by Dr. Casey Luskin, Hallie Kemper and Gary Kemper

When arguing that ID is not science, critics often contend that ID is merely a negative argument against evolution. Providing an example of this argument, biologist Kenneth Miller says “ID is always negative, and it basically says, if evolution is incorrect, the answer must be design.” 

However, ID is based upon positive information that nature contains information which, in our experience, comes from the action of intelligence. Below we show how ID uses the scientific method to make positive cases for design in biochemistry, paleontology, systematics, and genetics.

Example 1: Biochemistry

Observation: Intelligent agents solve complex problems by acting with a goal in mind, producing high levels of Complex Specified Information (CSI). As Stephen Meyer explains, in our experience, systems with large amounts of specified complexity—such as codes and languages—invariably originate from an intelligent source. Likewise, in our experience, intelligence is the only known cause of irreducibly complex machines.

Hypothesis (Prediction): Natural structures will be found that contain many parts arranged in intricate patterns (including irreducible complexity) that perform a specific function— indicating high levels of CSI.

Experiment: Experimental investigations
of DNA indicate that it is full of a CSI-rich, language-based code. Biologists have performed mutational sensitivity tests on proteins and determined that their amino acid sequences are highly specified. Additionally, genetic knockout experiments and other studies have shown that some molecular machines, like the flagellum, are irreducibly complex.

Conclusion: The high levels of CSI—including irreducible complexity—in biochemical systems are best explained by the action of an intelligent agent.

Example 2: Paleontology

Observation: Intelligent agents rapidly infuse large amounts of information into systems. As four ID theorists write: “intelligent design provides a sufficient causal explanation for the origin of large amounts of information… the intelligent design of a blueprint often precedes the assembly of parts in accord with a blueprint or preconceived design plan.” 

Hypothesis (Prediction): Forms containing large amounts of novel information will appear in the fossil record suddenly and without similar precursors.

Experiment: Studies of the fossil record show that species typically appear abruptly without similar precursors.7 The Cambrian explosion is a prime example, although there are other examples of explosions in life’s history. Large amounts of complex and specified information had to arise rapidly to explain the abrupt appearance of these forms.

Conclusion: The abrupt appearance of new fully formed body plans in the fossil record is best explained by intelligent design.

Example 3: Systematics


Intelligent agents often reuse functional components in different designs. As Paul Nelson
and Jonathan Wells explain: “An intelligent cause may reuse or redeploy the same module in different systems… [and] generate identical patterns independently.”

Hypothesis (Prediction): Genes and other functional parts will be commonly reused in different organisms.

Experiment: Studies of comparative anatomy and genetics have uncovered similar parts commonly existing in widely different organisms. Examples of extreme convergent evolution show reusage of functional genes and structures in a manner not predicted by common ancestry.

Conclusion: The reusage of highly similar and complex parts in widely different organisms in non-treelike patterns is best explained by the action of an intelligent agent.

Example 4: Genetics

Observation:Intelligent agents construct structures with purpose and function.

As William Dembski argues:
“Consider the term ‘junk DNA.’… [O]n 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.” 

Hypothesis (Prediction): Much so-called “junk DNA” will turn out to perform valuable functions.

Experiment: Numerous studies have discovered functions for “junk DNA.” Examples include functions for pseudogenes, introns, and repetitive DNA.13

Conclusion: The discovery of function for numerous types of “junk DNA” was successfully predicted by intelligent design.

While the evidence points strongly to design in these four areas, like all scientific conclusions, the conclusion of design is subject to future scientific discoveries.

Intelligent design uses the scientific method to make its claims and is based upon a positive argument grounded in testable and falsifiable predictions. But there is an additional requirement often applied to the scientific method.


Peer review is a process by which scientists double-check the work of their peers to make
sure it has been done correctly. It’s not a perfect process,14 but it can help ensure that published scientific papers meet high standards. However,
in the case of ID, many scientific journals are controlled by critics who claim ID isn’t science. Consequently, article manuscripts drawing ID- friendly conclusions are often dismissed, sometimes with outright hostility.

Many materialists demand that, to be considered scientific, the case for design must be published in peer-reviewed scientific literature. This leads to a circular argument: ID isn’t science because it isn’t published in peer-reviewed journals, and it can’t be published in peer-reviewed journals because it (allegedly) isn’t science.

For example, when Michael Behe submitted to a mainstream biology journal a paper critical
of Darwinian evolution, he was told that it could not be published because “your unorthodox theory would have to displace something” defending the “current paradigm.”15 Likewise, as discussed in the previous chapter, after Richard Sternberg allowed a pro-ID paper in a Smithsonian biology journal, his supervisors harassed him in the hope he would resign.

Because peer review is an imperfect system, the U.S. Supreme Court has ruled that “in some instances well-grounded but innovative theories will not have been published.” Likewise, Stephen Jay Gould recognized:

The quality of a scientific approach or opinion depends on the strength of its factual premises and on the depth and consistency of its reasoning, not on its appearance in a particular journal or on its popularity among other scientists.

However, even though the requirement for peer- reviewed publication has been abused to block pro-ID views, pro-ID scientists have nonetheless published multiple peer-reviewed articles in scientific journals. As of the publication of this book, the total number is over 50 peer-reviewed scientific papers.

For additional information on ID research projects, visit the following websites:

  • List of Peer-Reviewed Pro-ID Papers:
  • Biologic
  • BIO-Complexity Journal:
  • Evolutionary Informatics