Here’s an exchange with an Australian reporter who asked some perceptive questions about ID (my answers are interspersed in italics):
My name is [snip]. I am a journalist working on an Australian daily newspaper, [snip]. Debate surrounding intelligent design is starting to gather pace here in Australia, especially this week with the Time cover story and a local politician saying the issue should be looked into.
I’m preparing a story on intelligent design. In Australian at present the issues seems to be being debated among cognoscenti in both Christian and academic communities (not neccessarily exclusive) with participants following predictable – ID versus Darwinian Theory respectively – and wonder if you would not mind answering just a few questions for the article.
Your definition of intelligent design
The study of patterns in nature that are best explained as the result of intelligence.
When you first wrote of the subject did you think it would have such impact and such a shelf-life.
Yes I did. My editor at Cambridge University Press, when I first suggested that he attempt to get the New York Times to review my technical monograph The Design Inference, chuckled at the prospect. Yet three years later the Times did a front page story featuring my work and that of my colleagues (April 8, 2001). And the momentum has only increased since then. Intelligent design gets at the very heart of our origin story: Are we here as the result of an intelligence that had a purpose for bringing us about? Or are we here as the result of a blind mechanistic evolutionary process, which treats intelligence not as a fundamental causal power in the universe but simply as a strategy for furthering survival and reproduction? Intelligent design touches on a very basic human concern: How did we get here and what is our purpose? This transcends the Bible-Science controversy. That’s why ID is not going away.
Do you consider intelligent design should be taught alongside evolution theory in schools
I would like to see it taught alongside conventional evolutionary theory, but as a choice that teachers are entitled to make — its teaching should not be mandated. If there are to be any legal strictures here, it should be against those who would teach evolutionary theory exclusively and uncritically. Certainly, censoring criticisms of evolutionary theory must not be allowed — the theory, as any theory, has its faults, which need to be fairly pointed out, and that includes a discussion of alternative views, like intelligent design.
Is the controversy that has resulted since you postulated intelligent design not a conflict between religion and science but rather an argument over filling in the spaces were both do not fit.
Evolutionary theory and intelligent design both have a scientific core: the question whether certain material mechanisms are able to propel and evolutionary process and the question whether certain patterns in nature signify intelligence are both squarely scientific questions. Nevertheless, they have profound philosophical and religious implications. Have a look at http://www.designinference.com/documents/2005.06.Defense_of_ID.pdf.