The Lynching of Bill Dembski
Scientists say the jury is out -- so let the hanging begin.
by Fred Heeren
Mathematician William Dembski stands accused of bringing shame
major university. Not only that, say his colleagues, he has managed to
disgrace the entire scientific enterprise.
Scientists from distant universities wrote letters to the editors
university newspaper, and biologists spoke up through the surrounding
city papers, telling the public why this man must be stopped. When
Dembski organized an academic conference, one incensed professor from
another state sent long e-mails to the scheduled speakers, seeking to
discredit Dembski and convincing one famed philosopher to cancel.
The faculty senate of his own Baylor University voted 26 to 2
recommend that his research center be dismantled. Eight members of
Baylor's science departments wrote Congress about the dangers of
Dembski's project, and several briefings on the issues were made before
a bipartisan group of congressional members and staff.
So you're wondering: What kind of new and evil science is William
Dembski practicing? Is he cloning half-humans without souls to create
cheap labor? Several Baylor students interviewed for this article couldn't
pinpoint the exact deed, but knew it was immoral because they heard that
it had something to do with an evil use of the human genome project.
What does Bill Dembski think of all this? A mild-mannered
mathematician more at home with probability theory than politics, he
shakes his head in disbelief. "I've found that when people get to know
me one-on-one, they think what I'm doing is legitimate, or at least worth
pursuing. But when they start listening to the siren call of the Internet,
things get out of control."
What Dembski has actually done hardly seems nefarious. As a scientist
with twin Ph.D.'s in mathematics and philosophy, Dembski has set about
developing mathematical methods for detecting intelligent design, should
it be discernible, in nature. That's all. What's more, he has submitted his
work to the scientific scrutiny of his peers. So why are all these
professors so hysterical?
Since the 1980's, critics have charged that the intelligent designconcept
is really just "a disguised form of creationism." According to Eugenie
Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education:
"They're really saying God does it, but they're not as honest as the
Biblical creationists. The intelligence is really spelled in three letters:
Not at all, says Dembski. Intelligent design points not to a
creator, but to
a designer -- a crucial distinction. "If you examine a piece of furniture,"
he explains, "you can identify that it is designed, but you can't identify
who or what is responsible for the wood in the first place. Intelligent
design just gets you to an intelligent cause that works with pre-existing
materials, but not the source of those materials."
Neuroscientist Lewis Barker, who left Baylor in protest over
administration's "religious" policies, buys none of this: "I see it as a form
of stealth creationism, a very old argument wrapped in new clothes."
Later, however, he adds: "The whole notion of using mathematics, that's
Also novel is the respect many "intelligent design" proponents
earned in the academic community. "They're real academics, not cranks,"
admits Skeptic magazine publisher Michael Shermer, whose editorial board
is overwhelmingly composed of intelligent design critics such as Stephen
Jay Gould and Eugenie Scott herself. "They have real degrees and
tenure," adds Shermer. Not only does William Dembski have doctorates in
mathematics and philosophy, he has done postdoctoral work in mathematics
at MIT, physics at the University of Chicago, and computer science at
Princeton University. Even Lewis Barker says: "He seems to be a very
Eugenie Scott argues that intelligent design proponents don't
scholarly position because they never submit their work for peer review.
But each time she brings up the kind of scholarly evaluation that's lacking
-- the reviewed publications or academic conferences -- she stops short
when she comes to the work of William Dembski.
Regarding conferences, Scott remembers Dembski's "The Nature
Nature" conference (April 12-15 at Baylor) and grudgingly admits: "They
actually did invite some scientists there." In fact, the slate of speakers
included two Nobel Prize-winning scientists and several members from the
National Academy of Sciences. The list was weighted toward prominent
biologists, physicists, and philosophers who were critical of
And when Scott ticks off a list of non-peer-reviewed design literature,
she hesitates when she recalls that Dembski's book, The Design
Inference, was written as part of a Cambridge University philosophy of
science series. Published as Dembski's doctoral dissertation in
philosophy, it became Cambridge's best-selling philosophical monograph
in recent years. After surviving a review of 70 scholars, and then the
standard dissertation defense at the University of Illinois, The Design
Inference finally underwent corrections and refereed scrutiny for two
years at Cambridge University Press.
The great irony is that just as Dembski is proposing to test
with the help of molecular biologists, the very scientists who are
challenging intelligent design to pass scientific tests are using every means
possible to ensure those tests never take place.
