Intelligent design

Intelligent design

Overview
Intelligent design is the proposition 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
Natural selection
Natural selection is the nonrandom process by which biologic traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of differential reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution....

." It is a form of creationism and a contemporary adaptation of the traditional teleological argument for the existence of God, presented by its advocates as "an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins" rather than "a religious-based idea".
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Encyclopedia
Intelligent design is the proposition 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
Natural selection
Natural selection is the nonrandom process by which biologic traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of differential reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution....

." It is a form of creationism and a contemporary adaptation of the traditional teleological argument for the existence of God, presented by its advocates as "an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins" rather than "a religious-based idea". It avoids specifying that the hypothesized intelligent designer
Intelligent designer
An intelligent designer, also referred to as an intelligent agent, is the hypothetical willed and self-aware entity that the intelligent design movement argues had some role in the origin and/or development of life...

 is God. Its leading proponents are associated with the Discovery Institute
Discovery Institute
The Discovery Institute is a non-profit public policy think tank based in Seattle, Washington, best known for its advocacy of intelligent design...

, a politically conservative think tank
Think tank
A think tank is an organization that conducts research and engages in advocacy in areas such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, and technology issues. Most think tanks are non-profit organizations, which some countries such as the United States and Canada provide with tax...

, and believe the designer to be the Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

.

ID seeks to redefine science in a fundamental way that would invoke supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

 explanations, a viewpoint known as theistic science. It puts forward a number of arguments, the most prominent of which are irreducible complexity
Irreducible complexity
Irreducible complexity is an argument by proponents of intelligent design that certain biological systems are too complex to have evolved from simpler, or "less complete" predecessors, through natural selection acting upon a series of advantageous naturally occurring, chance mutations...

 and specified complexity
Specified complexity
Specified complexity is an argument proposed by William Dembski and used by him and others to promote intelligent design. According to Dembski, the concept is intended to formalize a property that singles out patterns that are both specified and complex...

, in support of the existence of a designer. The scientific community
Scientific community
The scientific community consists of the total body of scientists, its relationships and interactions. It is normally divided into "sub-communities" each working on a particular field within science. Objectivity is expected to be achieved by the scientific method...

 rejects the extension of science to include supernatural explanations in favor of continued acceptance of methodological naturalism,

See: 1) List of scientific societies explicitly rejecting intelligent design 2) Kitzmiller v. Dover page 83. 3) The Discovery Institute's A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism
A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism
A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism is a statement issued in 2001 by the Discovery Institute, a conservative non-profit public policy think tank based in Seattle, Washington, USA, best known for its advocacy of intelligent design.The statement expresses skepticism about the ability of random...

 petition begun in 2001 has been signed by "over 700 scientists" as of August 20, 2006. A four day A Scientific Support for Darwinism
A Scientific Support for Darwinism
A Scientific Support for Darwinism was a four day, word-of-mouth petition of scientists in support of evolution. Inspired by Project Steve, it was initiated in 2005 by archaeologist R...

 petition gained 7733 signatories from scientists opposing ID. The AAAS, the largest association of scientists in the U.S., has 120,000 members, and firmly rejects ID. More than 70,000 Australian scientists and educators condemn teaching of intelligent design in school science classes List of statements from scientific professional organizations on the status intelligent design and other forms of creationism. According to The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

 "There is no credible scientific challenge to the theory of evolution as an explanation for the complexity and diversity of life on earth".
and has rejected both irreducible complexity and specified complexity for a wide range of conceptual and factual flaws.

Intelligent design was developed by a group of American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 creationists
Creationism
Creationism is the religious beliefthat humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe are the creation of a supernatural being, most often referring to the Abrahamic god. As science developed from the 18th century onwards, various views developed which aimed to reconcile science with the Genesis...

 who revised their argument in the creation–evolution controversy to circumvent court rulings such as the United States Supreme Court Edwards v. Aguillard
Edwards v. Aguillard
Edwards v. Aguillard, was a legal case about the teaching of creationism that was heard by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1987. The Court ruled that a Louisiana law requiring that creation science be taught in public schools, along with evolution, was unconstitutional because the law...

 ruling, which barred the teaching of "Creation Science
Creation science
Creation Science or scientific creationism is a branch of creationism that attempts to provide scientific support for the Genesis creation narrative in the Book of Genesis and disprove generally accepted scientific facts, theories and scientific paradigms about the history of the Earth, cosmology...

" in public schools as breaching the separation of church and state
Separation of church and state in the United States
The phrase "separation of church and state" , attributed to Thomas Jefferson and others, and since quoted by the Supreme Court of the United States, expresses an understanding of the intent and function of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States...

.
The first significant published use of intelligent design was in Of Pandas and People
Of Pandas and People
Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins is a controversial 1989 school-level textbook written by Percival Davis and Dean H. Kenyon and published by the Texas-based Foundation for Thought and Ethics...

, a 1989 textbook intended for high-school biology classes. From the mid-1990s, intelligent design proponents were supported by the Discovery Institute, which, together with its Center for Science and Culture
Center for Science and Culture
The Center for Science and Culture , formerly known as the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture , is part of the Discovery Institute, a conservative Christian think tank in the United States...

, planned and funded the "intelligent design movement
Intelligent design movement
The intelligent design movement is a neo-creationist religious campaign for broad social, academic and political change to promote and support the idea of "intelligent design," which asserts that "certain features of the universe and of living things are...

". They advocated inclusion of intelligent design in public school curricula, leading to the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. was the first direct challenge brought in the United States federal courts testing a public school district policy that required the teaching of intelligent design...

 trial, where U.S. District Judge
United States district court
The United States district courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal court system. Both civil and criminal cases are filed in the district court, which is a court of law, equity, and admiralty. There is a United States bankruptcy court associated with each United States...

 John E. Jones III
John E. Jones III
John Edward Jones III is an American lawyer and jurist from the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. A Republican, Jones was appointed by President George W. Bush as federal judge on the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in February 2002 and was unanimously confirmed by...

 ruled that intelligent design is not science, that it "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents", and that the school district's promotion of it therefore violated the Establishment Clause
Establishment Clause of the First Amendment
The Establishment Clause is the first of several pronouncements in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, stating, Together with the Free Exercise Clause The Establishment Clause is the first of several pronouncements in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution,...

 of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering...

.

Origin of the concept



The concept of intelligent design, the teleological argument
Teleological argument
A teleological or design argument is an a posteriori argument for the existence of God based on apparent design and purpose in the universe. The argument is based on an interpretation of teleology wherein purpose and intelligent design appear to exist in nature beyond the scope of any such human...

, is one of three basic religious arguments for the existence of God which have been advanced for centuries (the others being the ontological argument
Ontological argument
The ontological argument for the existence of God is an a priori argument for the existence of God. The ontological argument was first proposed by the eleventh-century monk Anselm of Canterbury, who defined God as the greatest possible being we can conceive...

 and the cosmological argument
Cosmological argument
The cosmological argument is an argument for the existence of a First Cause to the universe, and by extension is often used as an argument for the existence of an "unconditioned" or "supreme" being, usually then identified as God...

). In the 13th century Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

 argued that natural things act to achieve the best result, and as they cannot do this without intelligence, an intelligent being must exist, setting the goal and providing direction, and this being is God. The version formulated in 1802 by William Paley
William Paley
William Paley was a British Christian apologist, philosopher, and utilitarian. He is best known for his exposition of the teleological argument for the existence of God in his work Natural Theology, which made use of the watchmaker analogy .-Life:Paley was Born in Peterborough, England, and was...

 used the watchmaker analogy
Watchmaker analogy
The watchmaker analogy, or watchmaker argument, is a teleological argument for the existence of God. By way of an analogy, the argument states that design implies a designer...

 to argue that complexity and adaptation
Adaptation
An adaptation in biology is a trait with a current functional role in the life history of an organism that is maintained and evolved by means of natural selection. An adaptation refers to both the current state of being adapted and to the dynamic evolutionary process that leads to the adaptation....

 in nature demonstrated God's benevolent and perfect design, for the good of humans. Paley's natural theology
Natural theology
Natural theology is a branch of theology based on reason and ordinary experience. Thus it is distinguished from revealed theology which is based on scripture and religious experiences of various kinds; and also from transcendental theology, theology from a priori reasoning.Marcus Terentius Varro ...

 strongly influenced scientists of the time, who took for granted the assumption that God had designed nature and were open to a deistic
Deism
Deism in religious philosophy is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an all-powerful creator. According to deists, the creator does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the...

 interpretation that this design was implemented by laws. Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

 struggled with the problem of evil
Problem of evil
In the philosophy of religion, the problem of evil is the question of how to explain evil if there exists a deity that is omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient . Some philosophers have claimed that the existences of such a god and of evil are logically incompatible or unlikely...

 and poor design in nature
Argument from poor design
The dysteleological argument or argument from poor design is an argument against the existence of God, specifically against the existence of a creator God...

, and though his natural selection
Natural selection
Natural selection is the nonrandom process by which biologic traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of differential reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution....

 explained adaptation without the need for a designer, he was still inclined to think that everything resulted from designed laws. The theistic evolution
Theistic evolution
Theistic evolution or evolutionary creation is a concept that asserts that classical religious teachings about God are compatible with the modern scientific understanding about biological evolution...

 of Asa Gray
Asa Gray
-References:*Asa Gray. Dictionary of American Biography. American Council of Learned Societies, 1928–1936.*Asa Gray. Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. 17 Vols. Gale Research, 1998.*Asa Gray. Plant Sciences. 4 vols. Macmillan Reference USA, 2001....

 contributed to wide acceptance of evolution, and by 1910 it was not a topic of major religious controversy in America.

In the 1920s Fundamentalist Christianity
Fundamentalist Christianity
Christian fundamentalism, also known as Fundamentalist Christianity, or Fundamentalism, arose out of British and American Protestantism in the late 19th century and early 20th century among evangelical Christians...

 took up opposition to evolution, and effectively suspended teaching of evolution in U.S. public schools. In the 1960s, after evolution was reintroduced into the curriculum, Young Earth creationists
Young Earth creationism
Young Earth creationism is the religious belief that Heavens, Earth, and all life on Earth were created by direct acts of the Abrahamic God during a relatively short period, sometime between 5,700 and 10,000 years ago...

 promoted Creation Science
Creation science
Creation Science or scientific creationism is a branch of creationism that attempts to provide scientific support for the Genesis creation narrative in the Book of Genesis and disprove generally accepted scientific facts, theories and scientific paradigms about the history of the Earth, cosmology...

 as "an alternative scientific explanation of the world in which we live", which frequently invoked the design argument to explain complexity in nature. These explanations prefigured the intelligent arguments of irreducible complexity
Irreducible complexity
Irreducible complexity is an argument by proponents of intelligent design that certain biological systems are too complex to have evolved from simpler, or "less complete" predecessors, through natural selection acting upon a series of advantageous naturally occurring, chance mutations...

, even featuring the bacterial flagellum
Flagellum
A flagellum is a tail-like projection that protrudes from the cell body of certain prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, and plays the dual role of locomotion and sense organ, being sensitive to chemicals and temperatures outside the cell. There are some notable differences between prokaryotic and...

. Attempts to introduce this in schools led to court rulings that Creation Science is religious in nature, and thus cannot be taught in public school science classrooms.

Intelligent design also has Paley's argument from design at its centre, and shares other arguments with Creation Science but differs in avoiding overt literal Biblical references such as the age of the Earth and Noah's Flood. Unlike Paley's openness to deistic design through laws, the point of intelligent design is to establish repeated miraculous interventions in the history of life. This raises theological difficulties; for those who believe that God's design must be perfect and should not need such changes, the claim to be scientific implies that science can test religion, and the problem of evil of a lack of miraculous intervention to reduce suffering. Intelligent design proponents avoid the problem of poor design in nature by insisting that we have simply failed to understand the perfection of the design, or by proposing that designers do not necessarily produce the best design they can, and may have unknowable motives for their actions.

Philosopher Barbara Forrest
Barbara Forrest
Barbara Carroll Forrest is a professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana. She is a critic of intelligent design and the Discovery Institute.- Biography :...

 writes that the intelligent design movement began in 1984 with the publication by Jon A. Buell's the Foundation for Thought and Ethics
Foundation for Thought and Ethics
The Foundation for Thought and Ethics is a Christian non-profit organization based in Richardson, Texas, that publishes textbooks and articles promoting intelligent design, abstinence, and Christian nationism. In addition, the foundation's officers and editors are some of the leading proponents...

 of The Mystery of Life's Origin by Charles B. Thaxton, a chemist and creationist. Thaxton held a conference in 1988, "Sources of Information Content in DNA," which attracted creationists such as Stephen C. Meyer
Stephen C. Meyer
Stephen C. Meyer is an American scholar, philosopher and advocate for intelligent design. He helped found the Center for Science and Culture of the Discovery Institute , which is the main organisation behind the intelligent design movement. Before joining the DI, Meyer was a professor at...

.

In March 1986, a review by Meyer used information theory to suggest that messages transmitted by DNA in the cell show "specified complexity" specified by intelligence, and must have originated with an intelligent agent. In November of that year Thaxton described his reasoning as a more sophisticated form of Paley's argument from design. At the Sources of Information Content in DNA conference in 1988 he said that his intelligent cause view was compatible with both metaphysical naturalism
Metaphysical naturalism
Metaphysical naturalism, also called ontological naturalism and philosophical naturalism, or just naturalism, is a philosophical worldview and belief system that holds that there is nothing but natural elements, principles, and relations of the kind studied by the natural sciences, i.e., those...

 and supernaturalism.

Intelligent design avoids identifying or naming the intelligent designer
Intelligent designer
An intelligent designer, also referred to as an intelligent agent, is the hypothetical willed and self-aware entity that the intelligent design movement argues had some role in the origin and/or development of life...

—it merely states that one (or more) must exist—but leaders of the movement have said the designer is the Christian God.Stephen C. Meyer
Stephen C. Meyer
Stephen C. Meyer is an American scholar, philosopher and advocate for intelligent design. He helped found the Center for Science and Culture of the Discovery Institute , which is the main organisation behind the intelligent design movement. Before joining the DI, Meyer was a professor at...

: "I think the designer is God ..." (Darwin, the marketing of Intelligent Design. Nightline
Nightline
Nightline, or ABC News Nightline is a late-night news program broadcast by ABC in the United States, and has a franchised formula to other networks and stations elsewhere in the world. It airs weeknights, usually for 31 minutes. Created by Roone Arledge, the program featured Ted Koppel as its main...

, ABC News
ABC News
ABC News is the news gathering and broadcasting division of American broadcast television network ABC, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company...

, with Ted Koppel
Ted Koppel
Edward James "Ted" Koppel is an English-born American broadcast journalist, best known as the anchor for Nightline from the program's inception in 1980 until his retirement in late 2005. After leaving Nightline, Koppel worked as managing editor for the Discovery Channel before resigning in 2008...

, August 10, 2005);
Nancy Pearcey
Nancy Pearcey
Nancy Randolph Pearcey is an American evangelical author on the Christian worldview.-Career:Pearcey was the Francis A. Schaeffer Scholar for several years at the World Journalism Institute. In September 2007, Pearcey was named Scholar for Worldview Studies at the Center for University Studies at...

