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Intelligent design (often shortened to "ID") is the proposition that some unspecified entity which is currently unobservable used unknown techniques and tools at some unknown time in the past to design and create something. Unlike evolution, Intelligent Design is not accepted by the scientific community, and with good reasons:
The Unanswered Questions Pertaining to ID
There are a number of questions which ID advocates never seem to address.
- How many Designers were there?
- The question of manufacture: That is to say, exactly how did the Designer implement Its Design(s)? God himself, being omnipotent, can get away with 'poof'ing things into existence in a puff of smoke; ID's Designer cannot follow that example, unless of course ID's Designer is God Himself, in which case ID is nothing more than religious apologetics.
- What is the exact message of ID? Many construe ID to simply state "Evolution is wrong," a conclusion not empirically supported.
- What, specifically did the designer design? Some ID proponents contend that the created 'something' is life on Earth, while others believe the created 'something' to be Universe itself (i.e., so-called "cosmological ID"), and still others think that both life and the Universe are products of Design.
The Ambiguity of Intelligent Design
Some Intelligent Design advocates contend that there is a theory of Intelligent Design, though what this theory relates to depends on the IDist.
- A one-off intervention and front-loading of one or a set of biological pro-genitor entities
- A one-off intervention and front-loading of one or a set of biological pro-genitor entities on Earth by extra-terrestrial intelligences
- Initiation (selected from the set above) plus on-going manipulation
The majority of IDists fail to distinguish any of these candidate theories, and contend that the arguments presented in favour of ID indicate that any of the - strictly speaking - hypotheses would be supported by the ID evidence, because the ID evidence overturns the key Darwinian idea of common descent by natural selection and random mutation.
The Evidence of Intelligent Design
Intelligent Design proponents agree on the idea that the work of an unknown and unknowable designer can, in principle, be detected. IDists have proposed several criteria to detect design, but each such criterion is seriously flawed as a tool for scientific investigation:
- Irreducibly complex biochemical pathways are said to be unevolvable and thus the result of design; however, those who make such a claim do so on the basis of the empirically false presumption that evolution can only add new parts to a system, and is incapable of removing or modifying a system's existing parts.
- Specified complexity allegedly cannot form via unintelligent processes. However, 'specified complexity' is a vague concept that makes it a matter of interpretation to distinguish whether or not any given object/entity/system actually possesses it.
- William Dembski's explanatory filter was intended to distinguish designed phenomena from those created by natural processes. The Explanatory Filter though is intrinsically incapable of distinguishing between " the product of an unknown non-Design phenomenon" and "the product of Design".
ID advocates claim that these theories have been peer-reviewed, but a glance at their claimed list of peer-reviewed ID articles shows that this is not true.
Prominent Intelligent Design Advocates
Some Intelligent Design advocates contend that their viewpoint should be discussed in science classes as an alternative to the theory of evolution.
- A History of the Intelligent Design Movement at (Talk Reason)
- Understanding the Intelligent Design Creationist Movement: Its True Nature and Goals