This paper examines some of the main positions in the debate on intelligence, design and purpose in nature. It seems that the machine metaphor with its ostensible Deistic implications, introduced by Boyle and Paley, still haunts discussion today as is clear from the anthropic principle. To deal with the issue, some ideas from the side of naturalism are discussed (Dawkins and Davies). The strict naturalistic approach of Dawkins is valued but also criticised for its lack of appreciation for the way humans perceive the world and thus view it through the lens of religion and spirituality – a quality Paul Davies tries to accommodate to some extent. Some comments are made on the ideologically based intelligent-design movement which utilises the concept of intelligence to prove a creator (Shannon, Dembski). From a theological perspective, the concerns expressed by Haught are discussed, namely, a discussion of purposeful design in a way that is less ideological than that of Dembski and Shannon (of the intelligent design movement). The efforts of some theologians (Gregerson, Drees, Rottschaefer and Pannenberg) are discussed in order to reach a conclusion which endeavours to do justice to naturalism as well as theological and spiritual concerns.
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