I am skeptical of the Neo-Darwinian theory of macroevolution and support intelligent design theory for purely scientific reasons. I do not think that unguided evolution (incl. so-called theistic evolution) is incompatible with good theology, but that it is incompatible with good science and possibly also incompatible with proper metaphysics. I consider intelligent design theory as a valid scientific research paradigm that has decisively refuted Neo-Darwinism, which was the only conceivable option for a naturalistic and mechanistic explanation of biological origins. As intelligent agency is the only known source for specified information, purposeful intelligent agency is the best explanation for biological novelty, complexity, and diversity. Based on independent scientific and philosophical arguments against materialism, I am personally convinced that the intelligent designer is not to be identified with embodied intelligences within spacetime (such as space aliens), even though such naturalistic designers would be compatible with intelligent design theory, because they would only shift the problem and create an infinite regress.
Even though, intelligent design theory is in principle compatible with universal common descent and guided evolution, I personally have come to reject common ancestry as naturalistic mode of macroevolution in favor of a sophisticated version of progressive (Old Earth) special creation in terms of non-random adaptive macro-mutations in the "womb" of parental organisms (analogous to Schindewolf's and Goldschmidt's "hopeful monsters", recently endorsed by Rieppel 2017, as well as other representatives of saltationism, mutationism and orthogenesis) combined with the instantiation of a new form that preexisted as template in the mind of the designer ("special transformism" sensu Chaberek 2017). I also consider front-loaded design in terms of process structuralism (fine-tuned laws of form), but this cannot explain complex adaptations (what Dawkins called "apparent design"). Nevertheless, I do affirm that every organism (apart from the first living cell) was produced / born from a biological parent organism and thus did not pop into being ex nihilo. I also affirm microevolutionary speciation within biological kinds through Neo-Darwinian processes. However, these never generate new specified complex information, but mostly represent devolution or variation or reshuffling of pre-existing information (e.g., homozygosity from heterozygosity, deactivation or detioration of genes, polyploidy, gene duplication, horizontal gene transfer, hybridogenesis). The two above mentioned affirmations may qualify as affirmation of universal common descent in the eyes of most evolutionary biologists, but the difference is that I only affirm common ancestry in terms of an unbroken lineage of individual maternal and paternal relationships (individual common ancestry), but reject the origin of new biological kinds from other biological kinds via transformation lineages of ancestral species (supraindividual common ancestry). The fact that because of the delicate and intricate interdependence of different genes and their products during ontogenesis, any transition necessarily has to include a coordinated major reprogramming of different genes as well as of epigenetic factors in the zygote cell, shows that the apparent distinction between guided evolution and special creation is rather blurry and in either case involves heavy physical intervention (coordinated and synchronized in multiple individuals within a population). When the distinctive genetic makeup is not inherited from the parents but introduced by design from an external intelligent agent, the process is rather akin to special creation than common ancestry.
I see neither any scientific nor compelling other reasons to dispute the conventional dating of the age of the universe and Earth, or the conventional explanations for the origin of the geological column and the fossil record.
As a scientist, who should follow the evidence wherever it leads, I came to doubt the naturalistic Neo-Darwinian paradigm of unguided evolution via a purely mechanistic process of chance (random mutation, sexual recombination, genetic drift) and necessity (natural and sexual selection), even when supplemented with more modern concepts like symbiogenesis, multilevel (group) selection, epigenetic inheritance, evolvability, natural genetic engineering, phenotypic plasticity, and niche construction, as suggested by the proponents of an extended evolutionary synthesis ("Third Way of Evolution", "Evolution 2.0"). None of these phenomena can explain the origin of complex biological novelty, and some (e.g., natural genetic engineering, phenotypic plasticity, and evolvability) require intelligent design themselves. Therefore, I signed the "Scientific Dissent from Darwinism" list.
Even before my "conversion" to intelligent design theory, I became convinced that only a goal-directed (teleological) process, either with laws of biological form (structuralism) or with non-random adaptive macro-mutations, can explain the evidence. This assumption is also compatible with and supported by the discontinuous fossil record, which strongly suggests saltational origins. Therefore, I totally agree with the views in Stephen C. Meyer's book "Darwin's Doubt".
My rejection of unguided evolution was not motivated by religion, but by some very convincing and still unrefuted scientific arguments from intelligent design proponents, based on information theory (William Dembski, Stephen C. Meyer), population genetics (Richard Sternberg), molecular machines (Michael Behe), and new proteins (Douglas Axe). These arguments emphasize the discontinuities of the fossil record, the prohibitive waiting time for coordinated mutations, the problem of new specified complex information in the genetic code and irreducible complexity of molecular machines, the isolated islands of functionality (folding proteins) in the vast search space of possible aminoacid sequences, which all strongly limit the feasibility of Neo-Darwinian unguided processes.
Concerning the origin of life and the first replicator I consider all naturalistic explanations as wanting and inadequate, and strongly support the conclusions in favor of design presented by Stephen C. Meyer in his excellent book "Signature in the Cell". When intelligent design is required to get life even started, then I see no reason to exclude intelligent design as possible cause for the origin of biological novelties in the subsequent history of life.
No, intelligent design theory is not creationism in a cheap tuxedo, but purely an empirical scientific method to detect the traces of intelligent agency in nature. I concur with the atheist philosophers Thomas Nagel and Bradley Monton that Intelligent Design is not religion but a valid scientific approach.
The term theistic evolution is not clearly defined, and often rather represents an euphemism for Neo-Darwinism, implying a kind of deistic evolution, in which God creates the diversity of life by establishing an unguided process. I consider this as scientifically and metaphysically problematic.
I strictly separated all my activities in favor of intelligent design theory from my professional work when I still worked as a museum scientist at SMNS.
My critique of Neo-Darwinism and endorsement of intelligent design theory is exclusively my private point of view and is neither shared by my former colleagues at SMNS nor by the co-authors of my paleontological publications, who to my best knowledge generally subscribe to the mainstream evolutionary paradigm of Neodarwinism (aka Modern Synthesis)!
After resigning from my job at SMNS in December 2016 I am still actively working as a paleontologist and publish my research in peer-reviewed scientific journals. My ID-related work is published in appropriate journals and books that are open to design conclusions.