: "By contrast, design theory demonstrates that Christians can sit in the supernaturalist's "chair" even in their professional lives, seeing the cosmos through the lens of a comprehensive biblical worldview. Intelligent Design steps boldly into the scientific arena to build a case based on empirical data. It takes Christianity out of the ineffectual realm of value and stakes out a cognitive claim in the realm of objective truth. It restores Christianity to its status as genuine knowledge, equipping us to defend it in the public arena". (Total Truth, Crossway Books, June 29, 2004, ISBN 1-58134-458-9, pp. 204–205)
Whether this lack of specificity about the designer's identity in public discussions is a genuine feature of the concept, or just a posture taken to avoid alienating those who would separate religion from the teaching of science, has been a matter of great debate between supporters and critics of intelligent design. The Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. was the first direct challenge brought in the United States federal courts testing a public school district policy that required the teaching of intelligent design...

 court ruling held the latter to be the case.

Origin of the term



The phrase "intelligent design" can be found in an 1847 issue of Scientific American
Scientific American
Scientific American is a popular science magazine. It is notable for its long history of presenting science monthly to an educated but not necessarily scientific public, through its careful attention to the clarity of its text as well as the quality of its specially commissioned color graphics...

, in an 1850 book by Patrick Edward Dove
Patrick Edward Dove
Patrick Edward Dove was born at Lasswade, near Edinburgh in Scotland. He is mainly remembered for his book The Theory of Human Progression of 1850 which sets out his philosophy that land should be in common ownership, with the economic rent on the land taking the place of other taxes, an idea...

, and in an 1861 letter from Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

.
The Paleyite
William Paley
William Paley was a British Christian apologist, philosopher, and utilitarian. He is best known for his exposition of the teleological argument for the existence of God in his work Natural Theology, which made use of the watchmaker analogy .-Life:Paley was Born in Peterborough, England, and was...

 botanist George James Allman
George James Allman
George James Allman FRS , M.D., Emeritus Professor of Natural History in Edinburgh, was an eminent Irish naturalist.-Life:...

 used the phrase in an address to the 1873 annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science
British Association for the Advancement of Science
frame|right|"The BA" logoThe British Association for the Advancement of Science or the British Science Association, formerly known as the BA, is a learned society with the object of promoting science, directing general attention to scientific matters, and facilitating interaction between...

:

"No physical hypothesis founded on any indisputable fact has yet explained the origin of the primordial protoplasm
Abiogenesis
Abiogenesis or biopoesis is the study of how biological life arises from inorganic matter through natural processes, and the method by which life on Earth arose...

, and, above all, of its marvellous properties, which render evolution possible—in heredity and in adaptability, for these properties are the cause and not the effect of evolution. For the cause of this cause we have sought in vain among the physical forces which surround us, until we are at last compelled to rest upon an independent volition, a far-seeing intelligent design."


The biologist
Biologist
A biologist is a scientist devoted to and producing results in biology through the study of life. Typically biologists study organisms and their relationship to their environment. Biologists involved in basic research attempt to discover underlying mechanisms that govern how organisms work...

 Alfred Russell Wallace also used the phrase in his book titled Darwinism (1889), according to Wallace: "There are some curious organs which are used only once in a creature's life, but which are yet essential to its existence, and thus have very much the appearance of design by an intelligent designer". The phrase can be found again in Humanism, a 1903 book by one of the founders of classical pragmatism
Pragmatism
Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition centered on the linking of practice and theory. It describes a process where theory is extracted from practice, and applied back to practice to form what is called intelligent practice...

, F.C.S. Schiller
Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller
Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller was a German-British philosopher. Born in Altona, Holstein , Schiller studied at the University of Oxford, and later was a professor there, after being invited back after a brief time at Cornell University...

: "It will not be possible to rule out the supposition that the process of evolution may be guided by an intelligent design". A derivative of the phrase appears in the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Philosophy (1967) in the article titled, "Teleological argument for the existence of God": "Stated most succinctly, the argument runs: The world exhibits teleological order (design, adaptation). Therefore, it was produced by an intelligent designer".
Robert Nozick
Robert Nozick
Robert Nozick was an American political philosopher, most prominent in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia , a right-libertarian answer to John Rawls's A Theory of Justice...

 (1974) wrote: "Consider now complicated patterns which one would have thought would arise only through intelligent design".
The phrases "intelligent design" and "intelligently designed" were used in a 1979 philosophy book Chance or Design? by James Horigan and the phrase "intelligent design" was used in a 1982 speech by Sir Fred Hoyle
Fred Hoyle
Sir Fred Hoyle FRS was an English astronomer and mathematician noted primarily for his contribution to the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis and his often controversial stance on other cosmological and scientific matters—in particular his rejection of the "Big Bang" theory, a term originally...

 in his promotion of panspermia.
The modern use of the words "intelligent design", as a term intended to describe a field of inquiry, began after the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

, in the case of Edwards v. Aguillard
Edwards v. Aguillard
Edwards v. Aguillard, was a legal case about the teaching of creationism that was heard by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1987. The Court ruled that a Louisiana law requiring that creation science be taught in public schools, along with evolution, was unconstitutional because the law...

 (1987), ruled that creationism is unconstitutional in public school science curricula. A Discovery Institute report says that Charles Thaxton
Charles Thaxton
Charles B. Thaxton is an intelligent design author and Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.-Biography:Thaxton earned a doctorate in physical chemistry from Iowa State University...

, editor of Of Pandas and People
Of Pandas and People
Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins is a controversial 1989 school-level textbook written by Percival Davis and Dean H. Kenyon and published by the Texas-based Foundation for Thought and Ethics...

, had picked the phrase up from a NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 scientist, and thought "That's just what I need, it's a good engineering term". In drafts of the book over one hundred uses of the root word "creation", such as "creationism" and "Creation Science", were changed, almost without exception, to "intelligent design", while "creationists" was changed to "design proponents" or, in one instance, "cdesign proponentsists". In June 1988 Thaxton held a conference titled "Sources of Information Content in DNA" in Tacoma
Tacoma, Washington
Tacoma is a mid-sized urban port city and the county seat of Pierce County, Washington, United States. The city is on Washington's Puget Sound, southwest of Seattle, northeast of the state capital, Olympia, and northwest of Mount Rainier National Park. The population was 198,397, according to...

, Washington, and in December decided to use the label "intelligent design" for his new creationist movement. Stephen C. Meyer
Stephen C. Meyer
Stephen C. Meyer is an American scholar, philosopher and advocate for intelligent design. He helped found the Center for Science and Culture of the Discovery Institute , which is the main organisation behind the intelligent design movement. Before joining the DI, Meyer was a professor at...

 was at the conference, and later recalled that "the term came up".

Of Pandas and People


Of Pandas and People was published in 1989, and was the first book to make frequent use of the phrases "intelligent design," "design proponents," and "design theory", thus representing the beginning of the modern "intelligent design" movement. "Intelligent design" was the most prominent of around fifteen new terms it introduced as a new lexicon of creationist terminology to oppose evolution without using religious language.
It was the first place where the phrase "intelligent design" appeared in its present use, as stated both by its publisher Jon Buell,
and by William A. Dembski
William A. Dembski
William Albert "Bill" Dembski is an American proponent of intelligent design, well known for promoting the concept of specified complexity...

 in his expert witness report.

The National Center for Science Education
National Center for Science Education
The National Center for Science Education is a non-profit organization based in Oakland, California affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. It is the United States' leading anti-creationist organization, and defends the teaching of evolutionary biology and opposes...

 has criticized the book for presenting all of the basic arguments of intelligent design proponents and being actively promoted for use in public schools before any research had been done to support these arguments. Although presented as a scientific textbook, Philosopher of science Michael Ruse
Michael Ruse
Michael Ruse is a philosopher of biology at Florida State University, and is well known for his work on the creationism/evolution controversy and the demarcation problem in science...

 considers the contents "worthless and dishonest". An ACLU
American Civil Liberties Union
The American Civil Liberties Union is a U.S. non-profit organization whose stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." It works through litigation, legislation, and...

 lawyer described it as a political tool aimed at students who did not "know science or understand the controversy over evolution and creationism." One of the authors of the science framework used by California Schools, Kevin Padian, condemned it for its "sub-text", "Intolerance for honest science" and "incompetence".

Irreducible complexity




The term "irreducible complexity" was introduced by biochemist Michael Behe
Michael Behe
Michael J. Behe is an American biochemist, author, and intelligent design advocate. He currently serves as professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and as a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture...

 in his 1996 book Darwin's Black Box
Darwin's Black Box
Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution is a book written by Michael J. Behe and published by Free Press in which he presents his notion of irreducible complexity and claims that its presence in many biochemical systems indicates therefore that they must be the result of...

, though he had already described the concept in his contributions to the 1993 revised edition of Of Pandas and People. Behe defines it as "a single system which is composed of several well-matched interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning".

Behe uses the analogy of a mousetrap to illustrate this concept. A mousetrap consists of several interacting pieces—the base, the catch, the spring and the hammer—all of which must be in place for the mousetrap to work. Removal of any one piece destroys the function of the mousetrap. Intelligent design advocates assert that natural selection could not create irreducibly complex systems, because the selectable function is present only when all parts are assembled. Behe argued that irreducibly complex biological mechanisms include the bacterial flagellum of E. coli, the blood clotting cascade, cilia, and the adaptive immune system
Immune system
An immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumor cells. It detects a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and needs to distinguish them from the organism's own...

.

Critics point out that the irreducible complexity argument assumes that the necessary parts of a system have always been necessary and therefore could not have been added sequentially. They argue that something that is at first merely advantageous can later become necessary as other components change. Furthermore, they argue, evolution often proceeds by altering preexisting parts or by removing them from a system, rather than by adding them. This is sometimes called the "scaffolding objection" by an analogy with scaffolding, which can support an "irreducibly complex" building until it is complete and able to stand on its own.For example, Bridgham et al. showed that gradual evolutionary mechanisms can produce complex protein-protein interaction systems from simpler precursors.
Behe has acknowledged using "sloppy prose", and that his "argument against Darwinism does not add up to a logical proof". This article draws from the following exchange of letters in which Behe admits to sloppy prose and non-logical proof: Irreducible complexity has remained a popular argument among advocates of intelligent design; in the Dover trial
Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. was the first direct challenge brought in the United States federal courts testing a public school district policy that required the teaching of intelligent design...

, the court held that "Professor Behe's claim for irreducible complexity has been refuted in peer-reviewed research papers and has been rejected by the scientific community at large".

Specified complexity



In 1986 Charles Thaxton
Charles Thaxton
Charles B. Thaxton is an intelligent design author and Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.-Biography:Thaxton earned a doctorate in physical chemistry from Iowa State University...

, a physical chemist and creationist, used the term "specified complexity" from information theory
Information theory
Information theory is a branch of applied mathematics and electrical engineering involving the quantification of information. Information theory was developed by Claude E. Shannon to find fundamental limits on signal processing operations such as compressing data and on reliably storing and...

 when claiming that messages transmitted by DNA in the cell were specified by intelligence, and must have originated with an intelligent agent.
The intelligent design concept of "specified complexity" was developed in the 1990s by mathematician, philosopher, and theologian William Dembski. Dembski, Research Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, states that when something exhibits specified complexity (i.e., is both complex and "specified", simultaneously), one can infer that it was produced by an intelligent cause (i.e., that it was designed) rather than being the result of natural processes. He provides the following examples: "A single letter of the alphabet is specified without being complex. A long sentence of random letters is complex without being specified. A Shakespearean sonnet
Sonnet
A sonnet is one of several forms of poetry that originate in Europe, mainly Provence and Italy. A sonnet commonly has 14 lines. The term "sonnet" derives from the Occitan word sonet and the Italian word sonetto, both meaning "little song" or "little sound"...

 is both complex and specified". He states that details of living things can be similarly characterized, especially the "patterns" of molecular sequences in functional biological molecules such as DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

.
Dembski defines complex specified information (CSI) as anything with a less than 1 in 10150 chance of occurring by (natural) chance. Critics say that this renders the argument a tautology
Tautology (rhetoric)
Tautology is an unnecessary or unessential repetition of meaning, using different and dissimilar words that effectively say the same thing...

: complex specified information cannot occur naturally because Dembski has defined it thus, so the real question becomes whether or not CSI actually exists in nature.Some of Dembski's responses to assertions of specified complexity being a tautology can be found at

The conceptual soundness of Dembski's specified complexity/CSI argument has been widely discredited by the scientific and mathematical communities. Specified complexity has yet to be shown to have wide applications in other fields, as Dembski asserts. John Wilkins and Wesley Elsberry
Wesley R. Elsberry
Dr. Wesley Royce Elsberry is a marine biologist with an interdisciplinary background in zoology, computer science, and wildlife and fisheries sciences. He has become involved in the creation-evolution controversy.- Biography :...

 characterize Dembski's "explanatory filter" as eliminative, because it eliminates explanations sequentially: first regularity, then chance, finally defaulting to design. They argue that this procedure is flawed as a model for scientific inference because the asymmetric way it treats the different possible explanations renders it prone to making false conclusions.

Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins
Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL , known as Richard Dawkins, is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author...

, another critic of intelligent design, argues in The God Delusion
The God Delusion
The God Delusion is a 2006 bestselling non-fiction book by British biologist Richard Dawkins, professorial fellow of New College, Oxford, and inaugural holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford.In The God Delusion, Dawkins contends that...

 that allowing for an intelligent designer to account for unlikely complexity only postpones the problem, as such a designer would need to be at least as complex. Other scientists have argued that evolution through selection is better able to explain the observed complexity, as is evident from the use of selective evolution to design certain electronic, aeronautic and automotive systems that are considered problems too complex for human "intelligent designers".

Fine-tuned Universe



Intelligent design proponents have also occasionally appealed to broader teleological arguments outside of biology, most notably an argument based on the fine-tuning of universal constants
Fine-tuned universe
The fine-tuned universe is the proposition that the conditions that allow life in the Universe can only occur when certain universal fundamental physical constants lie within a very narrow range, so that if any of several fundamental constants were only slightly different the universe would be...

 that make matter and life possible and which are argued not to be solely attributable to chance. These include the values of fundamental physical constants, the relative strength of nuclear force
Nuclear force
The nuclear force is the force between two or more nucleons. It is responsible for binding of protons and neutrons into atomic nuclei. The energy released causes the masses of nuclei to be less than the total mass of the protons and neutrons which form them...

s, electromagnetism
Electromagnetism
Electromagnetism is one of the four fundamental interactions in nature. The other three are the strong interaction, the weak interaction and gravitation...

, and gravity between fundamental particles, as well as the ratios of masses of such particles. Intelligent design proponent and Center for Science and Culture
Center for Science and Culture
The Center for Science and Culture , formerly known as the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture , is part of the Discovery Institute, a conservative Christian think tank in the United States...

 fellow Guillermo Gonzalez
Guillermo Gonzalez (astronomer)
Guillermo Gonzalez is an astrophysicist, proponent of intelligent design, and a professor at Grove City College, a Christian school, in Grove City, Pennsylvania...

 argues that if any of these values were even slightly different, the universe would be dramatically different, making it impossible for many chemical elements and features of the Universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

, such as galaxies, to form. Thus, proponents argue, an intelligent designer of life was needed to ensure that the requisite features were present to achieve that particular outcome.

Scientists have generally responded that this argument cannot be tested and is therefore not science but metaphysics. Some scientists argue that even when taken as mere speculation, these arguments are poorly supported by existing evidence. Victor J. Stenger
Victor J. Stenger
Victor John Stenger is an American particle physicist, outspoken atheist, and author, now active in philosophy and popular religious skepticism....

 and other critics say both intelligent design and the weak form of the anthropic principle
Anthropic principle
In astrophysics and cosmology, the anthropic principle is the philosophical argument that observations of the physical Universe must be compatible with the conscious life that observes it. Some proponents of the argument reason that it explains why the Universe has the age and the fundamental...

 are essentially a tautology
Tautology (logic)
In logic, a tautology is a formula which is true in every possible interpretation. Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein first applied the term to redundancies of propositional logic in 1921; it had been used earlier to refer to rhetorical tautologies, and continues to be used in that alternate sense...

