Is there a theory of Intelligent Design? ("I love it so!")
Intelligent Design, also called the design inference, is just that, a reasoned inference from the data.
IOW ID is an observation, which can be used as an underlying assumption from which to start the research. And as we all (should) know, it does make a difference to an investigation whether or not the object(s) in question arose via an intelligent cause or via nature, operating freely.
“Thus, Behe concludes on the basis of our knowledge of present cause-and-effect relationships (in accord with the standard uniformitarian method employed in the historical sciences) that the molecular machines and complex systems we observe in cells can be best explained as the result of an intelligent cause.
In brief, molecular motors appear designed because they were designed” Pg. 72 of "Dawinism, Design and Public Education"
We already have processes in place that we use to detect design:
Del Ratzsch in his book Nature, Design and Science discusses “counterflow as referring to things running contrary to what, in the relevant sense, would (or might) have resulted or occurred had nature operated freely.”
Anthropologists use this type of process when detecting artifacts. Markings (marking does not pertain to the sound made by dogs with a harelip) on a rock that are contrary to what scientists deem nature acting alone could/ would not do, as compared to what we know intelligent agencies have done and can do is what determines the categorization of an object- artifact or just another rock.
Archaeologists checking for inscriptions would employ similar methodology- as Del puts it “an artifact is anything embodying counterflow.”
(Paraphrasing Del)If you come upon a group of trees in exact rows, each row the same distance from the next and each tree in the row the same distance from the next tree in the row, although nature acting alone could have produced such a pattern, our minds would instinctively infer the pattern was the result of intentional design.
Sometimes design is mind correlative. That is when what we observe fits some identifiable/ recognizable pattern- Nasca, Peru. (Or in organisms, the presence of the insulin protein in bacteria.)
Using William Dembski’s Design Explanatory Filter is also a good tool for a starting inference. (We know science is not about proof. The DEF is not about proving design. The DEF is about the design inference. As with any inference the design inference can be falsified. Pulsars were once thought to be signals from ETs. Further research falsified that inference. The properly applied DEF would have not allowed design to be the initial inference.) The DEF can give initial false negatives. IOW something that is designed can fall into the categories of chance and/ or law. That is why design theorists don’t say just give up once design is or isn’t the initial inference. And with all inferences future research can either confirm it or refute it.
The ONE alleged false positive I have read was from Del’s aforementioned book pertaining to a tumbleweed getting blown across the road directly through a hole in a fence. Wind currents explain that phenomenon. IOW the DEF was not properly applied.
So the question is what is it that prevents tried-n-true design detection techniques from being applied to biological organisms?