“All truth passes through three stages. First it is ridiculed. Secondly, it is violently opposed. Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”
—Arthur Schopenhauer, Philosopher
The Article Is Going To Change Everything You Thought You Knew About Intelligent Design . . .
I know everything you’ve been told about intelligent design.
You’ve been told that intelligent design (also known as I.D.) is just creationism in a cheap tuxedo. That it’s not scientific. That it’s not testable. That it’s a crazy idea for kooks. That it’s dangerous.
You’ve been lied to.
Forget all of those lies. I’m about to give you the God’s honest truth about perhaps the most important question: where did we come from?
But before we go too deep, let’s first make clear what intelligent design is.
So, What Is Intelligent Design Exactly?
The best definition of intelligent design I’ve read comes from the brilliant philosopher of science, Dr. Stephen C. Meyer:
The theory of intelligent design simply says that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.
Design is detectable, and it has been detected in life and the fabric of the universe.
Notice that intelligent design includes both biology and cosmology. This article’s ocus is biological I.D., which is the better known and more controversial version.
What Features Point To Intelligent Design, And How?
“Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.”
— Francis Crick, Nobel Prize Winning Biologist, Co-Discover of the Genetic Code
The genetic code, which acts as the programming language for life, and the organized complexity and nano-machinery of the cell.
Either of these alone would strongly imply design, but having both makes it an almost certainty.
Complex Doesn’t Mean Designed!
Funny enough, the only people who ever use the complex means designed argument are people who don’t understand intelligent design. Rather they do it out of ignorance, or dishonesty, I don’t know, but it remains wrong. Let’s correct things.
Complexity does not mean designed. Complexity, coupled with specification, means designed.
What’s the difference? It’s pretty simple . . .
Lots of parts = complexity
Lots of parts, arranged in a specific manner to give purpose and/or function = specified complexity
If that’s not clear, let’s use an image.
All of that sand represents complexity (non-designed). The sandcastle represents specified complexity (designed).
If you’re able to distinguish between the two, then you’re able to comprehend the design feature of specified complexity (also, congratulations on having eyesight).
Intelligent Design Is All Around You . . .
This holds true for all cases of design. Just look around you right now. Everywhere you see design, you’ll see complexity arranged for a specific purpose or function.
Your phone. Your laptop. Your clothing. The words you’re reading right now (which are just pixels on your screen, arranged in a specific way to make them functional English).
Here’s the part that makes a lot of people uncomfortable: All of life is built on this exact same design feature. To understand how, let’s turn to the brilliant Francis Crick.
“Now we believe that the D.N.A. is a code. That is, the order of the bases (the letters) makes one gene different from another gene (just as one page of print is different from another).”
—Francis Crick, Nobel Prize Winning Biologist, Co-Discover of the Genetic Code
The genetic code is sequence-dependent; just any random sequence won’t work (this is how we know life is more than chemistry). It takes a specific arrangement of letters to code for specific genes, which in turn builds up the internal machinery of life.
That’s specified complexity, folks, and it’s everywhere in life.
The origin of life is essentially the origin of the genetic code, the origin of the information carried within the code, and the origin of the biological machinery capable of reading and processing that code.
Intelligence can, and does, create codes. Intelligence can, and does, create machinery capable of reading processing code. Nothing else has ever proven capable either.
What does that mean? It means intelligent design has by far the most scientific evidence in support of it, and is by far the best explanation for the origin of life.
You’re free to believe nature somehow created the genetic code, and at the same time created biological machinery to read and process that code, but this belief is a matter of blind faith. You believe, not because evidence says it’s true, but because your ideology says it must be true. Ironically, you’re guilty of everything you accuse I.D. of.
But Wait! There’s More!
It doesn’t stop with the genetic code.No, sir. Specified complexity is at every level of life, from the genetic code, on up.
What about the nano-machines of the cell? Just a factory of function, all working in harmony to make life go. That’s next-level specified complexity; the kind of design tech companies drool over being able to replicate.
Don’t take my word for it, though. Just take a look at the Inner Life Of A Cell video, which is just a tiny fraction of what’s going on inside every cell, in every living organism, every second of every day:
Where’s The Controversy? It’s Not What You Think
From a scientific standpoint, there is no controversy. The science behind intelligent design follows accepted scientific methodology, and the conclusion follows from the evidence.
The idea that intelligent design is detectable certainly isn’t controversial — it’s accepted in all walks of life without question, including beyond Earth. S.E.T.I. (Search For Extraterrestrial Intelligence) research is around a century old.
