That the debate over de-facto intelligent design has, in some quarters, solidified into the false dichotomy of "Intelligence vs Natural forces" on both sides of the debate is evidenced by this post from IDist in chief Barry Arrington entitled Astonishing Things Materialist Say. I reproduce the content of the post below:
The problem for creationists is that positing an intelligence that is able to create life out of inanimate materials is to claim that life can be created out of non-living materials. The question then becomes, if it’s possible at the hands of a creator then why not through natural causation?
Hmmm. The space station exists. Just why couldn’t it have been built by blind purposeless natural causes? I suppose the analogy is not really fair, because the nano-technology displayed in even the most simple life makes the space station look like a tinker toy.
As a Christian I have no a priori problems over the introduction of intelligence into the ultimate origins debate. However, as I've made clear in this blog I believe the de facto IDists have really made a pig's ear of it. See here and here. I would like to suggest that the operation of intelligence and "natural causation" are, as in the human mind, well and truly of a piece.
Further polarised dualism can be seen in a post by IDist Gordon Mullings on:
For them, [evolutionists] NOTHING is too difficult for evolution or blind random natural processes!
Since they do not believe in God, anything & everything that exists, even if can’t be explained, is still thought to have come into existence by pure random natural processes – including their own thoughts (Now there’s a thought to chew on for a while! – heh:)
...once again we have the "random natural processes" vs "intelligence of the gaps" dichotomy.
In answer to the atheist world view Mullings uses ID's clunky explanatory filter, a clumsy epistemic algorithm that requires repeated and separate evocations rather than one filter that does the whole job. The clunkiness of ID’s epistemic filter is plain in the way one needs to re-apply it n-times in order for it to work. Let’s say for the sake of argument that it was satisfactorily shown that life evolved. Using de facto ID's epistemic filter one would then conclude that “natural forces did it”. But the de facto IDist can’t really concede defeat at this point and therefore must apply the filter again but this time to the higher level physical regime that has generated life. The same thing happens again if it should prove that the physical regime has an outer physical regime which explains it and so on. This n times invocation of the filter suggested to me that some kind of recursive filter should be adopted rather than this repeated resubmission of the same filter.