Morris on Dembski

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William Dembski's book, The Design Revolution, has attracted the notice of the Institute for Creation Research. Henry M. Morris has a brief review and critique in the February 2005 issue of Back to Genesis titled "The Design Revelation".

Morris dings Dembski on a couple of different points. One is that the program that Dembski outlines is not a novelty; folks at the ICR have written about examples like the bacterial flagellum as evidence for "design" for a long time, and that the idea precedes William Paley's 1802 work. Morris notes his own writings concerning improbability and setting a limit for how much chance is acceptable in an explanation (Morris's limit was 1e-110 as opposed to Borel's 1e-50 and Dembski's 1e-150). These were, of course, unreferenced by Dembski. (This is not the first time Dembski has been caught out on unreferenced prior work.) In fact, Morris makes this statement:

Morris wrote:

Our concern with the intelligent design approach probably devolves upon two main factors. First, it is ineffective, no more convincing to evolutionists than is young-earth creationism; second, it is not really a new approach, using basically the same evidence and arguments used for years by scientific creationists but made to appear more sophisticated with complex nomenclature and argumentation.

Another point Morris makes is that ID advocates like Dembski are not leading people to Christ, because they leave things as an argument to design instead going all the way for the argument from design. That is, the completion of the argument being that once you've got design, you have to have a designer, and that the only suitable candidate is God. The ID folks leave off at having to have a designer and refusing to state the obvious, that they themselves almost unanimously believe the designer is the Christian God.

Morris wrote:

It thus seems premature to think of the intelligent design movement as a "revolution," for it is neither new nor convincing to the Darwinists it seeks to influence. There is indeed much evidence of design in nature and God's Word frequently refers to it. "For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made . . . so that they are without excuse" (Romans 1:20).

That is, those who refuse to see the evidence of God's handiwork in the things He made are inexcusable. One does not have to be an engineer or a probability mathematician to see that the animals and plants of the world--not to mention the stars in the heavens and the very laws of nature themselves--could never have evolved out of primeval nothingness. Evolutionists think that, if they can even imagine how things might have organized themselves into higher levels of complexity, that is sufficient proof that it must have happened!

While Morris joins Dembski and other ID advocates in claiming that evolutionists are wrong, he does nicely deflate Dembski's overblown rhetoric in The Design Revolution. For the antievolution cause, Dembski's take on things is no revolution, and mere design is not enough.

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Science Open Thread from Unscrewing The Inscrutable on January 28, 2005 4:22 AM

New Blog: Check out Squid Blog, featuring the latest on the elusive Giant Squid and other semi-mythical monsters. HT: Collision Detection. Prof. PZ Myers with a fabulous peice on Metazoan Evo-devo ... OK you pervs, and the obligatory cephalopod snuff... Read More

Science Open Thread from Unscrewing The Inscrutable on January 28, 2005 4:22 AM

New Blog: Check out Squid Blog, featuring the latest on the elusive Giant Squid and other semi-mythical monsters. HT: Collision Detection. Prof. PZ Myers with a fabulous peice on Metazoan Evo-devo ... OK you pervs, and the obligatory cephalopod snuff... Read More

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This page contains a single entry by Wesley R. Elsberry published on January 26, 2005 1:28 PM.

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