# A Scientific Method for Design Detection

Almost anything, including dumping alphabetic characters out of a box onto the floor, can produce functional information at trivial or non-significant levels. However, if one wishes to produce significant levels of functional information one needs something else in addition. Right now, the only option science has on the table that is observable, testable, and verified is intelligence. Although there are other creative scenarios as to how large quantities of functional information can be formed naturally, our failure to verify them suggests that they should be more properly classified as science fiction.

## A Scientific Method for Design Detection

The hypothesis stated above provides the basis for a scientific method to test any effect to see if it required intelligence to produce.

Step One: Evaluate the level of functional information required to produce the effect.

Step Two: Determine if the level of functional information is statistically significant.

Step Three: If it is statistically significant, then we can infer that intelligence was required to produce the effect.

## Is This a “God-of-the-Gaps” Argument?

Oddly, I have people confidently assert that I have presented a “God of the gaps” argument, which clearly this is not. A “God of the gaps” argument always contains the following premise, either explicit or assumed:

“God of the gaps” premise: If we don’t know what produced “X,” then God did it.

The scientific method I presented above is obviously devoid of such a premise. We actually know what can produce functional information — intelligence. It is an observable fact. We do it all the time whenever we send a text, write an essay, or build something. It is the only empirically verified option that science has today; other scenarios still remain in the category of unverified science fiction. Functional information is a positive indicator or “fingerprint” of an intelligent mind.

## What Happens When We Test Life?

My first step was to develop and publish a method to estimate the level of functional information required to code for protein families — an essential requirement for life. Applying that method to a multiple sequence alignment consisting of 30,176 sequences for the second PDZ domain reveals that this protein domain requires at least 140 bits of functional information.

To understand how significant that is, note that the probability that natural processes could generate that level of functional information is 1 chance in 10 with 41 zeros after it. Recent work by other scientists on the PDZ domain indicates that my method is quite conservative. But a conservative estimate is preferable to an overestimate, since I wish to avoid false positives (i.e., having the digital information for a protein test positive for intelligent design when it might not be the case).

## Implications

The above example was for a protein domain only one third the length of an average protein. Using that result as a ballpark estimate, an average protein-coding gene will require very roughly 420 bits of functional information and even the simplest bacteria require hundreds of different genes.

## Conclusion

The markers (fingerprints) of an intelligent mind are all over the genomes of life. Life tests positive for intelligent design when we utilize the scientific method outlined above. We can conclude, therefore, that DNA is intelligently designed.