Intelligent Design

Why Intelligent Design

Why intelligent design


I am an Intelligent Design (ID) advocate.  I go further than many of the leading ID scientists, in that I will state unequivocally that the ultimate intelligent designer is the one and only God of creation.  This is not the forum to discuss God – that is at .  if you want to find out about me, try: .  Leave a comment on any of them.  I generally answer within 48 hours.

Why Intelligent Design.  From the Oxford Dictionary: the theory that life, or the universe, cannot have arisen by chance and was designed and created by some intelligent entity.  From Wikipedia: Intelligent design (ID) is the pseudoscientific view 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.”  Can you detect a built in bias between the two.  If so continue- if not go somewhere else

Why ID

Let us begin at the beginning- no not Genesis 1:1.  Remember we are not actually implying who the intelligent designer is.  However, let us start with what individuals knew about biology.  And as any good book goes it starts with a mystery.

Friedrich Wohler was a 19th century German chemist who performed an experiment that revolutionized our understanding of life. He was investigating substances that released cyanide when heated.  Didn’t know that did you.  Your first bit of new knowledge.  Cyanide is believed to be a poison – used in many murder mysteries.  But it actually is: A cyanide is any chemical compound that contains monovalent combining group CN. This group, known as the cyano group, consists of a carbon atom triple-bonded to a nitrogen atom.


Hydrogen – Carbon ≡ Nitrogen

He was heating ammonium cyanate, believing it would release cyanide.  Instead, it formed crystals, which altered both their melting point and appearance. Running tests, it was not typical of any known alkaloids.  Then Wohler remembered something and wrote a letter to fellow chemist Jöns Jakob Berzelius: “I can no longer, as it were, hold back my chemical water; and I have to let out that I can make urea without needing a kidney, or even of an animal, whether of man or dog: the ammonium salt of cyanic acid (cyansäures Ammoniak) is urea.[1]”  In other words, many years later an entire industry was born to create these:


Urinal cakes.

The experiment was quickly replicated and many scientists went off on other tangents because this was the first time that chemical compounds in living organism had been artificially synthesized. [2]   As Sir Fredrick Gowland Hopkins [3]later suggested, Wöhler’s discovery marked the beginning of a challenge to the “primitive faith in a boundary between the organic and the inorganic which could never be crossed.[4]

Unfortunately we cannot describe what is wrong with evolution, Darwinism, neo-Darwinism, materialistic naturalism, etc without first understanding the history of molecular biology to the philosophy of physics and the sociology of science. Do not worry; I will explain the problems with them as gently as I can.

Most philosophers and scientists have long thought that Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection destroyed the design argument.  Darwin did not try to explain the origin of the first life.  Instead, he sought to explain the origin of new forms of life from simpler preexisting forms, forms that already possessed the ability to reproduce.  This begs a question: If scientists at the time had no detailed explanation for how life had first arisen, how did they know that design— that is, actual intelligent design— played no role in this critically important event? They could not and should not have jumped to conclusions.  That violates the concept of the scientific process.  We will explore these old out-dated theories since many contemporary theories have been formulated on the foundation of these earlier approaches to understanding life.

One of the problems we will have to deal with is the fact that from the beginning, scientific theories about the origin of life have inevitably raised deeper philosophical issues not only about life, but also about the nature of ultimate reality.  You may have been comfortable in your little world not thinking of these things, but if you believed something, it does have ramifications for all areas of your life.  You may have not been aware of it, due to our derelict education system, but what you have come to believe does affect these areas of your life and the establishment will point it out to you when they need you to believe it.

The early scientists did seek to explain how life began and were keenly aware of the philosophical implications of the theories they proposed.  Moreover, despite their lack of knowledge about the inner workings of the cell, they were often oddly confident about the adequacy of these theories.  However, remember that the scientists were not even aware of DNA, the origin of biological information or even the concept.

From the time of the ancient Greeks, there have been two basic concepts of the ultimate reality or worldview.  In one worldview, mind is the primary or ultimate reality.  On this view, either material reality issues from a preexisting mind, or a preexistent intelligence, or both shape it.  Mind, not matter, is, therefore, the prime or ultimate reality— the entity from which everything else comes, or at least the entity with the capacity to shape the material world.


