3 Oct

Intelligent Design

Category: What We're Reading
By: Amy L. Graeser
Published: 10/03/03

Readings from the liner notes.

William A. Dembski's The Design Inference (Cambridge, 1998) is a highly technical study aimed at philosophers interested in epistemology, logic, probability, and complexity theory. The book asks how we can identify events that happened by reason of intelligent causes and distinguish them from events due to undirected natural causes. His more recent book, Intelligent Design: The Bridge between Science and Theology (InterVarsity Press, 1999) is a more popular and wide-ranging volume. Dembski also edited the anthology Mere Creation: Science, Faith and Intelligent Design (InterVarsity Press, 1998); contributors to this volume include Michael Behe, Steven C. Meyer, Walter L. Bradley, Paul A. Nelson, and Hugh Ross. The July/August 1999 issue of Touchstone contains a number of essays by the same contributors (call 815.398.8569 for copies). Another recent title of similar interest is Michael J. Denton, Nature's Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe (Free Press, 1998). Denton is the Senior Research Fellow in Human Molecular Genetics at the University of Otago in New Zealand. His 1984 book, Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (Adler & Adler), is recommended by Dembski. Denton says that the new book's purpose is "first, to present scientific evidence for believing that the cosmos is uniquely fit for life as it exists on earth and for organisms of design and biology very similar to our own species, Homo sapiens, and second, to argue that this 'unique fitness' of the laws of nature for life is entirely consistent with the older teleological religious concept of the cosmos as a specially designed whole, with life and mankind as its primary goal and purpose." [Posted October 2001, ALG]

William Dembski has further contributed to the debate on intelligent design with his book The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions about Intelligent Design (InterVarsity Press, 2004). Stephen M. Barr, a guest on Volume 62 of the Journal, writes this about the work: "The Design Revolution is about questions of fundamental importance: Can one formulate objective criteria for recognizing design? What do such criteria tell us about design in the biological realm? Sad to say, even to raise such questions is dangerous; but fortunately Dembski is not deterred. In this courageous book he takes aim at the intellectual complacency that too often smothers serious and unprejudiced discussion of these questions." [Posted March 2004, ALG]