How do we Detect Design?

The Short Answer:

We detect design by looking for the tell-tale signs that an intelligent agent acted. Intelligent agents tend to produce specified complexity when they act. We can then seek to detect design by looking for that specified complexity. Using an "explanatory filter" helps us to use normal logic to infer where design was a cause involved in creating an object. Design also could makes other predictions which can also help us to detect design.


The Long Answer:

When intelligent agents act they produce specified complexity. We know this because we understand that when intelligent agents act, they use choice. An essay by William Dembksi lays out in detail how we can understand the products of intelligent design by examining how designers work:

インテリジェントエージェントが働くとき、"指定された複雑さ"を作りだす。インテリジェントエージェントが働くとき、選択を使うことを我々は理解しているので、我々はこれを知っている。William Dembskiのエッセイでは、デザイナーの働き方を調べることで、インテリジェントデザインの産物を我々がいかに理解することができるかを詳細に語っている

To see why CSI [complex-specified information] is a reliable indicator of design, we need to examine the nature of intelligent causation. The principal characteristic of intelligent causation is directed contingency, or what we call choice. Whenever an intelligent cause acts, it chooses from a range of competing possibilities. This is true not just of humans, but of animals as well as extra-terrestrial intelligences. A rat navigating a maze must choose whether to go right or left at various points in the maze. When SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence) researchers attempt to discover intelligence in the extra-terrestrial radio transmissions they are monitoring, they assume an extra-terrestrial intelligence could have chosen any number of possible radio transmissions, and then attempt to match the transmissions they observe with certain patterns as opposed to others (patterns that presumably are markers of intelligence). Whenever a human being utters meaningful speech, a choice is made from a range of possible sound-combinations that might have been uttered. Intelligent causation always entails discrimination, choosing certain things, ruling out others. Given this characterization of intelligent causes, the crucial question is how to recognize their operation. Intelligent causes act by making a choice.


CSI is a reliable indicator of design because its recognition coincides with how we recognize intelligent causation generally. In general, to recognize intelligent causation we must establish that one from a range of competing possibilities was actualized, determine which possibilities were excluded, and then specify the possibility that was actualized. What's more, the competing possibilities that were excluded must be live possibilities, sufficiently numerous so that specifying the possibility that was actualized cannot be attributed to chance. In terms of probability, this means that the possibility that was specified is highly improbable. In terms of complexity, this means that the possibility that was specified is highly complex. All the elements in the general scheme for recognizing intelligent causation (i.e., Actualization-Exclusion-Specification) find their counterpart in complex specified information-CSI. CSI pinpoints what we need to be looking for when we detect design.


In summary, Dembski notes that intelligent agents can choose from one of many competing possibilities. If the choice made is unlikely to occur and sufficiently complex, then we can attribute that choice to design. This comes from our understanding of how intelligent agents operate--not from a negative argument against evolution. In The Design Inference, Dembski lays out a three-part "user-friendly" explanatory filter which we can use to detect intelligent design:

まとめると、Dembskiはインテリジェントエージェントは多くの競合する可能性から一つを選択する能力を持っていると書いている。為された選択が起きそうにないものであり、十分に複雑であるなら、我々はその選択をデザインによるものだと考えられる。これはインテリジェントエージェントがいかに働くかについての我々の理解によるものであって、進化論に対するnegative argumentによるものではない。"The Design Inference"で、Dembskiは、インテリジェントデザインを検出するための、3ステップの使いやすい説明フィルタを提示している。

This explanatory filter recognizes that there are three causes for things: chance, law and design. The premise behind the filter is the positive prediction of design that designers tend to build complex things with low probability that correspond to a specified pattern. In biology, this could be an irreducibly complex structure which fulfills some biological function. This filter helps ensure that we detect design only when it is warranted. If something is high probability, we may ascribe it to a law. If something is intermediate probability, we may ascribe it to chance. But if it is specified and low probability, then this is the tell-tale sign that we are dealing with something that is designed. In these high information-situations, intelligent design theorist Stephen C. Meyer also emphasizes why intelligent design is the right explanation:

この説明的なフィルタは、3つの原因、偶然と法則とデザインを認識する。フィルタの背後にある命題は「デザイナーは指定されたパターンに対応する可能性が小さい複雑なものを作る傾向がある」というデザインについてのポジティブな予測である。生物学においては、生物学的機能を実現する還元不可能に複雑な構造がこれにあたる。この説明フィルタは我々が検出したデザインが本物であることを保証する。あるものが確率的に大きければ自然法則で、中くらいなら偶然だと考える。しかし、指定され、小さな確率であれば、それは我々がデザインされたものと対処しているという、隠しおおせない兆候である。この高度情報の状況で。インテリジェントデザイン理論家Stephen C. Meyerは何故インテリジェントデザインが正しい説明であるかを強調する。

"Experience teaches that information-rich systems … invariable result from intelligent causes, not naturalistic ones. Yet origin-of-life biology has artificially limited its explanatory search to the naturalistic nodes of causation … chance and necessity. Finding the best explanation, however, requires invoking causes that have the power to produce the effect in question. When it comes to information, we know of only one such cause. For this reason, the biology of the information age now requires a new science of design.


[Stephen C. Meyer, Mere Creation, pg. 140]

"Indeed, in all cases where we know the causal origin of 'high information content,' experience has shown that intelligent design played a causal role."


[Stephen C. Meyer, DNA and Other Designs ]

"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."


[Meyer S. C. et. al., "The Cambrian Explosion: Biology's Big Bang," in Darwinism, Design, and Public Education, edited by J. A. Campbell and S. C. Meyer (Michigan State University Press, 2003]

Intelligent design is thus a cause sufficient to produce the high levels of information, i.e. irreducible complexity, found in biology. Intelligent design is not merely a negative argument against evolution, but is inferred because of its positive predictions of how we understand designers to operate.




「説明フィルタ(explanatory filter)」はこれがすべてである。数式もプログラムも存在しない。「偶然でも自然法則でもないものはデザインだ」という、非常に明瞭な"God of the gaps"型の論である。