Teoria inteligentnego projektu

 The American Spectator -- November 2000

 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 upon a
  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 of his
  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 to
  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?

  Disguised Creationism?

  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 the
  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
  something new."

  Also novel is the respect many "intelligent design" proponents have
  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
  bright guy."

  Eugenie Scott argues that intelligent design proponents don't have a
  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 of
  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
  intelligent design.

  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 his theory
  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 its home:
  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 Baylor
  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 a question
  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 institute, he
  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 where
  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 Web are
  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 ask our
  permission. But we can't spend our time policing the Internet."

  Reaction built quickly. One professor who had previously been friendly
  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 and
  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 intensely
  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, whose rights
  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 the
  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, notes that
  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 procedure,
  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, Dembski
  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
  old-style "creationists."

  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 words incite
  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 find little
  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 between
  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
  grammatical rules.

  The old "scientific creationism" based itself upon two tenets: a
  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
       specified complexity.
       3. Intelligent causation best explains specified complexity.

  The anti-ID school might argue that in the case of biological evolution,
  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 that
  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 of
  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
  in biology.

  If the creation of new information is such a problem, you ask, then why
  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, involves
  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 a
  legitimate question. I don't really think we have an answer yet."

  "The jury is out on that," says William Cooper, chair of the committee
  evaluating the Polanyi Center. "The mathematical discussion has not
  progressed sufficiently."

  Of course, if the committee pronounces final sentence on the Polanyi
  Center and ends all discussion now, we'll never know. The hanging will
  have occurred before the jury comes back.

  Before Congress

  On May 10, a month after Baylor's big Polanyi conference, a number of
  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 the
  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 scientists
  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 science"
  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, a
  congressman from Indiana no less, to get an objective fix on the real
  source of the conflict?

  Philosophizing Science

  There is a method used in science today that goes beyond the scientific
  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
  intelligent design.

  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 in the
  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 atheists
  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 at the
  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 of
  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 pretty
  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: "The
  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 replies,
  "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. By this
  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 even
  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. (b) True
  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 as
  someone who takes a literal interpretation of Genesis."

  Reply: ID is a research project to find out if design is detectable. Unlike
  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 involved in
  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 the
  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 claim: "The
  supporters of intelligent design have never openly presented their data."

  Reply: Anyone looking at the list of scientists invited to the "Nature of
  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 leaves us
  with an unobservable cause that itself needs to be explained.

  Reply: ID, says Dembski, studies the results, the design, not the agent
  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 make. His
  arguments do not produce a new research agenda."

  Reply: Lewis Barker should read Dembski's monograph, in which he
  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 with
  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 a mammoth
  'God-of-the-gaps' problem."

  Reply: If intelligent causes exist (as forensic science and SETI already
  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 it
  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 Ruse,
  science studies natural causes, and to introduce design is to invoke
  supernatural causes.

  Reply: Dembski says that this contrast is wrong: "The proper contrast is
  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
  American Spectator.

  (Posted 11/15/00)

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