to evolution only on the grounds that evolution requires gradual changes and irreducible complexity is ostensibly impossible without nearly simultaneous changes. It is not math. (warren)

    No, it is math. Since natural selection depends upon chance, math enters in. Supposing that the very simplest organism was composed of only 800 parts, that means that all 800 parts would have had to randomly come together and work together at one moment to produce the organism. This is equivalent to flipping a coin and coming up “heads” 800 consecutive times. Since the very simplest of organisms have far more than 800 parts, it is math that says the organism could not have happened by chance. Now go ahead and apply that to creatures that are comprised of billions of parts, such as a human.

    Again, I’d love to debunk your bacterial flagella, but this discussion isn’t about defending evolution, it’s about defining Intelligent Design. And, to no surprise, there is already an explanation for bacterial flagella.
    (warren)

    Answer- This “explanation is full of holes and misleading information. That similar proteins are found elsewhere matters not, in the particular engine Behe describes all but one of the actual proteins are unique to this organism. In fact, the idea that flagella and cilia are similar argues for a designer as much as it argues against. Anyone ever notice that most GM cars use the same style of brakes, whereas most Ford cars share a different style? Also, that different bacteria use different motors is irrelevant, because it doesn’t change the irreducible nature of the example. In fact, it just argues against natural selection, since this means more diverse creatures would have had to evolve against the laws of chance. Talk Origins is a site where a little knowledge is used to try to scare off those who are uninformed. A serious scientist without an agenda would not settle for their one-sided postings. In my opinion, of course….

    Reply

  5. Further information on flagellar motility in bacteria- If anyone truly has an interest in the truth concerning this issue in particular, I would challenge them to read “Evolving the Flagellum and the Climbing of “Mt. Improbable” ” at the following website:

    http://www.rae.org/index.html

    I promise you there is a great deal of technical information but if you take the time to follow it, it makes any Darwinist attempt to explain the evolution of such nanomotors ludicrous.

    It may be noted that this is a Creationist site and I am a Creationist. It so happens that a large number of Darwinists, such as Richard Dawkins, are Atheists. I have yet to hear someone declare that the teaching of Darwinism should be banned because it promotes Atheism. Yet Darwinism is an important aspect of Atheism because it eliminates the problem of God. If it is unnecessary to have a Creator God, then perhaps the idea of God can be banished entirely, eh?

    “Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually- fulfilled atheist.” Richard Dawkins, Neo- Darwinian spokesman

    “A little science estranges a man from God; a lot of science brings him back.” Sir Francis Bacon

    Reply

  6. You have clearly demonstrated that you do not understand evolutionary theory. Even despite the fact that the author of the article to which you linked gives a good explanation of it.

    Your ignorance is almost funny at times, except that it is so common in this area that it is sad.

    It must be obvious to anyone reading this that you do not understand the concepts against which you are arguing. I cannot point out your error to you if you are unable to comprehend the truth.

    Natural Selection happens as a result of chance. False.

    Anything manufactured must needs be designed first Why?

    Only if your definition of “manufactured” is “built according to a design.” The obvious contextual definition as I used the term was no more specific than “assembled.” Intentional red herring? Or inability to grasp the abstract?

    Since the battle is between ID and macroevolution… You mean, your battle.

    If it’s a battle, it is a battle between science and I.D. – specifically on whether or not I.D., as a theory of modern biodiversity, is scientific. You could argue that evolutionary theory is not scientific in nature, but you aren’t arguing that.

    If it is between ID and macroevolution then why are you attacking abiogenesis rather than macroevolution? Can you not understand the difference?

    Supposing that the very simplest organism was composed of only 800 parts, that means that all 800 parts would have had to randomly come together and work together at one moment to produce the organism…

    Since no one knows what the simplest possible viable organism is. This straw man from antiquity has never been relevant.

    …Now go ahead and apply that to creatures that are comprised of billions of parts, such as a human. Why?

    This is, yet, more staggering ignorance of evolution. Evolution works by gradual changes, but your straw man theory has humans evolving directly from molecules?

