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Intelligent design is not creationism
Letter to the Editor
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Published: 10/22/2007 11:11 PM

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Intelligent design, a science, focuses not on the designer but design's artifacts, the effects of intelligence and not the intelligence. Intelligent design is modest in what it attributes to the designer, avoiding moral character, purposes or what a designer is thinking. Intelligent design's central claim is that only intelligent causes adequately explain complex information-rich structures and that these causes are empirically detectable through well-defined methods that, based on the observable world, can reliably distinguish intelligent causes from undirected natural causes, all having the ability to eliminate chance and necessity.

Intelligent design has no prior religious commitments and interprets the data on generally-accepted scientific principles. Intelligent design doesn't depend on any biblical-type account of creation, attempt to identify the intelligent cause responsible for design, or describe the sequence of events by which the intelligence acted.

Intelligent design uses data from laboratories of scientists and nature that identifies patterns that signal intelligent causes to ascertain whether a phenomenon was designed. Intelligent design looks for inference in data, within an already given world, not a deduction from religious authority. Intelligent design's scientific propositions, specified and irreducible complexity in biological entities, are sought in naturalistic mechanisms or undirected causes unable to scientifically explain them. Intelligent design doesn't rely on religious assumptions but on reliable widely-accepted scientific principles developed within the scientific community, making it a legitimate science, free from religious entanglement.

Intelligent design is not scientific creationism cloaked in newer and sophisticated terminology. Intelligent design has no religious commitments, makes no claims about the origin of the universe, isn't committed to biblical geology, can accommodate any degree of evolutionary change, doesn't prejudge how humans arose and doesn't specify how a designing intelligence brought life into being. Intelligent design is compatible with an agnostic view of a brute force inherently unexplainable in terms of chance and necessity.

Tom Rand