Birth of a Think Tank
The brief story of Dembski's Michael Polanyi Center starts with
Baylor University, the world's largest Baptist institution, located in Waco,
Texas. For years, Baylor had a reputation among conservatives for going
the way of many once-Christian colleges, neglecting its religious heritage
and embracing the politically correct tenets of secular humanism instead.
All that began to change when Robert Sloan became president of
University in 1995. Sloan, a New Testament scholar with a doctorate in
theology from the University of Basel, proposed to return the school to
its mission of integrating academic excellence and Christian commitment.
To foster this goal, he oversaw the establishment of the university's
Institute for Faith and Learning, which explores opportunities for
profitable engagement between faith and academic pursuits like art,
history, business -- even science.
Sloan resisted the urging of fundamentalists to "throw the evolutionists
out" of the biology department, vowing never to bar anyone at Baylor
from teaching evolution. He rejects the notion of a "creation science"
(6-day creation a few thousand years ago). But he also believes that "the
academic world has become far too compartmentalized."
"Baylor ought to be the kind of place where a student can ask
and not just get the runaround," says Sloan. "He shouldn't have to go to
the theology department and be told, 'Oh, that's a scientific question.
Don't ask me that.' And then the student goes to the science department
and they tell him, 'That's a religious question. Don't ask me that.'"
So far this doesn't sound too different from many other universities
nationwide that have recently set up centers to revisit the relationship
between science and religion. But matters took a fateful turn in the fall of
1998 when President Sloan read an article by William Dembski and was
wowed by his work and credentials. Others in the administration were
also impressed. Michael Beaty, director of the Institute for Faith and
Learning, says that Dembski's work "fit right in with the institute. Bill was
fruitfully dialoging with religion and science."
When Beaty sounded him out about his interest in joining the
learned that Dembski was seeking to build a research center to test the
theory of intelligent design. The administration received his ideas with
enthusiasm. His research would pursue not only intelligent design, but a
broad range of topics having to do with the foundations of the natural
and social sciences. Thus was born the Michael Polanyi Center, which
Dembski named for an eminent physical chemist who taught that biology is
not reducible to chemistry and physics.
"This was an opportunity to reaffirm that Baylor is a university
controversial issues can be discussed," says Donald Schmeltekopf,
Baylor's provost. "We decided to go ahead and give it a chance,
believing the university would be a richer and more compelling place,
knowing that there would be those who would have objections." His
pleasant expression disappears, and he adds: "We didn't anticipate the
amount of objection."
After Dembski brought on board Bruce Gordon (Ph.D. in the history
and philosophy of physics) as associate director of the Polanyi Center,
the duo made a good first impression on the faculty they met. Gordon led
a colloquium reading group, using two books about interactions between
science and faith. Discussion with participating faculty was cordial.
"The controversy began after our Website debuted in mid-January,"
explains Gordon. "That's what drew more faculty attention to the center."
While the Polanyi site itself was unexceptionable, other groups with
evolutionist-bashing agendas began linking up their Websites to the
center. Many on the biology faculty flashed back to old culture battles,
when such groups had publicly questioned the professors' integrity.
Gordon is understanding, but explains that the realities of the
such that the Polanyi Center has no control over who connects to their
"We don't endorse a connection to those sites at all. They didn't
permission. But we can't spend our time policing the Internet."
Reaction built quickly. One professor who had previously been
at the reading group wrote Gordon an insulting letter. An e-mail frenzy
began between faculty in all departments, calling special attention to the
creationist Websites that claimed the Polanyi Center as one of their own.
News spread to other universities, and soon newspapers in Waco
Houston were filled with reactions from a handful of vocal Baylor
professors who were appalled that such a monstrosity as the Polanyi
Center should be found on their campus.
By this time, plans were well under way for a large Polanyi conference
called "The Nature of Nature." Most Baylor biologists decided to boycott
the event. Even so, the April conference drew 350 scholars from around
the world whose views varied wildly on the conference's central
question: "Is the universe self-contained or does it require something
beyond itself to explain its existence and internal function?"