    This “explanation is full of holes and misleading information. That similar proteins are found elsewhere matters not

    Full of holes (gaps), yes. We don’t know exactly how it evolved because the evidence is gone. Notice that evolutionists don’t say they know all the details but propose how it is possible instead.

    Intelligent Design, likewise has no explanation. It appears “designed,” supposedly, but that doesn’t explain how it was assembled.

    Simpler proteins found elsewhere simply means that “irreducible complexity” as defined by Behe and the author of your article, is not a barrier to evolution. The parts can be in place for other purposes before the system starts functioning.

    Talk Origins… one-sided postings …

    The motives of the arguer have no effect on the truth of the argument. Arguers always argue one “side.” That is the definition of “argument.” The author of your article argues only one side, so do you.

    I have yet to hear someone declare that the teaching of Darwinism should be banned because it promotes Atheism.

    The ability of an argument to support a cause is not relevant either as I’ve said. This is why I disagreed with the Judge’s ruling against I.D. based on it being “[biblical] creationism relabeled” and thus religion. It is no more “creationism” than evolution is “atheism.” However, it is still not science.

    Evolution does not “promote” atheism. Atheists promote evolution, yes. Does that make it untrue? No.

    Creationists promote I.D., does that make it religion? No.

    Evolution relies on natural explanation. I.D. relies on supernatural explanation. That is the argument. You have yet to refute that. I will not waste my time responding to more red herrings. Respond to the original argument if you understand it.

    Reply

  7. radar, if you’re going to dump large quantities of quoted material from creationist websites, at least do the favor of attributing your quotations.

    Reply

  8. Jim, I attributed my quotes and also listed the RAE site link. Other quotes were from articles I posted elsewhere and I don’t suppose I should attribute myself, should I?

    Warren, calling me silly or ignorant may make you feel better. But I understand evolution much better than you imagine because I understand the paucity of your arguments. Be a man and speak to the facts rather than try to discredit me with name-calling.

    Warren, of course natural selection has to operate by chance, because random mutations are chance occurences and the only way that a macroevolutionist can support the Darwinist idea that all of these various species arose from one organism is to bring mutations into the discussion. If there are no mutations to change things, then you are left with microevolution, which is the operation of natural selection on the gene pool which is extant. Natural selection could cause certain traits already found in the gene pool to be dominant to fit the conditions. However, in order to change the species into something else, mutation must enter in.

    Mutations are actually mistakes in the code. Mistakes are usually negative in nature, rather than being of benefit to the organism. In order for natural selection to power macroevolution, mutations in the DNA itself must be passed down to succeeding generations, mutations that lead to the formation of new species. This is why I say the laws of chance apply to Darwinism. Without mutation occurring by chance, there is no possibility for natural selection to work to bring new species into existence.

    So lets get down to it. Science is the study of what is and why it is. Evolution does not rise to the level of theory because it cannot be tested or when testing is attempted the results do not support the supposition. So evolution is simply a supposition and a bad one at that.

    Intelligent Design is also a supposition and it does not rise to the level of theory for the same reasons evolution cannot be called a theory. Both ID and evolution are attempts to explain where life came from, where all living organisms have come from. ID doesn’t postulate the actual agent, but it does observe that all things have been designed. Evolution postulates that all things have come about as a result of chance.

    It has become apparent to many scientists that Darwinism promotes impossibilities and therefore one is left with the idea that all living things were designed. If scientists in general were in agreement about this, millions upon millions of manhours and dollars wasted on trying to prove macroevolution could be put to better use.

    Since ID doesn’t specify a creative force but recognizes that one had to be, it allow for scientists to go two different ways. They can either believe that God created, or they can invest time and energy into determining who other than God might have been the designer of all living things.

    Either way, ID sees the evidence as it is. It is much like the tale of the Emporer’s New Clothes-Darwinists see macroevolution as not just theory but fact, while the rest of us know that it is certainly not a theory and far from fact.

    I am confident that more and more scientists will abandon macroevolution as too far-fetched to be considered science and come over to the ID side.

    Reply

  9. radar, apparently you don’t know what “attributing” means, but I’ll forgive you if you actually attribute your quotes–even your own! It will help you avoid the perception of intellectual laziness (which, for all your parroting of common creationist canards, will be tough to shake).

