I haven’t read this book as yet, but will soon. I doubt very much that Thaxton had any direct connection with ‘Intelligent Design’, if only because this term is prejudicial and filled with ‘god’ bias and crypto-klepto creationist insinuations. It is interesting however that as usual critics of Darwinism arrive first in the scientific field thence to find their work pilfered by the religious right. >>>https://evolutionnews.org/2023/01/intelligent-designs-founding-father/
To me the question of the origin of life is connected to still another cosmic category, the origin of mind, in a strange triad of material, biological, and consciousness domains.
This resembles J.G. Bennett’s model of three levels: the hyponomic, autonomic and hypernomic, corresponding roughly to the above. Let us note that the ‘material’ contains the other two (perhaps). We are still at the threshold of the autonomic, viz. the study of biology and life, while the hypernomic eludes us although our intimations of consciousness are an aspect in progress. Confusing this top level with the ‘spiritual’ is the chronic fallacy in the approach to science. There might be a ‘spiritual’ domain as a fourth category beyond all three of our levels: this would be like the void of the Buddhists, perhaps. But the point is that the spiritual so-called is really inside the ‘material’ container while still being a distinct category.
We have perhaps so muddled the question of ‘god’ as to make it gibberish. But in this model ‘god’ could be a hypernomic materiality/consciousness, as a ‘something’ that emerges from the Big Bang, and is not some king of reality but a component of the hypernomic, or the ‘will in nature’ of the (atheist)Schopenhauer. It should in principle be subject to science/cosmology, if not rank speculation. The point is clear to Buddhists who would not compromise their sense of the conscious realm with cheap myths of divinity, while acknowledging various realms (god realm, titan realm, hungry ghost realm, etc…). This is speculative: don’t write home about this, it is still in the ‘darn’d if I know’ incoming box.