“Why Intelligent Design Fails” – The Book


The book is finally shipping. Here’s the publisher’s information on it…

Why Intelligent Design Fails

A Scientific Critique of the New Creationism

Edited by Matt Young and Taner Edis


Buy directly from Rutgers University Press on-line and get a 20 % discount and free shipping (see below)

“This book is a readable and devastating scientific analysis of intelligent design creationism. …unlike ID’s proponents, these authors have done the real science that deflates the claims of intelligent design. Their work deserves the respect of everyone with a say in what is taught in public school science classes.” – Barbara Forrest, co-author of Creationism’s Trojan Horse: The Wedge of Intelligent Design

“A terrific book that explores, fairly and openly, whether proponents of ID have any scientifically valid gadgets in their toolbox at all. …accessibly written throughout and an invaluable aid to teachers and scientists.” – Kevin Padian, Professor and Curator, University of California, Berkeley, and President, National Center for Science Education

“‘Intelligent-design theory’ makes extravagant claims, but refuses to come up with even a small fraction of the evidence needed to sustain them. Why Intelligent Design Fails brings together clear and devastating arguments by true scientists, which will convince perceptive and fair-minded readers that ‘intelligent design’ belongs to the history of propaganda, not to the achievements of science.” – Norman Levitt, Author of Prometheus Bedeviled: Science and the Contradictions of Contemporary Culture

Is Darwinian evolution established fact, or a dogma ready to be overtaken by the next scientific revolution? Today, a comparatively sophisticated group of Darwin-deniers have coalesced in the “intelligent-design” movement, arguing that the molecular machines in cells cannot be assembled by natural selection, and that the information in our universe cannot be generated by mindless processes. They have even claimed to detect design in complex structures by rigorous mathematical means.

In Why Intelligent Design Fails, a team of scientists call on their expertise in physics, biology, computer science, and archaeology to examine intelligent design. They take design claims at face value, without attempting to rule out the hypothesis of a designed universe just because of its supernatural overtones. They consistently find grandiose claims with no scientific merit. The questions intelligent-design advocates raise have largely already been answered, or else mainstream scientists have been making excellent progress on them with a Darwinian, naturalistic approach.

After an overview of intelligent design and its intellectual context, Why Intelligent Design Fails moves on to biological claims concerning common descent, and the arguments of Michael Behe. Contributors show how the notion of “irreducible complexity” does not challenge Darwinian evolution, explaining how mainstream science comfortably accounts for examples of biochemistry, bacterial flagella, and bird wings.

Intelligent-design advocates, however, have ambitions beyond overturning Darwinian thinking in biology. So the authors examine the information-based arguments of William Dembski. They discuss thermodynamics and self-organization, the ways human design is actually identified in fields such as forensic archaeology, how real complexity theory thoroughly undermines Dembski’s notions, how research in machine intelligence indicates that intelligence itself is the product of chance and necessity, and the misunderstandings of the no-free-lunch theorems propagated by Dembski. The book closes with an investigation of cosmological fine-tuning arguments said to show that the universe was designed for humans, and reflections on the place of the intelligent-design movement at the fringes of mainstream science.

Intelligent design turns out to be a complete scientific mistake, but also a useful contrast highlighting the amazing power of Darwinian thinking and the wonder of a world filled with complexity without design.

The chapters are authored by Taner Edis, Matt Young, Gert Korthof, David Ussery, Ian Musgrave, Alan Gishlick, Niall Shanks, Istvan Karsai, Gary Hurd, Jeffrey Shallit, Wesley Elsberry, Mark Perakh, and Victor Stenger.

Matt Young http://www.mines.edu/~mmyoung is the author of No Sense of Obligation: Science and Religion in an Impersonal Universe http://www.1stBooks.com/bookview/5559. He is a former physicist with the National Institute of Standards and Technology and now teaches physics at the Colorado School of Mines. Taner Edis http://www2.truman.edu/~edis/ is an assistant professor of physics at Truman State University in Kirksville, Missouri, and the author of The Ghost in the Universe: God in the Light of Modern Science http://www2.truman.edu/~edis/books/ghost/. Buy at a 20 % discount and get free shipping from Rutgers University Press by ordering on-line! (note 4 underline characters)

Preface http://www2.truman.edu/~edis/books/[…]preface.html

Reviews http://www2.truman.edu/~edis/books/id/reviews/ ISBN: 0-8135-3433-X 240 pp., illustrated with figures and tables.


To reiterate online ordering information:

Rutgers University Press (20% off!):

Barnes and Noble: http://service.bfast.com/bfast/clic[…]bfmtype=book

Amazon.com: http://rcm.amazon.com/e/cm?o=1&[…]p;lt1=_blank


We can have a pool for when the first pro-ID negative review appears on the Amazon site… I’ll take 5:00 PM PDT on July 22nd.

The correct URL is



S�ren K:

Thanks. I had the toughest time with that URL. Something about previewing seemed to do something to repeated underscores.

I looked at the Amazon.com site this morning (7:30 PDT), and they indicated only 4 in stock. I wonder how many they started with, 5? lol

Thank you, Dr. Elsberry! I’ll order it for my library tomorrow.


I disagree with Wesley’s prediction (indeed, so far there ia not a single review of this anthology on Amazon). I believe that ID-ists’ preference would be a total absence of any reviews (it is often asserted that there is no such thing as bad publicity). However, if positive reviews start appearing, the ID task force will make their move to counterbalance the positive feedback and to push down the rating (as expressed in the number of stars). Therefore my prediction is that the first review (or even reviews) will be positive, and only later the negative ones will follow. I expect some of the negatives to be quite nasty because this anthology hits the ID crowd quite painfully with a set of well substantiated arguments.

I’ll be requesting NCSU buy the book, it looks great.

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This page contains a single entry by Wesley R. Elsberry published on July 21, 2004 10:21 PM.

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