Consider some feature of the universe, such as its beginning to exist (assuming that it did begin to exist). There are various competing explanations we can consider for such a feature, and one of those explanations will be that the feature was due to an intelligent cause. We may judge this explanation to be the best one but it doesn’t follow that the explanation is true. The right account could be that there’s no explanation at all for why the universe has the feature that it does.
Thus, if the doctrine of intelligent design is as I’ve stated above, with the claim that the best explanation for the features is an intelligent cause, then I endorse intelligent design. I can do this, as an atheist, because I reject the inference that the best explanation is true or even likely to be true. My opinion is that it’s probably the case that the true account is that there’s no explanation at all.
However, Monton carefully distinguishes that view from the idea that “the best explanation is that there’s no explanation”, noting:
If “no explanation” is the best explanation for the event, then “no explanation” is an explanation. But if ”no explanation” is an explanation, then it follows that there is an explanation for the event. But if there is an explanation for the event, then the claim that there’s no explanation is false.
Presumably, he feels the way many do about the origin of life, that there may be no explanation, but that does NOT mean that no explanation is the best explanation, just the one we are stuck with. Comments?