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Introductory Quotes


Welcome to our "Introductory Quotes" collection (a collection of introductory quotes of interest to those starting off in the debate, as well as gurus looking to back up basic claims). Many of the quotes in our collections have been verified for accuracy, but not all have been verified. Thus, we present our quote-collections as a starting point for research, and suggest you verify any individual quote before using it.

If you have information about problems or inaccuracies in any quotes, we welcome corrections. Please send them to us at:

The Quotes:

“The Origin of Life. This problem is one of the big ones in science. It begins to place life, and us, in the universe. Most chemists believe, as do I, that life emerged spontaneously from mixtures of molecules in the prebiotic Earth. How? I have no idea.” (George M. Whitesides, "Revolutions In Chemistry: Priestley Medalist George M. Whitesides' Address," Chemical and Engineering News, Vol. 85: 12-17 (March 26, 2007).)

“When the public thinks about evolution, they think about the origin of wings and the invasion of the land, . . . But these are things that evolutionary theory has told us little about.” (Graham Budd, quoted in John Whitfield, "Biological Theory: Postmodern Evolution?," Nature, Vol. 455: 281 (2008).)

“Molecular phylogenists will have failed to find the ‘true tree,’ not because their methods are inadequate or because they have chosen the wrong genes, but because the history of life cannot properly be represented as a tree.” (W. Ford Doolittle, "Phylogenetic Classification and the Universal Tree," Science, Vol. 284: 2124-2128 (June 25, 1999).)

“‘For a long time the holy grail was to build a tree of life,’ says Eric Bapteste, an evolutionary biologist at the Pierre and Marie Curie University in Paris, France. A few years ago it looked as though the grail was within reach. But today the project lies in tatters, torn to pieces by an onslaught of negative evidence. Many biologists now argue that the tree concept is obsolete and needs to be discarded. ‘We have no evidence at all that the tree of life is a reality,’ says Bapteste. That bombshell has even persuaded some that our fundamental view of biology needs to change.” (Graham Lawton, "Why Darwin was Wrong About the Tree of Life," New Scientist, Issue 2692 (January 24, 2009).)

“As morphologists with high hopes of molecular systematics, we end this survey with our hopes dampened. Congruence between molecular phylogenies is as elusive as it is in morphology and as it is between molecules and morphology.” (Patterson et al., "Congruence between Molecular and Morphological Phylogenies," Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics, Vol. 24, page 179 (1993).)

“Evolutionary trees constructed by studying biological molecules often don’t resemble those drawn up from morphology.” (Trisha Gura, “Bones, Molecules or Both?,” Nature, Vol. 406: 230-233 (July 20, 2000).)

“Phylogenetic incongruities [conflicts] can be seen everywhere in the universal tree, from its root to the major branchings within and among the various taxa to the makeup of the primary groupings themselves.” (Carl Woese, "The Universal Ancestor," Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences USA, Vol. 95: 6854-9859 (June, 1998).)

“It had been shown that by morphological-phylogenetic research that photoreceptor organs (eyes) had developed at least 40 times independently during the evolution of animal diversity. A developmental geneticist, however, showed that all animals with eyes have the same regulator gene, Pax 6, which organizes the construction of the eye. It was therefore at first concluded that all eyes were derived from a single ancestral eye with the Pax 6 gene. But then the geneticist also found Pax 6 in species without eyes, and proposed that they must have descended from ancestors with eyes. However, this scenario turned out to be quite improbable and the wide distribution of Pax 6 required a different explanation. It is now believed that Pax 6, even before the origin of eyes, had an unknown function in eyeless organisms, and was subsequently recruited for its role as an eye organizer.” (Ernst Mayr, What Evolution Is, page 113 (Basic Books, 2001).)

“[W]hile we already have a quite good understanding of how organisms adapt to the environment, much less is known about the mechanisms behind the origin of evolutionary novelties, a process that is arguably different from adaptation. Despite Darwin's undeniable merits, explaining how the enormous complexity and diversity of living beings on our planet originated remains one of the greatest challenges of biology.” (Günter Theißen, "Saltational Evolution: Hopeful Monsters are Here to Stay," Theory in Biosciences, Vol. 128: 43, 44 (2009) (internal citations omitted).)

“We agree that very few potential offspring ever survive to reproduce and that populations do change through time, and that therefore natural selection is of critical importance to the evolutionary process. But this Darwinian claim to explain all of evolution is a popular half-truth whose lack of explicative power is compensated for only by the religious ferocity of its rhetoric. Although random mutations influenced the course of evolution, their influence was mainly by loss, alteration, and refinement. One mutation confers resistance to malaria but also makes happy blood cells into the deficient oxygen carriers of sickle cell anemics. Another converts a gorgeous newborn into a cystic fibrosis patient or a victim of early onset diabetes. One mutation causes a flighty red-eyed fruit fly to fail to take wing. Never, however, did that one mutation make a wing, a fruit, a woody stem, or a claw appear. Mutations, in summary, tend to induce sickness, death, or deficiencies. No evidence in the vast literature of heredity changes shows unambiguous evidence that random mutation itself, even with geographical isolation of populations, leads to speciation. Then how do new species come into being? How do cauliflowers descend from tiny, wild Mediterranean cabbagelike plants, or pigs from wild boars?” (Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan, Acquiring Genomes: A Theory of the Origins of the Species, page 29 (Basic Books, 2003).)

“[W]e really don’t have a clue how life originated on Earth by natural means.” (Massimo Pigliucci, “Where Do We Come From? A Humbling Look at the Biology of Life's Origin,” Darwinism, Design and Public Education, page 196 (Stephen C. Meyer and John Angus Campbell, eds., East Lansing, MI: Michigan State University Press, 2003).)

"The number of intermediate varieties, which have formerly existed on the earth, [must] be truly enormous. Why then is not every geological formation and every stratum full of such intermediate links? Geology assuredly does not reveal any such finely graduated organic chain; and this, perhaps, is the most obvious and gravest objection which can be urged against my theory." (Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species, (1859).)
---.“A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question.”

"The absence of fossil evidence for intermediary stages between major transitions in organic design, indeed our inability, even in our imagination, to construct functional intermediates in many cases, has been a persistent and nagging problem for gradualistic accounts of evolution." (Stephen Jay Gould, Paleobiology, Vol. 6(1), page 127 (1981).)

"Most of the animal groups that are represented in the fossil record first appear, ‘fully formed,’ and identifiable as to their phylum in the Cambrian some 550 million years ago...The fossil record is therefore of no help with respect to understanding the origin and early diversification of the various animal phyla." (R.S.K. Barnes, P. Calow, and P.J.W. Olive, The Invertebrates: A New Synthesis, pages 9–10 (3rd ed., Blackwell Science Publications, 2001).)

"Many species remain virtually unchanged for millions of years, then suddenly disappear to be replaced by a quite different, but related, form. Moreover, most major groups of animals appear abruptly in the fossil record, fully formed, and with no fossils yet discovered that form a transition from their parent group.“ (C.P. Hickman, L.S. Roberts, and F.M. Hickman, Integrated Principles of Zoology, page 866 (8th ed., Times Mirror/Moseby College Publishing, 1988).)

