Creating a New Creation
Mark Sanders

It seems while we have all been living our lives someone has come up with a new way of explaining how everything came into being. It is all the rage in certain groups and even the President wants all of America's children to know about it. How and when did this happen?

Intelligent design as a theory (and movement) was born in the early '90s. Its proponents reject science's assumption that life evolved out of randomness or through undirected change. Their contention is that certain aspects of life under any other lens (other than that of evolution) would logically be interpreted to be a product of design. That means, and I realize I am jumping a lot of steps, life on Earth has to be a product of a designer. And who might that be? Intelligent design theorists deliberately stop short of giving that away.

Described as an "intellectual movement," the Intelligent Design Network studies "the science of design detection -- how to recognize patterns arranged by an intelligent cause for a purpose." And rightly they point out that other fields use a similar methodology like anthropology and forensic sciences. But where the argument loses focus is that these "design detection" fields are born from interpreting the acts of human hands.

Deliberately politicized, the intelligent design movement has touched each of our lives through legislation. Included in the No Child Left Behind Act is language that promotes teaching why evolution generates so much controversy. Although this provision is nationally unenforceable, many states (Ohio, Pennsylvania, Kansas, et al.) have introduced changes to curriculum that require teaching many different theories of creation including intelligent design.

Of course this theory has created a good deal of controversy and dismissal from intellectual circles. Besides its manipulation of scientific orthodoxy, my favorite brain teaser criticism is what designed the designer? Objects of irreducible complexity, in theory, have to have been designed. Also of concern are its roots and promotion by fundamentalist Christian think tanks.

Where does this leave us? As a method of investigation, intelligent design does contain certain merits. But where it becomes troublesome is how the debate changes when a specific Designer is suggested.

Thanks to Wikipedia and the Intelligent Design Network for information used in this article.