Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science & Theology (Google eBook)

Front Cover
InterVarsity Press, Jul 12, 2002 - Religion - 312 pages
4 Reviews
Voted a 2000 Book of the Year by Christianity Today! The Intelligent Design movement is three things:
  • a scientific research program for investigating intelligent causes
  • an intellectual movement that challenges naturalistic evolutionary theories
  • a way of understanding divine action
Although the fast-growing movement has gained considerable grassroots support, many scientists and theologians remain skeptical about its merits. Scientists worry that it's bad science (merely creationism in disguise) and theologians worry that it's bad theology (misunderstanding divine action). In this book William Dembski addresses these concerns and brilliantly argues that intelligent design provides a crucial link between science and theology. Various chapters creatively and powerfully address intelligent discernment of divine action in nature, why the significane of miracles should be reconsidered, and the demise and unanswered questions of British natural theology. Effectively challenging the hegemony of naturalism and reinstating design within science, Dembski shows how intelligent design can be unpacked as a theory of information. Intelligent Design is a pivotal, synthesizing work from a thinker whom Phillip Johnson calls "one of the most important of the design theorists who are sparking a scientific revolution by legitimating the concept of intelligent design in science."

What people are saying - Write a review

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

Mr. Dembski relies on the popularity of books such as this in fundamentalist Christian circles, where the notion of science recognizing God as a designer is appealing (as it should be). However, Christians should realize that "Intelligent Design" proponents like Dembski are not the only Christians who see God as the designer of the universe. Intelligent Design as Dembski uses the term, purports to be a new scientific discipline, with its own brand of evidences for God in the universe. Unfortunately, the number of scientific, peer-reviewed articles supporting this one faulty version of Intelligent Design, don't even amount to a week's worth of the mountain of articles supporting evolutionary theory. And it's worth nothing that a substantial number Christian biologists support standard evolutionary theory (certainly far more than support Dembski's theories), seeing no reason that God could use evolution as well as any other property of the physical universe to enact His purposes.
In fact, what Dembski will rarely say, is that he actually believes that evolutionary processes account for at least some of observable biology (he has said as much in public forums). He can hardly deny it, when so much evidence for evolutionary processes is clear and undeniable. However, Dembski will rarely say this because he depends upon the battle cry against "Darwinism" that he has inherited from the Creationist movement, for what popularity he has.
Dembski's actual scientific approaches (especially his "specified complexity") have already been debunked by the larger scientific communtiy; and his response has been to pick and choose the critics and arguments he wishes to respond to, avoiding the most formidable biologists and mathematicians. (He also is notorious for disingenuously quoting his opponents out of context) The primary problem with "specified complexity" can be easily understood, even by laymen. Dembski calculates the improbability of random mutations generating specific complex biological forms. But that probability equation is completely invalid when you factor in the trillions (or countless) biological forms that evolution might have generated. Evolution doesn't "set out" to create a specific organism, like a ruby throated hummingbird. For all evolution "cares", earth could have been a world of floating jellyfish, or covered over in algae slime, or made up of life forms we can't imagine because they never arose in the first place. The point is that Dembski ascribes "purpose" to evolution in his calculations; but evolution has no purpose. Evolutionary processes simply lead to life forms that "work", that are successful in the given environment, whatever those life forms turn out to be.
When you realize that evolution could have led to any of trillions of possible species, the probability surrounding any one species arising becomes irrelevent (and even silly). It's akin to calculating the odds from the beginning of civilization that your specific mother would have married your specific father. Of course the odds against that particular event are astronomical. But that's meaningless! The real odds are that Somebody is eventually going to mate with Somebody else!
Still, this book demonstrates the only public forum in which his ideas can survive, that of the Christian community in mourning for creationism. Despite his claims, ID has found little to no support in the scientific community; and the little coterie of scientists involved in ID research is neither large nor "world renowned".

User Review - Flag as inappropriate

A good book on alternative to Darwin's theory. However there aren't much concrete examples and the theory does not deny Darwins theory completely. It says the Darwins theory and this co-exists.


Intelligent Design as a Theory of Information
62 Generating Information via Law
63 Generating Information via Chance
64 Generating Information via Law and Chance
65 The Law of Conservation of Information
66 Applying the Theory to Evolutionary Biology
67 Reconceptualizing Evolutionary Biology
Science Theology in Mutual Support

22 Spinozas Rejection of Miracles
23 Schleiennachers Assimilation of Spinoza
24 Unpacking Schleiermachers Naturalistic Critique
25 Critiquing the Naturalistic Critique
26 The Significance of the Naturalistic Critique
The Demise of British Natural Theology
32 From Contrivance to Natural Law
33 From Natural Law to Agnosticism
34 Darwin and His Theory
35 Design and Miracles
36 The Presupposition of Positivism
Naturalism Its Cure
42 The Root of Idolatry
43 Naturalism Within Western Culture
Intelligent Design
45 Not Theistic Evolution
46 The Importance of Definitions
47 A New Generation of Scholars
Reinstating Design Within Science
52 Why Reinstate Design?
53 The ComplexitySpecification Criterion
54 Specification
55 False Negatives and False Positives
56 Why the Criterion Works
57 Irreducible Complexity
58 So What?
72 Epistemic Support
73 Rational Compulsion
74 Explanatory Power
75 The Big Bang and Divine Creation
76 Christ as the Completion of Science
The Act of Creation
82 Naturalisms Challenge to Creation
83 Computational Reductionism
84 Our Empirical Selves Versus Our Actual Selves
85 The Resurgence of Design
86 The Creation of the World
87 The Intelligibility of the World
88 Creativity Divine and Human
Objections to Design
A1 The God of the Gaps
A2 Intentionality Versus Design
A3 Scientific Creationism
A4 But Is It Science?
A5 Dysteleology
A6 Just an Anthropic Coincidence
A7 Applying the Math to Biology
A8 David Humes Objections
A9 Mundane Versus Transcendent Designers

Common terms and phrases

Popular passages

Page 44 - He answered and said unto them, When it is evening, ye say, It will be fair weather: for the sky is red.
Page 31 - Then said Saul unto his servants, Seek me a woman that hath a familiar spirit, that I may go to her, and inquire of her. And his servants said to him, Behold, there is a woman that hath a familiar spirit at Endor.

References to this book

All Book Search results »

About the author (2002)

William Dembski (Ph.D., mathematics, University of Chicago; Ph.D., philosophy, University of Illinois at Chicago) is senior fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. He has previously taught at Northwestern University, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Dallas. He has done postdoctoral work in mathematics at MIT, in physics at the University of Chicago, and in computer science at Princeton University, and he has been a National Science Foundation doctoral and postdoctoral fellow. Dembski has written numerous scholarly articles and is the author of the critically acclaimed The Design Inference (Cambridge), Intelligent Design (InterVarsity Press) and No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence (Rowman and Littlefield).

Bibliographic information