By all accounts, the conference itself was an outstanding success,
drawing attention to Baylor as a place that could attract world-class
scholars for dialogue on the big questions. In spite of one out-of-state
professor's campaign to convince all speakers to cancel, the conference
brought together such luminaries as Nobelist/physicist Steven Weinberg,
Nobelist/biochemist Christian de Duve, big bang cosmologist Alan Guth,
paleontologist Simon Conway Morris, and philosopher Alvin Plantinga.
But the conference only focused the Baylor faculty's anger more
on the Michael Polanyi Center. A few days after it ended, the faculty
senate met and voted to recommend that the administration dissolve the
center immediately. The faculty claimed that President Sloan had no right
to set up such a center and choose its head without their involvement.
"It's rather ironic that people in the scientific community,
had to be protected in the face of ideological pressure [from
creationists], now appear to be suppressing others," says President
Sloan. "People have always asked questions about the relationship of
religious views and the natural phenomena we see in the world. I think it
just borders on McCarthyism to call that 'creation science.'"
The day after the faculty senate vote, President Sloan addressed
faculty, telling them that he would not close down the Polanyi Center
merely because they demanded it. The procedure he had used in setting up
the center was no different from the one he and previous administrators
had used to establish other centers.
Michael Beaty, director of the Institute for Faith and Learning,
they had used the same procedure for setting up the Center for American
Jewish Studies, without criticism.
Recognizing that the faculty's real objections were not about
Sloan repeated to the faculty an earlier announced plan to form an
independent peer review committee to evaluate William Dembski's work and
the work of the Polanyi Center. He said that he sympathized with the
science faculty over their concern for their reputations, but that the bigger
issue is academic freedom. He didn't like the idea of snuffing out a
project without giving it a chance to have its work reviewed by peers.
Assuming the committee would impartially address the matter,
welcomed the review. "Academic programs need to be held accountable," he
said at the time. "I would go further than that and say that I value
objective peer review. I always learn more from my critics than from the
people who think I'm wonderful."
Initially, Baylor spokesman Larry Brumley insisted that the committee
wouldn't be asked whether the center should be dissolved. "It's not a
committee to look at whether we should reconsider having the Polanyi
Center," Brumley said. "They're looking at how we can better communicate
its purpose and address the concerns of faculty members."
When the committee membership was announced, however, Dembski
was surprised to find antagonistic biologists in the majority. Worse, the
committee did not include a single person capable of understanding the
mathematical arguments made in Dembski's The Design Inference. (This was
partially rectified when one statistician was later added to the team.)
Neither were Dembski's prospects brightened when the committee
chose as its head William Cooper, a philosophy professor who calls the
Polanyi Center extremely "polarizing" and doubtlessly connected to the
Lingering anger in the biology department is perhaps an understandable
reaction after years of ideological assault by creationism activists. But the
personal outrage against the very idea of Dembski's work runs even
deeper than that. The resentment becomes obvious to any outsider who
dares to roam the halls of the Baylor biology department and ask
professors for their take on the dispute.
What exactly is intelligent design (ID), and why do the very
such fury among some biologists?
What Is Intelligent Design?
ID depends upon a concept known as specified complexity.
Say you're out raking leaves in the backyard. If you were to
piles of leaves, equally spaced apart in a long line, the arrangement
would be an example of specificity, but it could be explained by what fell
out of a rolling barrel. Each time the barrel made a revolution, another
clump fell out, each spaced apart by about the same distance. The
pattern is specified, but not complex.
When you come across thousands of piles of leaves in no particular
pattern, that's complex, and it may take billions of overturned barrels to
produce another pattern just like it. But it's not specified. No intelligent
design is required to explain it.
But let's say you come across a thousand leaves arranged as letters
spelling meaningful words, sentences, paragraphs, even a whole
story--that's specified complexity. Specified complexity creates
information and meaning, and that requires intelligent design.
Many scientific disciplines already use such logic to distinguish
phenomena produced by an intelligence from those that are not. The
cryptologist, when breaking a code, looks for patterns that create
meaning and are not due to chance. SETI (Search for Extraterrestrial
Intelligence) does the same in its search for signals of intelligence from
space (think Jodie Foster in Contact). Even Quincy's forensic science
was all about trying to determine whether a death was due to an
accident, natural causes, or the design of an intelligence.
William Dembski puts it this way: "Specified complexity powerfully
extends the usual mathematical theory of information, known as Shannon
information. Shannon's theory dealt only with complexity, which can be
due to random processes as well as to intelligent design. The addition of
specification to complexity, however, is like a vise that grabs only things
due to intelligence. Indeed, all the empirical evidence confirms that the
only known cause of specified complexity is intelligence."
Thus when Dembski observes this specified complexity in DNA
messages and protein coding, he infers intelligent design. These patterns
give real information in the form of meaningful instructions, precisely
analogous to language with words, sentences, punctuation marks, and
The old "scientific creationism" based itself upon two tenets:
supernatural agent created all things, and the Bible gives us an accurate
account of what happened. In contrast, according to Dembski, intelligent
design is built upon three very different tenets:
1. Specified complexity is well
defined and empirically
2. Undirected natural causes are incapable of explaining
3. Intelligent causation best explains specified complexity.
The anti-ID school might argue that in the case of biological
natural causes do eventually produce the specified complexity we see in
living things. Natural selection culls through countless mutations over
time, eventually producing specified complexity. As the need for survival
helps organisms evolve, new information is created and they ratchet their
way up into new forms.
The problem with this scenario, according to ID theorists, is
mutations do not produce new information. Natural selection has slim
pickin's to choose from, even when it picks the fittest. Without an
intelligence to produce new information, no amount of re-shuffling of
genes will result in a new organism.
Biologist Peter Medawar called this principle the law of conservation
information. Michael Polanyi himself believed that natural selection and
mutation, the two mechanisms of neo-Darwinism, are inadequate for the
task of producing new anatomies or functions in evolving animals. The
focus on information theory is one reason mathematicians have often been
more skeptical of rigid Darwinist explanations than their colleagues
If the creation of new information is such a problem, you ask,
isn't this common knowledge in our institutions of higher learning? And if
intelligent design is such an obvious answer, why haven't we heard more
about this before? For one thing, no one's ever gotten far enough along
to test it before. But William Dembski is getting close.
Bruce Gordon says that design theory, as a scientific strategy,
two goals: 1. to mathematically characterize designed structures (using
stochastic processes theory, probability theory, complexity theory, etc.)
to detect intelligent design, and 2. to go into nature and see whether the
mathematical structures map onto the physical structures in a way
indicative of design.
This, of course, is precisely what Dembski has been preparing
to do with
his research center. He is laying the groundwork to hire molecular
biologists to do research on protein structure and protein folding to test
ID. "What has to happen," says Dembski, "is that ID has to generate
research that's more fruitful for biology than neo-Darwinism."
Can design actually be tested as part of science?
"Has ID really been tried?" repeats Eugenie Scott. "I think that's
legitimate question. I don't really think we have an answer yet."
"The jury is out on that," says William Cooper, chair of the
evaluating the Polanyi Center. "The mathematical discussion has not
Of course, if the committee pronounces final sentence on the
Center and ends all discussion now, we'll never know. The hanging will
have occurred before the jury comes back.
On May 10, a month after Baylor's big Polanyi conference, a number
members of Congress attended a three hour briefing on intelligent design.
William Dembski had been invited to join other ID scientists in the
presentation, but the Baylor administration ordered him not to
participate. President Sloan wanted to keep Baylor from all appearance
of mixing academics with politics.
But some Baylor biologists became so concerned about how far
intelligent design message was spreading that eight of them drafted a long
letter to Congressman Mark Souder, an Education Committee member,
who had co-hosted the meeting. Their letter was intended to let the
congressman know that he had been duped by the ID proponents, and that
ID research is not legitimate science. Their attempt to embarrass the
ID people was turned around on them when Congressman Souder
responded with his own presentation to the House of Representatives,
including the reading of their letter into the Congressional Record.
Using their letter as Exhibit A, he told the House that these
were practicing "viewpoint discrimination in science and science
education," and that "ideological bias has no place in science."
Referring to the letter's frequent use of the phrase "materialistic
as their noble cause, the congressman told his colleagues, "One senses
here not a defense of science but rather an effort to protect, by political
means, a privileged philosophical viewpoint against a serious challenge....
As [members of] the Congress, it might be wise for us to question
whether the legitimate authority of science over scientific matters is being
misused by persons who wish to identify science with a philosophy they
A preferred philosophy? Could it be that it took an outsider,
congressman from Indiana no less, to get an objective fix on the real
source of the conflict?
There is a method used in science today that goes beyond the
method. It's based on a philosophy called naturalism, defined by Funk &
Wagnalls as "the doctrine that all phenomena are derived from natural
causes and can be explained by scientific laws without reference to a
plan or purpose." It's the "without plan or purpose" part that nixes
When this philosophy is applied to science, it's called methodological
naturalism, and for many scientists today it is an unquestioned
Last spring biology Professor Richard Duhrkopf got his picture
papers when he accused the Polanyi Center of trying to "change the
philosophy of science." But is science supposed to have a particular
philosophy attached to it? Many of us laymen have always thought that
science was supposed to be about applying the scientific method to
observations and measurements and gaining as much knowledge of the world
as possible, not reaching foreordained conclusions.
Methodological naturalism proposes that scientists be provisional
in their work, no matter what contrary evidence they find. Intelligent
design proponents are asking simply that science be purified of all
philosophical biases. At least, no philosophical bias should be promoted
as scientific. Scientists are welcome to hold to personal philosophies and
even have them running in the background, as guiding principles, if they
think that helps them do their work. But those personal philosophies
should not be confused with science.
Berkeley law professor Phillip Johnson stated the issue succinctly
congressional briefing: Americans, he said, must choose between two
definitions of science in our culture: 1. science is unbiased, empirical
testing that follows the evidence wherever it leads, or 2. science is
applied materialist philosophy which, like Marxism or Freudianism, is
willing to impose its authority.
Being Methodologically Correct
"The twentieth century was the high point of methodological
correctness," says President Sloan. "We all know that life is more than
sociology or history or anthropology. Unfortunately, people have
forgotten that the methodological brackets we apply are purely artificial,
intended to be temporary."
ID keeps an open mind, and is entirely agnostic on the subject
religion. The intelligent design that Dembski hopes to detect could belong
either to a Biblical God or to an earlier race of Martians who planted us
here (like in the movie Mission to Mars).
The idea that life here was seeded from another place may seem
far out. But Francis Crick, winner of the Nobel Prize for his
co-discovery of DNA's structure, is one of a number of scientists who
have seriously promoted the "panspermia" hypothesis, the idea that life
was sent here in the form of seeds from a faraway civilization. The
reason for such an idea? Crick wrote that "the probability of life
originating at random is so utterly minuscule as to make it absurd."
Writing with his colleague Chandra Wickramasinghe, Crick stated:
theory that life was assembled by an intelligence...is so obvious that one
wonders why it is not widely accepted as being self-evident. The reasons
are psychological rather than scientific."
Asked about the Mission to Mars possibility, Michael Shermer
"That's a legitimate hypothesis. That's testable, that's explainable. But 'a
miracle happened' -- that's different." In other words, design is
detectable and testable--but only as long as you can be sure ahead of
time that the designer isn't God.
This is less a philosophy than an intellectual straitjacket.
reasoning, scientists whose findings point to natural causes may proceed
unimpeded, while those whose evidence points to a supernatural cause
must immediately close up shop and go home. One thing you have to say
for Dembski's intelligent design theory: It makes the ultimate questions
real, putting them into our own world. By blocking ID research,
methodological naturalism becomes not only a method for doing science,
but a method for keeping the deepest human concerns a safe distance from
our personal lives.
On September 8 and 9, the peer review committee finally met and
brought in Dembski and Gordon for 45 minutes of grilling. One committee
member chastised Dembski for questioning the adequacy of neo-Darwinism.
Dembski, however, showed none of the hoped-for contrition. As this issue
goes to press, the committee is getting set to announce its
What will be the fate of Dembski, Gordon, and their Michael Polanyi
Center? It's up to one man only -- President Robert Sloan. He can bow to
faculty pressure and dissolve the present Polanyi Center, perhaps
restaffing it with scholars more to the faculty's liking; or clip Dembski's
wings by taking away his ability to raise money to run programs. Or he
can stand behind the man he hired, make the case that science should be
about facts, not McCarthyite lynch mobs -- and take the heat that will
surely be generated by disgruntled faculty and their sympathetic media.
Either way, the ultimate victim or victor won't be Bill Dembski,
it will be
unbiased science and humanity's quest to discover the truth -- wherever
that truth leads us.
Top 10 Accusations
Bill Dembski is guilty of: (a) Politically incorrect thought-crimes.
crimes against science and religion. You decide. Here are the leading
accusations--and how the Polanyi Center folks reply:
1. It's all a front for the creationists.
Lewis Barker: "These people are creationists. They define that
someone who takes a literal interpretation of Genesis."
Reply: ID is a research project to find out if design is detectable.
creationism, it's not concerned with the identity of the designer. It
proposes scientific tests that can be falsified, not presuppositions that
must be believed. Bruce Gordon says, "The Polanyi Center has no
interest at all in the Biblical literalist approach. I have considerable
problems with it. It doesn't do justice to science nor to Biblical
2. It's all politics.
Michael Shermer: "Their agenda is a re-introduction of Judeo-Christian
thought into the public schools. They're carrying out a bottom-up
strategy, by starting in the academy."
Reply: The Polanyi Center's purpose is research, not getting
politics or textbook wars. If ID proves correct, say its adherents, its
research results should of course be included in textbooks. But no one at
Polanyi is proposing that Genesis be taught in public schools.
3. ID is a science stopper.
Complaining Baylor faculty members, says one journalist, "see
intelligent design crowd as seeking to put a tourniquet on inquiry."
Reply: Dembski says that naturalism often stops inquiry, "such
as in its
expectation for the uselessness of vestigial organs and junk DNA,
whereas intelligent design profitably continues looking for their function."
The call for the dissolution of the Polanyi Center is a better example of
"putting a tourniquet on inquiry." Even ID proponent Phillip Johnson, the
Berkeley law professor most abhorred by ID critics, does not advocate
the removal of Darwinism from the curriculum, but that schools should
"teach the controversy."
4. ID doesn't want peer review or criticism.
Included in the Baylor biologists' letter to Congress was the
supporters of intelligent design have never openly presented their data."
Reply: Anyone looking at the list of scientists invited to the
Nature" conference should be cured of that notion. The majority were
critics of ID.
5. All they say is that God did it. And where did He come from?
Saying that God did it, writes Darwinist Richard Dawkins, only
with an unobservable cause that itself needs to be explained.
Reply: ID, says Dembski, studies the results, the design, not
that produced it. Dembski further points out that most new theoretical
entities would forever remain off limits if their source had to be fully
understood before they could be proposed. Example: Boltzmann's kinetic
theory of heat, which invoked the motion of unobservable particles (now
called atoms and molecules), which Boltzmann could not explain.
6. ID can't be quantified.
Lewis Barker: "There is absolutely no prediction Dembski can
arguments do not produce a new research agenda."
Reply: Lewis Barker should read Dembski's monograph, in which
lays out rigorous, mathematical tests to identify complex specified
information and to show how CSI always implies intelligent design.
7. All ID can do is criticize evolution.
Eugenie Scott: "It is certainly fair to describe them as anti-evolutionists."
Reply: In fact, says Bruce Gordon, "intelligent design is compatible
evolution. Many biologists are theistic evolutionists. Design can be
understood as built into the initial conditions, so that the subsequent
development was continuous and not interrupted by any transcendent
intervention. Yet the teleology could still be quantified through the
methods of the mathematical techniques of design theory."
8. It's bad theology.
Eugenie Scott: "Theologians don't like it because it creates
Reply: If intelligent causes exist (as forensic science and SETI
assume), then it is wrong to assume that all gaps in present knowledge
must eventually be filled by non-intelligent causes.
9. It's bad science, or not science at all.
Reply: Dembski points out that if you say ID is not science because
can't be observed, then we must also toss out theoretical entities like
quarks, super-strings, and cold dark matter. If you say it's not science
because the design is not repeatable, then out goes the big bang, the
origin of life, and the origin of humans. If you say science must deal
exclusively with what is governed by law, then out goes the special
sciences that deal with intelligent agents, like forensics and SETI. ID
advocates aren't asking to be cut any more slack than these.
10. ID invokes supernatural causes.
According to Eugenie Scott and biologist/philosopher Michael
science studies natural causes, and to introduce design is to invoke
Reply: Dembski says that this contrast is wrong: "The proper
between undirected natural causes on the one hand and intelligent causes
on the other. Whether an intelligent cause is located within or outside
nature is a separate question from whether an intelligent cause has acted
within nature. Design has no prior commitment to supernaturalism."
Fred Heeren is a science journalist who writes about modern
cosmology, paleontology, and biology. He lives in Wheeling, Illinois.
This article also appears in the November 2000 issue of The
Copyright © 2000 The American Spectator. All rights reserved.