So, what’s the issue? Why does the notion of intelligent design in biology turn so many people into ranting, red-in-the-face maniacs and intolerant ideologues?
One word: implications.
The real controversy with I.D. is that it has implications which delve into religion and politics — entire worldviews, basically.
What if the designer is — GASP! — God?
And there it is. The real “problem” with intelligent design.
For those people who have built their worldview on a foundation of atheism and materialism, this would be devastating. Thus, it’s considered heresy.
You don’t have to take my word for it. Just read the words of Richard Dawkins, who slips up and accidentally reveals the big secret:
“Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”
— Richard Dawkins, professional atheist
If Darwin’s idea goes bye-bye, that intellectual fulfillment goes bye-bye with it.
Have you ever wondered why so many of those who defend Darwin online are also atheists? There’s your answer.
Design-deniers can’t come out and say this is their motivation, of course. That would make it clear that their objections are ideological, and not scientific. Instead, what they’ve done is come up with a series of flimsy, sciencey-sounding arguments for rejecting I.D.
What I’m about to do is go through seven of the most frequently used of these flimsy arguments, and explain why they’re failures.
Bad Argument #1: Intelligent Design Requires The Supernatural
Nope. Intelligent design requires intelligence. The cue is in the name: intelligent design.
Maybe intelligence is “supernatural” in whatever fantasy world these people live in, but here in the lovely place known as reality, it’s completely natural.
Quite frankly, claiming nature, in itself, is capable of creating life from non-life, and engineering the brilliant design features of living organisms is much closer to the supernatural than appealing to intelligent design. The latter is proven to exist. The former? It remains unproven speculation, supported for ideological reasons.
And the term supernatural? That’s used as little more than a distraction tool. It serves no practical purpose, and offers no insights. It doesn’t help us understand anything about the origin of life, nor does it speak to the validity of anything. Like all claims, intelligent design is either true, or it is false, and labeling it as supernatural has zero impact on the answer. Get a real argument.
Shorter Version: Intelligence isn’t supernatural, and labeling something as such does absolutely nothing to refute it.
Bad Argument #2: Intelligent Design Is A ‘God Of Gaps’ Argument
Survey says . . .
For those that don’t know, a God of the gaps argument is a logical fallacy where someone tries to wedge God into gaps in knowledge.
The straw man version of I.D. uses the God of the gaps fallacy: “I don’t understand how life arose, therefor, God did it.”
But this isn’t how intelligent design argues. Intelligent design is actually based on three pieces of knowledge, which allows it to reach a knowledge-based, scientific conclusion:
- Knowledge of what’s required for the origin of life.
- Knowledge of intelligence; what it is and isn’t capable of producing.
- Knowledge of nature; what it is and isn’t capable of producing.
One thing about God of the gaps argument is that they shrink as knowledge grows. Those gaps God has been wedged into become filled.
With intelligent design, the exact opposite has happened: The theory of intelligent design grows stronger the more we discover.
After all, the past century of biological discovery has been one of growing complexity, organization, and purpose — all exactly what I.D. predicts, and which Darwin’s horse-and-buggy junk science said couldn’t exist.
This argument is a God of the gaps of the gaps; those who use it are ignorant of how intelligent design argues, and fill that ignorance in with a fallacious God of the gaps claim (how’s that for irony?).
Shorter Version: Intelligent design appeals to knowledge of the potency of intelligence, knowledge of the impotency of nature, and knowledge of the requirements of even the most basic of life to reach an entirely scientific conclusion.
Bad Argument #3: Intelligent Design Is Untestable And Unfalsifiable in Theory, Therefor Unscientific
Not only is intelligent design not untestable, it’s one of the most tested ideas in the history of science. Let me say it one more time so it sinks in.
Intelligent design is one of the most tested ideas in the history of science.
Don’t believe me? Then you must be unfamiliar with origin of life research.
See, here’s the thing . . .
Every attempt at proving an intelligence-free (i.e., naturalistic) origin of life is an attempt at disproving an intelligent origin of life. You can’t test for one without testing for the other, and you can’t prove one without disproving the other.
You falsify intelligent design by demonstrating non-intelligent design (abiogenesis).
There have been uncountable hours of research, from thousands of brilliant scientists, paid for by millions, if not billions of research dollars, trying to prove an intelligence-free origin of life, and disprove intelligent design.
The end result? Abject failure. Not only have we not proven an intelligence-free origin of life, our only real progress has been in discovering just how unlikely such an event was. The more we know, the less plausible “it just happened” stories become.