“[W]e have a prior commitment … to materialism. It is not that the methods and institutions of science somehow compel us to accept a material explanation of the phenomenal world, but, on the contrary, that we are forced by our a priori adherence to material causes to … produce material explanations … Moreover, that materialism is absolute, for we cannot allow a Divine Foot in the door.” (Richard Lewontin, "Billions and Billions of Demons," New York Review of Books, (January 9, 1997).)

“Biologists must constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather evolved.” (Francis Crick, What Mad Pursuit: A Personal View of Scientific Discovery, (New York: Basic Books, 1988).)

“Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose.” (Richard Dawkins, The Blind Watchmaker, page 1 (2nd ed., New York: W.W. Norton, 1996).)

“The more biologists look, the more complexity there seems to be." (Erica Check Hayden, “Human Genome at Ten: Life is Complicated,” Nature, Vol. 464: 664 (April 1, 2010).)
---."[A]s sequencing and other new technologies spew forth data, the complexity of biology has seemed to grow by orders of magnitude. Delving into it has been like zooming into a Mandelbrot set — a space that is determined by a simple equation, but that reveals ever more intricate patterns as one peers closer at its boundary.”
---.“Biology’s new glimpse at a universe of non-coding DNA — what used to be called ‘junk’ DNA — has been fascinating and befuddling. Researchers from an international collaborative project called the Encyclopedia of DNA Elements (ENCODE) showed that in a selected portion of the genome containing just a few per cent of protein-coding sequence, between 74% and 93% of DNA was transcribed into RNA. Much non-coding DNA has a regulatory role; small RNAs of different varieties seem to control gene expression at the level of both DNA and RNA transcripts in ways that are still only beginning to become clear. 'Just the sheer existence of these exotic regulators suggests that our understanding about the most basic things — such as how a cell turns on and off — is incredibly naive,' says Joshua Plotkin, a mathematical biologist at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.”

“The machine code of the genes is uncannily computer-like. Apart from differences in jargon, the pages of a molecular biology journal might be interchanged with those of a computer engineering journal.” (Richard Dawkins, River Out of Eden: A Darwinian View of Life, page 17 (New York: Basic Books, 1995).)

“Human DNA is like a computer program but far, far more advanced than any software we’ve ever created.” (Bill Gates, The Road Ahead, page 228 (Viking, Penguin Group, 1996, Revised Edition).)

“[T]he term ‘junk DNA’ for many years repelled mainstream researchers from studying noncoding DNA. Who, except a small number of genomic clochards, would like to dig through genomic garbage? However, in science as in normal life, there are some clochards who, at the risk of being ridiculed, explore unpopular territories. … Now, more and more biologists regard repetitive elements as a genomic treasure.” (Wojciech Makalowski, “Not Junk After All,” Science, Vol. 300: 5623 (May 23, 2003).)

“[T]he selfish [junk] DNA narrative and allied frameworks must join the other ‘icons’ of neo-Darwinian evolutionary theory that, despite their variance with empirical evidence, nevertheless persist in the literature.” (Richard V. Sternberg, "On the Roles of Repetitive DNA Elements in the Context of a Unified Genomic–Epigenetic System," Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences, Vol. 981: 154–188 (2002).)

"'Yet the introns within genes and the long stretches of intergenic DNA between genes,' Mattick says, 'were immediately assumed to be evolutionary junk.' About two thirds of the conserved sequences lie in introns, and the rest are scattered among the intergenic "junk" DNA. 'I think this will come to be a classic story of orthodoxy derailing objective analysis of the facts, in this case for a quarter of a century,' Mattick says. 'The failure to recognize the full implications of this--particularly the possibility that the intervening noncoding sequences may be transmitting parallel information in the form of RNA molecules--may well go down as one of the biggest mistakes in the history of molecular biology.'" (Wayt T. Gibbs, "The Unseen Genome: Gems Among the Junk," Scientific American, (November, 2003).)

"Natural selection makes humans self-centered and aggressive - except when it makes them altruistic and peaceable. Or natural selection produces virile men who eagerly spread their seed - except when it prefers men who are faithful protectors and providers. When an explanation is so supple that it can explain any behavior, it is difficult to test it experimentally, much less use it as a catalyst for scientific discovery. Darwinian evolution -- whatever its other virtues -- does not provide a fruitful heuristic in experimental biology. This becomes especially clear when we compare it with a heuristic framework such as the atomic model, which opens up structural chemistry and leads to advances in the synthesis of a multitude of new molecules of practical benefit. None of this demonstrates that Darwinism is false. It does, however, mean that the claim that it is the cornerstone of modern experimental biology will be met with quiet skepticism from a growing number of scientists in fields where theories actually do serve as cornerstones for tangible breakthroughs." (U.S. National Academy of Sciences member Philip Skell, “Why Do We Invoke Darwin? Evolutionary Theory Contributes Little to Experimental Biology,” The Scientist, (August 29, 2005).)

“[I]f truth be told, evolution hasn't yielded many practical or commercial benefits. Yes, bacteria evolve drug resistance, and yes, we must take countermeasures, but beyond that there is not much to say. Evolution cannot help us predict what new vaccines to manufacture because microbes evolve unpredictably. But hasn't evolution helped guide animal and plant breeding? Not very much. Most improvement in crop plants and animals occurred long before we knew anything about evolution, and came about by people following the genetic principle of 'like begets like.' Even now, as its practitioners admit, the field of quantitative genetics has been of little value in helping improve varieties. Future advances will almost certainly come from transgenics, which is not based on evolution at all." (Jerry Coyne, "Selling Darwin: Does it Matter Whether Evolution has any Commercial Applications?," reviewing The Evolving World: Evolution in Everyday Life, by David P. Mindell, in Nature, Vol. 442:983-984 (August 31, 2006).)

“No wonder paleontologists shied away from evolution for so long. It never seemed to happen. Assiduous collecting up cliff faces yields zigzags, minor oscillations, and the very occasional slight accumulation of change--over millions of years, at a rate too slow to account for all the prodigious change that has occurred in evolutionary history. When we do see the introduction of evolutionary novelty, it usually shows up with a bang, and often with no firm evidence that the fossils did not evolve elsewhere! Evolution cannot forever be going on somewhere else. Yet that's how the fossil record has struck many a forlorn paleontologist looking to learn something about evolution.” (Niles Eldredge, Reinventing Darwin: The Great Debate at the High Table of Evolutionary Theory, page 95 (John Wiley & Sons, 1995).)

“When we look at the living biota, whether at the level of the higher taxa or even at that of the species, discontinuities are overwhelmingly frequent. . . . The discontinuities are even more striking in the fossil record. New species usually appear in the fossil record suddenly, not connected with their ancestors by a series of intermediates.” (Ernst Mayr, What Evolution Is, page 189 (Basic Books, 2001).)

“Evolutionary biologists can no longer ignore the fossil record on the ground that it is imperfect." (David S. Woodruff, Science, page 717 (May 16, 1980).)

“There are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical or cellular system, only a variety of wishful speculations." (Franklin M. Harold, The Way of the Cell: Molecules, Organisms and the Order of Life, page 205 (Oxford University Press, 2001).)

“What creates life out of the inanimate compounds that make up living things? No one knows. How were the first organisms assembled? Nature hasn't given us the slightest hint. If anything, the mystery has deepened over time." (Gregg Easterbrook, "Where Did Life Come From?" Wired Magazine, page 108 (February, 2007).)

"Mutations have a very limited 'constructive capacity' ... No matter how numerous they may be, mutations do not produce any kind of evolution." (Pierre-Paul Grasse, Evolution of Living Organisms, (New York, NY: Academic Press, 1977).)

"The ultimate goal of gene family studies is an understanding of how duplicated genes have taken on novel biochemical and organismal functions. Domain shuffling aside, it remains a mystery how the undirected process of mutation, combined with natural selection, has resulted in the creation of thousands of new proteins with extraordinarily diverse and well-optimized functions. This problem is particularly acute for tightly integrated molecular systems that consist of many interacting parts, such as ligands, receptors, and the downstream regulatory factors with which they interact. In these systems, it is not clear how a new function for any protein might be selected for unless the other members of the complex are already present, creating a molecular version of the ancient evolutionary riddle of the chicken and the egg." (Joseph W. Thornton and Rob DeSalle, "Genomics Meets Phylogenetics," Annual Review of Genomics and Human Genetics, Vol. 1: 41–73 (2000).)

“[W]e are now about 120 years after Darwin, and knowledge of the fossil record has been greatly expanded ... ironically, we have even fewer examples of evolutionary transition than we had in Darwin's time." (David Raup, "Conflicts Between Darwin and Paleontology," Field Museum of Natural History Bulletin, Vol. 50: 1 (1979).)

“We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life.” (800+ Ph.D. Scientists at

“Though these bodies may indeed continue in their orbits by the mere laws of gravity, yet they could by no means have at first derived the regular position of the orbits themselves from those laws. Thus, this most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the council and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being.” (Isaac Newton, General Scholium to the Principia (1687).)

"Every assertion of the evolutionary synthesis below is false: 1. Natural selection was the primary mechanism at every level of the evolutionary process. Natural selection caused genetic adaptation. 2. Genetic homeostasis. The entire genome was organized and tied together, and even gene pools were homeostatic. 3. "One gene, one enzyme." 4. Evolution of phenotypic characters such as eyes and ears, etc., was a good guide to protein evolution: or, protein evolution was expected to mimic phenotypic evolution. 5. Protein evolution was a good guide to DNA sequence evolution. Even Lewontin and Hubby thought, at first, that understanding protein evolution was the key to understanding DNA evolution. 6. Recombination was far more important than mutation in evolution. 7. Macroevolution was a simple extension of microevolution. 8. Definition of "species" was clear [namely,] the biological species concept of Dobzhansky and Mayr. 9. Speciation was understood in principle. 10. Evolution is a process of sharing common ancestors back to the origin of life, or in other words, evolution produces a tree of life. 11. Inheritance of acquired characters was impossible in biological organisms. 12. Random genetic drift was a clear concept and invoked constantly whenever population sizes were small, including fossil organisms. 13. The evolutionary synthesis was actually a synthesis.” (William Provine, "Random Drift and the Evolutionary Synthesis," History of Science Society HSS Abstracts, located at (2008).)

"Moreover, with pan-adaptationism gone forever, so is the notion of evolutionary progress that is undoubtedly central to traditional evolutionary thinking, even if this is not always made explicit. The summary of the state of affairs on the 150th anniversary of the Origin is somewhat shocking. In the postgenomic era, all major tenets of the modern synthesis have been, if not outright overturned, replaced by a new and incomparably more complex vision of the key aspects of evolution. So, not to mince words, the modern synthesis is gone." (Eugene V. Koonin, "The Origin at 150: Is a New Evolutionary Synthesis in Sight?" Trends in Genetics, Vol. 25: 473, 474 (2009) (internal citations omitted).)

“[A]s explained on an intelligent-design t-shirt. ‘Fact: Forty phyla of complex animals suddenly appear in the fossil record, no forerunners, no transitional forms leading to them; ''a major mystery,'' a ''challenge.'' The Theory of Evolution -- exploded again (’ Although we would dispute the numbers, and aside from the last line, there is not much here that we would disagree with. Indeed, many of Darwin's contemporaries shared these sentiments, and we assume -- if Victorian fashion dictated -- that they would have worn this same t-shirt with pride.” (Kevin J. Peterson, Michael R. Dietrich, and Mark A. McPeek, "MicroRNAs and Metazoan Macroevolution: Insights into Canalization, Complexity, and the Cambrian Explosion," BioEssays, Vol. 31(7): 736 (2009).)
---."[E]lucidating the materialistic basis of the Cambrian explosion has become more elusive, not less, the more we know about the event itself, and cannot be explained away by coupling extinction of intermediates with long stretches of geologic time, despite the contrary claims of some modern neo-Darwinists."

“The most conspicuous event in metazoan evolution was the dramatic origin of major new structures and body plans documented by the Cambrian explosion. Until 530 million years ago, multicellular animals consisted primarily of simple, soft-bodied forms, most of which have been identified from the fossil record as cnidarians and sponges. Then, within less than 10 million years, almost all of the advanced phyla appeared, including echinoderms, chordates, annelids, brachiopods, molluscs and a host of arthropods. The extreme speed of anatomical change and adaptive radiation during this brief time period requires explanations that go beyond those proposed for the evolution of species within the modern biota.” (Robert L. Carroll, "Towards a New Evolutionary Synthesis," Trends in Ecology and Evolution, Vol. 15(1): 27-32 (2000) (internal citations omitted).)

“The major evolutionary transitions in animal evolution still remain to be causally explained. ... As it stands, microevolution does not provide a satisfactory explanation for the extraordinary burst of novelty during the Cambrian Explosion.” (Jaume Baguña and Jordi Garcia-Fernández, "Evo-Devo: The Long and Winding Road," International Journal of Developmental Biology, Vol. 47: 705-713 (2003) (internal citations omitted).)

“It is dangerous to raise attention to the fact that there is no satisfying explanation for macroevolution. One easily becomes a target of orthodox evolutionary biology and a false friend of proponents of non-scientific concepts.” (Günter Theißen, "The Proper Place of Hopeful Monsters in Evolutionary Biology," Theory in Biosciences, Vol. 124: 349-369 (2006).)

“[W]e've been told by more than one of our colleagues that, even if Darwin was substantially wrong to claim that natural selection is the mechanism of evolution, nonetheless we shouldn't say so. Not, anyhow, in public. To do that is, however inadvertently, to align oneself with the Forces of Darkness, whose goal is to bring Science into disrepute.” (Jerry Fodor and Massimo Piattelli-Palmarini, What Darwin Got Wrong, page xx (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2010).)

“The enduring debates with creationists have also undoubtedly tended to discourage admission that major conceptual issues about evolution remain unresolved.” (John Dupré, "The Conditions for Existence," reviewing Not By Design: Retiring Darwin's Watchmaker by John O. Reiss, in American Scientist (March-April 2010).)

“The origin of feathers is a specific instance of the much more general question of the origin of evolutionary novelties--structures that have no clear antecedents in ancestral animals and no clear related structures (homologues) in contemporary relatives. Although evolutionary theory provides a robust explanation for the appearance of minor variations in the size and shape of creatures and their component parts, it does not yet give as much guidance for understanding the emergence of entirely new structures, including digits, limbs, eyes and feathers.” (Richard O. Prum and Alan H. Brush, "Which Came First, the Feather or the Bird?," Scientific American (March, 2003).)

"The anatomy of the earliest H. sapiens sample indicates significant modifications of the ancestral genome and is not simply an extension of evolutionary trends in an earlier australopithecine lineage throughout the Pliocene. In fact, its combination of features never appears earlier..." (J. Hawks, K. Hunley, L. Sang-Hee, and M. Wolpoff, "Population Bottlenecks and Pleistocene Human Evolution," Journal of Molecular Biology and Evolution, Vol. 17(1): 2-22 (January, 2000).)

"The earliest fossils of Homo, Homo rudolfensis and Homo erectus, are separated from Australopithecus by a large, unbridged gap. How can we explain this seeming saltation? Not having any fossils that can serve as missing links, we have to fall back on the time-honored method of historical science, the construction of a historical narrative." (Ernst Mayr, What Makes Biology Unique?: Considerations on the Autonomy of a Scientific Discipline, page 198 (Cambridge University Press, 2004).)

"When we consider the remote past, before the origin of the actual species Homo sapiens, we are faced with a fragmentary and disconnected fossil record. Despite the excited and optimistic claims that have been made by some paleontologists, no fossil hominid species can be established as our direct ancestor." (Richard C. Lewontin, Human Diversity, page 163 (New York, NY: Scientific American Library, 1995).)

“Intelligent design is not ‘anti-science’--but as Steve Fuller says it is merely ‘anti-establishment.’ It is only when evolutionary biology ceases to be viewed by its adherents as a science -- but instead becomes an establishment, that they can ignore competing theories on the grounds that they are ‘anti-science.’” (Casey Luskin)

“There seems to be no more design in the variability of organic beings, and in the action of natural selection, than in the course in which the wind blows.” (Charles Darwin, Francis Darwin (ed.), The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, I: 278-279 (1887).)

"I would give nothing for the theory of natural selection, if it requires miraculous additions at any one stage of descent." (Charles Darwin, Francis Darwin (ed.), The Life and Letters of Charles Darwin, page 210 (London: John Murray, 1888).)

“Most ID proponents do not embrace a Young Earth, Flood Geology, and sudden creation tenets associated with YEC.” (Eugenie C. Scott, Evolution vs. Creationism: An Introduction, page 128 (Greenwood Press, 2004).)

"[Q:] More recently, we’ve had the intelligent design movement. I know some people just see this as a new version of creationism, stripping away all the talk about God and religion so you can teach it in the schools. Is that true?
[A. Ronald Numbers:] There’s a little bit of evidence to support that. But I think that both demographically and intellectually, it doesn’t hold a lot of water. The intelligent design leaders are people, by and large, who do not believe in young earth creationism.
[Q:] So they would accept the Earth’s being four-and-a-half billion years old.
[A. Ronald Numbers:] That’s not an issue with most of them..." (Steve Paulson interview with Ronald Numbers, "Seeing the light — of science," Salon, at (January 2, 2007).)

Definition of ID: “Key features of living systems can be best explained by the activity of a designing intelligence, not an undirected natural process such as natural selection acting on random variation. Living systems look designed because they were designed.”

“The problem of the origin of life is clearly basically equivalent to the problem of the origin of biological information.” (Bernd-Olaf Kuppers, Information and the Origin of Life, pages 170-172 (Cambridge: MIT Press, 1990).)

"It certainly changed my views of definitions of life and how life works... Life is basically the result of an information process, a software process. Our genetic code is our software." (Craig Venter, located at craig-venter-new-life-form (May 20, 2010).)

“For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities -- His eternal power and divine nature -- have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.” (Romans 1: 20)

“Is Dickie Loeb to blame because... of the infinite forces that were at work producing him ages before he was born? Is he to blame because his machine is imperfect?” (Clarence Darrow, arguing in the Leopold-Loeb murder trial, 1924, one year before the Scopes Trial.) [Clarence Darrow was the pro-evolution atheist lawyer who argued in the Scopes trial. He had defended an accused murderer on the grounds that his evolution-produced behavior made him do it.]

“Darwin developed an evolutionary theory based on chance variation and natural selection imposed by an external environment: a rigidly materialistic (and basically atheistic) version of evolution.” (Stephen Jay Gould, Ever Since Darwin: Reflections in Natural History, (New York: W.W. Norton, 1977).)
---."[B]iology took away our status as paragons created in the image of God. . . ." (page 147.)
---."Before Darwin, we thought that a benevolent God had created us." (page 267.)

"Why do humans exist? . . . I do not think that any 'higher' answer can be given. . . . We are the offspring of history, and must establish our own paths in this most diverse and interesting of conceivable universes-one indifferent to our suffering, and therefore offering us maximal freedom to thrive, or to fail, in our own chosen way." (Stephen Jay Gould, Wonderful Life, pages 322-323 (New York: W. W. Norton, 1989).)

"...although atheism might have been logically tenable before Darwin, Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist." (Richard Dawkins, [zoologist and Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, Oxford University], The Blind Watchmaker, page 6 (Penguin: London, [1986] reprint 1991).)

"The time has come to take seriously the fact that we humans are modified monkeys, not the favored Creation of a Benevolent God on the Sixth Day … We must think again especially about our so-called 'ethical principles.' … As evolutionists, we see that no (ethical) justification of the traditional kind is possible. Morality, or more strictly our belief in morality, is merely an adaptation put in place to further our reproductive ends. Hence, the basis of ethics does not lie in God's will … In an important sense, ethics as we understand it is an illusion fobbed on us by our genes to get us to cooperate. It is without external grounding … Ethics is illusory inasmuch as it persuades us that it has an objective reference. This is the crux of the biological position. Once it is grasped, everything falls into place." (Michael Ruse and E. O. Wilson, "The Evolution of Ethics" in Religion and the Natural Sciences: The Range of Engagement by James Edward Huchingson, (Harcourt Brace, 1993).)

“Yet organisms appear as if they had been designed to perform in an astonishingly efficient way, and the human mind therefore finds it hard to accept that there need be no Designer to achieve this.” (Francis Crick, What Mad Pursuit: A Personal View of Scientific Discovery, page 30 (Basic Books, 1988).)

"[W]e have repeated experience of rational and conscious agents-in particular ourselves-generating or causing increases in complex specified information, both in the form of sequence-specific lines of code and in the form of hierarchically arranged systems of parts. ... Our experience-based knowledge of information-flow confirms that systems with large amounts of specified complexity (especially codes and languages) invariably originate from an intelligent source from a mind or personal agent.” (Stephen C. Meyer, “The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories,” Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 117(2): 213-239 (2004).)

