Is it possible to define the source of intelligent causes, which provides the foundation for the Intelligent Design theory, from a purely scientific perspective? Is yes, How? If not, why not?
I think it will be easier to determine the answer to your question, if we make the question a bit clearer. It seems that your question can be more simply reformulated as:
You have defined intelligent design as a property of a universe in a state that was caused by a directed process. You used the term "intelligent cause", which is a bit redundant, but the contrast to "an undirected process, such as natural selection" elucidates the definition. So, we can again reformulate the question as:
- Is belief in religious dogma a necessary consequence of belief that the state of the universe was caused by a directed process?
I think we can summarize the belief in religiously-dogmatic cosmology, as a "belief that the state of the universe was caused by God". So, our next reformulation is:
- Is a belief that the state of the universe was caused by God a necessary consequence of a belief that the state of the universe was caused by a directed process?
If God is the only possible directed process, then the answer to the question is Yes. If God is not the only possible directed process, then the directed process that caused the state of the universe could be God or it could be the other thing(s), so the answer to the question is No. So, you're question can be further reduced to:
- Is God the only possible directed process that could cause the state of the universe?
I can conceive of directed processes that could cause the state of the universe, that are as plausible as a dogmatic, religious God, so I tend to think the answer to your question is that Intelligent design does not require religion.
Consider a computer chess game. It executes particular processes (moves) in a directed manner (directed towards winning the chess game). I don't think that the computer game is a God, (nor the computer programmer), but it is certainly creating a directed process. This occurs in the physical world, due to a specific configuration of matter that forces electric signals to execute within the parameters of a defined algorithm.
Given that if there is something, it must be somewhere, it is certainly conceivable that when whatever was here before what is here now was here, it was aligned in such a way that some impulse could cause it to emit a "directed process". This is analogous to a mouse click in the universe of the computer running the chess program. This vague example at least gives an example of what a "non-religious" explanation for intelligent design would look like.
One potential counterargument that I anticipate, would be the contention, that any such impulse or configuration of matter is itself God. But, in order for that argument to hold, the objector would have to start a religion that defines God as such and cultivate a following that accepts it as religious dogma.