Intelligent Design: Taking on Natural Selection

Most people, if not all, must surely wonder how did we get here, and where did it all come from. It seems natural enough that we would, considering our life experiences in the corporeal sense are cemented within nature’s matrix of laws and physical properties. Today, the commonly accepted thought is that certain features of the universe and of living things, are best explained by undirected causes, such as in the theory of  natural selection. However, there is another community of scientists and researchers whom believe that these things come about in a more directed fashion, such as describe by the theory of intelligent design. Since natural selection as put forth by Charles Darwin is taught in science classes from a relatively young age, and is therefore quite well known, I’d like to take some time to examine intelligent design more closely in detail.

It’s important to understand how Darwin’s theory of natural selection differs from the principals behind intelligent design. To explain in simplest terms; Darwin postulated that inherited traits of a species varies over time as an environmental cause. This happens when random mutations occur within the genetic structure (gnome), of an organism and the mutation is passed on to the next generation. As the mutated genome moves closer to the next generation, it interacts with it’s surrounding environment. If the organism is strong enough to survive its environment, it passes the mutated genome off to the next generation as an inherited trait. The mechanism of this theory is referred to as undirected because all the forces result completely by chance in a random environment.

Intelligent design  takes a more directed view, where by using the scientific method, it’s possible to infer from empirical evidence that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process like that of natural selection. Intelligent design cannot be inferred from complexity alone, since complex patterns often happen by chance. ID focuses on just those sorts of complex patterns which in human experience are produced by a mind that conceives and executes a plan. What the theory of intelligent design does not say is that some intelligent force has directed every facet of the universe. ID is an effort to empirically detect whether the “apparent design” in nature is the product of an intelligent cause, or is simply the product of an undirected process, such as natural selection acting on random variations.

Therein lies a fundamental dilemma in Darwin,s theory which prompted scientists to prod deeper into natures functions. In Darwin’s own words he questions:

On the sudden Appearance of Groups of allied Species in the lowest known Fossiliferous Strata.

  • I allude to the manner in which many species in several of the main divisions of the animal kingdom suddenly appear in the lowest known fossiliferous rocks.
  • To the question why we do not find rich fossiliferous deposits belonging to these assumed earliest periods, I can give no satisfactory answer
  • The case at present must remain inexplicable; and may be truly urged as a valid argument against the views here entertained.

Here Richard Dawkins, a famous Oxford University evolutionary biologist, attempts to describe the Darwinian  model using a metaphor he calls “Climbing Mountain Probable.” However, after viewing this short clip which presents the Dawkins metaphor, you should be wondering why it is not entitled “Climbing Mountain Improbable.” The 10 minute clip blow it further emphasizes these infinitesimally small probabilities as illustrated through the science of physics. This second clip plays on a descriptive, construction of a randomly created universe, and a scientific rebuttal which finally gives way to the notion of a universe for which may very well be directed through intelligent design.

I myself was hooked at this point. I simply could not stop researching until I could discover at least some smidgen of satisfaction to soothe the prickly curiosity of my youth. Then I saw this last and final video of this post. Answers to long held questions and of thoughts which I had known of, but lacked the ability myself to describe, were quickly revealing themselves in a language I understood. By the time I had finished watching this documentary, I knew with very little doubt, that from a scientific perception Intelligent design was not only possible, but probably does in fact direct and cause certain aspects of the ‘orogin’. From the perspective of a human being, discarding any need of the scientific method, I am sold on intelligent design.


Credits and Thanks to Ilustra Media for the production of this documentary.

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