; in his view, these arguments amount to the claim that life is able to exist because the Universe is able to support life. The claim of the improbability of a life-supporting universe has also been criticized as an argument by lack of imagination for assuming no other forms of life are possible. Life as we know it might not exist if things were different, but a different sort of life might exist in its place. A number of critics also suggest that many of the stated variables appear to be interconnected and that calculations made by mathematicians and physicists suggest that the emergence of a universe similar to ours is quite probable.

Intelligent designer


Intelligent design arguments are formulated in secular terms and intentionally avoid identifying the intelligent agent (or agents) they posit. Although they do not state that God is the designer, the designer is often implicitly hypothesized to have intervened in a way that only a god could intervene. Dembski, in The Design Inference
The Design Inference
The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities is a book by American philosopher William A. Dembski, a proponent of intelligent design, which sets out to establish a mechanism by which evidence of intelligent design in nature could be inferred...

, speculates that an alien culture could fulfill these requirements. Of Pandas and People
Of Pandas and People
Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins is a controversial 1989 school-level textbook written by Percival Davis and Dean H. Kenyon and published by the Texas-based Foundation for Thought and Ethics...

 proposes that SETI
SETI
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence is the collective name for a number of activities people undertake to search for intelligent extraterrestrial life. Some of the most well known projects are run by the SETI Institute. SETI projects use scientific methods to search for intelligent life...

 illustrates an appeal to intelligent design in science. In 2000, philosopher of science Robert T. Pennock
Robert T. Pennock
Robert T. Pennock is a philosopher working on the Avida digital organism project at Michigan State University where he has been full professor since 2000. Pennock was a witness in the Kitzmiller v...

 suggested the Raëlian
Raëlian beliefs and practices
Raëlian beliefs and practices concern the concepts and principles of the Raëlian Church, the religious mission of Claude Vorilhon, a former French auto racing journalist. Followers of Raëlism are believers in an advanced race of extraterrestrials called Elohim who created life on earth. Raëlians...

 UFO religion as a real-life example of an extraterrestrial intelligent designer view that "make[s] many of the same bad arguments against evolutionary theory as creationists". The authoritative description of intelligent design,
however, explicitly states that the Universe displays features of having been designed. Acknowledging the paradox
Paradox
Similar to Circular reasoning, A paradox is a seemingly true statement or group of statements that lead to a contradiction or a situation which seems to defy logic or intuition...

, Dembski concludes that "no intelligent agent who is strictly physical could have presided over the origin of the universe or the origin of life". The leading proponents have made statements to their supporters that they believe the designer to be the Christian God
God in Christianity
In Christianity, God is the eternal being that created and preserves the universe. God is believed by most Christians to be immanent , while others believe the plan of redemption show he will be immanent later...

, to the exclusion of all other religions.

Beyond the debate over whether intelligent design is scientific, a number of critics argue that existing evidence makes the design hypothesis appear unlikely, irrespective of its status in the world of science. For example, Jerry Coyne
Jerry Coyne
-Online articles:* , The New Republic* , The New Republic* , The New Republic* ", The New Republic * -Online articles:* , The New Republic* , The New Republic* , The New Republic* ", The New Republic (Review of Michael Behe's The Edge of Evolution)* -Online articles:* , The New Republic* , The...

 asks why a designer would "give us a pathway for making vitamin C
Vitamin C
Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate is an essential nutrient for humans and certain other animal species. In living organisms ascorbate acts as an antioxidant by protecting the body against oxidative stress...

, but then destroy it by disabling one of its enzymes" (see pseudogene
Pseudogene
Pseudogenes are dysfunctional relatives of known genes that have lost their protein-coding ability or are otherwise no longer expressed in the cell...

) and why he or she would not "stock oceanic islands with reptiles, mammals, amphibians, and freshwater fish, despite the suitability of such islands for these species". Coyne also points to the fact that "the flora and fauna on those islands resemble that of the nearest mainland, even when the environments are very different" as evidence that species were not placed there by a designer.
Previously, in Darwin's Black Box
Darwin's Black Box
Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution is a book written by Michael J. Behe and published by Free Press in which he presents his notion of irreducible complexity and claims that its presence in many biochemical systems indicates therefore that they must be the result of...

, Behe had argued that we are simply incapable of understanding the designer's motives, so such questions cannot be answered definitively. Odd designs could, for example, "have been placed there by the designer ... for artistic reasons, to show off, for some as-yet undetectable practical purpose, or for some unguessable reason". Coyne responds that in light of the evidence, "either life resulted not from intelligent design, but from evolution; or the intelligent designer is a cosmic prankster who designed everything to make it look as though it had evolved".

Some intelligent design proponents such as Paul Nelson
Paul Nelson (creationist)
Paul A. Nelson is an American philosopher of science, young earth creationist and intelligent design advocate.- Biography :Nelson is the grandson of the creationist author and Lutheran minister Byron Christopher Nelson and edited a book of his grandfather's writings...

 avoid the problem of poor design in nature
Argument from poor design
The dysteleological argument or argument from poor design is an argument against the existence of God, specifically against the existence of a creator God...

 by insisting that we have simply failed to understand the perfection of the design. Behe cites Paley as his inspiration, but he differs from Paley's expectation of a perfect Creation and proposes that designers do not necessarily produce the best design they can. Behe suggests that, like a parent not wanting to spoil a child with extravagant toys, the designer can have multiple motives for not giving priority to excellence in engineering. He says that "the argument for imperfection critically depends on a psychoanalysis of the unidentified designer. Yet the reasons that a designer would or would not do anything are virtually impossible to know unless the designer tells you specifically what those reasons are." This reliance on inexplicable motives of the designer makes intelligent design scientifically untestable. Phillip E. Johnson
Phillip E. Johnson
Phillip E. Johnson is a retired UC Berkeley law professor and author. He became a born-again Christian while a tenured professor and is considered the father of the intelligent design movement...

 puts forward a core definition that the designer creates for a purpose, giving the example that in his view AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

 was created to punish immorality and was not caused by HIV
HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

, but such motives cannot be tested by scientific methods.

Asserting the need for a designer of complexity also raises the question "What designed the designer?" Intelligent design proponents say that the question is irrelevant to or outside the scope of intelligent design.IDEA "One need not fully understand the origin or identity of the designer to determine that an object was designed. Thus, this question is essentially irrelevant to intelligent design theory, which merely seeks to detect if an object was designed ... Intelligent design theory cannot address the identity or origin of the designer—it is a philosophical / religious question that lies outside the domain of scientific inquiry. Christianity postulates the religious answer to this question that the designer is God who by definition is eternally existent and has no origin. There is no logical philosophical impossibility with this being the case (akin to Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

's 'unmoved mover') as a religious answer to the origin of the designer..." FAQ: Who designed the designer? FAQ: Who designed the designer?
Richard Wein counters that the unanswered questions an explanation creates "must be balanced against the improvements in our understanding which the explanation provides. Invoking an unexplained being to explain the origin of other beings (ourselves) is little more than question-begging
Begging the question
Begging the question is a type of logical fallacy in which the proposition to be proven is assumed implicitly or explicitly in the premise....

. The new question raised by the explanation is as problematic as the question which the explanation purports to answer". Richard Dawkins sees the assertion that the designer does not need to be explained, not as a contribution to knowledge, but as a thought-terminating cliché.
In the absence of observable, measurable evidence, the very question "What designed the designer?" leads to an infinite regression
Turtles all the way down
"Turtles all the way down" is a jocular expression of the infinite regress problem in cosmology posed by the "unmoved mover" paradox. The phrase was popularized by Stephen Hawking in 1988. The "turtle" metaphor in the anecdote represents a popular notion of a "primitive cosmological myth", viz...

 from which intelligent design proponents can only escape by resorting to religious creationism or logical contradiction.

Movement



The intelligent design movement is a direct outgrowth of the creationism
Creationism
Creationism is the religious beliefthat humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe are the creation of a supernatural being, most often referring to the Abrahamic god. As science developed from the 18th century onwards, various views developed which aimed to reconcile science with the Genesis...

 of the 1980s. The scientific and academic communities, along with a U.S. federal court, view intelligent design as either a form of creationism or as a direct descendant that is closely intertwined with traditional creationism;
Intelligent design (ID) is the proposition 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
Natural selection
Natural selection is the nonrandom process by which biologic traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of differential reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution....

."

It is a form of creationism and a contemporary adaptation of the traditional teleological argument for the existence of God, presented by its advocates as "an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins" rather than "a religious-based idea". It avoids specifying that the hypothesized intelligent designer
Intelligent designer
An intelligent designer, also referred to as an intelligent agent, is the hypothetical willed and self-aware entity that the intelligent design movement argues had some role in the origin and/or development of life...

 is God.
Its leading proponents are associated with the Discovery Institute
Discovery Institute
The Discovery Institute is a non-profit public policy think tank based in Seattle, Washington, best known for its advocacy of intelligent design...

, a politically conservative think tank
Think tank
A think tank is an organization that conducts research and engages in advocacy in areas such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, and technology issues. Most think tanks are non-profit organizations, which some countries such as the United States and Canada provide with tax...

,
and believe the designer to be the Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

.

ID seeks to redefine science in a fundamental way that would invoke supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

 explanations, a viewpoint known as theistic science. It puts forward a number of arguments, the most prominent of which are irreducible complexity
Irreducible complexity
Irreducible complexity is an argument by proponents of intelligent design that certain biological systems are too complex to have evolved from simpler, or "less complete" predecessors, through natural selection acting upon a series of advantageous naturally occurring, chance mutations...

 and specified complexity
Specified complexity
Specified complexity is an argument proposed by William Dembski and used by him and others to promote intelligent design. According to Dembski, the concept is intended to formalize a property that singles out patterns that are both specified and complex...

, in support of the existence of a designer. The scientific community
Scientific community
The scientific community consists of the total body of scientists, its relationships and interactions. It is normally divided into "sub-communities" each working on a particular field within science. Objectivity is expected to be achieved by the scientific method...

 rejects the extension of science to include supernatural explanations in favor of continued acceptance of methodological naturalism,

See: 1) List of scientific societies explicitly rejecting intelligent design 2) Kitzmiller v. Dover page 83. 3) The Discovery Institute's A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism
A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism
A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism is a statement issued in 2001 by the Discovery Institute, a conservative non-profit public policy think tank based in Seattle, Washington, USA, best known for its advocacy of intelligent design.The statement expresses skepticism about the ability of random...

 petition begun in 2001 has been signed by "over 700 scientists" as of August 20, 2006. A four day A Scientific Support for Darwinism
A Scientific Support for Darwinism
A Scientific Support for Darwinism was a four day, word-of-mouth petition of scientists in support of evolution. Inspired by Project Steve, it was initiated in 2005 by archaeologist R...

 petition gained 7733 signatories from scientists opposing ID. The AAAS, the largest association of scientists in the U.S., has 120,000 members, and firmly rejects ID. More than 70,000 Australian scientists and educators condemn teaching of intelligent design in school science classes List of statements from scientific professional organizations on the status intelligent design and other forms of creationism. According to The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

 "There is no credible scientific challenge to the theory of evolution as an explanation for the complexity and diversity of life on earth".



and has rejected both irreducible complexity and specified complexity for a wide range of conceptual and factual flaws.


Intelligent design was developed by a group of American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 creationists
Creationism
Creationism is the religious beliefthat humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe are the creation of a supernatural being, most often referring to the Abrahamic god. As science developed from the 18th century onwards, various views developed which aimed to reconcile science with the Genesis...

 who revised their argument in the creation–evolution controversy to circumvent court rulings such as the United States Supreme Court Edwards v. Aguillard
Edwards v. Aguillard
Edwards v. Aguillard, was a legal case about the teaching of creationism that was heard by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1987. The Court ruled that a Louisiana law requiring that creation science be taught in public schools, along with evolution, was unconstitutional because the law...

 ruling, which barred the teaching of "Creation Science
Creation science
Creation Science or scientific creationism is a branch of creationism that attempts to provide scientific support for the Genesis creation narrative in the Book of Genesis and disprove generally accepted scientific facts, theories and scientific paradigms about the history of the Earth, cosmology...

" in public schools as breaching the separation of church and state
Separation of church and state in the United States
The phrase "separation of church and state" , attributed to Thomas Jefferson and others, and since quoted by the Supreme Court of the United States, expresses an understanding of the intent and function of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States...

.
The first significant published use of intelligent design was in Of Pandas and People
Of Pandas and People
Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins is a controversial 1989 school-level textbook written by Percival Davis and Dean H. Kenyon and published by the Texas-based Foundation for Thought and Ethics...

, a 1989 textbook intended for high-school biology classes. From the mid-1990s, intelligent design proponents were supported by the Discovery Institute, which, together with its Center for Science and Culture
Center for Science and Culture
The Center for Science and Culture , formerly known as the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture , is part of the Discovery Institute, a conservative Christian think tank in the United States...

, planned and funded the "intelligent design movement
Intelligent design movement
The intelligent design movement is a neo-creationist religious campaign for broad social, academic and political change to promote and support the idea of "intelligent design," which asserts that "certain features of the universe and of living things are...

".

They advocated inclusion of intelligent design in public school curricula, leading to the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. was the first direct challenge brought in the United States federal courts testing a public school district policy that required the teaching of intelligent design...

 trial, where U.S. District Judge
United States district court
The United States district courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal court system. Both civil and criminal cases are filed in the district court, which is a court of law, equity, and admiralty. There is a United States bankruptcy court associated with each United States...

 John E. Jones III
John E. Jones III
John Edward Jones III is an American lawyer and jurist from the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. A Republican, Jones was appointed by President George W. Bush as federal judge on the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in February 2002 and was unanimously confirmed by...

 ruled that intelligent design is not science, that it "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents", and that the school district's promotion of it therefore violated the Establishment Clause
Establishment Clause of the First Amendment
The Establishment Clause is the first of several pronouncements in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, stating, Together with the Free Exercise Clause The Establishment Clause is the first of several pronouncements in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution,...

 of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering...

.
, Conclusion of Ruling.

Origin of the concept



The concept of intelligent design, the teleological argument
Teleological argument
A teleological or design argument is an a posteriori argument for the existence of God based on apparent design and purpose in the universe. The argument is based on an interpretation of teleology wherein purpose and intelligent design appear to exist in nature beyond the scope of any such human...

, is one of three basic religious arguments for the existence of God which have been advanced for centuries (the others being the ontological argument
Ontological argument
The ontological argument for the existence of God is an a priori argument for the existence of God. The ontological argument was first proposed by the eleventh-century monk Anselm of Canterbury, who defined God as the greatest possible being we can conceive...

 and the cosmological argument
Cosmological argument
The cosmological argument is an argument for the existence of a First Cause to the universe, and by extension is often used as an argument for the existence of an "unconditioned" or "supreme" being, usually then identified as God...

). In the 13th century Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

 argued that natural things act to achieve the best result, and as they cannot do this without intelligence, an intelligent being must exist, setting the goal and providing direction, and this being is God. The version formulated in 1802 by William Paley
William Paley
William Paley was a British Christian apologist, philosopher, and utilitarian. He is best known for his exposition of the teleological argument for the existence of God in his work Natural Theology, which made use of the watchmaker analogy .-Life:Paley was Born in Peterborough, England, and was...

 used the watchmaker analogy
Watchmaker analogy
The watchmaker analogy, or watchmaker argument, is a teleological argument for the existence of God. By way of an analogy, the argument states that design implies a designer...

 to argue that complexity and adaptation
Adaptation
An adaptation in biology is a trait with a current functional role in the life history of an organism that is maintained and evolved by means of natural selection. An adaptation refers to both the current state of being adapted and to the dynamic evolutionary process that leads to the adaptation....

 in nature demonstrated God's benevolent and perfect design, for the good of humans. Paley's natural theology
Natural theology
Natural theology is a branch of theology based on reason and ordinary experience. Thus it is distinguished from revealed theology which is based on scripture and religious experiences of various kinds; and also from transcendental theology, theology from a priori reasoning.Marcus Terentius Varro ...

 strongly influenced scientists of the time, who took for granted the assumption that God had designed nature and were open to a deistic
Deism
Deism in religious philosophy is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an all-powerful creator. According to deists, the creator does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the...

 interpretation that this design was implemented by laws. Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

 struggled with the problem of evil
Problem of evil
In the philosophy of religion, the problem of evil is the question of how to explain evil if there exists a deity that is omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient . Some philosophers have claimed that the existences of such a god and of evil are logically incompatible or unlikely...

 and poor design in nature
Argument from poor design
The dysteleological argument or argument from poor design is an argument against the existence of God, specifically against the existence of a creator God...

, and though his natural selection
Natural selection
Natural selection is the nonrandom process by which biologic traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of differential reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution....

 explained adaptation without the need for a designer, he was still inclined to think that everything resulted from designed laws. The theistic evolution
Theistic evolution
Theistic evolution or evolutionary creation is a concept that asserts that classical religious teachings about God are compatible with the modern scientific understanding about biological evolution...

 of Asa Gray
Asa Gray
-References:*Asa Gray. Dictionary of American Biography. American Council of Learned Societies, 1928–1936.*Asa Gray. Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. 17 Vols. Gale Research, 1998.*Asa Gray. Plant Sciences. 4 vols. Macmillan Reference USA, 2001....

 contributed to wide acceptance of evolution,
, Ruling pp. 24–25.
and by 1910 it was not a topic of major religious controversy in America.

In the 1920s Fundamentalist Christianity
Fundamentalist Christianity
Christian fundamentalism, also known as Fundamentalist Christianity, or Fundamentalism, arose out of British and American Protestantism in the late 19th century and early 20th century among evangelical Christians...

 took up opposition to evolution, and effectively suspended teaching of evolution in U.S. public schools. In the 1960s, after evolution was reintroduced into the curriculum, Young Earth creationists
Young Earth creationism
Young Earth creationism is the religious belief that Heavens, Earth, and all life on Earth were created by direct acts of the Abrahamic God during a relatively short period, sometime between 5,700 and 10,000 years ago...

 promoted Creation Science
Creation science
Creation Science or scientific creationism is a branch of creationism that attempts to provide scientific support for the Genesis creation narrative in the Book of Genesis and disprove generally accepted scientific facts, theories and scientific paradigms about the history of the Earth, cosmology...

 as "an alternative scientific explanation of the world in which we live", which frequently invoked the design argument to explain complexity in nature. These explanations prefigured the intelligent arguments of irreducible complexity
Irreducible complexity
Irreducible complexity is an argument by proponents of intelligent design that certain biological systems are too complex to have evolved from simpler, or "less complete" predecessors, through natural selection acting upon a series of advantageous naturally occurring, chance mutations...

, even featuring the bacterial flagellum
Flagellum
A flagellum is a tail-like projection that protrudes from the cell body of certain prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, and plays the dual role of locomotion and sense organ, being sensitive to chemicals and temperatures outside the cell. There are some notable differences between prokaryotic and...

. Attempts to introduce this in schools led to court rulings that Creation Science is religious in nature, and thus cannot be taught in public school science classrooms.

Intelligent design also has Paley's argument from design at its centre, and shares other arguments with Creation Science but differs in avoiding overt literal Biblical references such as the age of the Earth and Noah's Flood. Unlike Paley's openness to deistic design through laws, the point of intelligent design is to establish repeated miraculous interventions in the history of life. This raises theological difficulties; for those who believe that God's design must be perfect and should not need such changes, the claim to be scientific implies that science can test religion, and the problem of evil of a lack of miraculous intervention to reduce suffering. Intelligent design proponents avoid the problem of poor design in nature by insisting that we have simply failed to understand the perfection of the design, or by proposing that designers do not necessarily produce the best design they can, and may have unknowable motives for their actions.

Philosopher Barbara Forrest
Barbara Forrest
Barbara Carroll Forrest is a professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana. She is a critic of intelligent design and the Discovery Institute.- Biography :...

 writes that the intelligent design movement began in 1984 with the publication by Jon A. Buell's the Foundation for Thought and Ethics
Foundation for Thought and Ethics
The Foundation for Thought and Ethics is a Christian non-profit organization based in Richardson, Texas, that publishes textbooks and articles promoting intelligent design, abstinence, and Christian nationism. In addition, the foundation's officers and editors are some of the leading proponents...

 of The Mystery of Life's Origin by Charles B. Thaxton, a chemist and creationist. Thaxton held a conference in 1988, "Sources of Information Content in DNA," which attracted creationists such as Stephen C. Meyer
Stephen C. Meyer
Stephen C. Meyer is an American scholar, philosopher and advocate for intelligent design. He helped found the Center for Science and Culture of the Discovery Institute , which is the main organisation behind the intelligent design movement. Before joining the DI, Meyer was a professor at...

.Forrest, Barbara. Know Your Creationists: Know Your Allies

In March 1986, a review by Meyer used information theory to suggest that messages transmitted by DNA in the cell show "specified complexity" specified by intelligence, and must have originated with an intelligent agent. In November of that year Thaxton described his reasoning as a more sophisticated form of Paley's argument from design. At the Sources of Information Content in DNA conference in 1988 he said that his intelligent cause view was compatible with both metaphysical naturalism
Metaphysical naturalism
Metaphysical naturalism, also called ontological naturalism and philosophical naturalism, or just naturalism, is a philosophical worldview and belief system that holds that there is nothing but natural elements, principles, and relations of the kind studied by the natural sciences, i.e., those...

 and supernaturalism.

Intelligent design avoids identifying or naming the intelligent designer
Intelligent designer
An intelligent designer, also referred to as an intelligent agent, is the hypothetical willed and self-aware entity that the intelligent design movement argues had some role in the origin and/or development of life...

—it merely states that one (or more) must exist—but leaders of the movement have said the designer is the Christian God.Stephen C. Meyer
Stephen C. Meyer
Stephen C. Meyer is an American scholar, philosopher and advocate for intelligent design. He helped found the Center for Science and Culture of the Discovery Institute , which is the main organisation behind the intelligent design movement. Before joining the DI, Meyer was a professor at...

: "I think the designer is God ..." (Darwin, the marketing of Intelligent Design. Nightline
Nightline
Nightline, or ABC News Nightline is a late-night news program broadcast by ABC in the United States, and has a franchised formula to other networks and stations elsewhere in the world. It airs weeknights, usually for 31 minutes. Created by Roone Arledge, the program featured Ted Koppel as its main...

, ABC News
ABC News
ABC News is the news gathering and broadcasting division of American broadcast television network ABC, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company...

, with Ted Koppel
Ted Koppel
Edward James "Ted" Koppel is an English-born American broadcast journalist, best known as the anchor for Nightline from the program's inception in 1980 until his retirement in late 2005. After leaving Nightline, Koppel worked as managing editor for the Discovery Channel before resigning in 2008...

, August 10, 2005);
Nancy Pearcey
Nancy Pearcey
Nancy Randolph Pearcey is an American evangelical author on the Christian worldview.-Career:Pearcey was the Francis A. Schaeffer Scholar for several years at the World Journalism Institute. In September 2007, Pearcey was named Scholar for Worldview Studies at the Center for University Studies at...

: "By contrast, design theory demonstrates that Christians can sit in the supernaturalist's "chair" even in their professional lives, seeing the cosmos through the lens of a comprehensive biblical worldview. Intelligent Design steps boldly into the scientific arena to build a case based on empirical data. It takes Christianity out of the ineffectual realm of value and stakes out a cognitive claim in the realm of objective truth. It restores Christianity to its status as genuine knowledge, equipping us to defend it in the public arena". (Total Truth, Crossway Books, June 29, 2004, ISBN 1-58134-458-9, pp. 204–205)
Whether this lack of specificity about the designer's identity in public discussions is a genuine feature of the concept, or just a posture taken to avoid alienating those who would separate religion from the teaching of science, has been a matter of great debate between supporters and critics of intelligent design. The Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. was the first direct challenge brought in the United States federal courts testing a public school district policy that required the teaching of intelligent design...

 court ruling held the latter to be the case.

Origin of the term



The phrase "intelligent design" can be found in an 1847 issue of Scientific American
Scientific American
Scientific American is a popular science magazine. It is notable for its long history of presenting science monthly to an educated but not necessarily scientific public, through its careful attention to the clarity of its text as well as the quality of its specially commissioned color graphics...

,
in an 1850 book by Patrick Edward Dove
Patrick Edward Dove
Patrick Edward Dove was born at Lasswade, near Edinburgh in Scotland. He is mainly remembered for his book The Theory of Human Progression of 1850 which sets out his philosophy that land should be in common ownership, with the economic rent on the land taking the place of other taxes, an idea...

,Dove, Patrick Edward
Patrick Edward Dove
Patrick Edward Dove was born at Lasswade, near Edinburgh in Scotland. He is mainly remembered for his book The Theory of Human Progression of 1850 which sets out his philosophy that land should be in common ownership, with the economic rent on the land taking the place of other taxes, an idea...

, The theory of human progression, and natural probability of a reign of justice. London, Johnstone & Hunter, 1850. LC 08031381 "Intelligence-Intelligent Design".
and in an 1861 letter from Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

.


The Paleyite
William Paley
William Paley was a British Christian apologist, philosopher, and utilitarian. He is best known for his exposition of the teleological argument for the existence of God in his work Natural Theology, which made use of the watchmaker analogy .-Life:Paley was Born in Peterborough, England, and was...

 botanist George James Allman
George James Allman
George James Allman FRS , M.D., Emeritus Professor of Natural History in Edinburgh, was an eminent Irish naturalist.-Life:...

 used the phrase in an address to the 1873 annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science
British Association for the Advancement of Science
frame|right|"The BA" logoThe British Association for the Advancement of Science or the British Science Association, formerly known as the BA, is a learned society with the object of promoting science, directing general attention to scientific matters, and facilitating interaction between...

:

"No physical hypothesis founded on any indisputable fact has yet explained the origin of the primordial protoplasm
Abiogenesis
Abiogenesis or biopoesis is the study of how biological life arises from inorganic matter through natural processes, and the method by which life on Earth arose...

, and, above all, of its marvellous properties, which render evolution possible—in heredity and in adaptability, for these properties are the cause and not the effect of evolution. For the cause of this cause we have sought in vain among the physical forces which surround us, until we are at last compelled to rest upon an independent volition, a far-seeing intelligent design."



The biologist
Biologist
A biologist is a scientist devoted to and producing results in biology through the study of life. Typically biologists study organisms and their relationship to their environment. Biologists involved in basic research attempt to discover underlying mechanisms that govern how organisms work...

 Alfred Russell Wallace also used the phrase in his book titled Darwinism (1889), according to Wallace: "There are some curious organs which are used only once in a creature's life, but which are yet essential to its existence, and thus have very much the appearance of design by an intelligent designer".Wallace, A. Darwinism: An Exposition of the Theory of Natural Selection with Some of Its Applications (2007) p. 113 The phrase can be found again in Humanism, a 1903 book by one of the founders of classical pragmatism
Pragmatism
Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition centered on the linking of practice and theory. It describes a process where theory is extracted from practice, and applied back to practice to form what is called intelligent practice...

, F.C.S. Schiller
Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller
Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller was a German-British philosopher. Born in Altona, Holstein , Schiller studied at the University of Oxford, and later was a professor there, after being invited back after a brief time at Cornell University...

: "It will not be possible to rule out the supposition that the process of evolution may be guided by an intelligent design". A derivative of the phrase appears in the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Philosophy (1967) in the article titled, "Teleological argument for the existence of God": "Stated most succinctly, the argument runs: The world exhibits teleological order (design, adaptation). Therefore, it was produced by an intelligent designer".

Robert Nozick
Robert Nozick
Robert Nozick was an American political philosopher, most prominent in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia , a right-libertarian answer to John Rawls's A Theory of Justice...

 (1974) wrote: "Consider now complicated patterns which one would have thought would arise only through intelligent design".

The phrases "intelligent design" and "intelligently designed" were used in a 1979 philosophy book Chance or Design? by James Horigan
and the phrase "intelligent design" was used in a 1982 speech by Sir Fred Hoyle
Fred Hoyle
Sir Fred Hoyle FRS was an English astronomer and mathematician noted primarily for his contribution to the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis and his often controversial stance on other cosmological and scientific matters—in particular his rejection of the "Big Bang" theory, a term originally...

 in his promotion of panspermia.

The modern use of the words "intelligent design", as a term intended to describe a field of inquiry, began after the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

, in the case of Edwards v. Aguillard
Edwards v. Aguillard
Edwards v. Aguillard, was a legal case about the teaching of creationism that was heard by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1987. The Court ruled that a Louisiana law requiring that creation science be taught in public schools, along with evolution, was unconstitutional because the law...

 (1987), ruled that creationism is unconstitutional in public school science curricula. A Discovery Institute report says that Charles Thaxton
Charles Thaxton
Charles B. Thaxton is an intelligent design author and Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.-Biography:Thaxton earned a doctorate in physical chemistry from Iowa State University...

, editor of Of Pandas and People
Of Pandas and People
Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins is a controversial 1989 school-level textbook written by Percival Davis and Dean H. Kenyon and published by the Texas-based Foundation for Thought and Ethics...

, had picked the phrase up from a NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 scientist, and thought "That's just what I need, it's a good engineering term".
In drafts of the book over one hundred uses of the root word "creation", such as "creationism" and "Creation Science", were changed, almost without exception, to "intelligent design", while "creationists" was changed to "design proponents" or, in one instance, "cdesign proponentsists". In June 1988 Thaxton held a conference titled "Sources of Information Content in DNA" in Tacoma
Tacoma, Washington
Tacoma is a mid-sized urban port city and the county seat of Pierce County, Washington, United States. The city is on Washington's Puget Sound, southwest of Seattle, northeast of the state capital, Olympia, and northwest of Mount Rainier National Park. The population was 198,397, according to...

, Washington, and in December decided to use the label "intelligent design" for his new creationist movement.
Stephen C. Meyer
Stephen C. Meyer
Stephen C. Meyer is an American scholar, philosopher and advocate for intelligent design. He helped found the Center for Science and Culture of the Discovery Institute , which is the main organisation behind the intelligent design movement. Before joining the DI, Meyer was a professor at...

 was at the conference, and later recalled that "the term came up".

Of Pandas and People


Of Pandas and People was published in 1989, and was the first book to make frequent use of the phrases "intelligent design," "design proponents," and "design theory", thus representing the beginning of the modern "intelligent design" movement. "Intelligent design" was the most prominent of around fifteen new terms it introduced as a new lexicon of creationist terminology to oppose evolution without using religious language.

It was the first place where the phrase "intelligent design" appeared in its present use, as stated both by its publisher Jon Buell,


and by William A. Dembski
William A. Dembski
William Albert "Bill" Dembski is an American proponent of intelligent design, well known for promoting the concept of specified complexity...

 in his expert witness report.


The National Center for Science Education
National Center for Science Education
The National Center for Science Education is a non-profit organization based in Oakland, California affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. It is the United States' leading anti-creationist organization, and defends the teaching of evolutionary biology and opposes...

 has criticized the book for presenting all of the basic arguments of intelligent design proponents and being actively promoted for use in public schools before any research had been done to support these arguments. Although presented as a scientific textbook, Philosopher of science Michael Ruse
Michael Ruse
Michael Ruse is a philosopher of biology at Florida State University, and is well known for his work on the creationism/evolution controversy and the demarcation problem in science...

 considers the contents "worthless and dishonest". An ACLU
American Civil Liberties Union
The American Civil Liberties Union is a U.S. non-profit organization whose stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." It works through litigation, legislation, and...

 lawyer described it as a political tool aimed at students who did not "know science or understand the controversy over evolution and creationism." One of the authors of the science framework used by California Schools, Kevin Padian, condemned it for its "sub-text", "Intolerance for honest science" and "incompetence".

Irreducible complexity




The term "irreducible complexity" was introduced by biochemist Michael Behe
Michael Behe
Michael J. Behe is an American biochemist, author, and intelligent design advocate. He currently serves as professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and as a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture...

 in his 1996 book Darwin's Black Box
Darwin's Black Box
Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution is a book written by Michael J. Behe and published by Free Press in which he presents his notion of irreducible complexity and claims that its presence in many biochemical systems indicates therefore that they must be the result of...

, though he had already described the concept in his contributions to the 1993 revised edition of Of Pandas and People. Behe defines it as "a single system which is composed of several well-matched interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning".Behe, Michael (1997): Molecular Machines: Experimental Support for the Design Inference http://www.apologetics.org/MolecularMachines/tabid/99/Default.aspx

Behe uses the analogy of a mousetrap to illustrate this concept. A mousetrap consists of several interacting pieces—the base, the catch, the spring and the hammer—all of which must be in place for the mousetrap to work. Removal of any one piece destroys the function of the mousetrap. Intelligent design advocates assert that natural selection could not create irreducibly complex systems, because the selectable function is present only when all parts are assembled. Behe argued that irreducibly complex biological mechanisms include the bacterial flagellum of E. coli, the blood clotting cascade, cilia, and the adaptive immune system
Immune system
An immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumor cells. It detects a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and needs to distinguish them from the organism's own...

.Irreducible complexity of these examples is disputed; see Kitzmiller, pp. 76–78, and Ken Miller WebcastThe Collapse of "Irreducible Complexity" Kenneth R. Miller Brown University http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/design2/article.html

Critics point out that the irreducible complexity argument assumes that the necessary parts of a system have always been necessary and therefore could not have been added sequentially. They argue that something that is at first merely advantageous can later become necessary as other components change. Furthermore, they argue, evolution often proceeds by altering preexisting parts or by removing them from a system, rather than by adding them. This is sometimes called the "scaffolding objection" by an analogy with scaffolding, which can support an "irreducibly complex" building until it is complete and able to stand on its own.For example, Bridgham et al. showed that gradual evolutionary mechanisms can produce complex protein-protein interaction systems from simpler precursors.
Behe has acknowledged using "sloppy prose", and that his "argument against Darwinism does not add up to a logical proof". This article draws from the following exchange of letters in which Behe admits to sloppy prose and non-logical proof: Irreducible complexity has remained a popular argument among advocates of intelligent design; in the Dover trial
Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. was the first direct challenge brought in the United States federal courts testing a public school district policy that required the teaching of intelligent design...

, the court held that "Professor Behe's claim for irreducible complexity has been refuted in peer-reviewed research papers and has been rejected by the scientific community at large".

Specified complexity



In 1986 Charles Thaxton
Charles Thaxton
Charles B. Thaxton is an intelligent design author and Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.-Biography:Thaxton earned a doctorate in physical chemistry from Iowa State University...

, a physical chemist and creationist, used the term "specified complexity" from information theory
Information theory
Information theory is a branch of applied mathematics and electrical engineering involving the quantification of information. Information theory was developed by Claude E. Shannon to find fundamental limits on signal processing operations such as compressing data and on reliably storing and...

 when claiming that messages transmitted by DNA in the cell were specified by intelligence, and must have originated with an intelligent agent.
The intelligent design concept of "specified complexity" was developed in the 1990s by mathematician, philosopher, and theologian William Dembski. Dembski, Research Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, states that when something exhibits specified complexity (i.e., is both complex and "specified", simultaneously), one can infer that it was produced by an intelligent cause (i.e., that it was designed) rather than being the result of natural processes. He provides the following examples: "A single letter of the alphabet is specified without being complex. A long sentence of random letters is complex without being specified. A Shakespearean sonnet
Sonnet
A sonnet is one of several forms of poetry that originate in Europe, mainly Provence and Italy. A sonnet commonly has 14 lines. The term "sonnet" derives from the Occitan word sonet and the Italian word sonetto, both meaning "little song" or "little sound"...

 is both complex and specified".Dembski. Intelligent Design, p. 47 He states that details of living things can be similarly characterized, especially the "patterns" of molecular sequences in functional biological molecules such as DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

.
Dembski defines complex specified information (CSI) as anything with a less than 1 in 10150 chance of occurring by (natural) chance. Critics say that this renders the argument a tautology
Tautology (rhetoric)
Tautology is an unnecessary or unessential repetition of meaning, using different and dissimilar words that effectively say the same thing...

: complex specified information cannot occur naturally because Dembski has defined it thus, so the real question becomes whether or not CSI actually exists in nature.
Some of Dembski's responses to assertions of specified complexity being a tautology can be found at

The conceptual soundness of Dembski's specified complexity/CSI argument has been widely discredited by the scientific and mathematical communities.
Specified complexity has yet to be shown to have wide applications in other fields, as Dembski asserts. John Wilkins and Wesley Elsberry
Wesley R. Elsberry
Dr. Wesley Royce Elsberry is a marine biologist with an interdisciplinary background in zoology, computer science, and wildlife and fisheries sciences. He has become involved in the creation-evolution controversy.- Biography :...

 characterize Dembski's "explanatory filter" as eliminative, because it eliminates explanations sequentially: first regularity, then chance, finally defaulting to design. They argue that this procedure is flawed as a model for scientific inference because the asymmetric way it treats the different possible explanations renders it prone to making false conclusions.


Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins
Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL , known as Richard Dawkins, is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author...

, another critic of intelligent design, argues in The God Delusion
The God Delusion
The God Delusion is a 2006 bestselling non-fiction book by British biologist Richard Dawkins, professorial fellow of New College, Oxford, and inaugural holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford.In The God Delusion, Dawkins contends that...

 that allowing for an intelligent designer to account for unlikely complexity only postpones the problem, as such a designer would need to be at least as complex.
Other scientists have argued that evolution through selection is better able to explain the observed complexity, as is evident from the use of selective evolution to design certain electronic, aeronautic and automotive systems that are considered problems too complex for human "intelligent designers".

Fine-tuned Universe



Intelligent design proponents have also occasionally appealed to broader teleological arguments outside of biology, most notably an argument based on the fine-tuning of universal constants
Fine-tuned universe
The fine-tuned universe is the proposition that the conditions that allow life in the Universe can only occur when certain universal fundamental physical constants lie within a very narrow range, so that if any of several fundamental constants were only slightly different the universe would be...

 that make matter and life possible and which are argued not to be solely attributable to chance. These include the values of fundamental physical constants, the relative strength of nuclear force
Nuclear force
The nuclear force is the force between two or more nucleons. It is responsible for binding of protons and neutrons into atomic nuclei. The energy released causes the masses of nuclei to be less than the total mass of the protons and neutrons which form them...

s, electromagnetism
Electromagnetism
Electromagnetism is one of the four fundamental interactions in nature. The other three are the strong interaction, the weak interaction and gravitation...

, and gravity between fundamental particles, as well as the ratios of masses of such particles. Intelligent design proponent and Center for Science and Culture
Center for Science and Culture
The Center for Science and Culture , formerly known as the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture , is part of the Discovery Institute, a conservative Christian think tank in the United States...

 fellow Guillermo Gonzalez
Guillermo Gonzalez (astronomer)
Guillermo Gonzalez is an astrophysicist, proponent of intelligent design, and a professor at Grove City College, a Christian school, in Grove City, Pennsylvania...

 argues that if any of these values were even slightly different, the universe would be dramatically different, making it impossible for many chemical elements and features of the Universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

, such as galaxies, to form.
Thus, proponents argue, an intelligent designer of life was needed to ensure that the requisite features were present to achieve that particular outcome.

Scientists have generally responded that this argument cannot be tested and is therefore not science but metaphysics. Some scientists argue that even when taken as mere speculation, these arguments are poorly supported by existing evidence.The Panda's Thumb. review of The Privileged Planet Victor J. Stenger
Victor J. Stenger
Victor John Stenger is an American particle physicist, outspoken atheist, and author, now active in philosophy and popular religious skepticism....

 and other critics say both intelligent design and the weak form of the anthropic principle
Anthropic principle
In astrophysics and cosmology, the anthropic principle is the philosophical argument that observations of the physical Universe must be compatible with the conscious life that observes it. Some proponents of the argument reason that it explains why the Universe has the age and the fundamental...

 are essentially a tautology
Tautology (logic)
In logic, a tautology is a formula which is true in every possible interpretation. Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein first applied the term to redundancies of propositional logic in 1921; it had been used earlier to refer to rhetorical tautologies, and continues to be used in that alternate sense...

; in his view, these arguments amount to the claim that life is able to exist because the Universe is able to support life.Is The Universe Fine-Tuned For Us? Victor J. Stenger. University of Colorado. (PDF file)

The claim of the improbability of a life-supporting universe has also been criticized as an argument by lack of imagination for assuming no other forms of life are possible. Life as we know it might not exist if things were different, but a different sort of life might exist in its place. A number of critics also suggest that many of the stated variables appear to be interconnected and that calculations made by mathematicians and physicists suggest that the emergence of a universe similar to ours is quite probable.See, e.g.,

Intelligent designer


Intelligent design arguments are formulated in secular terms and intentionally avoid identifying the intelligent agent (or agents) they posit. Although they do not state that God is the designer, the designer is often implicitly hypothesized to have intervened in a way that only a god could intervene. Dembski, in The Design Inference
The Design Inference
The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities is a book by American philosopher William A. Dembski, a proponent of intelligent design, which sets out to establish a mechanism by which evidence of intelligent design in nature could be inferred...

, speculates that an alien culture could fulfill these requirements. Of Pandas and People
Of Pandas and People
Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins is a controversial 1989 school-level textbook written by Percival Davis and Dean H. Kenyon and published by the Texas-based Foundation for Thought and Ethics...

 proposes that SETI
SETI
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence is the collective name for a number of activities people undertake to search for intelligent extraterrestrial life. Some of the most well known projects are run by the SETI Institute. SETI projects use scientific methods to search for intelligent life...

 illustrates an appeal to intelligent design in science. In 2000, philosopher of science Robert T. Pennock
Robert T. Pennock
Robert T. Pennock is a philosopher working on the Avida digital organism project at Michigan State University where he has been full professor since 2000. Pennock was a witness in the Kitzmiller v...

 suggested the Raëlian
Raëlian beliefs and practices
Raëlian beliefs and practices concern the concepts and principles of the Raëlian Church, the religious mission of Claude Vorilhon, a former French auto racing journalist. Followers of Raëlism are believers in an advanced race of extraterrestrials called Elohim who created life on earth. Raëlians...

 UFO religion as a real-life example of an extraterrestrial intelligent designer view that "make[s] many of the same bad arguments against evolutionary theory as creationists". The authoritative description of intelligent design,
however, explicitly states that the Universe displays features of having been designed. Acknowledging the paradox
Paradox
Similar to Circular reasoning, A paradox is a seemingly true statement or group of statements that lead to a contradiction or a situation which seems to defy logic or intuition...

, Dembski concludes that "no intelligent agent who is strictly physical could have presided over the origin of the universe or the origin of life".
The leading proponents have made statements to their supporters that they believe the designer to be the Christian God
God in Christianity
In Christianity, God is the eternal being that created and preserves the universe. God is believed by most Christians to be immanent , while others believe the plan of redemption show he will be immanent later...

, to the exclusion of all other religions.

Beyond the debate over whether intelligent design is scientific, a number of critics argue that existing evidence makes the design hypothesis appear unlikely, irrespective of its status in the world of science. For example, Jerry Coyne
Jerry Coyne
-Online articles:* , The New Republic* , The New Republic* , The New Republic* ", The New Republic * -Online articles:* , The New Republic* , The New Republic* , The New Republic* ", The New Republic (Review of Michael Behe's The Edge of Evolution)* -Online articles:* , The New Republic* , The...

 asks why a designer would "give us a pathway for making vitamin C
Vitamin C
Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate is an essential nutrient for humans and certain other animal species. In living organisms ascorbate acts as an antioxidant by protecting the body against oxidative stress...

, but then destroy it by disabling one of its enzymes" (see pseudogene
Pseudogene
Pseudogenes are dysfunctional relatives of known genes that have lost their protein-coding ability or are otherwise no longer expressed in the cell...

) and why he or she would not "stock oceanic islands with reptiles, mammals, amphibians, and freshwater fish, despite the suitability of such islands for these species". Coyne also points to the fact that "the flora and fauna on those islands resemble that of the nearest mainland, even when the environments are very different" as evidence that species were not placed there by a designer.
Previously, in Darwin's Black Box
Darwin's Black Box
Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution is a book written by Michael J. Behe and published by Free Press in which he presents his notion of irreducible complexity and claims that its presence in many biochemical systems indicates therefore that they must be the result of...

, Behe had argued that we are simply incapable of understanding the designer's motives, so such questions cannot be answered definitively. Odd designs could, for example, "have been placed there by the designer ... for artistic reasons, to show off, for some as-yet undetectable practical purpose, or for some unguessable reason". Coyne responds that in light of the evidence, "either life resulted not from intelligent design, but from evolution; or the intelligent designer is a cosmic prankster who designed everything to make it look as though it had evolved".

Some intelligent design proponents such as Paul Nelson
Paul Nelson (creationist)
Paul A. Nelson is an American philosopher of science, young earth creationist and intelligent design advocate.- Biography :Nelson is the grandson of the creationist author and Lutheran minister Byron Christopher Nelson and edited a book of his grandfather's writings...

 avoid the problem of poor design in nature
Argument from poor design
The dysteleological argument or argument from poor design is an argument against the existence of God, specifically against the existence of a creator God...

 by insisting that we have simply failed to understand the perfection of the design. Behe cites Paley as his inspiration, but he differs from Paley's expectation of a perfect Creation and proposes that designers do not necessarily produce the best design they can. Behe suggests that, like a parent not wanting to spoil a child with extravagant toys, the designer can have multiple motives for not giving priority to excellence in engineering. He says that "the argument for imperfection critically depends on a psychoanalysis of the unidentified designer. Yet the reasons that a designer would or would not do anything are virtually impossible to know unless the designer tells you specifically what those reasons are." This reliance on inexplicable motives of the designer makes intelligent design scientifically untestable. Phillip E. Johnson
Phillip E. Johnson
Phillip E. Johnson is a retired UC Berkeley law professor and author. He became a born-again Christian while a tenured professor and is considered the father of the intelligent design movement...

 puts forward a core definition that the designer creates for a purpose, giving the example that in his view AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

 was created to punish immorality and was not caused by HIV
HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

, but such motives cannot be tested by scientific methods.

Asserting the need for a designer of complexity also raises the question "What designed the designer?"
Intelligent design proponents say that the question is irrelevant to or outside the scope of intelligent design.IDEA "One need not fully understand the origin or identity of the designer to determine that an object was designed. Thus, this question is essentially irrelevant to intelligent design theory, which merely seeks to detect if an object was designed ... Intelligent design theory cannot address the identity or origin of the designer—it is a philosophical / religious question that lies outside the domain of scientific inquiry. Christianity postulates the religious answer to this question that the designer is God who by definition is eternally existent and has no origin. There is no logical philosophical impossibility with this being the case (akin to Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

's 'unmoved mover') as a religious answer to the origin of the designer..." FAQ: Who designed the designer? FAQ: Who designed the designer?
Richard Wein counters that the unanswered questions an explanation creates "must be balanced against the improvements in our understanding which the explanation provides. Invoking an unexplained being to explain the origin of other beings (ourselves) is little more than question-begging
Begging the question
Begging the question is a type of logical fallacy in which the proposition to be proven is assumed implicitly or explicitly in the premise....

. The new question raised by the explanation is as problematic as the question which the explanation purports to answer". Richard Dawkins sees the assertion that the designer does not need to be explained, not as a contribution to knowledge, but as a thought-terminating cliché.

In the absence of observable, measurable evidence, the very question "What designed the designer?" leads to an infinite regression
Turtles all the way down
"Turtles all the way down" is a jocular expression of the infinite regress problem in cosmology posed by the "unmoved mover" paradox. The phrase was popularized by Stephen Hawking in 1988. The "turtle" metaphor in the anecdote represents a popular notion of a "primitive cosmological myth", viz...

 from which intelligent design proponents can only escape by resorting to religious creationism or logical contradiction.

See, e.g., ;

Movement



The intelligent design movement is a direct outgrowth of the creationism
Creationism
Creationism is the religious beliefthat humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe are the creation of a supernatural being, most often referring to the Abrahamic god. As science developed from the 18th century onwards, various views developed which aimed to reconcile science with the Genesis...

 of the 1980s. The scientific and academic communities, along with a U.S. federal court, view intelligent design as either a form of creationism or as a direct descendant that is closely intertwined with traditional creationism;
Intelligent design (ID) is the proposition 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
Natural selection
Natural selection is the nonrandom process by which biologic traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of differential reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution....

."

It is a form of creationism and a contemporary adaptation of the traditional teleological argument for the existence of God, presented by its advocates as "an evidence-based scientific theory about life's origins" rather than "a religious-based idea". It avoids specifying that the hypothesized intelligent designer
Intelligent designer
An intelligent designer, also referred to as an intelligent agent, is the hypothetical willed and self-aware entity that the intelligent design movement argues had some role in the origin and/or development of life...

 is God.
Its leading proponents are associated with the Discovery Institute
Discovery Institute
The Discovery Institute is a non-profit public policy think tank based in Seattle, Washington, best known for its advocacy of intelligent design...

, a politically conservative think tank
Think tank
A think tank is an organization that conducts research and engages in advocacy in areas such as social policy, political strategy, economics, military, and technology issues. Most think tanks are non-profit organizations, which some countries such as the United States and Canada provide with tax...

,
and believe the designer to be the Christian
Christian
A Christian is a person who adheres to Christianity, an Abrahamic, monotheistic religion based on the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth as recorded in the Canonical gospels and the letters of the New Testament...

 God
God
God is the English name given to a singular being in theistic and deistic religions who is either the sole deity in monotheism, or a single deity in polytheism....

.

ID seeks to redefine science in a fundamental way that would invoke supernatural
Supernatural
The supernatural or is that which is not subject to the laws of nature, or more figuratively, that which is said to exist above and beyond nature...

 explanations, a viewpoint known as theistic science. It puts forward a number of arguments, the most prominent of which are irreducible complexity
Irreducible complexity
Irreducible complexity is an argument by proponents of intelligent design that certain biological systems are too complex to have evolved from simpler, or "less complete" predecessors, through natural selection acting upon a series of advantageous naturally occurring, chance mutations...

 and specified complexity
Specified complexity
Specified complexity is an argument proposed by William Dembski and used by him and others to promote intelligent design. According to Dembski, the concept is intended to formalize a property that singles out patterns that are both specified and complex...

, in support of the existence of a designer. The scientific community
Scientific community
The scientific community consists of the total body of scientists, its relationships and interactions. It is normally divided into "sub-communities" each working on a particular field within science. Objectivity is expected to be achieved by the scientific method...

 rejects the extension of science to include supernatural explanations in favor of continued acceptance of methodological naturalism,

See: 1) List of scientific societies explicitly rejecting intelligent design 2) Kitzmiller v. Dover page 83. 3) The Discovery Institute's A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism
A Scientific Dissent From Darwinism
A Scientific Dissent from Darwinism is a statement issued in 2001 by the Discovery Institute, a conservative non-profit public policy think tank based in Seattle, Washington, USA, best known for its advocacy of intelligent design.The statement expresses skepticism about the ability of random...

 petition begun in 2001 has been signed by "over 700 scientists" as of August 20, 2006. A four day A Scientific Support for Darwinism
A Scientific Support for Darwinism
A Scientific Support for Darwinism was a four day, word-of-mouth petition of scientists in support of evolution. Inspired by Project Steve, it was initiated in 2005 by archaeologist R...

 petition gained 7733 signatories from scientists opposing ID. The AAAS, the largest association of scientists in the U.S., has 120,000 members, and firmly rejects ID. More than 70,000 Australian scientists and educators condemn teaching of intelligent design in school science classes List of statements from scientific professional organizations on the status intelligent design and other forms of creationism. According to The New York Times
The New York Times
The New York Times is an American daily newspaper founded and continuously published in New York City since 1851. The New York Times has won 106 Pulitzer Prizes, the most of any news organization...

 "There is no credible scientific challenge to the theory of evolution as an explanation for the complexity and diversity of life on earth".



and has rejected both irreducible complexity and specified complexity for a wide range of conceptual and factual flaws.


Intelligent design was developed by a group of American
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 creationists
Creationism
Creationism is the religious beliefthat humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe are the creation of a supernatural being, most often referring to the Abrahamic god. As science developed from the 18th century onwards, various views developed which aimed to reconcile science with the Genesis...

 who revised their argument in the creation–evolution controversy to circumvent court rulings such as the United States Supreme Court Edwards v. Aguillard
Edwards v. Aguillard
Edwards v. Aguillard, was a legal case about the teaching of creationism that was heard by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1987. The Court ruled that a Louisiana law requiring that creation science be taught in public schools, along with evolution, was unconstitutional because the law...

 ruling, which barred the teaching of "Creation Science
Creation science
Creation Science or scientific creationism is a branch of creationism that attempts to provide scientific support for the Genesis creation narrative in the Book of Genesis and disprove generally accepted scientific facts, theories and scientific paradigms about the history of the Earth, cosmology...

" in public schools as breaching the separation of church and state
Separation of church and state in the United States
The phrase "separation of church and state" , attributed to Thomas Jefferson and others, and since quoted by the Supreme Court of the United States, expresses an understanding of the intent and function of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States...

.
The first significant published use of intelligent design was in Of Pandas and People
Of Pandas and People
Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins is a controversial 1989 school-level textbook written by Percival Davis and Dean H. Kenyon and published by the Texas-based Foundation for Thought and Ethics...

, a 1989 textbook intended for high-school biology classes. From the mid-1990s, intelligent design proponents were supported by the Discovery Institute, which, together with its Center for Science and Culture
Center for Science and Culture
The Center for Science and Culture , formerly known as the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture , is part of the Discovery Institute, a conservative Christian think tank in the United States...

, planned and funded the "intelligent design movement
Intelligent design movement
The intelligent design movement is a neo-creationist religious campaign for broad social, academic and political change to promote and support the idea of "intelligent design," which asserts that "certain features of the universe and of living things are...

".

They advocated inclusion of intelligent design in public school curricula, leading to the 2005 Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. was the first direct challenge brought in the United States federal courts testing a public school district policy that required the teaching of intelligent design...

 trial, where U.S. District Judge
United States district court
The United States district courts are the general trial courts of the United States federal court system. Both civil and criminal cases are filed in the district court, which is a court of law, equity, and admiralty. There is a United States bankruptcy court associated with each United States...

 John E. Jones III
John E. Jones III
John Edward Jones III is an American lawyer and jurist from the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. A Republican, Jones was appointed by President George W. Bush as federal judge on the United States District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania in February 2002 and was unanimously confirmed by...

 ruled that intelligent design is not science, that it "cannot uncouple itself from its creationist, and thus religious, antecedents", and that the school district's promotion of it therefore violated the Establishment Clause
Establishment Clause of the First Amendment
The Establishment Clause is the first of several pronouncements in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution, stating, Together with the Free Exercise Clause The Establishment Clause is the first of several pronouncements in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution,...

 of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution
First Amendment to the United States Constitution
The First Amendment to the United States Constitution is part of the Bill of Rights. The amendment prohibits the making of any law respecting an establishment of religion, impeding the free exercise of religion, abridging the freedom of speech, infringing on the freedom of the press, interfering...

.
, Conclusion of Ruling.

Origin of the concept



The concept of intelligent design, the teleological argument
Teleological argument
A teleological or design argument is an a posteriori argument for the existence of God based on apparent design and purpose in the universe. The argument is based on an interpretation of teleology wherein purpose and intelligent design appear to exist in nature beyond the scope of any such human...

, is one of three basic religious arguments for the existence of God which have been advanced for centuries (the others being the ontological argument
Ontological argument
The ontological argument for the existence of God is an a priori argument for the existence of God. The ontological argument was first proposed by the eleventh-century monk Anselm of Canterbury, who defined God as the greatest possible being we can conceive...

 and the cosmological argument
Cosmological argument
The cosmological argument is an argument for the existence of a First Cause to the universe, and by extension is often used as an argument for the existence of an "unconditioned" or "supreme" being, usually then identified as God...

). In the 13th century Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas
Thomas Aquinas, O.P. , also Thomas of Aquin or Aquino, was an Italian Dominican priest of the Catholic Church, and an immensely influential philosopher and theologian in the tradition of scholasticism, known as Doctor Angelicus, Doctor Communis, or Doctor Universalis...

 argued that natural things act to achieve the best result, and as they cannot do this without intelligence, an intelligent being must exist, setting the goal and providing direction, and this being is God. The version formulated in 1802 by William Paley
William Paley
William Paley was a British Christian apologist, philosopher, and utilitarian. He is best known for his exposition of the teleological argument for the existence of God in his work Natural Theology, which made use of the watchmaker analogy .-Life:Paley was Born in Peterborough, England, and was...

 used the watchmaker analogy
Watchmaker analogy
The watchmaker analogy, or watchmaker argument, is a teleological argument for the existence of God. By way of an analogy, the argument states that design implies a designer...

 to argue that complexity and adaptation
Adaptation
An adaptation in biology is a trait with a current functional role in the life history of an organism that is maintained and evolved by means of natural selection. An adaptation refers to both the current state of being adapted and to the dynamic evolutionary process that leads to the adaptation....

 in nature demonstrated God's benevolent and perfect design, for the good of humans. Paley's natural theology
Natural theology
Natural theology is a branch of theology based on reason and ordinary experience. Thus it is distinguished from revealed theology which is based on scripture and religious experiences of various kinds; and also from transcendental theology, theology from a priori reasoning.Marcus Terentius Varro ...

 strongly influenced scientists of the time, who took for granted the assumption that God had designed nature and were open to a deistic
Deism
Deism in religious philosophy is the belief that reason and observation of the natural world, without the need for organized religion, can determine that the universe is the product of an all-powerful creator. According to deists, the creator does not intervene in human affairs or suspend the...

 interpretation that this design was implemented by laws. Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

 struggled with the problem of evil
Problem of evil
In the philosophy of religion, the problem of evil is the question of how to explain evil if there exists a deity that is omnibenevolent, omnipotent, and omniscient . Some philosophers have claimed that the existences of such a god and of evil are logically incompatible or unlikely...

 and poor design in nature
Argument from poor design
The dysteleological argument or argument from poor design is an argument against the existence of God, specifically against the existence of a creator God...

, and though his natural selection
Natural selection
Natural selection is the nonrandom process by which biologic traits become either more or less common in a population as a function of differential reproduction of their bearers. It is a key mechanism of evolution....

 explained adaptation without the need for a designer, he was still inclined to think that everything resulted from designed laws. The theistic evolution
Theistic evolution
Theistic evolution or evolutionary creation is a concept that asserts that classical religious teachings about God are compatible with the modern scientific understanding about biological evolution...

 of Asa Gray
Asa Gray
-References:*Asa Gray. Dictionary of American Biography. American Council of Learned Societies, 1928–1936.*Asa Gray. Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. 17 Vols. Gale Research, 1998.*Asa Gray. Plant Sciences. 4 vols. Macmillan Reference USA, 2001....

 contributed to wide acceptance of evolution,
, Ruling pp. 24–25.
and by 1910 it was not a topic of major religious controversy in America.

In the 1920s Fundamentalist Christianity
Fundamentalist Christianity
Christian fundamentalism, also known as Fundamentalist Christianity, or Fundamentalism, arose out of British and American Protestantism in the late 19th century and early 20th century among evangelical Christians...

 took up opposition to evolution, and effectively suspended teaching of evolution in U.S. public schools. In the 1960s, after evolution was reintroduced into the curriculum, Young Earth creationists
Young Earth creationism
Young Earth creationism is the religious belief that Heavens, Earth, and all life on Earth were created by direct acts of the Abrahamic God during a relatively short period, sometime between 5,700 and 10,000 years ago...

 promoted Creation Science
Creation science
Creation Science or scientific creationism is a branch of creationism that attempts to provide scientific support for the Genesis creation narrative in the Book of Genesis and disprove generally accepted scientific facts, theories and scientific paradigms about the history of the Earth, cosmology...

 as "an alternative scientific explanation of the world in which we live", which frequently invoked the design argument to explain complexity in nature. These explanations prefigured the intelligent arguments of irreducible complexity
Irreducible complexity
Irreducible complexity is an argument by proponents of intelligent design that certain biological systems are too complex to have evolved from simpler, or "less complete" predecessors, through natural selection acting upon a series of advantageous naturally occurring, chance mutations...

, even featuring the bacterial flagellum
Flagellum
A flagellum is a tail-like projection that protrudes from the cell body of certain prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, and plays the dual role of locomotion and sense organ, being sensitive to chemicals and temperatures outside the cell. There are some notable differences between prokaryotic and...

. Attempts to introduce this in schools led to court rulings that Creation Science is religious in nature, and thus cannot be taught in public school science classrooms.

Intelligent design also has Paley's argument from design at its centre, and shares other arguments with Creation Science but differs in avoiding overt literal Biblical references such as the age of the Earth and Noah's Flood. Unlike Paley's openness to deistic design through laws, the point of intelligent design is to establish repeated miraculous interventions in the history of life. This raises theological difficulties; for those who believe that God's design must be perfect and should not need such changes, the claim to be scientific implies that science can test religion, and the problem of evil of a lack of miraculous intervention to reduce suffering. Intelligent design proponents avoid the problem of poor design in nature by insisting that we have simply failed to understand the perfection of the design, or by proposing that designers do not necessarily produce the best design they can, and may have unknowable motives for their actions.

