Quantum physicist: the design inference is correct.

In a favorable review of the intelligent design book The Design of Life, quantum physicist Ulrich Mohrhoff concludes that "There's no doubt in my mind that specified complexity is the 'smoking gun' of some other-than-human intelligence at work [in the origin of species], as the authors maintain...[the intelligence], however, could be very different from how it is conceived by theists." There's a link to his review on the left sidebar.

The design inference is a conclusion reached by a logical and mathematical re-analysis of the scientific evidence (available evidence published by orthodox Darwinist biologists in scientific journals,) that intelligence had some part in the origin of living forms, by designing or influencing the design of at least some of their features. But that conclusion itself is incapable of identifying the intelligence or intelligences involved. And it cannot determine whether the intelligence involved was supernatural, or arose by some natural process.

Also, the inference that intelligence designed some features of life, in itself leads to no conclusion about whether species, including humans, are the product of some sort of long process of evolutionary descent, which was influenced by intelligence: or whether humans were specially created, and had no lower ancestors. The latter view is what is properly called creationism. The claim that intelligent involvement necessarily means creationism, or is "intelligent design creationism," is false, and is either ignorant, or else is fraudulent propaganda. I am not personally a creationist of any sort.

So the theory sometimes called intelligent design, as it has been developed by those scientists who proposed it, is a broad perspective which is compatible not only with creationism, but also with evolutionary descent. It is thus possible to hold many different personal views on these questions. Mohrhoff is one of those who believe in evolutionary descent (as I do also.) And while many who conclude that intelligence designed some features of life are Christians or other theists in their personal religious views, Mohrhoff adheres to no particular religion; although he isn't a materialist. (There are also a few who are agnostics or atheists. They assume that the intelligence arose by some natural process.) Intelligent involvement is also compatible with the view that natural processes played a considerable role in the origin of living forms. Some take that view, while others do not. Personally, I see no particular reason to believe in God: I don't think that I have any special reason to believe in anything omnipotent, omniscient, or omnibenevolent. Intelligence of some sort may have played a role in the origin of species. But if it did, I adhere to no doctrine about exactly what the intelligence was. Possibly, for instance, it was some conscious or intelligent factor present within each different living thing, since life first appeared.

Some Darwin-fans claim, by the way, that the non-Darwinist views of scientists such as Mohrhoff are irrelevant, if they have no degree in biology. Apparently they don't realize that Darwin's own formal studies were in medicine and theology, not biology: he had no biology degree. It takes interest, ability and effort to make a contribution in any scientific field, but it doesn't necessarily require a degree in that field.

Except for one technical section on "specified complexity," Mohrhoff's review is quite readable. It's a good introduction to the absurdities that abound in Darwinism, and to the evidence that intelligence was involved in life's rise.

Darwinists having a nervous breakdown?

As new and influential books on intelligent design theory are published, Darwinists seem to be having a nervous breakdown. Now it's Stephen C. Meyer's book Signature in the Cell that is attracting favorable notice, much to their horror:

A Darwin-fan bawled, "I'm a tard,
For I worshipped old Darwin too hard!
As his theory collapses,
My neural synapses
Are sputtering, hopelessly scarred."

Origins of intelligent design theory: Fred Hoyle.

The great astrophysicist Fred Hoyle, who made important discoveries about the development of stars and how chemical elements are produced within them, was one of the first modern intelligent design theorists. Hoyle, who wasn't a creationist, believed in "evolution" in the wider sense of the word: descent of new species from older, different ones, over long time periods. But he proposed, on the basis of the scientific evidence, that some sort of intelligence had played a role in the origin of all species. As a long-time materialist and atheist, he preferred to arbitrarily assume that the intelligence involved arose naturally in the universe, by some sort of physical laws: that it was a "cosmic intelligence." Hoyle influenced many other intelligent design theorists, beginning in the 1980's. Most of them saw no reason to assume that the intelligence or intelligences involved must have arisen naturally. While I also see no reason to think or assume that the designing intelligence involved in ID theory arose naturally, Hoyle does show that such a natural designing intelligence is conceivable, and is available for those who don't want to accept anything supernatural.

In his book Cosmic Life-Force, published in 1988 and 1990 and co-authored by his colleague Chandra Wickramasinghe, Hoyle detailed his views on intelligent design. Chapter 10 of the book is entitled "The concept of a Creator." By a Creator, Hoyle meant an intelligence that designed some aspects of life. The authors wrote:

"The alternative to assembly of life by random, mindless processes is assembly through the intervention of some type of cosmic intelligence. Such a concept would be rejected out of hand by most scientists, although there is no rational argument for such a rejection. With our present knowledge, chemists and biochemists could now perform what even ten years ago would heve been thought impossible feats of genetic engineering. They could, for instance, splice bits of genes from one system to another, and work out, albeit in a limited way, the consequences of such splicings. It would not need to great a measure of extrapolation, or too great a license of imagination, to say that a cosmic intelligence that emerged naturally in the Universe may have designed and worked out all the logical consequences of our own living system. It is human arrogance and human arrogance alone that denies this logical possibility.

"To suppose that a life-form based on exactly the same system as ours, the same complex molecular jigsaw bits, had any part in this grander scheme of things would be to beg the question of origins again. The ultimate cosmic intelligence would need to be comprised of different units from those of our own life-form, possibly also units that are intrinsically more robust than ours, with an ability perhaps to withstand much higher temperatures. The essential complexity of our own cells and of the omnipresent cosmic bacteria must be due in part to the necessity to replicate. The bare essentials for intelligence and consciousness might be separable from such fragile structures, and the ultimate cosmic intelligence built from these more robust structures could well be thought to persist for exceedingly long timescales, even for an eternity. A prime requirement is that such an intelligence be capable of computation, analysis and exploration of the Universe at large." (pp 138-9)