This article summarizes three types of evidence for intelligent design.
- Fine-tuning of the laws of physics to allow for advanced life
- Information in life
- Irreducible complexity
(Not discussed in the article are three other mainstream scientific arguments against naturalism, from the origin of the universe, habitability-observability convergence and the sudden origin of body plans in the fossil record)
Recall that intelligent design is based on the notion of specified complexity. A sequence of symbols is complex if it is composed of a large number of symbols. It is specified if it conforms to an independent pattern. If it is large and conforms to a pattern, then it exhibits specified complexity. Sequences that exhibit specified complexity are designed.
- Neither complex, nor specified: “AB”
- Complex, not specified: “AB KN IH KML NIFCS YDH HOEHS KFSA”
- Specified, not complex: “The”
- Complex and specified: “Obama is the worst president ever”
Now you know more about intelligent design than 99.9% of journalists who bash intelligent design.
Here’s a snap shot of each of three basic arguments for intelligent design:
The fine-tuning of the laws of physics and chemistry to allow for advanced life is an example of extremely high levels of CSI in nature. The laws of the universe are complex because they are highly unlikely. Cosmologists have calculated the odds of a life-friendly universe appearing by chance are less than one part in 1010^123. That’s ten raised to a power of 10 with 123 zeros after it! The laws of the universe are specified in that they match the narrow band of parameters required for the existence of advanced life.
The Origin of Life
Studies of the cell reveal vast quantities of biochemical information stored in our DNA in the sequence of nucleotides. No physical or chemical law dictates the order of the nucleotide bases in our DNA, and the sequences are highly improbable and complex. Moreover, the coding regions of DNA exhibit sequential arrangements of bases that are necessary to produce functional proteins. In other words, they are highly specified with respect to the independent requirements of protein function and protein synthesis.
One easily testable form of CSI is irreducible complexity, which can tested and discovered by experimentally reverse-engineering biological structures through genetic knockout experiments to determine if they require all of their parts to function. When experimental work uncovers irreducible complexity in biology, they conclude that such structures were designed. This method has been used to detect irreducible complexity in a variety of biochemical systems such as the bacterial flagellum.
Now you know what the word “intelligent design” really refers to. Notice that it has absolutely nothing to do with religion, in much the same way as atheism nothing to do with science.