    Were you the author of this site or this site? Because I detect a strong whiff of plagiarism.

    Reply

  10. Jim, I do know what attributing means and I did not take any quotes from either of those two sites. I wrote a series of articles for another site about a year and a half ago and I was taking material from my own writings. I depended on some information from some college-level texts back then and perhaps these sites you have posted used the same or similar material. I also used some material from a presentation I attended some two years ago in those articles. Anything that is in any way plagiarized is entirely unintended.

    So you and Warren share the “avoid the argument by dogging the opposition” strategy, eh? Nice, allow me to use the same strategy. Apparently you and Warren don’t know what “debate” means, so allow me to enlighten you. In a normal debate or exchange of ideas, there is a back and forth discussion of the information presented. Neither you nor Warren have presented one tiny shred of evidence to answer any of my questions to you, other than trying to depict me as uninformed, lazy or stupid or to refer me to another website.

    Surprise me and address the issues for a change and I will pay attention. Present some proof that my “common creationist canards” are faulty, if you are able.

    Reply

  11. A poster above claims that “natural selection results from chance.”

    Selection is the opposite of chance. Some of the variation on which natural selection can work come from chance mutations, but even in mutations, chance and random do not rule.

    This confuses creationists. Design definitely results from natural processes in living things. Looking for “design” does not imply an intelligent designer. We know of many processes which produce design without intelligent intervention — short-circuiting the science to claim a designer exists contributes no useful direction to research, but instead tends to frustrate the search for real answers.

    Reply

  12. radar, it’s hard to take you seriously when you

    1. Say things like “so irreducibly complex.” Irreducible complexity is an all or nothing proposition (and a tricky one to pin down, as Michael Behe’s switch to “irreducible core complexity” demonstrates.)

    2. Bring up the “tornado in a junkyard” example right from the first, which would be obnoxious if it were not laughable.

    3. Contradict yourself by saying that evolution “cannot be tested or when testing is attempted the results do not support the supposition.” If it’s untestable, how is it tested?

    4. Bash Warren for “name-calling” while simultaneously adjuring him to “be a man.”

    5. Ignore epigenetics, symbiosis, and other interesting venues of genetic change.

    6. Put forth a great claim for Multiple Designers Theory: “Anyone ever notice that most GM cars use the same style of brakes, whereas most Ford cars share a different style?”

    7. Repeat the “tornado in a junkyard” fallacy in your discussion of the origin of life: “Supposing that the very simplest organism was composed of only 800 parts, that means that all 800 parts would have had to randomly come together and work together at one moment to produce the organism.”

    Reply

  13. Jim,

    It seems that there is no way to get you to focus on the issues, is there?

    This will be my last post in this comment thread. Again, your posting merely tries to put the focus on me rather than address the issues. You make fun of the question rather than try to answer. You do so creatively, but still you do it. It reminds me of the Wizard of Oz. You make all this noise and call me obnoxious and laughable while I point out the guy behind the curtain. In the end, you are still the guy behind the curtain without any answers.

    Reply

  14. I can only hope that readers of this discussion are honest enough with themselves to recognize that “put the focus on you” is not the same as “put the focus on your errors.” It is fair for people to correct errors in your statements.

    Jim didn’t answer your questions because I already posted sites with the answers. You said you rejected the answers because the authors of the answers don’t agree with you. If you reject, out of hand, answers from those who disagree with you, then Proverbs is calling you the fool: 12:15, 23:9, and 24:7.

    If you reject correction, it is no wonder that some of your statements rise to the level of laughable.

    Your claim that we have no answers is dubious. What have we not answered? In fact, I’ve pointed out that you never address the core topic of this blog even once and then answered your questions anyway.

    Everytime we try to correct you, you cry fowl as if we are attacking you personally. So, honestly, who is saying “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain?”

    Reply

  15. Dave…

    Interesting topic… I’m working in this industry myself and I don’t agree about this in 100%, but I added your page to my bookmarks and hope to see more interesting articles in the future…

    Reply

Leave a reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *