Mind over matter
The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.
Objectivity results from the use of the scientific method without philosophic or religious assumptions in seeking answers to the question: Where do we come from? We believe objectivity in the institutions of science, government and the media will lead not only to good origins science, but also to constitutional neutrality in this subjective, historical science that unavoidably impacts religion. We promote the scientific evidence of intelligent design because proper consideration of that evidence is necessary to achieve not only scientific objectivity but also constitutional neutrality.
A blind watchmaker?
Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose. ... natural selection is the blind watchmaker, blind because it does not see ahead, does not plan consequences, has no purpose in view. ... Our brains were designed to understand... What about our own bodies? Each one of us is a machine, like an airliner only much more complicated. Were we designed on a drawing board too, and were our parts assembled by a skilled engineer? The answer is NO.
In crossing a heath, suppose I pitched my foot against a stone and were asked how the stone came to be there, I might possibly answer that for anything I knew to the contrary it had lain there forever; nor would it, perhaps, be very easy to show the absurdity of this answer. But suppose I found a watch upon the ground, and it should be inquired how the watch happened to be in that place, I should hardly think of the answer which I had given, that for anything I knew the watch might have always been there. Yet why should not this answer serve for the watch as well as for the stone; why is it not admissible in that second case as in the first? For this reason, and for no other, namely, that when we come to inspect the watch, we perceive — what we could not discover in the stone — that its several parts are framed and put together for a purpose, e.g., that they are so formed and adjusted as to produce motion, and that motion so regulated as to point out the hour of the day; that if the different parts had been differently shaped from what they are, or placed in any other manner or in any other order than that in which they are placed, either no motion at all would have carried on in the machine, or none which would have answered the use that is now served by it. This mechanism being observed ... the inference we think is inevitable, that the watch must have had a maker — that there must have existed, at some time and at some place or other, an artificer or artificers who formed it for the purpose which we find it actually to answer, who comprehended its construction and designed its use.
We recently heard Prof. Joseph Henry, in a brief address, say substantially: "If I take brass, glass, and other materials, and fuse them, the product is a slag. This is what physical laws do. If I take those same materials, and form them into a telescope, that is what mind does." This is the whole question in a nutshell. That design implies an intelligent designer, is a self evident truth. Every man believes it; and no man can practically disbelieve it. Even those naturalists who theoretically deny it, if they find in a cave so simple a thing as a flint arrow-head, are as sure that it was made by a man as they are of their own existence. And yet they want us to believe that an eagle's eye is the product of blind natural causes. No combination of physical forces ever made a ship or a locomotive. It may, indeed, be said that they are dead matter, whereas plants and animals live.
When things are in order, if the cause of the orderliness cannot be deduced from the motion of the elements or from the composition of matter, it is quite possibly a cause possessing a mind.
Specific regions of the DNA molecule called coding regions have the same property of "sequence specificity" or "specified complexity" that characterizes written codes, linguistic texts, and protein molecules. Just as the letters in the alphabet of a written language may convey a particular message depending on their arrangement, so too do the sequences of nucleotide bases (the A's, T's, G's, and C's) inscribed along the spine of a DNA molecule convey a precise set of instructions for building proteins within the cell.
Although DNA does not convey information that is received, understood, or used by a conscious mind, it does have information that is received and used by the cell's machinery to build the structures critical to the maintenance of life. ... Of course building a functioning cell - at least one that in some way resembles the cells we actually observe today - would have required more than just the genetic information that directs protein synthesis. It would have also required, at very least, a suite of preexisting proteins and RNA molecules - polymerases, transfer RNA's, ribosomal RNA's, synthetases, and ribosomal proteins, for example - to process and express the information stored in DNA. In fact, there are over 100 specific proteins involved in a simple bacterial translation system; roughly 20 more are involved in transcription and over 30 in DNA replication. ... Beyond that, the first cell would have required some kind of semipermeable membrane and a cell wall to protect itself and the chemical reactions taking place inside it. ... The integrated complexity of even a "minimally complex cell" has made it difficult to calculate the odds of all the necessary components of such a system arising in close association with one another by chance alone. ... To say that scientific laws generate complex informational patterns is essentially a contradiction in terms. (paperback, pages 109, 201-202, 258)
Great minds over matter
Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.
Atheism is so senseless & odious to mankind that it never had many professors. Can it be by accident that all birds beasts & men have their right side & left side alike shaped (except in their bowells) & just two eyes & no more on either side the face & just two ears on either side the head & a nose with two holes & no more between the eyes & one mouth under the nose & either two fore leggs or two wings or two arms on the sholders & two leggs on the hipps one on either side & no more? Whence arises this uniformity in all their outward shapes but from the counsel & contrivance of an Author? Whence is it that the eyes of all sorts of living creatures are transparent to the very bottom & the only transparent members in the body, having on the outside an hard transparent skin, & within transparent juyces with a crystalline Lens in the middle & a pupil before the Lens all of them so truly shaped & fitted for vision, that no Artist can mend them? Did blind chance know that there was light & what was its refraction & fit the eys of all creatures after the most curious manner to make use of it? These & such like considerations always have & ever will prevail with man kind to believe that there is a being who made all things & has all things in his power & who is therfore to be feared.