Another point against Intelligent Design: blurry lines of design

In reading some of the older posts from the Evolution News and Views blog, I came across a short post by Casey Luskin explaining that there is some wiggle room to what was and wasn’t designed in the Intelligent Design (ID) theory.

Luskin writes:

Of course anyone with a cursory knowledge of ID would be aware that ID fully allows for the action of natural processes, and design is only invoked when we find tell-tale signs of intelligent action, such as high levels of complex and specified information.

At the surface, this seems like a perfectly reasonable statement that makes ID sound as though it is a well-defined theory.  However, this view of intelligent design leaves a lot of leeway.  How complex and specified does it really have to be to be considered ‘designed’?  Since these are arbitrary values, one could never really separate two objects or organisms and say one is designed and one isn’t.  This sort non-measurable attributes makes ID not science.  However, it does give an ID proponent a way out when something is demonstrably nature driven.   All they have to say is that the designer didn’t design that, but now look over here…


5 Responses

  1. There are three excellent books related to this topic, written by contemporary scientists who are also deeply religious. Intelligent design need not mean creationism; evolution need not mean lack of intelligence.

    “The Language of God,” by Francis S. Collins (Free Press/Simon & Schuster 2006). Dr Collins was head-Human Genome Project. He believes that faith in God and science can co-exist and be harmonious.

    “Let There be Light,” by Howard Smith (New World Library 2006). Dr. Smith is a senior astrophysicist at the Harvard-Smithsonian Center. He explains how modern study of the cosmos complements the Kabbalah.

    “Intelligence in Nature,” by Jeremy Narby (Jeremy P. Thatcher/Penguin 2005). Dr. Narby has a doctorate in anthropology. He makes a reasoned connection between shamanistic beliefs and modern science.

  2. Physicists are searching for the “creator”; they call it the Higgs boson. Evolution came later. To say evolution is not intelligent or lacks design is to deny recent discoveries of microbiology and astrophysics. Before you reject ID entirely, read the 40 books on psychology, biology and physics in the bibliographies of my e-book at If we were to completely dismiss that which we didn’t understand, progress in science and technology would come to a halt. It is the mysteries of life that drive researchers onward.

  3. Sorry, but physicists are not saying that the Higgs boson is not a creator of anything. Just because some have nick-named it the “god particle” does not mean that it has any relation to a “creator.” If it does exist, it is intimately involved in giving objects mass. Even if isn’t found, there are Higgs boson-less models that would seem to be more valid.

    As a microbiologist and having a large interest in astrophysics, I am confused by your assertion that recent advances have given credence to intelligent design. If anything, the opposite is true. I am also not too sure which of the books you are referring in your bibliography. You seem to be referencing religious (not scientific) material.

  4. I don’t believe in a “god particle” nor most religious concepts of God. The Higgs boson and God are theoretical; no one has conclusively found either.

    The 40 books on the sciences are in the Specialized bibliography on pages 100-101 and the Omitted bibliography on page 104 (omitted because most readers would find them less important, although you might).

    The apparent intelligence and seeming design of living organisms and particles of matter are not the ID of proponents of religion, let alone the myths of Genesis. There is a middle ground, which is often attacked by both sides. Do you truly believe that current science has discovered everything?

  5. Let me answer the last question for you. “Of course not.” Any respected scientist realizes that what we don’t know about life far exceeds the little we do know. A Grand Unified Theory or a grand unified religion is a dream. GUT and God are elusive, always beyond our grasp. Mystics stop grasping and accept ultimate reality as it is. Wether we believe it or understand it does not change what it is.

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