I have often noticed something of a confusion on one of the major points of the Intelligent Design movement – whether or not the design inference is primarily based on the failure of Darwinism and/or mechanism.
This is expressed in a recent thread by a commenter saying, “The arguments for this view [Intelligent Design] are largely based on the improbability of other mechanisms (e.g. evolution) producing the world we observe.” I’m not going to name the commenter because this is a common confusion that a lot of people have.
The reason for this is largely historical. It used to be that the arguments for design were very plain. Biology proceeded according to a holistic plan both in the organism and the environment. This plan indicated a clear teleology – that the organism did things that were *for* something. These organisms exhibited a unity of being. This is evidence of design. It has no reference to probabilities or improbabilities of any mechanism. It is just evidence on its own.
Then, in the 19th century, Darwin suggested that there was another possibility for the reason for this cohesion – natural selection. Unity of plan and teleological design, according to Darwin, could also happen due to selection.
Thus, the original argument is:
X, Y, and Z indicate design
Darwin’s argument is:
X, Y, and Z could also indicate natural selection
So, therefore, we simply show that Darwin is wrong in this assertion. If Darwin is wrong, then the original evidence for design (which was not based on any probability) goes back to being evidence for design. The only reason for probabilities in the modern design argument is because Darwinites have said, “you can get that without design”, so we modeled NotDesign as well, to show that it can’t be done that way.
So, the *only* reason we are talking about probabilities is to answer an objection. The original evidence *remains* the primary evidence that it was based on. Answering the objection simply removes the objection.
As a case in point, CSI is based on the fact that designed things have a holistic unity. Thus, they follow a specification that is simpler than their overall arrangement. CSI is the quest to quantify this point. It does involve a chance rejection region as well, but the main point is that the design must operate on principles simpler than their realization (which provides the reduced Kolmogorov complexity for the specificational complexity).