Mr P. Barnes, in his second letter on "Intelligent Design" (August AD2000), makes the statement that Intelligent Design is a modern concept.
It is more correct, I think, to say that the phrase is modern, but the concept is ancient. For instance, Saint Paul writes, in Romans 1:19-21, "For what can be known about God is perfectly plain to them, since God has made it plain to them; ever since the creation of the world, the invisible existence of God and His everlasting power have been clearly seen by the mind's understanding of created things. And so the people have no excuse."
As for the phrase "Intelligent Design", late last century in the United States, a series of debates was held between two teams of scientists, evolutionists versus creationists. The evolutionists failed to provide convincing scientific support for Darwinism, and the creationists had a signal victory; the series of debates was discontinued.
About this time evolutionists abandoned scientific debate for philosophical speculation and "Intelligent Design" was pushed into the limelight.
A good example of the new tactics was provided a couple of years ago in a television series promoting Darwinism. In this program a noted scientist, the late Stephen Gould, claimed that no Intelligent Designer worth his salt would have designed such an inadequate thing as the human eye.
In highlighting the real or imagined faults of the eye Dr Gould bravely presented, in cartoon form, his own design for a vastly improved human eye. Since then the eye designed by God has continued to satisfy billions of happy users, and the eye designed by Dr Gould has been quietly consigned to the dustbin of failed inventions.