Yeah, its an intelligent design article. I am interested in the notion of intelligent design because I am interested in the way we relate to technology. With that in mind, I have a few questions about the article. I dont care much about the "vs. evolution" part; I pretty much agree with this article, though it really doesn't say anything controversial.
I will say that I am generally opposed to these sorts of philosophical arguments over the direction of scientific progress. If intelligent design had any scientific value, that will be proven in the labs and not by mere declaration. By even writing this article they are suggesting that there is some value in public debate on the matter, which totally invites people to suggest nonsense alternatives.
That said, I think the notion of intelligent design is interesting, and this article seems to show how confused we are on the subject.
As this process is repeated through evolutionary time, more and more parts that were once merely beneficial become necessary. This idea was first set forth by H. J. Muller, the Nobel Prize-winning geneticist, in 1939, but it’s a familiar process in the development of human technologies. We add new parts like global-positioning systems to cars not because they’re necessary but because they’re nice. But no one would be surprised if, in fifty years, computers that rely on G.P.S. actually drove our cars. At that point, G.P.S. would no longer be an attractive option; it would be an essential piece of automotive technology. It’s important to see that this process is thoroughly Darwinian: each change might well be small and each represents an improvement.
But surely the design of automobiles is the result of an intelligent process. Its a paradigm example!
There are two parts to "Intelligent design". It seems from this article that neither side disputes the 'designed' aspect of the ID position. What is under debate is whether or not the design was the result of 'intelligent' or 'unintelligent' processes.
If thats the case, we can see how the above example actually works for the articles' purposes. The GPS just happened to be there, and so other aspects of the car were built around it to the point that it became necessary for the overall well functioning of the car. But it was never intended as necessary when it was first installed. Its eventual necessity was the result of the natural development and evolution of the technology.
Look at what happened here: we have stripped our own creations of our intelligent input. Other forces, forces we dont necessarily control, had some say in the development of the technology. Market forces. Legacy issues. Engineering contraints. Notice that even these forces are the result of design. We made them. But their peculiar intersection at any one point is out of our hands. It is no longer the result of (an) intelligent process(es).
We have lost something important. Clearly machines and technology are the result of intelligent processes in a way that nature and life isnt, and this article is threatening to dissolve this distinction. But clearly the core issue in the debate is over the issue of design, and not intelligence. And it seems to me that the very notion of 'design' implies intelligence, but only animism could compel a scientist to call his laws 'designed'.
Abandon design, not intellignce.