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What is Bill Dembski planning to do now?

Continuing with James Barham’s The Best Schools interview with design theorist Bill Dembski – who founded this blog, we look at what he plans to do now:

WD: I stayed on as a full-time Discovery fellow until Baylor hired me in early 2000. But in the intervening twelve years, they’ve provided lots of support, both tangible and intangible. As it is, I’m leaving my present post at Southwestern Seminary and returning as a full-time fellow of Discovery later this year (2012). This will allow me to redouble my efforts at developing ID’s scientific research program.

Throughout the years, my role with Discovery has been to do heavy lifting connected with ID, developing intelligent design’s theoretical underpinnings. This has meshed nicely with work of other Discovery fellows.

The Discovery Institute has been absolutely indispensable to the success of the ID movement. Without it, most of us would have ended up as road kill.

TBS: You have stated that “design theorists oppose Darwinian theory on strictly scientific grounds.” But then why is the ID movement so heavily populated with religious believers? Could we not expect more of the scientific community to support ID if your statement were true? Why do the majority of the world’s leading scientific bodies oppose ID and claim that it does not qualify as science?

WD: The quote needs context. I’ve also written that intelligent design, besides being a scientific program, has a theological dimension, in trying to understand divine action, and a cultural dimension, in trying to overturn naturalism. So intelligent design is a number of things. But at its core, it is a scientific program. Indeed, unless there is good science to back it up, all the cultural and theological superstructures that people build on it will be in vain.

As for why religious believers tend to be associated with design, I could turn the question around. If Darwinian evolution is strictly scientific, then why is that field so heavily populated with atheists? In one survey of around 150 prominent evolutionary biologists, only two were religious believers (as I recall, Will Provine was behind this survey). I see a scientific core to both intelligent design and Darwinian evolution. And I see no merit in questioning their scientific status by the company they keep. The character of the proposals that both approaches make is what really ought to count.

Note: Dembski is referring to this study.

But why, then, have so many scientific bodies turned against ID? I recall speaking at a symposium at Grove City College back in 2007, and University of Wisconsin historian of science Ron Numbers mentioning that over 100 professional scientific societies had issued formal denunciations of intelligent design. It’s probably more by now.

I’ve been unimpressed with these denunciations. In every case, they have seemed to me politically motivated, attempting to ensure that the professional society doesn’t lose face should some of its wayward members be perceived as sympathizing with ID. I recall the AAAS denunciation of ID. I was a member at the time, though I let my membership lapse subsequently. When my colleagues inquired into who was behind their denunciation and what materials they had read that convinced them to issue it, it became clear that the materials were unread and the denouncers didn’t understand what they were denouncing.

As for more scientists coming on board with ID if it were legitimate, I think this question misses the point. The question is not legitimacy, but incentives. There are no incentives for coming on board with ID save that one thinks it offers some interesting ideas and true insights. There is no federal funding for ID research. If it’s known that you accept intelligent design and you’re in the mainstream academy, you can expect your career to be derailed. Support ID and expect some pain.

Next: What difference did Ben Stein’s Expelled film make?

See also:

Why Bill Dembski took aim against the Darwin frauds and their enablers #1

Why Bill Dembski took aim against the Darwin frauds and their enablers Part 2

Bill Dembski: The big religious conspiracy revealed #3

Bill Dembski: Evolution “played no role whatever” in his conversion to Christianity #4

So how DID Bill Dembski get interested in intelligent design? #5b – bad influences, it seems

So how DID Bill Dembski get interested in intelligent design? #5a

So how DID Bill Dembski get interested in intelligent design? #5b – bad influences, it seems

Bill Dembski: Trouble happens when they find out you mean business

Comment on Dembski interview here.

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One Response to What is Bill Dembski planning to do now?

  1. Mr Dembski is a historic intellectual force in modern times on important ideas and conclusions about origins.
    Thanks to him for showing a passion to expand the truth and impact of Design and criticisms of evolution with new endeavers.

    It was said this number of “scientific” groups had come out against ID.
    Well.
    Has this happened before?
    ID must be so uniquely a threat that it all the more proclaims the ID (and YEC a little) leaders unique contribution and agents of influence .
    Truly men of note in science!

    These “science” groups would only denounce ID etc if they expect their audiences to accept they know better ID is not science (and true).
    Well.
    If its that important and that unsupported by intellectual study then they should have no problem with the whole population being givin the chance to hear the great hearsy.!

    The people do believe in God(and some Genesis) for the origin of things and believe nature has these fingerprints on them.
    So these fingerprints can be figured out and proved by investigation.

    These “science” groups can’t say its just their turf.
    Anyways do they really have many people , paid, employed in these things which ID and YEC take on.

    Creationism still says its on the merits and not on votes.

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