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."
  

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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".
 

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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.

Contents

Intelligent Design as a Theory of Information
153
62 Generating Information via Law
160
63 Generating Information via Chance
165
64 Generating Information via Law and Chance
167
65 The Law of Conservation of Information
170
66 Applying the Theory to Evolutionary Biology
174
67 Reconceptualizing Evolutionary Biology
179
Science Theology in Mutual Support
187

22 Spinozas Rejection of Miracles
51
23 Schleiennachers Assimilation of Spinoza
55
24 Unpacking Schleiermachers Naturalistic Critique
58
25 Critiquing the Naturalistic Critique
61
26 The Significance of the Naturalistic Critique
67
The Demise of British Natural Theology
70
32 From Contrivance to Natural Law
73
33 From Natural Law to Agnosticism
79
34 Darwin and His Theory
82
35 Design and Miracles
85
36 The Presupposition of Positivism
90
Naturalism Its Cure
97
42 The Root of Idolatry
99
43 Naturalism Within Western Culture
103
Intelligent Design
105
45 Not Theistic Evolution
109
46 The Importance of Definitions
114
47 A New Generation of Scholars
120
Reinstating Design Within Science
122
52 Why Reinstate Design?
124
53 The ComplexitySpecification Criterion
127
54 Specification
133
55 False Negatives and False Positives
139
56 Why the Criterion Works
144
57 Irreducible Complexity
146
58 So What?
149
72 Epistemic Support
192
73 Rational Compulsion
195
74 Explanatory Power
199
75 The Big Bang and Divine Creation
203
76 Christ as the Completion of Science
205
The Act of Creation
211
82 Naturalisms Challenge to Creation
212
83 Computational Reductionism
216
84 Our Empirical Selves Versus Our Actual Selves
220
85 The Resurgence of Design
222
86 The Creation of the World
224
87 The Intelligibility of the World
229
88 Creativity Divine and Human
234
Objections to Design
237
A1 The God of the Gaps
238
A2 Intentionality Versus Design
245
A3 Scientific Creationism
247
A4 But Is It Science?
252
A5 Dysteleology
261
A6 Just an Anthropic Coincidence
264
A7 Applying the Math to Biology
268
A8 David Humes Objections
271
A9 Mundane Versus Transcendent Designers
276
Notes
280
Index
303
Copyright

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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).

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