1. On a scale of 0 (diehard disbeliever) to 10 (firm believer), how would you rate your level of belief in Intelligent Design? (Minimal Definition of Intelligent Design: The idea that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, and not by an undirected process.)
I agree with Ed that this definition isn’t terribly accurate for what is actually presented as intelligent design. I’m regularly told that I must not substitute “God” for “intelligent designer” and that it might, for example, be intelligent aliens who interfered with the process of evolution in order to produce the results we actually have. Design by an intelligent alien would only push the process off into the distance, not solve it.
But it is hard to regard something as a serious theory where a single part can be filled by either God or by a super intelligent alien. Yet for various reasons (PR and politics, in my opinion), ID advocates don’t want to just say God.
On the other hand, if you say God is the designer, then you can quite justifiably call ID a God-in-the-gaps argument. Where we have no known path of evolutionary development, or better, where we believe there can be no such path—always based, as it must be, on current knowledge—then we suppose the involvement of a designer.
Such an argument is subject to tomorrow’s knowledge, and indeed new gaps have been filled. Behe‘s “black boxes” don’t always remain black boxes.
But for me, the main issue is simply that I do see the universe as designed, and I do so for religious reasons. I do not think the natural laws as we see them exist independently, even for a moment. May problem with Paley’s watch is not that I don’t think it’s designed, but that I think the grains of sand around it are also designed.
God, who created the universe, is quite capable of creating either finished creatures or the processes by which they would come into being, and I don’t see any portion as less (or more) the product of design than any other. At most, ID could produce evidence that God’s process was insufficient to its purpose and required interference.