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Archive for Friday, January 27, 2006

Not by design

January 27, 2006

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To the editor:

William Dembski's Monday night speech at the Lied Center provided unexpected insight into the terrible confusion that underlies the evolution controversy today.

Well known as a critic of evolutionary theory, his talk was sponsored by the evangelical Campus Crusade for Christ.

The talk's title suggested he would make "The Case for Intelligent Design," a theory highly congenial to conservative Christians who understand it to be an alternative to their much despised theory of evolution.

Yet, the faithful in the audience were likely taken aback by what they heard. Dembski presented himself and his ideas as purely scientific, not religious. He stated that intelligent design is compatible with the evolution of life from single-celled common ancestors - a process which he accepts as unguided and purposeless and which many Christian sectarians reject outright.

And rather than being an alternative to evolution, he said intelligent design supplements natural selection for complex evolutionary transitions that are "best explained as a result of intelligence." He offered no suggestions as to how a disembodied intelligence might in fact "explain" biological change, but nevertheless focuses his research on how to identify when intelligence must be involved.

In answer to a question, he said he sees no evidence of intelligent design in ordinary nature. Audience members who expected to find in Dembski's presentation a role for a loving, god-like designer of the world and our place in it were no doubt disappointed by his cold view that it all exists not by design but by accident.

Comments

yourworstnightmare 8 years, 2 months ago

I gather after several readings that the author of this rather obtuse letter is upset that Dembski failed to acknowledge the flowing-bearded grandfather, the christian god, as the designer.

Rest assured, he believes this, but realizes that this argument would expose his ideas for what they are, religious/political dogma. A nudge and a wink is usually enough code for rightist christians. Guess the message didn't get through this time.

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gr 8 years, 2 months ago

"I must give this round (like all previous) to the evolutionists - they at least go out of the limb and put forward a theory that is CAPABLE of disproof."

Not true. I've been told there is no way for design of nature to happen. No offer of what a design would look like. Humans only design things. Humans can't design nature. Therefore, it's not designed. In-capable of being disproved.

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Jamesaust 8 years, 2 months ago

I would ask the author to explain in a pithy sentence what the Dembski "scientific theory" was, but then the author admits that Dembski could not "explain" how "intelligence" in fact works.

What manner of "science" fails to postulate a theory that can then be supported or undermined by fact?

How does the failure to quote Bible verses in support of an approach change one bit the Belief foundation of ID? How does the absence of straightforward religious argument substitute for the presence of scientific thought?

I must give this round (like all previous) to the evolutionists - they at least go out of the limb and put forward a theory that is CAPABLE of disproof.

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