William Dembski on why ID has and has not succeeded

[Dembski Youtube] William Dembski summarizes the status of ID (link to YouTube video is below)

The Discovery Institute had released a YouTube video of William Dembski’s 30-minute talk last March at the DI’s Dallas Conference on Science and Faith. This conference , whose other talks have not yet been made available, was supposed to occur on February 20 but was postponed until March 13 and made into mostly a virtual conference. There was an in-person gathering at the Denton Bible Church, and Dembski’s talk looks like it was in-person. The other speakers were Marcos Eberlin, Stephen Meyer, Casey Luskin, and Melissa Cain Travis.

The interest in this talk is mainly in what he describes as the current state of the Intelligent Design movement. He feels that its intellectual arguments have been a substantial success, but that society has mostly not been persuaded to accept them.

You will find the Youtube video of his 30-minute talk on “Gauging the Success of Intelligent Design” here. Take a look. The talk is only 30 minutes long. Which arguments does he consider to be valid? The part about how successful ID has been starts 20 minutes in, but there is much before that that illuminates his perspective …

What I see there is

  1. A broad endorsement of Michael Behe’s arguments
  2. The assertion that there is much that looks like Design
  3. A statement that information cannot appear in genomes without having been first created by Design

In particular he says that

So I think we’ve got a good case. We’ve got a theoretical case in terms of design detection, which has been developed even further in terms of ideas called conservation of information or evolutionary informatics where the idea is that insofar as evolution can work at all, it is because there has to be prior information, basically the design problem has to be folded in there from the start. It’s not that you get something for nothing. And this is the beauty, from as far as the material[ist?] is concerned. It’s kind of a socialism of biology: you get a free lunch, You don’t have to do the design work because you get the design up because natural selection is so brilliant, can do all of this. And what intelligent design is saying, no, you’ve got to do the accounting, and at the end of the day all the bills need to be paid. The currency of those bills is information, and you’ve got to account for it, the type of information you need to build these systems, you cannot simply get them for free. It requires an act of intelligence. …. My sense is that we have the better case by far.


So I do think that we have been successful [in] the Intelligent Design movement at uncovering the truth of design in nature and giving it scientific teeth. I think that’s been important …. that there is real solid scientific evidence for design in nature … Darwinian processes don’t have the power to create these sorts of systems, and we can show you why it breaks down, why the math doesn’t work, why the evidence from biology doesn’t work. So in that sense I think we’ve been successful.

The remainder of his argument is that ID has not been successful in persuading people, and that a better sales job needs to be done. The implication is that this is because there has been unfair treatment of the ID argument.

But don’t just read these quotes, listen to the whole thing and let us know what you hear and what you think.

Correction: the talks at the 2021 Dallas Conference on Science and Faith are all available on YouTube, here, or just use YouTube’s search: Dallas Conference on Science and Faith 2021