Question: "What is the best evidence/argument for intelligent design?"
Answer: Modern scientific insight has revealed startling evidence for intelligent design from various disciplines, from biology to astronomy, from physics to cosmology. The purpose of this article is to summarize some of the major arguments.
What is the best evidence/argument for intelligent design? – From Biology
In recent years, William Dembski has pioneered a methodology which has become known as the “explanatory filter,” a means by which design can be inferred from the phenomena of nature in particular living organisms. The filter consists of a sequence of three yes/no questions that guide the decision process of determining whether a given phenomenon can be attributed to an intelligent causal agency. Based upon this filter, if an event, system or object is the product of intelligence, then it will
1. Be contingent
2. Be complex
3. Display an independently specified pattern
Thus, in order to be confident that a given phenomenon is the product of intelligent design, it cannot be a regularity that necessarily stems from the laws of nature, nor can it be the result of chance. According to Dembski, the explanatory filter highlights the most important quality of intelligently designed systems, namely, specified complexity. In other words, complexity alone is not enough to indicate the work of an intelligent agent; it must also conform to an independently specified pattern.
Among the most compelling evidence for design in the realm of biology is the discovery of the digital information inherent in living cells. As it turns out, biological information comprises a complex, non-repeating sequence which is highly specified relative to the functional or communication requirements that they perform. Such similarity explains, in part, Dawkins’ observation that, “The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like.” What are we to make of this similarity between informational software—the undisputed product of conscious intelligence—and the informational sequences found in DNA and other important biomolecules?
What is the best evidence/argument for intelligent design? – From Physics
In physics, the concept of cosmic fine tuning gives further support to the design inference. The concept of cosmic fine tuning relates to a unique property of our universe whereby the physical constants and laws are observed to be balanced on a “razor’s edge” for permitting the emergence of complex life. The degree to which the constants of physics must match precise criteria is such that a number of agnostic scientists have concluded that, indeed, there is some sort of transcendent purpose behind the cosmic arena. British astrophysicist Fred Hoyle writes, “A common sense interpretation of the facts suggests that a super intellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question.”
One example of fine tuning is the rate at which the universe expands. This value must be delicately balanced to a precision of one part in 1055. If the universe expanded too quickly, matter would expand too quickly for the formation of stars, planets and galaxies. If the universe expanded too slowly, the universe would quickly collapse before the formation of stars.
Besides that, the ratio of the electromagnetic force to gravity must be finely balanced to a degree of one part in 1040. If this value were to be increased slightly, all stars would be at least 40% more massive than our sun. This would mean that stellar burning would be too brief and too uneven to support complex life. If this value were to be decreased slightly, all stars would be at least 20% less massive than the sun. This would render them incapable of producing heavy elements necessary to sustain life.
What is the best evidence/argument for intelligent design? – From Cosmology
With modern discoveries in the field of cosmology, the concept of a definitive beginning of the cosmos has been demonstrated almost beyond question. The Kalam argument states that
1. Everything which begins to exist has a cause apart from itself.
2. The universe began to exist.
3. Therefore, the universe has a cause apart from itself.
It thus appears from the data that an uncaused first cause exists outside the four dimensions of space and time, which possesses eternal, personal and intelligent qualities in order to possess the capability of intentionally bringing space, matter—and indeed even time itself—into being.
What is the best evidence/argument for intelligent design? – Conclusion
This article is but a brief overview of some of the key elements involved in the design inference. The purpose is to demonstrate the wide body of support for intelligent design from a large range of disciplines, including biology, physics and cosmology.