- The Design Revolution
"The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions about Intelligent Design" is a book written by
William A. Dembskiin 2004 which argues for a number of points supporting intelligent design, the controversial conjecture that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not a naturalistic process such as natural selection. The book is written in question/answer format from Dembski's point of view as one of the conceptual leaders in that movement. Each chapter is about 4 pages long and addresses one specific question. Dembski credits intelligent design's critics, comprised of the overwhelming majority of the scientific community and science education organizations, [See: 1) List of scientific societies rejecting intelligent design2) . The Discovery Institute's [http://www.dissentfromdarwin.org/ Dissent From Darwin Petition] has been signed by about 500 scientists. The AAAS, the largest association of scientists in the U.S., has 120,000 members, and [http://www.aaas.org/news/releases/2002/1106id2.shtml firmly rejects intelligent design and denies that there is a legitimate scientific controversy] . More than 70,000 Australian scientists and educators [http://www.science.unsw.edu.au/news/2005/intelligent.html condemn teaching of intelligent design in school science classes] . [http://www.ncseweb.org/resources/articles/8408_statements_from_scientific_and_12_19_2002.asp List of statements from scientific professional organizations] on the status intelligent design and other forms of creationism. ] for providing these questions. The forward was written by Charles W. Colson.
The book begins with a preface polemic where Dembski maintains that the harsh critiques that his work has received to date by the scientific community, which he describes as "dogmatic Darwinists and scientific naturalists," is typical of what previous geniuses and innovators have been subjected to by science orthodoxy. Dembski claims that intelligent design theory will inevitably and soon lead to a revolution in which science will be completely overhauled according to his and fellow ID proponent's ideas.
Jeffrey Shallitcriticises the book for evasion and dissembling — for answering the easier questions disingenuously and avoiding the harder questions entirely. He states that Dembski's assertion that "design theorists oppose Darwinian theory on strictly scientific grounds" is not even remotely plausible, due to the fact that "nearly every prominent intelligent design supporter a conservative Christian" and recounts how the biographies of Phillip E. Johnson, Jonathan Wells and Dembski himself cast doubt on the assertion. Shallit also accuses Dembski of misrepresenting philosopher Daniel Dennettand making obvious errors in the field of information theory. The list of questions that Shallit accuses Dembski of refusing to address include: [ [http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archives/000117.html Desperately Evading the Toughest Questions about Intelligent Design: A Review of Dembski's "The Design Revolution"] , Jeffrey Shallit, The Panda's Thumb, April 7, 2004] quotation
* [W] hat, exactly, is design? ...
*When estimating the probability of events, why do you use two different and incompatible methods, depending on whether the event was human-caused or not? ...
*Why have you never acknowledged that a crucial calculation on page 249 of No Free Lunch is off by about 65 orders of magnitude, even though you were informed of this in 2002? ...
*Why have you not acknowledged that your mathematical "proof" on pages 152-154 of No Free Lunch that "natural causes cannot generate CSI" is flawed, since (among other errors) it claims it applies to all functions f, but actually it assumes that the function f is known to the intelligent agent in question? ...
*Why have you never seriously addressed the work of artificial life researchers, who routinely find in their simulations the kinds of novelties you claim are impossible? ...
*Why do you continue to conflate your term "specified complexity" with Davies' use of the term, when Davies is clearly referring to events with high Kolmogorov complexity, whereas you are referring to events with low Kolmogorov complexity?
Mark Perakhcriticises Dembski for failing to address critiques from his most prominent and qualified critics:quotation|Dembski's faulty interpretation of the NFL theorems was strongly criticized by Richard Wein and by David Wolpert, the originator of these theorems. Dembski spared no effort in rebutting Wein's critique, devoting to it two lengthy essays. However, he did not utter a single word in regard to Wolpert's critique. It is not hard to see why. Wein, as Dembski points out, has only a bachelor's degree in statistics -- and Dembski uses this irrelevant factoid to deflect Wein's well substantiated criticism. He does not, though, really answer the essence of Wein's comments and resorts instead to ad hominem remarks and a contemptuous tone. He can't do the same with Wolpert who enjoys a sterling reputation as a brilliant mathematician and who is obviously much superior to Dembski in the understanding of the NFL theorems of which he is a co-author. Dembski pretends that Wolpert's critique does not exist.
Dembski has behaved similarly in a number of other situations. For example, the extensive index in his latest book "The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions About Intelligent Design" completely omits the names of most of the prominent critics of Dembski's ideas. We don't see in that index the following names: Rich Baldwin, Eli Chiprout, Taner Edis, Ellery Eels, Branden Fitelson,
Philip Kitcher, Peter Milne, Massimo Pigliucci, Del Ratzsch, Jeff Shallit, Niall Shanks, Jordan H. Sobel, Jason Rosenhouse, Christopher Stephenson, Richard Wein, and Matt Young. All these writers have analyzed in detail Dembski's literary output and demonstrated multiple errors, fallacious concepts and inconsistencies which are a trademark of his prolific production. [Footnotes omitted] | Mark Perakh|The design revolution? How William Dembski Is Dodging Questions About Intelligent Design| [ [http://www.talkreason.org/articles/revolution.cfm The design revolution? How William Dembski Is Dodging Questions About Intelligent Design] , Mark Perakh, Talk Reason]
Intelligent design movement
Center for Science and Culture
* [http://ivpress.gospelcom.net/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/code=2375 Publisher's info page on the book]
* [http://www.arn.org/arnproducts/books/b079.htm Book info from ARN (Access Research Network)]
* [http://www.pandasthumb.org/pt-archives/000117.html Jeffrey Shallit's review]
* [http://www.talkreason.org/articles/revolution.cfm The design revolution? Mark Perakh's review, How William Dembski Is Dodging Questions About Intelligent Design]
* [http://acs.ucsd.edu/~idea/dembski/desrev.pdf Online excerpts of the book]
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