Conference report to No Child Left Behind Act: "Where topics are taught that may generate controversy (such as biological evolution), the curriculum should help students to understand the full range of scientific views that exist…“

“I want to remind you that you don’t need a theory of design to know that is design,” said Nelson. “The reality of detecting intelligence doesn’t require a theory. A theory is a nice thing to have, certainly if we are going to apply this to biology, but design inferences are sound and stable even if we don’t have a fully articulated theory.” (Paul Nelson, quoted in "Intelligent Design Defended by Unsolved Genetic Puzzle," at, By Michelle Vu, Christian Post, (November 17, 2006 at 2:45PM).)

"Evolution by natural selection... has lately come to function more as an antitheory, called upon to cover up embarrassing experimental shortcomings and legitimize findings that are at best questionable and at worst not even wrong." Robert B. Laughlin, A Different Universe: Reinventing Physics from the Bottom Down, pages 168-169 (New York: Basic Books, 2005).)

“Agents can arrange matter with distant goals in mind. In their use of language, they routinely 'find' highly isolated and improbable functional sequences amid vast spaces of combinatorial possibilities." (Stephen C. Meyer, "The Cambrian Information Explosion," in Debating Design, page 388 (William A. Dembski and Michael W. Ruse eds., Cambridge University Press, 2004).)

“[B]y invoking design to explain the origin of new biological information, contemporary design theorists are not positing an arbitrary explanatory element unmotivated by a consideration of the evidence. Instead, they are positing an entity possessing precisely the attributes and causal powers that the phenomenon in question requires as a condition of its production and explanation. (Stephen C. Meyer, "The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories,” Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 117(2): 213-239 (2004).)

"In The Origin of Species Darwin stated: 'If it could be demonstrated that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, successive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.' A system which meets Darwin's criterion is one which exhibits irreducible complexity. By irreducible complexity I mean a single system composed of several well-matched, interacting parts that contribute to the basic function, wherein the removal of any one of the parts causes the system to effectively cease functioning." (Michael Behe, Darwin's Black Box, page 39 (Free Press, 1996).)
---."The conclusion that something was designed can be made quite independently of knowledge of the designer. As a matter of procedure, the design must first be apprehended before there can be any further question about the designer. The inference to design can be held with all the firmness that is possible in this world, without knowing anything about the designer." (page 197.)
---.[I]rreducibly complex systems such as mousetraps and flagella serve both as negative arguments against gradualistic explanations like Darwin's and as positive arguments for design. The negative argument is that such interactive systems resist explanation by the tiny steps that a Darwinian path would be expected to take. The positive argument is that their parts appear arranged to serve a purpose, which is exactly how we detect design." (Afterword, pages 263-264.)

“Intelligent design provides a sufficient causal explanation for the origin of large amounts of information, since we have considerable experience of intelligent agents generating informational configurations of matter." (Stephen C. Meyer, Marcus Ross, Paul Nelson, and Paul Chien, "The Cambrian Explosion: Biology's Big Bang," in Darwinism, Design and Public Education, (John A. Campbell and Stephen C. Meyer eds., (Michigan State University Press, 2003).)
---."We know from experience that intelligent agents often conceive of plans prior to the material instantiation of the systems that conform to the plans--that is, the intelligent design of a blueprint often precedes the assembly of parts in accord with a blueprint or preconceived design plan."

“An intelligent cause may reuse or redeploy the same module in different systems, without there necessarily being any material or physical connection between those systems. Even more simply, intelligent causes can generate identical patterns independently." (Paul Nelson and Jonathan Wells, "Homology in Biology," in Darwinism, Design, and Public Education, page 316 (John A. Campbell and Stephen C. Meyer eds., (Michigan University Press, 2003).)

"Since non-coding regions do not produce proteins, Darwinian biologists have been dismissing them for decades as random evolutionary noise or 'junk DNA.' From an ID perspective, however, it is extremely unlikely that an organism would expend its resources on preserving and transmitting so much 'junk.'" (Jonathan Wells, "Using Intelligent Design Theory to Guide Scientific Research Progress," Complexity, Information, and Design, Vol. 3.1.2 (November, 2004).)

“Molecular machines display a key signature or hallmark of design, namely, irreducible complexity. In all irreducibly complex systems in which the cause of the system is known by experience or observation, intelligent design or engineering played a role the origin of the system ... in any other context we would immediately recognize such systems as the product of very intelligent engineering. Although some may argue this is a merely an argument from ignorance, we regard it as an inference to the best explanation, given what we know about the powers of intelligent as opposed to strictly natural or material causes.” (Scott Minnich and Stephen C. Meyer, "Genetic Analysis of Coordinate Flagellar and Type III Regulatory Circuits in Pathogenic Bacteria," Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Design & Nature, Rhodes, Greece (2004).)

“In sharks, for example, the gut develops from cells in the roof of the embryonic cavity. In lampreys, the gut develops from cells on the floor of the cavity. And in frogs, the gut develops from cells from both the roof and the floor of the embryonic cavity. This discovery—that homologous structures can be produced by different developmental pathways—contradicts what we would expect to find if all vertebrates share a common ancestor. … To summarize, biologists have made two discoveries that challenge the argument from anatomical homology. The first is that the development of homologous structures can be governed by different genes and can follow different developmental pathways. The second discovery, conversely, is that sometimes the same gene plays a role in producing different adult structures. Both of these discoveries seem to contradict neo-Darwinian expectations.” (Stephen C. Meyer, Scott Minnich, Jonathan Moneymaker, Paul A. Nelson, and Ralph Seelke, Explore Evolution: The Arguments For and Against Neo-Darwinism, pages 44-45 (Hill House, 2007).)

“[Intelligent] design is not a science stopper. Indeed, design can foster inquiry where traditional evolutionary approaches obstruct it. Consider the term "junk DNA." Implicit in this term is the view that because the genome of an organism has been cobbled together through a long, undirected evolutionary process, the genome is a patchwork of which only limited portions are essential to the organism. Thus on an evolutionary view we expect a lot of useless DNA. If, on the other hand, organisms are designed, we expect DNA, as much as possible, to exhibit function. And indeed, the most recent findings suggest that designating DNA as "junk" merely cloaks our current lack of knowledge about function. For instance, in a recent issue of the Journal of Theoretical Biology, John Bodnar describes how "non-coding DNA in eukaryotic genomes encodes a language which programs organismal growth and development." Design encourages scientists to look for function where evolution discourages it.” (William Dembski, "Intelligent Science and Design," First Things, Vol. 86: 21-27 (October, 1998).)

“Darwinism tells us that … bacteria survive antibiotics that they're not sensitive to, so non-killed bacteria will eventually outnumber killed bacteria. That’s it.” (Michael Egnor, “Quick, Nurse, Give the Patient a Tautology!,”

“Archaeopteryx is on the whole a point for Darwinists, but how important is it? Persons who come to the fossil evidence as convinced Darwinists will see a stunning confirmation, but skeptics will see a lonely exception to a consistent pattern of fossil disconfirmation.” (Phillip E. Johnson, Darwin on Trial, page 81 (Intervarsity Press, 1993).)