If life is too sophisticated for brilliant scientists to recreate, then there’s zero logic in believing the blind forces of nature could. Such a feat would require an act of immense intelligence.
So, why is an intelligence-free origin of life fantasies still defended? You know the answer by now: ideology.
Intelligent design hasn’t been falsified, not because it’s unfalsifiable in theory, but because it’s almost certainly true.
Shorter Version: I.D.’s been tested for centuries, and hasn’t failed yet. Probably because it’s true.
Bad Argument #4: Bad Design Disproves Intelligent Design
I actually love when design-deniers use this terrible argument, because I quickly turn it around on them and leave them red in the face.
Watch this . . .
If so-called bad design is evidence against intelligent design, then the opposite must be true: good design must be evidence for intelligent design.
If we take all of biology’s so-called bad design (evidence against I.D.), and all of its good design (evidence for I.D.), and weigh it against each other, the good design overwhelmingly comes out on top. There is far more brilliance in biology than there are flaws.
Intelligent design wins.
But there’s another flaw in the bad design argument: it’s almost always used as an argument from ignorance. It goes like this:
“I don’t understand why X is designed this way, therefor, X is bad design.”
A perfect example of this fallacy is the alleged bad design of vertebrate eye. According to design-deniers, the vertebrate eye is a mess, highlighted (lowlighted?) by a wired-in-backward retina that blocks vision.
There’s just one tiny problem: their claims were a Darwin-inspired argument from ignorance which collapse with further research.
In 2010, two eye specialists made a remarkable discovery that showed the elegant mechanism found in vertebrate eyes to solve the problem of any blockage of light due to the position of the optic nerve. Special “glial cells” sit over the retina and act like fiber-optic cables to channel light through the optic nerve wires directly onto the photoreceptor cells. According to New Scientist, these funnel-shaped cells prevent scattering of light and “act as light filters, keeping images clear.”
What the design-deniers claimed as bad design, and evidence against intelligent design, is actually brilliant. How brilliant? Let’s go back to Casey:
According to another tech article:
‘Borrowing one of nature’s best designs, U.S. scientists have built an eye-shaped camera using standard sensor materials and say it could improve the performance of digital cameras and enhance imaging of the human body.’
The article reported that the “digital camera has the size, shape and layout of a human eye” because “the curved shape greatly improves the field of vision, bringing the whole picture into focus.”
It seems that human eyes are so poorly designed that engineers regularly mimic them.
Does that sound bad design to you?
Intelligent design wins again.
Shorter Version: Bad design usually isn’t bad, and good design easily outweighs it.
Bad Argument #5: Who Designed The Designer?
Doesn’t matter. If the evidence points to design, we go with design.
This is because science explains things proximately, not ultimately. In other words, we explain things by the immediately-preceding cause, not two or more causes down the chain.
Should we reject the claim the nature created life because we’re unable to explain what created nature?
Should we reject the claim that gravity is the reason things fall to Earth until we can fully explain gravity?
Don’t be silly.
Here’s a quick thought experiment to show how silly this thinking is . . .
Imagine NASA discovers what’s obviously an abandoned alien civilization on a distant planet. Would they deny intelligent design because they couldn’t explain the origin of the engineers of that civilization?
Not for a single second.
Why not? Because evidence for design, is evidence for design, is evidence for design. And when we find that evidence, we must conclude design. Further questions are interesting, sure, but they do nothing to nullify the conclusion of design.
This is yet another desperate pseudo-argument. It’s entire purpose is to provide design-deniers an excuse for excluding intelligent design as an explanation for life’s existence. It fails.
Shorter Version: It doesn’t matter, the evidence still says design, so design it is.
Bad Argument #6: Abiogenesis Has Nothing To Do With Evolution
Yeah . . . no.
Abiogenesis is not synonymous with evolution, true. They are two separate branches of science. fact.
What they are, are closely-related branches of science. As someone once said, if evolution is viewed as the tree of life, then abiogenesis would be the roots of that tree.
Abiogeneisis and evolution: same thing, no; closely-related, yes. Got it? Good.
Now, the important point to understand is that the validity of Darwinian evolution is dependent on the validity of abiogenesis.
Think about it . . .
If abiogenesis is true, and life formed absent intelligence, then we’d expect any development of that life to also be absent intelligence.
On the other hand, if abiogenesis isn’t true, and intelligent design is, then we should expect all of life’s development to be a designed event.
This is why the origin of life is not just relevant to this debate, but the single most crucial question.
