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Dembski interviewed over Design of Life

Friday Five: William A. Dembski

by Devon Williams, associate editor, CitizenLink.org

‘Are there patterns in biological systems that would point us to intelligence?’

Leading scientist and mathematician William A. Dembski has devoted years to researching intelligent design.

He is a research professor in philosophy at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and has been featured on the front page of The New York Times. He has appeared on numerous radio and television broadcasts, including Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show and ABC’s Nightline.

Dembski talked to CitizenLink about his latest book, The Design of Life — which he co-authored with Jonathan Wells.

1. What is intelligent design?

The study of patterns in nature that are best explained by intelligence. But the focus is really on biology. Are there patterns in biological systems that would point us to intelligence? What we find is that we see design in everything from human consciousness, through the fossil record, through similarities between organisms, through various molecular structures inside the cell to the very origin of life — the origin of the first cell.

2. Tell me about your new book.

It’s a comprehensive overview of intelligent design, trying to make it clear what intelligent design is. There’s lots that’s been written about intelligent design, especially in the media and some of the scientific community, that’s often misrepresented. This really puts to rest a lot of those biased and misrepresented claims about intelligent design. . . .

4. Does your research conclude that God is the Intelligent Designer?

I believe God created the world for a purpose. The Designer of intelligent design is, ultimately, the Christian God.

The focus of my writings is not to try to understand the Christian doctrine of creation; it’s to try to develop intelligent design as a scientific program.

There’s a big question within the intelligent design community: “How did the design get in there?” We’re very early in this game in terms of understanding the history of how the design got implemented. I think a lot of this is because evolutionary theory has so misled us that we have to rethink things from the ground up. That’s where we are. There are lots and lots of questions that are now open to re-examination in light of this new paradigm. . . .”

See full interview
———————-

Dembski’s answer to Question 4 is likely to be widely quoted – or misquoted out of context as: Dembski declares “The Designer of intelligent design, is, ultimately, the Christian God.”

This raises the challenge of the First Amendment’s preservation of the unalienable rights to religious belief and speech:

“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, . . ” (See annotations)
This includes rights to academic freedom.

* Do academic’s have the freedom to develop scientific theories in public institutions free from discrimination?

* Or can some people use government resources to forbid speech and religious practice by others based on the implications of the theories they develop in public institutions?

* Can some use government resources to forbid any theory that posits an intelligent agent, and, by government sanction, only allow theories that presume materialistic naturalism or philosophical naturalism?

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62 Responses to Dembski interviewed over Design of Life

  1. jdd at 8 in the previous blog asked:

    Dr. Dembski, were you misquoted when you said:

    “I believe God created the world for a purpose. The Designer of intelligent design is, ultimately, the Christian God.

    The focus of my writings is not to try to understand the Christian doctrine of creation; it’s to try to develop intelligent design as a scientific program.”

    or do you feel that ID is really a Christian science?

  2. or do you feel that ID is really a Christian science?

    Why do some feel obliged to put unnecessary adjectives before the word science?

    If something is addressed with an objective, open methodology and freedom is allowed to attempt to replicate the results found by this methodology, then it is science.

  3. Yeah, wow, Im kinda shocked. Not that Dembski believes in the Christian God but that he is saying as on eof the founders of the modern movement that it is in fact about not only the big G but the christian big G.

  4. I hope it’s the later statement in Dembski’s answer to Question 4 that gets widely quoted:

    “We’re very early in this game in terms of understanding the history of how the design got implemented. I think a lot of this is because evolutionary theory has so misled us that we have to rethink things from the ground up.”

    We have been very much misled for decades in both the academic and popular environments about how we can talk about, and even use, phrases like “evolution”, “natural selection” and “common descent”.

    We have been misled to believe that a denial of Darwinian Theory is equivalent to a denial of one or more of those three phrases. Getting people to understand why it is not equivalent is the central epistemological challenge the ID movement has to overcome.