“A common sense interpretation of the data suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology.” (Sir Fred Hoyle, "The Universe: Past and Present Reflections," Engineering and Science, pages 8-12 (November, 1981).)

“The creation of new information is habitually associated with conscious activity.” (Henry Quastler, The Emergence of Biological Organization, (Yale University Press, 1964).)

"The very existence of sexual reproduction presents a problem for Darwin's theory. The easiest way for an organism to reproduce is simply to divide asexually-- to make a copy of itself. Bacteria are very successful at this. An organism that reproduces sexually, however, must divert precious energy into making sperm or egg cells; in the process, gene combinations that were quite useful beforehand are sometimes destroyed through 'recombination.' Then the organism must find a member of the opposite sex and mate with it successfully. From an evolutionary perspective, sex incurs considerable costs that must be offset by advantages to the organism.” (Getting the Facts Straight: A Viewer's Guide to PBS's Evolution, page 73 (Discovery Institute Press, (2001), at

“[T]he early atmosphere looked nothing like the Miller-Urey situation.” (Science, Vol. 270: 1925-1926)

“Many different ideas are competing and none is available to provide a sufficiently plausible root to the first living organisms.” (Peter Schuster, "Origins of Life: Concepts, Data, and Debates," Complexity, Vol. 15: 3 (2009).)

“Phylogenetic conflict is common, and frequently the norm rather than the exception.” (Liliana M. Dávalos, Andrea L. Cirranello, Jonathan H. Geisler, and Nancy B. Simmons, “Understanding Phylogenetic Incongruence: Lessons from Phyllostomid Bats,” Biological Reviews of the Cambridge Philosophical Society, 87: 991–1024 (2012).)

“The patterns of disparity observed during the Cambrian pose two unresolved questions. First, what evolutionary process produced the gaps between the morphologies of major clades? Second, why have the morphological boundaries of these body plans remained relatively stable over the past half a billion years?” (Douglas Erwin and James Valentine, The Cambrian Explosion, page 330 (Roberts & Co., 2013).)

“Darwinism in its current scientific incarnation has pretty much reached the end of its rope.” (David J. Depew and Bruce H. Weber, “The Fate of Darwinism: Evolution After the Modern Synthesis,” Biological Theory, Vol. 6: 89-102 (Dec. 2011).)

“The stereotype of a fully rational and objective ‘scientific method,’ with individual scientists as logical (and interchangeable) robots, is self-serving mythology.” (Stephen Jay Gould, “In the Mind of the Beholder,” Natural History, Vol. 103: 14-23 (Feb., 1994).)

“Automatically rejecting dissenting views that challenge the conventional wisdom is a dangerous fallacy, for almost every generally accepted view was once deemed eccentric or heretical.” ("Brief of Physicians, Scientists, and Historians of Science in Support of Petitioners," Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 509 U.S. 579 (1993).)

"If science is based upon experience, then science tells us the message encoded in DNA must have originated from an intelligent cause. But what kind of intelligent agent was it? On its own, science cannot answer this question; it must leave it to religion and philosophy. But that should not prevent science from acknowledging evidences for an intelligent cause origin wherever they may exist. This is no different, really, than if we discovered life did result from natural causes. We still would not know, from science, if the natural cause was all that was involved, or if the ultimate explanation was beyond nature, and using the natural cause." (Percival Davis, Dean Kenyon, and Charles Thaxton, Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins [a pro-ID textbook], page 7 (Haughton Publishing Co., 1993).)
---."Surely the intelligent design explanation has unanswered questions of its own. But unanswered questions, which exist on both sides, are an essential part of healthy science; they define the areas of needed research. Questions often expose hidden errors that have impeded the progress of science. For example, the place of intelligent design in science has been troubling for more than a century. That is because on the whole, scientists from within Western culture failed to distinguish between intelligence, which can be recognized by uniform sensory experience, and the supernatural, which cannot. Today we recognize that appeals to intelligent design may be considered in science, as illustrated by current NASA search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). Archaeology has pioneered the development of methods for distinguishing the effects of natural and intelligent causes. We should recognize, however, that if we go further, and conclude that the intelligence responsible for biological origins is outside the universe (supernatural) or within it, we do so without the help of science." (pages 126-127.)
---."The idea that life had an intelligent source is hardly unique to Christian fundamentalism. Advocates of design have included not only Christians and other religious theists, but pantheists, Greek and Enlightenment philosophers and now include many modern scientists who describe themselves as religiously agnostic. Moreover, the concept of design implies absolutely nothing about beliefs and normally associated with Christian fundamentalism, such as a young earth, a global flood, or even the existence of the Christian God. All it implies is that life had an intelligent source." (page 161.)

"Although intelligent design fits comfortably with a belief in God, it doesn't require it, because the scientific theory doesn't tell you who the designer is. While most people - including myself - will think the designer is God, some people might think that the designer was a space alien or something odd like that." (Michael Behe, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, (Feb. 8, 2001).)

"One of the worries about intelligent design is that it will jettison much of what is accepted in science, and that an “ID-based curriculum” will look very different from current science curricula. Although intelligent design has radical implications for science, I submit that it does not have nearly as radical implications for science education. First off, intelligent design is not a form of anti-evolutionism. Intelligent design does not claim that living things came together suddenly in their present form through the efforts of a supernatural creator. Intelligent design is not and never will be a doctrine of creation." (William Dembski, No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased Without Intelligence, page 314 (Rowman and Littlefield, 2001) (emphasis added).)
---."Natural causes are too stupid to keep pace with intelligent causes. Intelligent design theory provides a rigorous scientific demonstration of this long-standing intuition. Let me stress, the complexity-specification criterion is not a principle that comes to us demanding our unexamined acceptance--it is not an article of faith. Rather it is the outcome of a careful and sustained argument about the precise interrelationships between necessity, chance and design." (page 223.)

"Intelligent design is modest in what it attributes to the designing intelligence responsible for the specified complexity in nature. For instance, design theorists recognize that the nature, moral character and purposes of this intelligence lie beyond the competence of science and must be left to religion and philosophy." (William Dembski, The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions About Intelligent Design, page 42 (InterVarsity Press, 2004).)
---."The most obvious difference is that scientific creationism has prior religious commitments whereas intelligent design does not. ... Intelligent design ... has no prior religious commitments and interprets the data of science on generally accepted scientific principles. In particular, intelligent design does not depend on the biblical account of creation." (page 40.)
---."Intelligent design begins with data that scientists observe in the laboratory and nature, identifies in them patterns known to signal intelligent causes and thereby ascertains whether a phenomenon was designed. For design theorists, the conclusion of design constitutes an inference from data, not a deduction from religious authority." (pages 42-43.)
---."Intelligent design does not require organisms to emerge suddenly or to be specially created from scratch by the intervention of a designing intelligence. To be sure, intelligent design is compatible with the creationist idea of organisms being suddenly created from scratch. But it is also perfectly compatible with the evolutionist idea of new organisms arising from old by gradual accrual of change. What separates intelligent design from naturalistic evolution is not whether organisms evolved or the extent to which they evolved, but what was responsible for their evolution." (page 178.)