Most of the founders of modern science during the period historians of science call the scientific revolution (1300– 1700) also held this mind-first view of reality. Many of these early modern scientists thought that their studies of nature confirmed this view by providing evidence, in Sir Isaac Newton’s words, of “an intelligent and powerful Being” behind it all[5].

This view of reality is usually called idealism, to indicate that ideas come first and matter comes later.  Theism is idealism that believes God is the source of the ideas that gave rise to and shaped the material world.


Figure 1 (c)


The controversy over the contemporary theory of intelligent design (ID) and its implied challenge to orthodox evolutionary theory became big news beginning in 2004 and 2005.  Three events sparked intense media interest in the subject.  First, in August 2004, a technical journal housed at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C., called the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington published the first peer-reviewed article explicitly advancing the theory of intelligent design in a mainstream scientific periodical.  After the publication of the article, the Smithsonian’s Museum of Natural History erupted in internal controversy, as scientists angry with the editor— an evolutionary biologist with two earned Ph.D.’ s— questioned his editorial judgment and demanded his censure.

In December 2004, two other events generated worldwide interest in the theory of intelligent design. First, a renowned British philosopher, Antony Flew, announced that he had repudiated a lifelong commitment to atheism, citing, among other factors, evidence of intelligent design in the DNA molecule.

Later in the month, the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) announced a suit against a school board in the western Pennsylvania town of Dover. The school board had just announced its intention to let high school students learn about the theory of intelligent design.  To do this, it proposed to inform students about the existence of a book in the school library— one that made the case for intelligent design in opposition to the standard evolutionary theories presented in the existing biology textbooks.

In August 2005, just as an end to the media buzz seemed near, a number of political and religious leaders— including figures as diverse as the Dalai Lama, President George W. Bush, and the pope— made public statements supportive of either intelligent design or allowing students to learn about the controversy surrounding it.

The theory of intelligent design challenges a specific tenet of contemporary evolutionary theory. According to modern neo-Darwinists such as Oxford’s Richard Dawkins, living systems “give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.”  However, to Dawkins and other contemporary Darwinists, that appearance of design is figment of your imagination, because wholly undirected processes such as natural selection and random mutations can produce the intricate design– like structures in living systems.

Philosopher Daniel Dennett praised Darwinian evolution for being a “universal acid” that dissolves traditional religious and moral beliefs.[6]  Evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins has similarly praised Darwin for making “it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist.”[7]


In their view, natural selection can mimic the powers of a designing intelligence without being guided or directed in any way.  In contrast, the theory of intelligent design holds that there are tell-tale features of living systems and the universe that are best explained by an intelligent cause— that is, by the conscious choice of a rational agent— rather than by an undirected process.  Either life arose as the result of purely undirected processes, or a guiding intelligence played a role. Advocates of intelligent design argue for the latter option based on evidence from the natural world.  The theory does not challenge the idea of evolution defined as change over time or even common ancestry, but it does dispute the Darwinian idea that the cause of all biological change is wholly blind and undirected.  Even so, the theory of Intelligence Design is not based on biblical doctrine.  Intelligent design is an inference from scientific evidence, not a deduction from religious authority.

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[1] As quoted in Kauffman and Chooljian, “Friedrich Wöhler (1800– 1882), on the Bicentennial of His Birth,” 126.

[2] Partington, A History of Chemistry.

[3] Sir Frederick Gowland Hopkins OM PRS was an English biochemist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in 1929 for the discovery of vitamins. He also discovered the amino acid tryptophan, in 1901. He was President of the Royal Society from 1930 to 1935.

[4] Hopkins, “BAAS Presidential Address,” 382.

[5][5] Newton, General Scholium, Mathematical Principles of Natural Philosophy.

[6] Daniel Dennett, Darwin’s Dangerous Idea: Evolution and the Meaning of Life (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1995), 63.

[7] Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker: Why the Evidence of Evolution Reveals a Universe Without Design

(New York: W.W. Norton and Co., 1996), 6.