Saturday, September 1, 2007

What is Intelligent Design?

ID Defined

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.

Positive evidence of design in living systems consists of the semantic, meaningful or functional nature of biological information, the lack of any known law that can explain the sequence of symbols that carry the “messages,” and statistical and experimental evidence that tends to rule out chance as a plausible explanation. Other evidence challenges the adequacy of natural or material causes to explain both the origin and diversity of life.


Is ID testable? Does it offer predictions? Is it falsifiable?

Yes. Also peruse this link to find a more lengthy response to these questions.

I find it interesting that anti-ID scientists often make the claim that ID isn’t testable, but later turn around and proclaim that ID has been proven false by new research.

If ID isn't science, it isn't testable, and it's not worth researching, why do Darwinists continue to work so hard at trying to refute it?

This article will help the lay reader get a better understanding of what ID theorists mean when they use the term CSI (complex specified information).

1 comment:

Forthekids said...

I’ve received several comments in regard to falsifiability, and I'd like to share this one from Davescot with the readers:

While it's true the ID hypothesis requires proving a negative in order to verify it, this is something that is common in scientific theories.

For instance, it is axoimatic that the fundamental forces of the universe (strong, weak, electromagnetic, and gravitational) are the same everywhere. Obviously we can't measure these forces everywhere so it can never be proven they're the same everywhere. Still nobody is calling physics a psuedo-science.

This is where Karl Popper and the principle of falsifiability comes into play. A theory is still scientific as long as it can be falsified in principle - i.e. there is some possible observation that can falsify it. Popper illustrated this with swans. A scientific hypothesis proposes that all swans are white. Obviously one cannot prove this true because there might always be somewhere a black swan exists but was never observed. The hypothesis is scientific because it is falsifiable - one observation of a black swan will falsify it.

The ID hypothesis can be stated in terms that satisfy Popperian falsification. Replace "swan" with "complex machines" and replace "intelligently designed" for "white":

All complex machines are intelligently designed.

This can be falsified by the observation of one complex machine that was not intelligently designed.

This observation is falsifiable in principle. The observation of p. falciparum, for instance, replicating billions of trillions of times in recent history with the results scrutinized at the nucleotide level could have falsfied the ID hypothesis if novel complex machinery had been found where it did not previously exist. But in fact the result of this observation was that no complex machinery beyond what was predicted and expected by statistical probability of random mutation was formed. ID's prediction in the case of p. falciparum was confirmed. It doesn't prove that no complex machines form absent intelligent agency but we are still left with a valid ID hypothesis which is supported by yet another observation. The set of complex machines designed absent intelligent agency remains a null set.