“By contrast, intelligent design nowhere attempts to identify the intelligent cause responsible for the design in nature, nor does it prescribe in advance the sequence of events by which this intelligent cause had to act. . . . Intelligent design is modest in what it attributes to the designing intelligence responsible for the specified complexity in nature. For instance, design theorists recognize that the nature, moral character and purposes of this intelligence lie beyond the remit of science. As Dean Kenyon and Percival Davis remark in their text on intelligent design: ‘Science cannot answer this question; it must leave it to religion and philosophy.’” (William A. Dembski, Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology, pages 247-248 (InterVarsity Press, 1999).)
---.“[I]ntelligent design is under no obligation to speculate about the nature, moral character or purposes of any designing intelligence it happens to infer.” (page 107.)

"ID is not an interventionist theory. Its only commitment is that the design in the world be empirically detectable. All the design could therefore have emerged through a cosmic evolutionary process that started with the Big Bang. What's more, the designer need not be a deity. It could be an extraterrestrial or a telic process inherent in the universe. ID has no doctrine of creation. Scott and Branch at best could argue that many of the ID proponents are religious believers in a deity, but that has no bearing on the content of the theory. As for being “vague” about what happened and when, that is utterly misleading. ID claims that many naturalistic evolutionary scenarios (like the origin of life) are unsupported by evidence and that we simply do not know the answer at this time to what happened. This is not a matter of being vague but rather of not pretending to knowledge that we don't have." (William Dembski, Commentary on Eugenie Scott and Glenn Branch's "Guest Viewpoint: 'Intelligent Design' Not Accepted by Most Scientists," at

"The most important difference [between modern intelligent design theory and Paley's arguments] is that [intelligent design] is limited to design itself; I strongly emphasize that it is not an argument for the existence of a benevolent God, as Paley's was. I hasten to add that I myself do believe in a benevolent God, and I recognize that philosophy and theology may be able to extend the argument. But 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. Possible candidates for the role of designer include: the God of Christianity; an angel--fallen or not; Plato's demi-urge; some mystical new age force; space aliens from Alpha Centauri; time travelers; or some utterly unknown intelligent being. Of course, some of these possibilities may seem more plausible than others based on information from fields other than science. Nonetheless, as regards the identity of the designer, modern ID theory happily echoes Isaac Newton's phrase hypothesis non fingo. (Michael Behe, "The Modern Intelligent Design Hypothesis," Philosophia Christi, Series 2, Vol. 3, No. 1, page 165 (2001).)

“Intelligent design is therefore not the study of intelligent causes per se but of informational pathways induced by intelligent causes. As a result, intelligent design presupposes neither a creator nor miracles. Intelligent design is theologically minimalist. It detects intelligence without speculating about the nature of the intelligence …At the same time, intelligent design resists speculating about the nature, moral character or purposes of this intelligence (here is a task for the theologian—to connect the intelligence inferred by the design theorist with the God of Scripture.) Indeed, this is one of the great strengths of intelligent design, that it distinguishes design from purpose. We can know that something is designed without knowing the ultimate purpose for which it was designed.” (William Dembski, “What Every Theologian Should Know About Creation, Evolution & Design” in Unapologetic Apologetics, Chapter 13, pages 225-226 (InterVarsity Press, 2001).)

“Additionally, the designer of ID is claimed to be “supernatural,” when in fact the nature of nature is precisely what’s at issue, and the designer could be perfectly natural provided that nature is understood aright.” (William Dembski, New Scientist, Issue on ID, at (July 10, 2005).)

“There is no ‘Made by Yahweh’ engraved on the side of the bacterial rotary motor—the flagellum. In order to find out what or who its designer is, one must go outside the narrow discipline of biology. Cross-disciplinary dialogue must begin with the fields of philosophy, sociology, history, anthropology, and theology. Design itself, however, is a direct scientific inference; it does not depend on a single religious premise for its conclusions.” (Thomas Woodward, Darwin Strikes Back: Defending the Science of Intelligent Design, page 15 (Baker Books, 2006).)

"Although the IDM did not identify the designer as anything more than a source of biological information, there was little doubt that believers in the Christian God, including me, would find scientific acceptance of ID highly encouraging. ... [M]y personal view is that I identify the designer of life with the God of the Bible, although intelligent design theory as such does not entail that." (Phillip E. Johnson, “Intelligent Design in Biology: the Current Situation and Future Prospects,” Think, [The Royal Institute of Philosophy] (2007).)

“Intelligent design theory assumes that intelligence is a property which we can understand through general observation of intelligent agents in the natural world. An intelligent agent exhibits predictable modes of designing because it has the property of intelligence, regardless of whether or not the agent is ‘natural’ or ‘supernatural.’ Thus, the theory of intelligent design does not investigate whether the designing intelligent agent was natural or supernatural because it assumes that things designed by an intelligence may possess certain perceptible properties regardless of whether that intelligent agent is a natural entity, or in some way supernatural.” (David K. DeWolf, John G. West, Casey Luskin, and Jonathan Witt, Traipsing Into Evolution: Intelligent Design and the Kitmiller v. Dover Ruling, page 35 (Discovery Institute Press, 2006).)

“In inferring design from aspects of the world, we are always looking at finite arrangements of material objects and events involving them. There is no way, logically speaking, to infer from such objects to an infinite, personal creator God. Thomas Aquinas understood this. Kant understood this. That's why intelligent design is not a biblical or religious doctrine. Morris is right that anyone except pure materialists can take refuge with intelligent design. This, however, should not be regarded as a bad thing. Creationism is a package deal, with a particular interpretation of Bible being part of the total package. Intelligent design, by contrast, is a partial truth, not the whole truth. (William Dembski, "Intelligent Design's Contribution to the Debate over Evolution: A Reply to Henry Morris", at (Feb. 1, 2005).)

“[M]ost people (including myself) will attribute the design to God--based in part on other, non-scientific judgments they have made--I did not claim that the biochemical evidence leads ineluctably to a conclusion about who the designer is. In fact, I directly said that, from a scientific point of view, the question remains open. (Behe 1996, 245-250) In doing so I was not being coy, but only limiting my claims to what I think the evidence will support. To illustrate, Francis Crick has famously suggested that life on earth may have been deliberately seeded by space aliens (Crick and Orgel 1973). If Crick said he thought that the clotting cascade was designed by aliens, I could not point to a biochemical feature of that system to show he was wrong. The biochemical evidence strongly indicates design, but does not show who the designer was. I should add that, even if one does think the designer is God, subscribing to a theory of intelligent design does not necessarily commit one to “miracles.” At least no more than thinking that the laws of nature were designed by God--a view, as we’ve seen, condoned by the National Academy of Sciences (National Academy of Sciences 1999). In either case one could hold that the information for the subsequent unfolding of life was present at the very start of the universe, with no subsequent “intervention” required from outside of nature. In one case, the information is present just in general laws. In the other case, in addition to general laws, information is present in other factors too. The difference might boil down simply to the question of whether there was more or less explicit design information present at the beginning--hardly a point of principle. While we’re on the subject of God, another point should be made: A number of prominent scientists, some of whom fault me for suggesting design, have themselves argued for atheistic conclusions based on biological data. For example, Professor Futuyma has written: “Some shrink from the conclusion that the human species was not designed, has no purpose, and is the product of mere mechanical mechanisms--but this seems to be the message of evolution.” (Futuyma 1982) And Russell Doolittle remarks concerning the blood clotting cascade: “. . . no Creator would have designed such a circuitous and contrived system.” (Doolittle 1997) It is rather disingenuous, however, for those who use biological data to argue that life shows no evidence of design, to complain when others use biological evidence to argue the opposing view.” (Michael Behe, “Philosophical Objections to Intelligent Design: Response to Critics,” at

