Intelligent Design, The Designer(s) and the Process(es), Back by Demand
Intelligent design begins with a seemingly innocuous question: Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause? Wm. Dembski
Yes, they can.
Most, if not all, anti-IDists always try to force any theory of intelligent design to say something about the designer and the process involved BEFORE it can be considered as scientific. This is strange because in every use-able form of design detection in which there isn’t any direct observation or designer input, it works the other way, i.e. first we determine design (or not) and then we determine the process and/ or designer. IOW any and all of our knowledge about the process and/ or designer comes from first detecting and then understanding the design.
IOW reality dictates the the only possible way to make any determination about the designer(s) or the specific process(es) used, in the absence of direct observation or designer input, is by studying the design in question.
If anyone doubts that fact then all you have to do is show me a scenario in which the designer(s) or the process(es) were determined without designer input, direct observation or by studying the design in question.
If you can't than shut up and leave the design detection to those who know what they are doing.
This is a virtue of design-centric venues. It allows us to neatly separate whether something is designed from how it was produced and/ or who produced it (when, where, why):
“Once specified complexity tells us that something is designed, there is nothing to stop us from inquiring into its production. A design inference therefore does not avoid the problem of how a designing intelligence might have produced an object. It simply makes it a separate question.”
Wm. Dembski- pg 112 of No Free Lunch
Stonehenge- design determined; further research to establish how, by whom, why and when.
Nasca Plain, Peru- design determined; further research to establish how, by whom, why and when.
Puma Punku- design determined; further research to establish how, by whom, why and when.
Any artifact (archeology/ anthropology)- design determined; further research to establish how, by whom, why and when- that is unless we have direct observation and/ or designer input.
Fire investigation- if arson is determined (ie design); further research to establish how, by whom, why and when- that is unless we have direct observation and/ or designer input.
An artifact does not stop being an artifact just because we do not know who, what, when, where, why and how. But it would be stupid to dismiss the object as being an artifact just because no one was up to the task of demonstrating a method of production and/ or the designing agent.
And even if we did determine a process by which the object in question may have been produced it does not follow that it will be the process used.
As for the people who have some "God phobia":
Guillermo Gonzalez tells AP that “Darwinism does not mandate followers to adopt atheism; just as intelligent design doesn't require a belief in God.”
(As a comparison no need to look any further than abiogenesis and evolutionism. Evolutionitwits make those separate questions even though life’s origin bears directly on its subsequent diversity. And just because it is a separate question does not hinder anyone from trying to answer either or both. Forget about a process except for the vague “random mutations, random genetic drift, random recombination culled by natural selection”. And as for a way to test that premise “forgetaboutit”.)
For more information please read the following:
Who designed the designer?:
Critics of intelligent design theory often throw this question out thinking to highlight a weakness in ID. Richards shows that the theory's inability to identify the designer is not a weakness, but a strength. ID does not identify the designer is because ID limits its claims to those which can be established by empirical evidence. As CSC Senior Fellow Dr. Michael Behe puts it: " [A] scientific argument for design in biology does not reach that far. Thus while I argue for design, the question of the identity of the designer is left open."(only that which had a beginning requires a cause)
Mechanisms- in context
Intellegent Design is about the DESIGN not the designer(s). The design exists in the physical world and as such is open to scientific investigation.
All that said we have made some progress. By going over the evidence we infer that our place in the cosmos was designed for (scientific) discovery. We have also figured out that targeted searches are very powerful design mechanisms when given a resource-rich configuration space.
Intelligent Design is the study of patterns in nature that are best explained as the result of intelligence. -- William A. Dembski