Whenever you see a Darwinian evolutionist trying to dodge the question of the origin of life, make sure you call them out on it. If they can’t demonstrate an intelligence-free origin of life, then their claims or an intelligence-free development of life or dead on arrival.
The wiser Darwinists understand this, which is why they run and hide from the origin of life question.
“The complexity of the simplest known type of cell is so great that it is impossible to accept that such an object could have been thrown together suddenly by some kind of freakish, vastly improbable, event. Such an occurrence would be indistinguishable from a miracle.”
—Michael Denton, Evolution: A Theory In Crisis
Shorter Version: Abiogenesis and evolution are inseparably linked, and both play crucial roles in this debate. If life is designed, then any evolutionary processes were also designed.
Bad Argument #7: Dover Disproved Intelligent Design
Ha! Imagine thinking science is determined by courtrooms. The shame . . .
The only thing Dover proved is that unqualified federal judges have no business addressing complex scientific matters. As Harvard-educated Boston University law professor Jay D. Wexler wrote:
The part of Kitzmiller that finds ID not to be science is unnecessary, unconvincing, not particularly suited to the judicial role, and even perhaps dangerous to both science and freedom of religion.
The situation gets worse for judge Jones. Research by the Discovery Institute shows that Jones copied over 90% of his ruling that I.D. is religion from the ACLU’s
Why would a judge copy so much from a plaintiff? The most likely explanation is that the judge didn’t comprehend the subject matter well enough to use his owns thoughts in the ruling. This further confirms that judge Jones was in well over his head.
That so many design-deniers cling to a non-scientist, non-philosopher federal judge’s opinion on what is and isn’t science is a testament to their desperation.
In short: Judge Jones proved I.D. isn’t science in the same way judge Ito proved O.J. is innocent.
That’s not good enough for me. If it’s good enough for you, perhaps it’s time you raised your standards.
Shorter Version: LOL
Why Has An Idea As Stupid As Darwin’s Lasted This Long?
It’s quite simple, really: it’s atheism-friendly.
There are no valid arguments against the theory of intelligent design. Sure, there are ample arguments which, on the surface, appear to be valid. However, as I’ve shown above, they all fall to pieces when met with skepticism.
Shorter Version: Abiogenesis and Darwinian evolution act as a creation myth for many scientists, and is defended the same way other.
Here’s Why The Classroom Battle Is So Important
“Science advances one funeral at a time.”
—Max Planck, Founder of Quantum Physics
There’s a naive view of scientists that many people hold. In this view, scientists are driven entirely by a search for truth. Show them evidence which contradicts their current position, and they’ll follow that evidence, wherever it goes.
That’s all fantasy. Here’s the truth . . .
Scientists are dogmatic. They develop attachments to ideas — emotional, financial, political, and ideological attachments — and they cling to, and fight for, those ideas. The bigger the idea, the stronger they cling to it and fight for it — and nothing’s bigger than the question of our existence.
That, ladies and gentlemen, is at the heart of Planck’s quote.
Science doesn’t advance by scientists following new evidence to new ideas.
Science advances by scientists dying off, and being replaced by a new generation of scientists who have less attachment to the old idea, and are open to new ideas.
This is why the classroom is so crucial.
Darwinists know that for their ideology to survive the overwhelming (and growing) evidence for design, they have to keep the next generation of scientists — today’s students — indoctrinated.
The best way to create that indoctrination? Get it into the classroom as early as possible, and make it illegal to challenge it.
They spin it as if they’re fighting for science. That’s yet another lie (seems to be a pattern with these people, doesn’t it?).
Science is built on a foundation of skepticism and critical thinking, after all, the very things Darwinists seek to make illegal when it comes to Darwinian evolution.
This is the behavior of insecure ideology, not well-supported science.
Want To Learn More About Intelligent Design, aka, 21st Century Biology?
If podcasts are more your thing, then I.D. the Future (another Discovery Institute creation) is a can’t-miss. With hundreds of interviews with intellectuals from a wide range of fields, it’s an eyeopening experience.
If you’d like to go more in-depth, here’s a short list of highly-recommended I.D. literature (some affiliate links included):
- Darwin’s Doubt (Stephen C. Meyer, 2014)
- Evolution: Still A Theory In Crisis (Michael Denton, 2016)
- Darwin Devolves (Michael Behe, 2019)
One Last Thing . . .
As always, if you enjoyed this article, and want to support its author (that’d be me), please share it on social media. It’s always completely appreciated.