what is 'intelligent design'?

The Creation Declares the Glory of God     God     

The Intelligent Design (ID) theory is a relatively recent proposition, that declares that the creation exhibits an orderly fashion, that was evidently designed with a purpose.  

"Scientists have often expatiated upon the majesty of nature and upon the imposing regularity of natural processes.  Precisely what one would expect of processes that God ordained!  Clearly, science relies on an orderly universe, which implies the question, From whence did order come from?  Why do minds perceive order?"   David A. Noebel, Understanding the Times, pg 176

Intelligent Design theory bases its assertions on generally accepted criteria for the determination of the presence of intelligence.  What is the first thing that you think of when you see a beautiful, perfectly shaped ball laying on the beach?  That someone left it there - not that it got there by its own or by forces of nature.  What if that ball was the size of a house?  You'd still think that someone made it and left it there.  What if it was the size of the universe?  All of a sudden 'scientists' now claim it arrived by 'natural' causes.  

How do we know an arrowhead is designed, and not just a rock?  How do we know that the cave dwelling writings are not just drips of dirt from the ceiling of the cave?  What do people look for when they are investigating cryptography, or insurance claims?  What about the scientists at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI)?  They are all looking for things that were intentionally designed - for messages, for order, and for purpose.  Technically, these items are known as Contingency (something that resulted from something else), Complexity (that which cannot be readily explained by chance - the greater the complexity, the less likely it resulted from chance) and Specification (the reference to something which is independent of the item itself - as in a message.)  In order to qualify as 'Intelligently Designed', something must possess all three qualities.

What are the differences in the following three lines?  Which one looks random to you, which line looks like a pattern, and which one carries a message that you can independently understand?

             CviIeLLDpg  fjoowiDLPWgnis  FOwm  gopwjLGOWr:S

             I have a message to give to you.

             Abcd Abcd Abcd Abcd Abcd Abcd Abcd Abcd Abcd

 I suspect you can easily pick out the differences - you have just determined intelligent design from the evidence presented.

One major feature of ID is 'irreducible complexity', which is the idea that complex objects, such as the eye, organs systems, cannot function with one of their parts gone, and therefore they could not have evolved gradually, since the system or organ would be useless with one of its pieces missing.  

 "...design is most easily apprehended when a number of separate, interacting components are ordered in such a way as to accomplish a function beyond the individual components."  Michael Behe; Darwin's Breakdown; Signs Of Intelligence - Understanding Intelligent Design; pg 99

An example commonly used is a mousetrap, consisting of a wooden base, a metal hammer which crushes the mouse, a spring, a sensitive catch that releases the hammer when the trap is set, and a metal bar that holds the hammer down, ready to snap.  Take any one of these pieces away, and the mousetrap will not work, and is useless as a means to capture the pests.  But the evolutionary theory proposes that items, such as an eye (which is vastly more complex than a mousetrap) gradually improved in such a manner - all these independent features came about and eventually cooperated by chance - so as to make the organ function.  When considered, this is a truly outrageous claim, especially since there is no evidence for this whatsoever.  

To further this point about the irreducible complexity of the eye, consider the chemical activities required for sight to be accomplished in humans - over 16 complex chemical reactions take place in picoseconds (the time it takes light to travel with width of a human hair), amazingly intricate muscular reactions are required to focus and stabilize the eyes, and don't forget the incredible brain activities required to register what is happening to the see-er!!!  Even if, as Darwin attempted to explain, a case could be made for the evolution of a simple light sensitive spot to a complex camera/shutter mechanism as in humans, it could not 'explain' how all the intricate details of the chemicals, muscle coordination, etc. came to be.  The odds are so fantastic they are essentially nil.  Now, in order to get a human body, you must add to this many many more incredibly intricate systems such as the nervous system, digestive system, reproductive system, infection defense system, etc etc etc.  I believe it is clearly warranted to believe that there must be a Designer behind this Intelligent Design!  

Take a step lower, and consider the incredible functioning system of the cell.  

“Molecular biology has shown that even the simplest of all living systems on earth today, bacterial cells, are exceedingly complex objects.  Although the tiniest bacterial cells are incredibly small, weighing less than 10(-12) grams, each is in effect a veritable micro-miniaturized factory containing thousands of exquisitely designed pieces of intricate molecular machinery, made up altogether of one hundred thousand million atoms, far more complicated than any machine built by man and absolutely without parallel in the non-living world.” Denton, Michael; Evolution, A Theory In Crisis; p 25

The standard defense against ID by naturalists is simple:  Denigrate the theory as just 'Creationism in disguise', and then fall back upon the 'facts' of evolution (time + chance) to explain everything.  They'll line up fossils and claim that they're related...when in reality it is clearly only an interpretation of why the fossils seem similar.  They usually won't address the complexity and purpose factors, just chalk everything up to time and chance.  That argument proves nothing - they only ask for blind faith in a process that might have been able to happen in 15 billion years!

Clearly, the case for a Creator is not a stretch for the imagination, as much as 'macro-evolution!'