What would the natural history of intelligent design look like?

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So, imagine that (1) Intelligent Design is right (ok, stop laughing) and that (2) we had some sort of machine where we could watch the entire history of the world. What would the historical record look like? If you're a young earth creationist, there's nothing confusing. 6000 years ago or so Adam and Eve just pop into existence. But many of the ID types accept the generally understood biological timeline (or at least claim to in public), so the situation is a bit more confusing.

In the ID "irreducible complexity" narrative, there are some features that are too complicated to evolve. So, here's my question. At some time T, there are no animals with feature F. At time T+1, there is (at least one) animal which has that feature. So, how did that animal get there? Did the unnamed Designer do some pre-historic gene therapy on an existing animal or did it just, you know, pop into existence? Just asking.


Also, who designed the designer? Or is it just turtles all the way down?

Pop! Goes the weasel. Or retina. Whatever it takes.

The creator would cause deliberate mutations over several generations. I assume this is the way most Christians would describe such a creator (there is experimental evidence that modern Christians prefer non-observable intervention to direct acts of God).

I think you have to make some assumptions about your designer. For example, if you're tracking the evolution of genuinely designed things like bridges or buildings or cars or computers, you see some patterns like:

a. New ideas are developed and tried out.
b. Some of them flop and are dropped.
c. Others are soon adopted into all kinds of later designs.

For example, almost nobody thinks a stack-based computer architecture is a good idea today, but they were once reasonably common. Assuming you have an intelligent designer that makes mistakes and learns from them, you will see a pattern in the fossil record of many attempts at designing something, and then a near immediate changeover all over the world when an imporved mechanism is worked out.

One of the more obvious reasons to favor evolution over this kind of designer is that successful adaptations get transmitted down the line of your descendents, but not more-or-less instantly every where.

Another view of intelligent design would be something like selective breeding. But it's hard for me to see how that would be distinguished from natural selection in terms of what designs could be reached.

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