One of the most common objections to a design inference in life is the belief that we must first have independent knowledge and evidence of the designers – their identity, their motivations, their psychology, and their methods – in order to infer design. I call this designer-centrism. It would indeed be nice if we had this independent knowledge about the designer(s), but there is no good reason for thinking it is necessary. For example, Paul Davies doesn’t think it is necessary:
“If ET has put a message into terrestrial organisms, this is surely where to look,” said Davies.
A computer could be used to find obvious attention-grabbing patterns within these stretches of DNA, he said. If a sequence of junk units of DNA were displayed as an array of pixels on a screen and produced a simple image “the presumption of tampering would be inescapable”.
Yet why would such a presumption of tampering would be inescapable? What is the reasoning process that would lead us to this conclusion? I propose it would be just as I described in my book:
Or consider the example of a message in the DNA from Chapter 6. Th e discovery of written text in the DNA might trigger a design inference even among the most extreme of skeptics because it would simultaneously satisfy both criteria. The text itself would be strongly analogous to things human beings produce and such text would unlikely have been spawned by non-teleological processes…..The key is that an analogy to designed things is coupled to a discontinuity with non-teleological processes. They are two sides of the same coin.