Two Reviews

| 11 Comments

Two new reviews about books critiquing the ID movement:

The first is a short dual review of [u]Why Intelligent Design Fails[/u] and [u]The Cultures of Creationism[/u], appearing in New Scientist magazine. PT’s own Matt Young is coeditor of the first.

The second is a review of [u]Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design[/u], appearing in Science and Theology News. Our own Paul Gross is coauthor of this book.

Thanks to Glenn Branch for the heads-up.

11 Comments

When can we expect “Why Intelligent Design Fails” to show up on Amazon?

Beats me. There is an advance sales page for the book on Amazon, and I hear that they are shipping copies.

I wrote a chapter for WIDF (a single note in a symphony of great contributers) and I am looking forward to my free copy of the book. (academic publishing ain’t a money thing).

http://www.stnews.org/archives/2002[…]tures.html#5

In the same issue of Science and Theology News, there’s remarkable interview with William Dembski and John Haught. John Haught is a theologian who believes evolution is essentially correct, ID is not a valid concept and has certain theological difficulties—hardly the raving lunatic atheistic Darwinist that Philip Johnson attacks as the only supporters of evolution.

Here’s John Haught:

My position is that the Darwinian revolution is a great opportunity and a great gift for theology. I agree with Dembski that Darwinism does not tell us everything, but it has uncovered things about the natural world we did not know about before.

Here’s Dembski in response:

I do not think Darwinism is the whole show, though it is part of the show. I am often called an anti-evolutionist, but I could be comfortable with common descent that can be squared with the Christian tradition. The problem is that common descent, or common ancestry, has been tied to the Darwinian mechanism… Perhaps it is only over the adequacy of the Darwinian mechanism, or the extent to which it applies, that we disagree.

Haught is amazed at this and responds:

Well, this is an interesting clarification! As I have talked to people who are critical of your work, they often say that the biggest problem with intelligent design is that it suppresses the massive amounts of evidence found in the fossil record, biogeographical distribution, radiometric dating, embryology, comparative anatomy and so forth. The thing that causes intelligent design to seem somewhat marginal to the scientific enterprise is that the data which scientists work to gather is not fully taken into account by the movement.

Haught continues and gets another surprising answer from Dembski. Haught asks,

Is there solidarity inside the intelligent design movement? For example, I attended a conference at Calvin College [Design, Self-Organization, and the Integrity of Creation] and listened to Jonathan Wells and his very vehement denial of the possibility of common descent. I wonder how you can get along with people within the movement who are apparently so much more anti-evolutionist than you claim to be.

Dembski:

John Roche describes intelligent design as a big tent with many people under it from young-earth creationists to Michael Behe who accepts common descent. I am not sure that he would go to the mat for it, but he says there is good evidence. So there is a broad spectrum and that is just within the Christian world!

So, apparently Dembski concedes common descent and is a crypto evolutionist! Does Philip Johnson know this?

I don’t think those quotations suggest that Dembski concedes common descent. In fact, he slipped any commitment at all on his own position, merely saying (in effect) that ID accommodates everything from YEC to front-loading at the Big Bang with no intelligent agent intervention thereafter. He very carefully qualifies his comments on common descent:

I am often called an anti-evolutionist, but I could be comfortable with common descent that can be squared with the Christian tradition. The problem is that common descent, or common ancestry, has been tied to the Darwinian mechanism … Perhaps it is only over the adequacy of the Darwinian mechanism, or the extent to which it applies, that we disagree. (Emphasis added)

Could be, not “I am”. He identifies Behe as (tentatively, at least) accepting common descent, but says nothing about himself. As the review of CTH notes, IDists at least claim to be agnostic on the age of the earth, and that implies at most agnosticism about common descent, since a young earth precludes common descent. That the ID “big tent” accommodates that range is what makes it a socio-political movement, not a coherent scientific approach, and it’s for that reason that Dembski slides the question: If ID loses the YECers and the political muscle is gone, so he has to waffle to keep them inside the big tent.

RBH

Note that Behe accepts common descent provided the Designer does the requisite biochemistry. Common descent is trivial with that caveat, but this is not what scientists have in mind when they use the term. Behe’s great discovery is that “God is a Great Biochemist just like me”.

Joe McFaul Wrote:

So, apparently Dembski concedes common descent and is a crypto evolutionist! Does Philip Johnson know this?

Dembski is to common descent what Johnson is to the age of the Earth. They try to play both sides of the fence. And amazingly, they try to pretend as if those concepts are of little importance, the important thing being whether “design”, whatever that means, has occured somehow in someway at some point in time. However, Dembski has recently come out quite strongly against common descent, though I guess he could hedge and say he’s just providing a critique regardless of what he really believes. Still, it’s hard to take his waffling seriously when he writes bitter diatribes against “evolutionists” and their take on the fossil record. At least Johnson knows when to keep his mouth shut.

Thanks for posting that link.

Steve Reuland Wrote:

Dembski is to common descent what Johnson is to the age of the Earth. They try to play both sides of the fence.

Johnson spoke out against YEC in the early days of ID, but apparently has since noticed the political incorrectness of it. But lately all of the Discovery Institute fellows seem to be carefully selecting each word with the big tent in mind.

Syntax Error: mismatched tag at line 3, column 133, byte 344 at /usr/local/lib/perl5/site_perl/5.16/mach/XML/Parser.pm line 187.

Behe’s great discovery is that “God is a Great Biochemist just like me”.

LOL, I’m stealing that.

Can someone make me a bumper sticker with that on it.…or maybe God infront of a large DNA model trying to complete it and saying “hmmm Should I make this a vestigial organ or not?”

“Let’s see…alanine for lysine.…alanine for lysine.…ugh…this is complicated…”

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This page contains a single entry by Steve Reuland published on July 16, 2004 4:10 PM.

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