This post is a very brief introduction to the intelligent design hypothesis.
What is intelligent design
Intelligent design is a hypothesis that certain features of the world, and specifically of living beings, are best explained by an intelligent cause [Ref 1]. Proponents of intelligent design claim that they do not deny the value of modern evolution theory and that their hypothesis has no relation to Biblical Creation.
Although believers in Biblical Creation adhere to an all-encompassing intelligent design by definition, not all intelligent design proponents believe in God. Maybe this is a reason the Catholic Church has denounced intelligent design as it does not require a Biblical God. For example, human beings on Earth may have been genetically engineered by some alien species, who are not Gods. In essence, the intelligent design hypothesis is not incompatible with the notion of a universe that was never created by a God. Thus, in intelligent design the notions of Creator and God may not coincide like in the Bible. In addition, an intelligent designer of human beings might not have been Omnipotent and Omniscient like the Biblical God. As a result, traditional creationism and intelligent design overlap only partially. Intelligent design says nothing about the universe, the origin and reasons of existence, or anything related to religion.
The easiest attack on intelligent design is to call it covert creationism. This line of attack is especially prevalent amongst materialists who want to stir away from dealing with the premises that contribute to the abduction of the intelligent design hypothesis, like for example the irreducible complexity in biological system [Ref. 2] and complex specified information [Ref. 3]. I am not going to discuss the details of those premises but they are given in the references provide. Here I want to say that although the intelligent design hypothesis is plausible, it cannot be verified. It is a bold hypothesis and unless the intelligent designer himself appears and provides evidence of its design, there can be no proof. In addition, it is not a falsifiable hypothesis in the sense that it generates no predictions that can be tested in laboratories. In this light, although plausible, it is not considered scientific in the sense of the rules set by contemporary science
I believe that the intelligent design issue, or controversy, is used by scientists as a distracting issue away from the real issues. One such real issue is whether this is an autonomous world or it is a virtual reality of some kind. This will be discussed in a forthcoming post.
1. Discovery Institute: http://www.discovery.org/
2. Behe, M. J. (1996), Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution. New York: Free Press.
3. Dembski, W. A. (2002), No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield.