Re: X is intelligently designed means ...

Kevin O'Brien (
Mon, 5 Apr 1999 12:19:14 -0600

>IDers use the word design as a _noun_. IMO the best noun-definition of
>design is given by IDer, Mike Behe: design is "a purposeful arrangement of
>parts." In this sense, Bill Dembski is right: as a_noun_, design "has a
>perfectly well understood common usage." The simplest way to define design
>as a noun is to _point_ to examples of it. Point to the marvelously
>eye of the trilobite and you will clearly understand what design as a noun
>is. Ask how the trilobite eye was designed (as a _verb_) and as Bill said,
>"we don't have any account of the mode of assembly."

Interesting idea this, because in fact it allows for the possibility that
natural design arose by natural mechanistic means, and not the action of a
designer. Behe's definition of design does not rule this out, because
"purposeful" simply means "having or manifesting a purpose"; this does not
automatically imply that the purpose was intentionally created. I grant
that the common usage of the term implies intent, but it can be used without
that implication, and the case of natural design is not necessarily a
common-usage situation.

The problem for IDers is then to provide evidence that the purpose built
into natural "artifacts" was intentional and did not simply derive from
natural processes.

>Howard has never responded to or acknowledged noun-definitions of design
>given by IDers. He wants IDers to define design as a verb. He has their
>answer, "We don't know at this time how design in nature is accomplished,
>we just know that it exists."

If in fact natural design did derive from natural processes and not the
action of an intelligent designer, then we do know how it was accomplished:

Kevin L. O'Brien