Despite the overwhelming evidence for design in the universe, Intelligent Design’ (ID) is virtually outlawed in academia. They recognise that it must mean that there is an intelligence behind the design, an intelligence outside and above the design itself; and in the context, the design of living things. The term ID is mocked at school (pupils who espouse it have been humiliated by teachers) and universities and it is dismissed in the media.
INTELLIGENT DESIGN is not really a very intelligent term, because it is tautologous: design must by its very nature be intelligent. Perhaps this can be best explained by looking at the other side of the coin. Could there be such a thing as ‘Unintelligent Design’?
It is incongruous that popular TV presenters of the “natural” world such as David Attenborough, continually make references to ‘design’. Many features are referred to as ‘a wonderful design’, or it is said that they are ‘designed to’ accomplish some specific end, such as keeping warm, attracting a mate, enabling flight, or whatever. And yet, David Attenborough is utterly opposed to any idea of an outside intelligence.
If ID is not an acceptable concept, but the fact of design is acknowledged, then the only alternative is ‘Unintelligent Design’. Now this does not mean ‘bad’ design (good design and rubbish design both qualify as design), but the absence of any intelligence behind the design.1 Let us give a little thought to what this means. Design’ carries with it the idea of purpose—indeed it is essential to the very concept of design, which must be a teleological act. If it isn’t purposeful, it is no longer design, but merely accident. If something is designed it must be the product of intelligence, whether low or high-level intelligence.
The only alternative to design by an intelligent agent is design by evolution—which, one assumes, must be ‘Unintelligent Design’. But we have already determined that design is not logically possible without intelligence, at some level. How are we to resolve the paradox? According to most dictionary definitions, evolution is a blind stochastic process, simply a description of what allegedly happened in the past without any intelligent input. A process cannot design anything, thus evolution cannot design! But perhaps evolution is more than a process? Although a non-material entity, maybe it has mysterious powers to direct and select. If so, the same powers that theists ascribe to a Creator God are simply being ascribed to evolution. This rather gives the game away. For its proponents, belief in evolution is a faith, a creed, just as surely as any other faith. We might even say that evolution has become ‘god’ as far as its adherents are concerned, able to do anything ascribed to it. The question needs to be asked. How come evolution is being taught as fact in our schools and universities?
In conclusion, if we refuse to accept the concept of Intelligent Design in the natural world, we have to conclude that our existence is merely the result of countless random events and is utterly meaningless. The presenters of popular science programmes need to take note: nothing is designed to work, and the fact that it does is just an accumulation of billions of accidents. There is one philosophical problem, however. We are creatures who design incessantly. Where did we get our concept of design if there was no such thing?
There are none so blind as those who will not see.