Given that the most spectacular documented successes of natural selection are: changing the color of the peppered moth and the length of the beak of the Galapagos Finch, and the development of resistance to antibiotics by bacteria, and that even these trivial examples are now all in dispute, and that no competing natural explanation for evolution has ever been taken seriously by more than a small band of scientists, where is the “overwhelming” evidence that the development of life is due to natural (unintelligent) causes alone?
There are, in fact, some fairly persuasive reasons to believe that the development of life was due to natural causes, but when we honestly analyze them, they all reduce to the argument “this doesn’t look like the way a designer would have done things.” Darwin himself used this argument frequently in “Origin of Species”.
There are other persuasive philosophical arguments against design in biological origins: for example, the steady progress made in other areas of science in explaining things which previously were attributed to design (though we are now discovering in many cases that design was there after all, it just dates back to the creation of the universe, with its cleverly designed natural laws and the very fortuitious values of the constants associated with these laws). When we look at human history, it is sometimes very hard to see any evidence of design–the unspeakable sufferings of the human race and its tendency toward evil cause any thinking person to wonder “is this the way a designer would have done things??” I have attempted to address this here , but in my view it is still the most serious objection of all to design. When we look at the history of religion it is equally hard to see design–there are serious problems with the Bible and with organized Christianity (not to mention other religions) that are the primary motivations for many people in our culture to look for an explanation of our existence that does not involve God.
But the important thing to notice here is that virtually all of the good arguments against design come from outside science, they are all basically philosophical, or even religious, objections. If it were not for these problems, I don’t believe anyone could possibly look at mathematics, or physics, or chemistry, or especially at biology, without seeing design. The scientific evidence for design in Nature is absolutely overwhelming, it leaps out at you from every corner of science.
The popular picture of ID proponents is that we are trying to take a purely religious idea and smuggle it into science, where it does not fit. This picture could not possibly be more backward. Why do we keep insisting that ID is rooted in science? Because, damn it, it is!