Kirk Durston‘s Thoughts on Intelligent Design
In this thread, I would like to lay out my own thinking regarding a method to detect or identify examples of intelligent design. I then would like to unpack my thinking in a slow, meticulous (pedantic perhaps?) way and, if we can get that far, apply it to a few examples, including a protein, and the minimal genome.
Defining ‘Intelligent Design’:
I commonly see the term ‘intelligent design’ used in two ways. An example of the first way is in a magazine headline I saw this morning:
‘Evolution by Intelligent Design’
The above example is similar to the way ‘planning’ is used in, ‘Success through good planning.’
In this sense, we can define Intelligent Design as the ability of a mind to produce an effect that both satisfies a desired function or objective and might not otherwise likely occur. This ability emerges out of what we understand to be intelligence, defined in <a href=”http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intelligence”>Wikipedia</a> as the capacities to reason, to plan, to solve problems, to think abstractly, to comprehend ideas, to use language, and to learn.
The second way I see the term intelligent design used is:
‘That traffic control system is a beautiful example of intelligent design.’
The usage of ‘intelligent design’ in the above sentence is similar to the usage of planning in, ‘That rescue operation was an excellent piece of planning.’
In this second type of usage, we can define intelligent design as an effect that satisfies a function or objective and requires a mind to produce. Other examples of intelligent design are the Sphinx and the Microsoft Vista operating system.
In the first sense, ‘intelligent design’ is an ability and in the second sense, ‘intelligent design’ is an effect, or result of that ability.
With this in mind, the definition of intelligent design that I will be using in this discussion is as follows:
Intelligent Design: 1 the ability of a mind to produce an effect that both satisfies a desired function and might not otherwise occur. 2. an effect that performs a function and that requires a mind to produce.
I realize that there are other definitions out there, some of which I do not at all agree with (e.g., Wiki’s). In general, most of the definitions of intelligent design that I see are actually specific examples, applications or results of intelligent design, rather than the defining essence of intelligent design. Ultimately, what I want to argue is that examples of intelligent design all required a mind to produce. I then want to argue that intelligent design is the most rational explanation for the protein families and the minimal genome. I will pause here in case anyone wishes to raise a question about what I’ve covered thus far. Then I will proceed to the next step.