Philosopher Barbara Forrest
Barbara Forrest
Barbara Carroll Forrest is a professor of philosophy at Southeastern Louisiana University in Hammond, Louisiana. She is a critic of intelligent design and the Discovery Institute.- Biography :...

 writes that the intelligent design movement began in 1984 with the publication by Jon A. Buell's the Foundation for Thought and Ethics
Foundation for Thought and Ethics
The Foundation for Thought and Ethics is a Christian non-profit organization based in Richardson, Texas, that publishes textbooks and articles promoting intelligent design, abstinence, and Christian nationism. In addition, the foundation's officers and editors are some of the leading proponents...

 of The Mystery of Life's Origin by Charles B. Thaxton, a chemist and creationist. Thaxton held a conference in 1988, "Sources of Information Content in DNA," which attracted creationists such as Stephen C. Meyer
Stephen C. Meyer
Stephen C. Meyer is an American scholar, philosopher and advocate for intelligent design. He helped found the Center for Science and Culture of the Discovery Institute , which is the main organisation behind the intelligent design movement. Before joining the DI, Meyer was a professor at...

.Forrest, Barbara. Know Your Creationists: Know Your Allies

In March 1986, a review by Meyer used information theory to suggest that messages transmitted by DNA in the cell show "specified complexity" specified by intelligence, and must have originated with an intelligent agent. In November of that year Thaxton described his reasoning as a more sophisticated form of Paley's argument from design. At the Sources of Information Content in DNA conference in 1988 he said that his intelligent cause view was compatible with both metaphysical naturalism
Metaphysical naturalism
Metaphysical naturalism, also called ontological naturalism and philosophical naturalism, or just naturalism, is a philosophical worldview and belief system that holds that there is nothing but natural elements, principles, and relations of the kind studied by the natural sciences, i.e., those...

 and supernaturalism.

Intelligent design avoids identifying or naming the intelligent designer
Intelligent designer
An intelligent designer, also referred to as an intelligent agent, is the hypothetical willed and self-aware entity that the intelligent design movement argues had some role in the origin and/or development of life...

—it merely states that one (or more) must exist—but leaders of the movement have said the designer is the Christian God.Stephen C. Meyer
Stephen C. Meyer
Stephen C. Meyer is an American scholar, philosopher and advocate for intelligent design. He helped found the Center for Science and Culture of the Discovery Institute , which is the main organisation behind the intelligent design movement. Before joining the DI, Meyer was a professor at...

: "I think the designer is God ..." (Darwin, the marketing of Intelligent Design. Nightline
Nightline
Nightline, or ABC News Nightline is a late-night news program broadcast by ABC in the United States, and has a franchised formula to other networks and stations elsewhere in the world. It airs weeknights, usually for 31 minutes. Created by Roone Arledge, the program featured Ted Koppel as its main...

, ABC News
ABC News
ABC News is the news gathering and broadcasting division of American broadcast television network ABC, a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company...

, with Ted Koppel
Ted Koppel
Edward James "Ted" Koppel is an English-born American broadcast journalist, best known as the anchor for Nightline from the program's inception in 1980 until his retirement in late 2005. After leaving Nightline, Koppel worked as managing editor for the Discovery Channel before resigning in 2008...

, August 10, 2005);
Nancy Pearcey
Nancy Pearcey
Nancy Randolph Pearcey is an American evangelical author on the Christian worldview.-Career:Pearcey was the Francis A. Schaeffer Scholar for several years at the World Journalism Institute. In September 2007, Pearcey was named Scholar for Worldview Studies at the Center for University Studies at...

: "By contrast, design theory demonstrates that Christians can sit in the supernaturalist's "chair" even in their professional lives, seeing the cosmos through the lens of a comprehensive biblical worldview. Intelligent Design steps boldly into the scientific arena to build a case based on empirical data. It takes Christianity out of the ineffectual realm of value and stakes out a cognitive claim in the realm of objective truth. It restores Christianity to its status as genuine knowledge, equipping us to defend it in the public arena". (Total Truth, Crossway Books, June 29, 2004, ISBN 1-58134-458-9, pp. 204–205)
Whether this lack of specificity about the designer's identity in public discussions is a genuine feature of the concept, or just a posture taken to avoid alienating those who would separate religion from the teaching of science, has been a matter of great debate between supporters and critics of intelligent design. The Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. was the first direct challenge brought in the United States federal courts testing a public school district policy that required the teaching of intelligent design...

 court ruling held the latter to be the case.

Origin of the term



The phrase "intelligent design" can be found in an 1847 issue of Scientific American
Scientific American
Scientific American is a popular science magazine. It is notable for its long history of presenting science monthly to an educated but not necessarily scientific public, through its careful attention to the clarity of its text as well as the quality of its specially commissioned color graphics...

,
in an 1850 book by Patrick Edward Dove
Patrick Edward Dove
Patrick Edward Dove was born at Lasswade, near Edinburgh in Scotland. He is mainly remembered for his book The Theory of Human Progression of 1850 which sets out his philosophy that land should be in common ownership, with the economic rent on the land taking the place of other taxes, an idea...

,Dove, Patrick Edward
Patrick Edward Dove
Patrick Edward Dove was born at Lasswade, near Edinburgh in Scotland. He is mainly remembered for his book The Theory of Human Progression of 1850 which sets out his philosophy that land should be in common ownership, with the economic rent on the land taking the place of other taxes, an idea...

, The theory of human progression, and natural probability of a reign of justice. London, Johnstone & Hunter, 1850. LC 08031381 "Intelligence-Intelligent Design".
and in an 1861 letter from Charles Darwin
Charles Darwin
Charles Robert Darwin FRS was an English naturalist. He established that all species of life have descended over time from common ancestry, and proposed the scientific theory that this branching pattern of evolution resulted from a process that he called natural selection.He published his theory...

.


The Paleyite
William Paley
William Paley was a British Christian apologist, philosopher, and utilitarian. He is best known for his exposition of the teleological argument for the existence of God in his work Natural Theology, which made use of the watchmaker analogy .-Life:Paley was Born in Peterborough, England, and was...

 botanist George James Allman
George James Allman
George James Allman FRS , M.D., Emeritus Professor of Natural History in Edinburgh, was an eminent Irish naturalist.-Life:...

 used the phrase in an address to the 1873 annual meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science
British Association for the Advancement of Science
frame|right|"The BA" logoThe British Association for the Advancement of Science or the British Science Association, formerly known as the BA, is a learned society with the object of promoting science, directing general attention to scientific matters, and facilitating interaction between...

:

"No physical hypothesis founded on any indisputable fact has yet explained the origin of the primordial protoplasm
Abiogenesis
Abiogenesis or biopoesis is the study of how biological life arises from inorganic matter through natural processes, and the method by which life on Earth arose...

, and, above all, of its marvellous properties, which render evolution possible—in heredity and in adaptability, for these properties are the cause and not the effect of evolution. For the cause of this cause we have sought in vain among the physical forces which surround us, until we are at last compelled to rest upon an independent volition, a far-seeing intelligent design."



The biologist
Biologist
A biologist is a scientist devoted to and producing results in biology through the study of life. Typically biologists study organisms and their relationship to their environment. Biologists involved in basic research attempt to discover underlying mechanisms that govern how organisms work...

 Alfred Russell Wallace also used the phrase in his book titled Darwinism (1889), according to Wallace: "There are some curious organs which are used only once in a creature's life, but which are yet essential to its existence, and thus have very much the appearance of design by an intelligent designer".Wallace, A. Darwinism: An Exposition of the Theory of Natural Selection with Some of Its Applications (2007) p. 113 The phrase can be found again in Humanism, a 1903 book by one of the founders of classical pragmatism
Pragmatism
Pragmatism is a philosophical tradition centered on the linking of practice and theory. It describes a process where theory is extracted from practice, and applied back to practice to form what is called intelligent practice...

, F.C.S. Schiller
Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller
Ferdinand Canning Scott Schiller was a German-British philosopher. Born in Altona, Holstein , Schiller studied at the University of Oxford, and later was a professor there, after being invited back after a brief time at Cornell University...

: "It will not be possible to rule out the supposition that the process of evolution may be guided by an intelligent design". A derivative of the phrase appears in the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Philosophy (1967) in the article titled, "Teleological argument for the existence of God": "Stated most succinctly, the argument runs: The world exhibits teleological order (design, adaptation). Therefore, it was produced by an intelligent designer".

Robert Nozick
Robert Nozick
Robert Nozick was an American political philosopher, most prominent in the 1970s and 1980s. He was a professor at Harvard University. He is best known for his book Anarchy, State, and Utopia , a right-libertarian answer to John Rawls's A Theory of Justice...

 (1974) wrote: "Consider now complicated patterns which one would have thought would arise only through intelligent design".

The phrases "intelligent design" and "intelligently designed" were used in a 1979 philosophy book Chance or Design? by James Horigan
and the phrase "intelligent design" was used in a 1982 speech by Sir Fred Hoyle
Fred Hoyle
Sir Fred Hoyle FRS was an English astronomer and mathematician noted primarily for his contribution to the theory of stellar nucleosynthesis and his often controversial stance on other cosmological and scientific matters—in particular his rejection of the "Big Bang" theory, a term originally...

 in his promotion of panspermia.

The modern use of the words "intelligent design", as a term intended to describe a field of inquiry, began after the Supreme Court of the United States
Supreme Court of the United States
The Supreme Court of the United States is the highest court in the United States. It has ultimate appellate jurisdiction over all state and federal courts, and original jurisdiction over a small range of cases...

, in the case of Edwards v. Aguillard
Edwards v. Aguillard
Edwards v. Aguillard, was a legal case about the teaching of creationism that was heard by the Supreme Court of the United States in 1987. The Court ruled that a Louisiana law requiring that creation science be taught in public schools, along with evolution, was unconstitutional because the law...

 (1987), ruled that creationism is unconstitutional in public school science curricula. A Discovery Institute report says that Charles Thaxton
Charles Thaxton
Charles B. Thaxton is an intelligent design author and Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.-Biography:Thaxton earned a doctorate in physical chemistry from Iowa State University...

, editor of Of Pandas and People
Of Pandas and People
Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins is a controversial 1989 school-level textbook written by Percival Davis and Dean H. Kenyon and published by the Texas-based Foundation for Thought and Ethics...

, had picked the phrase up from a NASA
NASA
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is the agency of the United States government that is responsible for the nation's civilian space program and for aeronautics and aerospace research...

 scientist, and thought "That's just what I need, it's a good engineering term".
In drafts of the book over one hundred uses of the root word "creation", such as "creationism" and "Creation Science", were changed, almost without exception, to "intelligent design", while "creationists" was changed to "design proponents" or, in one instance, "cdesign proponentsists". In June 1988 Thaxton held a conference titled "Sources of Information Content in DNA" in Tacoma
Tacoma, Washington
Tacoma is a mid-sized urban port city and the county seat of Pierce County, Washington, United States. The city is on Washington's Puget Sound, southwest of Seattle, northeast of the state capital, Olympia, and northwest of Mount Rainier National Park. The population was 198,397, according to...

, Washington, and in December decided to use the label "intelligent design" for his new creationist movement.
Stephen C. Meyer
Stephen C. Meyer
Stephen C. Meyer is an American scholar, philosopher and advocate for intelligent design. He helped found the Center for Science and Culture of the Discovery Institute , which is the main organisation behind the intelligent design movement. Before joining the DI, Meyer was a professor at...

 was at the conference, and later recalled that "the term came up".

Of Pandas and People


Of Pandas and People was published in 1989, and was the first book to make frequent use of the phrases "intelligent design," "design proponents," and "design theory", thus representing the beginning of the modern "intelligent design" movement. "Intelligent design" was the most prominent of around fifteen new terms it introduced as a new lexicon of creationist terminology to oppose evolution without using religious language.

It was the first place where the phrase "intelligent design" appeared in its present use, as stated both by its publisher Jon Buell,


and by William A. Dembski
William A. Dembski
William Albert "Bill" Dembski is an American proponent of intelligent design, well known for promoting the concept of specified complexity...

 in his expert witness report.


The National Center for Science Education
National Center for Science Education
The National Center for Science Education is a non-profit organization based in Oakland, California affiliated with the American Association for the Advancement of Science. It is the United States' leading anti-creationist organization, and defends the teaching of evolutionary biology and opposes...

 has criticized the book for presenting all of the basic arguments of intelligent design proponents and being actively promoted for use in public schools before any research had been done to support these arguments. Although presented as a scientific textbook, Philosopher of science Michael Ruse
Michael Ruse
Michael Ruse is a philosopher of biology at Florida State University, and is well known for his work on the creationism/evolution controversy and the demarcation problem in science...

 considers the contents "worthless and dishonest". An ACLU
American Civil Liberties Union
The American Civil Liberties Union is a U.S. non-profit organization whose stated mission is "to defend and preserve the individual rights and liberties guaranteed to every person in this country by the Constitution and laws of the United States." It works through litigation, legislation, and...

 lawyer described it as a political tool aimed at students who did not "know science or understand the controversy over evolution and creationism." One of the authors of the science framework used by California Schools, Kevin Padian, condemned it for its "sub-text", "Intolerance for honest science" and "incompetence".

Irreducible complexity




The term "irreducible complexity" was introduced by biochemist Michael Behe
Michael Behe
Michael J. Behe is an American biochemist, author, and intelligent design advocate. He currently serves as professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and as a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture...

 in his 1996 book Darwin's Black Box
Darwin's Black Box
Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution is a book written by Michael J. Behe and published by Free Press in which he presents his notion of irreducible complexity and claims that its presence in many biochemical systems indicates therefore that they must be the result of...

, though he had already described the concept in his contributions to the 1993 revised edition of Of Pandas and People. Behe defines it as "a single system which is composed of several well-matched interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning".Behe, Michael (1997): Molecular Machines: Experimental Support for the Design Inference http://www.apologetics.org/MolecularMachines/tabid/99/Default.aspx

Behe uses the analogy of a mousetrap to illustrate this concept. A mousetrap consists of several interacting pieces—the base, the catch, the spring and the hammer—all of which must be in place for the mousetrap to work. Removal of any one piece destroys the function of the mousetrap. Intelligent design advocates assert that natural selection could not create irreducibly complex systems, because the selectable function is present only when all parts are assembled. Behe argued that irreducibly complex biological mechanisms include the bacterial flagellum of E. coli, the blood clotting cascade, cilia, and the adaptive immune system
Immune system
An immune system is a system of biological structures and processes within an organism that protects against disease by identifying and killing pathogens and tumor cells. It detects a wide variety of agents, from viruses to parasitic worms, and needs to distinguish them from the organism's own...

.Irreducible complexity of these examples is disputed; see Kitzmiller, pp. 76–78, and Ken Miller WebcastThe Collapse of "Irreducible Complexity" Kenneth R. Miller Brown University http://www.millerandlevine.com/km/evol/design2/article.html

Critics point out that the irreducible complexity argument assumes that the necessary parts of a system have always been necessary and therefore could not have been added sequentially. They argue that something that is at first merely advantageous can later become necessary as other components change. Furthermore, they argue, evolution often proceeds by altering preexisting parts or by removing them from a system, rather than by adding them. This is sometimes called the "scaffolding objection" by an analogy with scaffolding, which can support an "irreducibly complex" building until it is complete and able to stand on its own.For example, Bridgham et al. showed that gradual evolutionary mechanisms can produce complex protein-protein interaction systems from simpler precursors.
Behe has acknowledged using "sloppy prose", and that his "argument against Darwinism does not add up to a logical proof". This article draws from the following exchange of letters in which Behe admits to sloppy prose and non-logical proof: Irreducible complexity has remained a popular argument among advocates of intelligent design; in the Dover trial
Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
Tammy Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover Area School District, et al. was the first direct challenge brought in the United States federal courts testing a public school district policy that required the teaching of intelligent design...