“Supernatural explanations invoke miracles and therefore are not properly part of science. Explanations that call on intelligent causes require no miracles but cannot be reduced to materialistic explanations. Indeed, design theorists argue that intelligent causation is perfectly natural, provided that nature is understood aright.” (William Dembski and Jonathan Wells, "The Design of Life: Discovering Signs of Intelligence in Biological Systems, pages 13-14 (Foundation for Thought and Ethics, 2008).)

Q: Isn't intelligent design just a newer version of creationism?
Johnson: When people ask me whether this is creationism relabeled, one thing that always occurs to me is that the real creationist organizations are highly critical of intelligent design, because they say it doesn't do the job that is the very essence of creationism. It doesn't defend the Bible from the very first verse. It doesn't defend the Bible at all, and it doesn't even defend Christianity. It's saying that there's an intelligence, but the intelligence could be natural as well as supernatural. And that if you assume it's supernatural, what the God is—well, we have nothing to say about what kind of God it is. It isn't limited to one particular kind of religion, to Christianity or to a particular kind of Christianity. If you want, it can be the Muslim god.
Q: But if it's a supernatural cause, isn't that outside the realm of science?
Johnson: It's true that supernatural causes are a subject outside of science. But intelligent versus unintelligent causes is a subject very much within science. For example, forensic scientists and pathologists regularly determine whether a death was due to natural causes or intelligent causes. If somebody dies of a purported heart failure, and then they do an autopsy on the body and find signs of arsenic poisoning, they say this was not a death by natural causes; it was a poisoning. That is perfectly legitimate as a scientific inquiry. Now, if the intelligent cause turns out to be supernatural, that's a determination that is outside of science. But that you need intelligence is not a determination that's outside of science. It's the regular business of science, like deciding whether a drawing on a cave wall is a painting by prehistoric cavemen or a product of natural erosion and chemistry in the wall. (Phillip E. Johnson, located at

“Can we determine whether an object is designed without identifying or knowing anything about its designer? For instance, can we identify an object as an ancient artifact without knowing anything about the civilization that produced it? As the science that studies signs of intelligence, intelligent design investigates the effects of intelligence and not intelligence as such. A sign, after all, is not the thing signified. Intelligent design does not try to get into the mind of a designer or speculate about the characteristics of a designer. Its focus is not on the identity of a designer (the thing signified) but on the artifacts due to a designer (the sign). A designer’s identity and characteristics are, to be sure, interesting questions, and one may be able to infer something about what a designer is like from the designed objects that a designer produces. But the identity and characteristics of a designer lie outside the scope of intelligent design. That’s as it should be. The fact is that we infer design repeatedly and reliably without knowing anything about the underlying designer. Some biologists, before they permit intelligent design into biology, require getting into the mind of the designer and knowing what sorts of biological systems we should expect from the designer. But, as Stanford philosopher of biology Elliott Sober admits, ‘To infer watchmaker from watch, you needn’t know exactly what the watchmaker had in mind; indeed, you don’t even have to know that the watch is a device for measuring time. Archaeologists sometimes unearth tools of unknown function, but still reasonably draw the inference that these things are, in fact, tools.’” (“Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher about Design,” by By William A. Dembski located at

“For seeing that natural things run their course according to a fixed order, and since there cannot be order without a cause of order, men, for the most part, perceive that there is one who orders the things that we see. But who or of what kind this cause of order may be, or whether there be but one, cannot be gathered from this general consideration.” (St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Contra Gentiles)

“The theory of intelligent design does not claim to detect a supernatural intelligence possessing unlimited powers. Though the designing agent responsible for life may well have been an omnipotent deity, the theory of intelligent design does not claim to be able to determine that. Because the inference to design depends upon our uniform experience of cause and effect in this world, the theory cannot determine whether or not the designing intelligence putatively responsible for life has powers beyond those on display in our experience. Nor can the theory of intelligent design determine whether the intelligent agent responsible for information life acted from the natural or the “supernatural” realm. Instead, the theory of intelligent design merely claims to detect the action of some intelligent cause (with power, at least, equivalent to those we know from experience) and affirms this because we know from experience that only conscious, intelligent agents produce large amounts of specified information. The theory of intelligent design does not claim to be able to determine the identity or any other attributes of that intelligence, even if philosophical deliberation or additional evidence from other disciplines may provide reasons to consider, for example, a specifically theistic design hypothesis.” (Stephen C. Meyer, Signature in the Cell: DNA and the Evidence for Intelligent Design, pages 428-429 (HarperOne, 2009).)

“Consider the bacterial flagellum, the intricate little rotary engine inside living cells that we looked at in chapters two and three. The flagellum provides good evidence of design and a designer, but nowhere on the bushings of the little engine are the words “Made by Yahweh.” The sophisticated architecture of the motor points to design, but it doesn’t tell us the personal identity of the designer, much less compel us to a living faith in the God of the Bible.” (William Dembski and Jonathan Witt, Intelligent Design Uncensored: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to the Controversy, page 125 (InterVarsity Press, 2010).)
---.“Intelligent design is at once more modest and more powerful than Paley’s natural theology. From observable features of the natural world, proponents of intelligent design infer to an intelligence responsible for those features. The world contains events, objects and structures that natural forces lack the power to have caused. Moreover, these things have the signature of intelligent design. This is not an argument from ignorance. Nor is this a matter of personal incredulity. Precisely because of what we know about natural causes and their limitations, and precisely because of what we know about things known to be products of intelligent design (e.g. cars and computer programs), researchers are now in a position to demonstrate design rigorously. There’s an important contrast to keep in mind here. Science, we are told, studies natural causes, whereas to introduce God is to invoke supernatural causes. This is the wrong contrast. The proper contrast is between natural causes on the one hand, and intelligent causes on the other. Intelligent causes can do things that natural causes cannot. Natural causes can fling Scrabble pieces around in a storm, but they cannot arrange the pieces to form a meaningful series of interlocking words. To obtain a meaningful arrangement of more than a few letters requires an intelligent cause. Whether an intelligent cause operates within or outside nature (that is, whether the intelligent cause is natural or supernatural) is an interesting and important question, but it is a separate question from whether an intelligent cause has operated.” (pages 128-129.)
---.“Certainly, the idea that there is a transcendent Maker beyond our universe is not a falsifiable claim (we’d have to look everywhere outside our universe for starters), but specific design arguments are falsifiable and by extension testable.” (page 134.)

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