Frequently Unanswered Questions about Intelligent Design
There's been a lot of talk about Intelligent Design (ID) lately.
However, some important and fairly basic questions seem to have gone
If you have any answers to these questions, or wish to contribute new
ones, please send mail to
- What is the scientific theory of Intelligent Design?
- What testable predictions does ID make? (Notes)
- What observation could, in principle, falsify ID?
- What research is currently being done in the field of ID?
- What experiments have been performed to test ID?
- What experiments could be performed to test ID, if adequate
funding and/or equipment were available? What would be required
to perform these experiments?
- What experiments could, in principle, be performed to test ID,
but cannot, because of technological limitations? What
technology would be required to carry them out?
- What papers on ID have been published in peer-reviewed research
- Many papers submitted to research journals are rejected. How
many papers on ID have been submitted to peer-reviewed research
- Were they rejected? If so, what did the rejection notices say?
Could the papers be rewritten to correct the reviewers'
objections and resubmitted?
- What technological advances might come out of ID?
- Are there any practical applications of ID theory?
- Archeologists often have trouble determining whether a given
stone is a primitive arrowhead, or merely a chipped piece of
rock. Can ID help distinguish designed rock tools from
- In cryptography, SETI, and other mathematical disciplines, it
would be very useful to be able to distinguish random signals
from messages. How can ID help in these areas?
- How does ID account for suboptimal or bad design, such as the
blind spot in human eyes? (Notes)
- How does ID account for instances of design that are at odds with
each other, e.g., the mechanisms that bacteria use to attack
animal organisms, and the immune system that fights these
- Is Homo sapiens the product of any design events unique to it? If
so, what are they?
- What is design? What is intelligence? Does design imply a
designer? Does design imply an intelligent designer? If so, why?
- Researchers in cognitive science have done work on finding
out how humans recognize artifacts (designed objects, as
opposed to natural objects, people, animals, etc.). This has
a direct bearing on how to recognize design. Have ID
proponents used any of this research in their own work? If
not, why not?
- What is Irreducible Complexity (IC)? How can it be objectively
- How is IC relevant to the theory of ID?
- What is Specified Complexity? How is it calculated? In what units
is it measured?
- Provide a sample calculation of the specified complexity in some
simple object, such a spoon, or a trivial protein consisting of
three or four amino acids.
- How is Specified Complexity relevant to the theory of ID?
- What is Complex Specified Information (CSI)? How is it
calculated? In what units is it measured?
- Provide a sample calculation of the complex specified information
in some simple object, such a spoon, or a trivial protein
consisting of three or four amino acids.
- How is CSI relevant to the theory of ID?
- If any of your answers involve "information": how do you define
information? How is it measured or calculated? Please provide a
sample calculation as an example or illustration.
- Who is/are the designer(s)?
- How many designers are/were there?
- Is the designer necessarily intelligent?
- Is the designer necessarily conscious?
- Is the designer necessarily alive?
- Does the designer exhibit any of the properties (e.g., specified
complexity) that led you to conclude that living beings are
designed? If so, who or what designed the designer?
- When trying whether something is a human artifact, we do so by
making assumptions about the human designer's intent (e.g., "this
could be an arrowhead for hunting; or it might be an object of
worship; or it might be a tool for tanning hides"). What is/was
the designer's intent?
- If you answered "I don't know" to any of the questions above, how
could we learn the answers, given sufficient funding and lab
The Design Process
- How many design events have there been?
- When was the first design event?
- How often have design events occurred? Have they always occurred
at roughly the same frequency, or have there been bursts and
- Are design events still occurring today? If not, when was the
- Where have design events occurred?
- If one could observe the designer at work, what would it look
like? If a design event were to occur today, how would we
- How many basic types of design event are there? Briefly describe
- Did the designer build prototypes? If so, can they be found
today? How can they be recognized?
- How was design translated from concept to actual implementation?
- Has design occurred only on Earth, or elsewhere in the universe
If you advocate teaching ID in science class
- Can ID be convincingly taught without ever mentioning evolution?
If not, isn't it just a bunch of ad hoc arguments against
- Is there a lesson plan for teaching ID? Where can it be found?
If you advocate "teaching the controversy" in science class
- What, exactly, is the scientific controversy over evolution?
- Do you also advocate "teaching the controversy" with regards to
other topics, such as whether homosexuality is innate or a
lifestyle choice? What about the effectiveness of contraception
People who contributed, in no particular order:
- Jim Willemin
- Matt Silberstein
- Bob Berger
- Mark Isaak