, the court held that "Professor Behe's claim for irreducible complexity has been refuted in peer-reviewed research papers and has been rejected by the scientific community at large".

Specified complexity



In 1986 Charles Thaxton
Charles Thaxton
Charles B. Thaxton is an intelligent design author and Fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture.-Biography:Thaxton earned a doctorate in physical chemistry from Iowa State University...

, a physical chemist and creationist, used the term "specified complexity" from information theory
Information theory
Information theory is a branch of applied mathematics and electrical engineering involving the quantification of information. Information theory was developed by Claude E. Shannon to find fundamental limits on signal processing operations such as compressing data and on reliably storing and...

 when claiming that messages transmitted by DNA in the cell were specified by intelligence, and must have originated with an intelligent agent.
The intelligent design concept of "specified complexity" was developed in the 1990s by mathematician, philosopher, and theologian William Dembski. Dembski, Research Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Cultural Engagement at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, states that when something exhibits specified complexity (i.e., is both complex and "specified", simultaneously), one can infer that it was produced by an intelligent cause (i.e., that it was designed) rather than being the result of natural processes. He provides the following examples: "A single letter of the alphabet is specified without being complex. A long sentence of random letters is complex without being specified. A Shakespearean sonnet
Sonnet
A sonnet is one of several forms of poetry that originate in Europe, mainly Provence and Italy. A sonnet commonly has 14 lines. The term "sonnet" derives from the Occitan word sonet and the Italian word sonetto, both meaning "little song" or "little sound"...

 is both complex and specified".Dembski. Intelligent Design, p. 47 He states that details of living things can be similarly characterized, especially the "patterns" of molecular sequences in functional biological molecules such as DNA
DNA
Deoxyribonucleic acid is a nucleic acid that contains the genetic instructions used in the development and functioning of all known living organisms . The DNA segments that carry this genetic information are called genes, but other DNA sequences have structural purposes, or are involved in...

.
Dembski defines complex specified information (CSI) as anything with a less than 1 in 10150 chance of occurring by (natural) chance. Critics say that this renders the argument a tautology
Tautology (rhetoric)
Tautology is an unnecessary or unessential repetition of meaning, using different and dissimilar words that effectively say the same thing...

: complex specified information cannot occur naturally because Dembski has defined it thus, so the real question becomes whether or not CSI actually exists in nature.
Some of Dembski's responses to assertions of specified complexity being a tautology can be found at

The conceptual soundness of Dembski's specified complexity/CSI argument has been widely discredited by the scientific and mathematical communities.
Specified complexity has yet to be shown to have wide applications in other fields, as Dembski asserts. John Wilkins and Wesley Elsberry
Wesley R. Elsberry
Dr. Wesley Royce Elsberry is a marine biologist with an interdisciplinary background in zoology, computer science, and wildlife and fisheries sciences. He has become involved in the creation-evolution controversy.- Biography :...

 characterize Dembski's "explanatory filter" as eliminative, because it eliminates explanations sequentially: first regularity, then chance, finally defaulting to design. They argue that this procedure is flawed as a model for scientific inference because the asymmetric way it treats the different possible explanations renders it prone to making false conclusions.


Richard Dawkins
Richard Dawkins
Clinton Richard Dawkins, FRS, FRSL , known as Richard Dawkins, is a British ethologist, evolutionary biologist and author...

, another critic of intelligent design, argues in The God Delusion
The God Delusion
The God Delusion is a 2006 bestselling non-fiction book by British biologist Richard Dawkins, professorial fellow of New College, Oxford, and inaugural holder of the Charles Simonyi Chair for the Public Understanding of Science at the University of Oxford.In The God Delusion, Dawkins contends that...

 that allowing for an intelligent designer to account for unlikely complexity only postpones the problem, as such a designer would need to be at least as complex.
Other scientists have argued that evolution through selection is better able to explain the observed complexity, as is evident from the use of selective evolution to design certain electronic, aeronautic and automotive systems that are considered problems too complex for human "intelligent designers".

Fine-tuned Universe



Intelligent design proponents have also occasionally appealed to broader teleological arguments outside of biology, most notably an argument based on the fine-tuning of universal constants
Fine-tuned universe
The fine-tuned universe is the proposition that the conditions that allow life in the Universe can only occur when certain universal fundamental physical constants lie within a very narrow range, so that if any of several fundamental constants were only slightly different the universe would be...

 that make matter and life possible and which are argued not to be solely attributable to chance. These include the values of fundamental physical constants, the relative strength of nuclear force
Nuclear force
The nuclear force is the force between two or more nucleons. It is responsible for binding of protons and neutrons into atomic nuclei. The energy released causes the masses of nuclei to be less than the total mass of the protons and neutrons which form them...

s, electromagnetism
Electromagnetism
Electromagnetism is one of the four fundamental interactions in nature. The other three are the strong interaction, the weak interaction and gravitation...

, and gravity between fundamental particles, as well as the ratios of masses of such particles. Intelligent design proponent and Center for Science and Culture
Center for Science and Culture
The Center for Science and Culture , formerly known as the Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture , is part of the Discovery Institute, a conservative Christian think tank in the United States...

 fellow Guillermo Gonzalez
Guillermo Gonzalez (astronomer)
Guillermo Gonzalez is an astrophysicist, proponent of intelligent design, and a professor at Grove City College, a Christian school, in Grove City, Pennsylvania...

 argues that if any of these values were even slightly different, the universe would be dramatically different, making it impossible for many chemical elements and features of the Universe
Universe
The Universe is commonly defined as the totality of everything that exists, including all matter and energy, the planets, stars, galaxies, and the contents of intergalactic space. Definitions and usage vary and similar terms include the cosmos, the world and nature...

, such as galaxies, to form.
Thus, proponents argue, an intelligent designer of life was needed to ensure that the requisite features were present to achieve that particular outcome.

Scientists have generally responded that this argument cannot be tested and is therefore not science but metaphysics. Some scientists argue that even when taken as mere speculation, these arguments are poorly supported by existing evidence.The Panda's Thumb. review of The Privileged Planet Victor J. Stenger
Victor J. Stenger
Victor John Stenger is an American particle physicist, outspoken atheist, and author, now active in philosophy and popular religious skepticism....

 and other critics say both intelligent design and the weak form of the anthropic principle
Anthropic principle
In astrophysics and cosmology, the anthropic principle is the philosophical argument that observations of the physical Universe must be compatible with the conscious life that observes it. Some proponents of the argument reason that it explains why the Universe has the age and the fundamental...

 are essentially a tautology
Tautology (logic)
In logic, a tautology is a formula which is true in every possible interpretation. Philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein first applied the term to redundancies of propositional logic in 1921; it had been used earlier to refer to rhetorical tautologies, and continues to be used in that alternate sense...

; in his view, these arguments amount to the claim that life is able to exist because the Universe is able to support life.Is The Universe Fine-Tuned For Us? Victor J. Stenger. University of Colorado. (PDF file)

The claim of the improbability of a life-supporting universe has also been criticized as an argument by lack of imagination for assuming no other forms of life are possible. Life as we know it might not exist if things were different, but a different sort of life might exist in its place. A number of critics also suggest that many of the stated variables appear to be interconnected and that calculations made by mathematicians and physicists suggest that the emergence of a universe similar to ours is quite probable.See, e.g.,

Intelligent designer


Intelligent design arguments are formulated in secular terms and intentionally avoid identifying the intelligent agent (or agents) they posit. Although they do not state that God is the designer, the designer is often implicitly hypothesized to have intervened in a way that only a god could intervene. Dembski, in The Design Inference
The Design Inference
The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities is a book by American philosopher William A. Dembski, a proponent of intelligent design, which sets out to establish a mechanism by which evidence of intelligent design in nature could be inferred...

, speculates that an alien culture could fulfill these requirements. Of Pandas and People
Of Pandas and People
Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins is a controversial 1989 school-level textbook written by Percival Davis and Dean H. Kenyon and published by the Texas-based Foundation for Thought and Ethics...

 proposes that SETI
SETI
The search for extraterrestrial intelligence is the collective name for a number of activities people undertake to search for intelligent extraterrestrial life. Some of the most well known projects are run by the SETI Institute. SETI projects use scientific methods to search for intelligent life...

 illustrates an appeal to intelligent design in science. In 2000, philosopher of science Robert T. Pennock
Robert T. Pennock
Robert T. Pennock is a philosopher working on the Avida digital organism project at Michigan State University where he has been full professor since 2000. Pennock was a witness in the Kitzmiller v...

 suggested the Raëlian
Raëlian beliefs and practices
Raëlian beliefs and practices concern the concepts and principles of the Raëlian Church, the religious mission of Claude Vorilhon, a former French auto racing journalist. Followers of Raëlism are believers in an advanced race of extraterrestrials called Elohim who created life on earth. Raëlians...

 UFO religion as a real-life example of an extraterrestrial intelligent designer view that "make[s] many of the same bad arguments against evolutionary theory as creationists". The authoritative description of intelligent design,
however, explicitly states that the Universe displays features of having been designed. Acknowledging the paradox
Paradox
Similar to Circular reasoning, A paradox is a seemingly true statement or group of statements that lead to a contradiction or a situation which seems to defy logic or intuition...

, Dembski concludes that "no intelligent agent who is strictly physical could have presided over the origin of the universe or the origin of life".
The leading proponents have made statements to their supporters that they believe the designer to be the Christian God
God in Christianity
In Christianity, God is the eternal being that created and preserves the universe. God is believed by most Christians to be immanent , while others believe the plan of redemption show he will be immanent later...

, to the exclusion of all other religions.

Beyond the debate over whether intelligent design is scientific, a number of critics argue that existing evidence makes the design hypothesis appear unlikely, irrespective of its status in the world of science. For example, Jerry Coyne
Jerry Coyne
-Online articles:* , The New Republic* , The New Republic* , The New Republic* ", The New Republic * -Online articles:* , The New Republic* , The New Republic* , The New Republic* ", The New Republic (Review of Michael Behe's The Edge of Evolution)* -Online articles:* , The New Republic* , The...

 asks why a designer would "give us a pathway for making vitamin C
Vitamin C
Vitamin C or L-ascorbic acid or L-ascorbate is an essential nutrient for humans and certain other animal species. In living organisms ascorbate acts as an antioxidant by protecting the body against oxidative stress...

, but then destroy it by disabling one of its enzymes" (see pseudogene
Pseudogene
Pseudogenes are dysfunctional relatives of known genes that have lost their protein-coding ability or are otherwise no longer expressed in the cell...

) and why he or she would not "stock oceanic islands with reptiles, mammals, amphibians, and freshwater fish, despite the suitability of such islands for these species". Coyne also points to the fact that "the flora and fauna on those islands resemble that of the nearest mainland, even when the environments are very different" as evidence that species were not placed there by a designer.
Previously, in Darwin's Black Box
Darwin's Black Box
Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution is a book written by Michael J. Behe and published by Free Press in which he presents his notion of irreducible complexity and claims that its presence in many biochemical systems indicates therefore that they must be the result of...

, Behe had argued that we are simply incapable of understanding the designer's motives, so such questions cannot be answered definitively. Odd designs could, for example, "have been placed there by the designer ... for artistic reasons, to show off, for some as-yet undetectable practical purpose, or for some unguessable reason". Coyne responds that in light of the evidence, "either life resulted not from intelligent design, but from evolution; or the intelligent designer is a cosmic prankster who designed everything to make it look as though it had evolved".

Some intelligent design proponents such as Paul Nelson
Paul Nelson (creationist)
Paul A. Nelson is an American philosopher of science, young earth creationist and intelligent design advocate.- Biography :Nelson is the grandson of the creationist author and Lutheran minister Byron Christopher Nelson and edited a book of his grandfather's writings...

 avoid the problem of poor design in nature
Argument from poor design
The dysteleological argument or argument from poor design is an argument against the existence of God, specifically against the existence of a creator God...

 by insisting that we have simply failed to understand the perfection of the design. Behe cites Paley as his inspiration, but he differs from Paley's expectation of a perfect Creation and proposes that designers do not necessarily produce the best design they can. Behe suggests that, like a parent not wanting to spoil a child with extravagant toys, the designer can have multiple motives for not giving priority to excellence in engineering. He says that "the argument for imperfection critically depends on a psychoanalysis of the unidentified designer. Yet the reasons that a designer would or would not do anything are virtually impossible to know unless the designer tells you specifically what those reasons are." This reliance on inexplicable motives of the designer makes intelligent design scientifically untestable. Phillip E. Johnson
Phillip E. Johnson
Phillip E. Johnson is a retired UC Berkeley law professor and author. He became a born-again Christian while a tenured professor and is considered the father of the intelligent design movement...

 puts forward a core definition that the designer creates for a purpose, giving the example that in his view AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

 was created to punish immorality and was not caused by HIV
HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

, but such motives cannot be tested by scientific methods.

Asserting the need for a designer of complexity also raises the question "What designed the designer?"
Intelligent design proponents say that the question is irrelevant to or outside the scope of intelligent design.IDEA "One need not fully understand the origin or identity of the designer to determine that an object was designed. Thus, this question is essentially irrelevant to intelligent design theory, which merely seeks to detect if an object was designed ... Intelligent design theory cannot address the identity or origin of the designer—it is a philosophical / religious question that lies outside the domain of scientific inquiry. Christianity postulates the religious answer to this question that the designer is God who by definition is eternally existent and has no origin. There is no logical philosophical impossibility with this being the case (akin to Aristotle
Aristotle
Aristotle was a Greek philosopher and polymath, a student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His writings cover many subjects, including physics, metaphysics, poetry, theater, music, logic, rhetoric, linguistics, politics, government, ethics, biology, and zoology...

's 'unmoved mover') as a religious answer to the origin of the designer..." FAQ: Who designed the designer? FAQ: Who designed the designer?
Richard Wein counters that the unanswered questions an explanation creates "must be balanced against the improvements in our understanding which the explanation provides. Invoking an unexplained being to explain the origin of other beings (ourselves) is little more than question-begging
Begging the question
Begging the question is a type of logical fallacy in which the proposition to be proven is assumed implicitly or explicitly in the premise....

. The new question raised by the explanation is as problematic as the question which the explanation purports to answer". Richard Dawkins sees the assertion that the designer does not need to be explained, not as a contribution to knowledge, but as a thought-terminating cliché.

In the absence of observable, measurable evidence, the very question "What designed the designer?" leads to an infinite regression
Turtles all the way down
"Turtles all the way down" is a jocular expression of the infinite regress problem in cosmology posed by the "unmoved mover" paradox. The phrase was popularized by Stephen Hawking in 1988. The "turtle" metaphor in the anecdote represents a popular notion of a "primitive cosmological myth", viz...

 from which intelligent design proponents can only escape by resorting to religious creationism or logical contradiction.

See, e.g., ;

Movement



The intelligent design movement is a direct outgrowth of the creationism
Creationism
Creationism is the religious beliefthat humanity, life, the Earth, and the universe are the creation of a supernatural being, most often referring to the Abrahamic god. As science developed from the 18th century onwards, various views developed which aimed to reconcile science with the Genesis...

of the 1980s. The scientific and academic communities, along with a U.S. federal court, view intelligent design as either a form of creationism or as a direct descendant that is closely intertwined with traditional creationism;