Designer Universe:
Intelligent Design Theory of Origins       About graphic

If we were to walk through the forest and spy a computer on a stump, most of us would naturally suppose that an intelligent builder designed it--that it did not exist as such by chance. Evidence is mounting in fields such as biochemistry, cosmology, astronomy, mathematics, information science and physics that there is indeed detectable design--specified and complex design--in our universe, despite protests by committed Darwinists. Known as Intelligent Design (ID), some supporters see it as a new iteration of an age-old model for understanding the origins of the universe and life.

The main question ID asks is this: Could an uncaused cosmos featuring mutation and natural selection explain the evermore-complicated universe we continue to discover through advanced microscopes and telescopes and other methods? Related questions include... Does ID theory stand on its own two scientific feet? Or, as well-known ID researcher and spokesman Bill Dembski puts it, "Can it be made into a fruitful scientific research program without the need to invoke questionable or highly disputed theological and metaphysical presuppositions?"

Detractors like H. Allen Orr, writing in the Boston Review, seek to explain away concepts like "irreducible complexity." (This well-known ID concept postulates that since a biological machine--like the cell's rotary-motor-like flagellum above--will not work with even one of its parts missing, then Darwinian mechanisms could not possibly be responsible for its existence.) However, satisfactory alternative explanations for such phenomenon are not forthcoming from critics, according to the concept's originator, biochemist and researcher Michael J. Behe (Lehigh U).

Hence, we ask: Should Intelligent Design theory and its research programs be dismissed as "creationism dressed up in a cheap tuxedo," as one scientist contends? Or is ID's gradual acceptance into the mainstream of scientific discussion warranted? First, one must understand exactly what ID theory is--and is not. As explained in detail in the Intelligent Design FAQ, below, "...This new approach is more modest than [earlier creationist approaches to biological and cosmic origins]. Rather than trying to infer God's existence or character from the natural world, it simply claims 'that intelligent causes are necessary to explain the complex, information-rich structures of biology and that these causes are empirically detectable.'" The door to theism and, for many biblical Creation, is left open. Or, more accurately, it is no longer slammed shut. We explore some basic explanations and issues surrounding Intelligent Design in our special focus.

—Byron Barlowe, Editor/Webmaster, Leadership University

Feature Articles:

Intelligent Design FAQ
Access Research Network
New frequently asked questions section of Access Research Network's site. Deals with common questions like, "What is Intelligent Design?" and "But doesn't Intelligent Design refer to something supernatural? Isn't science supposed to restrict itself to the natural world?"

Our "Tailor-made" Universe: New Scientific Study Begs the Philosophical Question, "Who's the tailor?"
Nancy Pearcey
Cosmology is at a surprising crossroads. The evidence for design in the physical universe is so strong that cosmologists today openly discuss philosophical questions, as Nancy Pearcey shows in this September 2, 2000 World article.

Science and Design
William Dembski
Explores the question, 'Why shouldn't we want to admit design into science?'

In Pursuit of Intelligent Causes: Some Historical Background
Charles B. Thaxton, Ph.D.
In antiquity intelligent causes were considered essential for understanding nature. Three centuries after the publication of Newton's Principia, however, nature seems to have been swept clean of intelligent influence, except for that of human beings.

DNA and Other Designs
Stephen C. Meyer
Meyer recounts the history of the Darwinist attempt to explain life as a spontaneous product of natural selection and promotes the more satisfying rival theory known as intelligent design.

Post-Agnostic Science: How Physics is Reviving the Argument from Design
Robert C. Koons
If physics and cosmology have led us to a revival of the argument from design, legitimating references to the activity of an intelligent creator of nature, this fact has implications for the practice of other sciences and disciplines. According to Koons, research on the origin of life may be overdue for some fundamental rethinking. In recent years, science has been wedded to a philosophy of materialism. The time has come for a trial separation, at the very least.

"Pre-biotic Soup"?: The Case for Faith
Charles Colson
As part of a series highlighting Lee Strobel's new book The Case for Faith, Colson comments on discoveries by NASA and others which show a universe incredibly and uniquely suited for life. Dr. Walter Bradley's work (see below) is cited.

Edward T. Oakes and His Critics: An Exchange
First Things
Father Oakes, who embraces macro-evolution, reviewed Philip E. Johnson's new book The Wedge in the journal First Things, touching off quite a few letters to the editor. Among them are well-known spokespeople for the Intelligent Design movement, including Michael Behe, Nancy Pearcey and Johnson himself.

The Designed 'Just So' Universe
Walter L. Bradley, Ph.D.
This article provides a clear indication of what is meant by design and then summarizes the factual basis from cosmology that our universe is indeed uniquely designed as a habitat for life in general and humans in particular.

The 2001 Principle
Mordechai Steinman and Gershon Robinson
In the annals of motion picture history, the film "2001: A Space Odyssey" holds a special place. Though outwardly science fiction, the film speaks about life, the universe, and reality in general, and the message seems to be one of enormous consequence. But that message may not be what you think.

Recommended Sites:


ARN (Access Research Network)

Reasons to Believe

Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture

Explanation of Graphic:

The bacterial flagellum is an example of what Michael Behe describes as an irreducibly complex system. In his book, Darwin's Black Box, he explains that such irreducibly complex systems could not have arisen by a gradual step-by-step Darwinian process. For more information, see http://www.arn.org/docs/mm/flagellum_all.htm.

Boston Review: http://bostonreview.mit.edu/BR21.6/orr.html

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