So, I am somewhat ambivalent toward intelligent design. Not because I do not think that the universe and its denizens were created, but because I think that the Darwinian response to ID usually matches ID for explanations. However, I find many of the arguments against ID to be bad.
One of the objections to ID is that the organisms in the natural world seem to exhibit bad design.. The examples of the Panda's thumb and other examples of apparent bad design have been pointed out frequently. The only problem is they aren't actually good arguments against design. In fact, Paley, the guy who explicated the Enlightenment version of the teleological argument, anticipated this criticism of the argument. Paley gave the example of a man finding a watch on the beach, we would probably think the man perverse or a little insane if he thought the watch was the product of a mindless process, or had always sat there without a designer to make it. Paley's rejoinder to the argument from bad design it so say,
Neither, secondly, would it invalidate our conclusion, that the watch sometimes went wrong, or that it seldom went exactly right. The purpose of the machinery, the design, and the designer, might be evident, and in the case supposed would be evident, in whatever way we accounted for the irregularity of the movement, or whether we could account for it or not. It is no necessary that a matching be perfect, in order to show with what design i was made: still lesss necessary, where the only question is, whether it were made with any design at all.
Another attempted argument against ID arguments comes from the idea that the "laws of nature" are responsible for complex organisms. Paley had a handy objection to this as well. He imagines the man who finds the watch being told by an aquiantance that there was no designer of the watch, but the laws of metallic nature were solely responsible. Paley responds,
...It is a perversion of language to assign any law, as the efficient, operative cause of anything. A law presupposes an agent; for it is only the mode, according to which an agent proceeds: it implies power; for it is the order, according to which that power acts. Without this agent, without this power, which are both distinct from itself, the law does nothing; is nothing. The expression, "law of metallic nature" may sound strange and harsh to a philsophic ear; but it seems quite as justifiable as some others which are more familiar to him, such as "the law of vegetable nature," "the law of animal nature," or indeed as "the law of nature" in general, when assigned as the cause of phenomena, in exclusion of agency and power: or when it is substituted into the place of these.
It may be objected that the laws of nature are simply the statiscal norms that we have measured in the universe, but then they would no longer be laws but averages. Also, there is such a consistency to natural laws that it seems to justify calling them such. Paley's point is that it wont do to simply brush off the apparent design we seen in the natural world as the production of the "laws of nature" because that raises the question of who made those laws. Human beings usually do not just stop at any old explanation. We always why such and such a thing is the way that it is. Physical laws are susceptibile to the question: Why are they that way? Design is one answer to that.