  5. I look forward to reading this book. Though I admit Dembski would have drawn a clear distinction between who he believes the designer is (the Christian God) and who ID proponents could believe the designer is (Any being with a sufficiently advanced intelligence capable of shaping nature on this scale.) I personally believe what Dembski does, but at the same time I don’t think ID can prove that, or (unless I’m mistaken) that ID touches on identifying the designer.

  6. “The Designer of intelligent design, is, ultimately, the Christian God.”

    Umm, that bothers me. This founder of the movement is not saying, “ID proves design, and in my opinion the designer is Jesus,” but, as a fact, the designer is Jesus. As you know, I’m a pagan ID supporter. Where does this leave people like me — as well as the scores of Jews, Muslims and atheists who support ID?

    And as for academic freedom: yes, of course academics have the right, even in a public institution, to develop theories with controversial conclusions. But they do not have the right to tell my children that science says that Jesus made the world. Because, to put it bluntly, he didn’t. That, as far as I’m concerned, is simply a fact.

    Moreover, ID shows, beyond reasonable doubt, that design events have occurred. But in principle it can never infer that that designer was Jesus. In fact, as I’ve said before, the evidence seems to point to a multiplicity of competing designers, which points more directly to polytheism than any Abrahamic monotheism.

    Peace,
    Zoe.

  7. As you know, I’m a pagan ID supporter. Where does this leave people like me . . .

    You now have the methodology to justify your belief in whatever divine or non-divine designer you can imagine.

    Now all you have to do is justify sacrificing to idols.

  8. PlatosPlaything,

    This statement of Dembski’s bothered you:

    “The Designer of intelligent design, is, ultimately, the Christian God.”

    Even though I’m a Christian and believe that, it bothered me too in terms of the context of the interview.

    It would be better if he had phrased the first two paragraphs as: “It may be known that I’m a Christian, but the focus of my writings is not to try to understand the Christian doctrine of creation; it’s to try to develop intelligent design as a scientific program.”

  9. Well done Bill. Great stuff!

    Zoe: this leaves you and me and all others who embrace ID on another level where we can finally shake the cursed monkey off our shoulders and talk about why you believe what you do and why Bill believes as he does. At last, one day at least, we will be able to have open dialog about this stuff. Let the debates begin I say! :-)

    You aren’t going to persecute Bill are you, and stifle free dialog about all this stuff, Zoe?

    May the best man win!

    As for Bill being biased for ID because he is a Christian? Does this also cut the other way? e.g that [sarcasm] real [/sarcasm] scientists cannot be objective? And what about the reader of this? Does your belief system stop YOU being objective, or is it only Bill who will be suspect?

  10. The quoted part

    I believe God created the world for a purpose. The Designer of intelligent design is, ultimately, the Christian God.” could be punctuated differently and I think that probably is what Dr Dembski was saying.

    I believe God created the world for a purpose, the Designer of intelligent design, is ultimately, the Christian God.

    Dr Dembski may wish to arbitrate on the matter.

    It seems like a statement of personal belief, including other information, not a conclusion from the scientific data alone.

  11. Silly old me, I was always under the impression that ID was cold, hard science. ID had nothing to do with god. Time and time again Demski and others have denied religious motive. Oh well, guess I was wrong.

    More interestingly, is the fact that the book, presents nothing more then the old ID arguments.

    PZ Myers (gasp!) says “I’ve got the book he’s talking about, and I’m partway through it. It ain’t convincing. It’s the same old bluster that Wells and Dembski have been pounding their fists over for the last decade; there’s absolutely nothing new in it, just more rehashed chest-thumping from failed religious revolutionaries; I predict it will die a rapid death, simply because the IDers haven’t been able to come up with anything we haven’t already heard multiple times, and that has failed every time to convince anyone in the biology community with a scrap of sense”

  12. Dave557 It seems you have haven’t been able to come up with anything we haven’t already heard multiple times, and that has failed every time to convince anyone in the ID community with a scrap of sense.

  13. I, too, saw this as a personal belief statement like idnet.com.au suggested. ID as a “scientific, intellectual, and cultural project”, does not identify the designer. Yet, as an individual, you may consider who or what the Designer is or was. Dr Dembski uses his scientific acumen and his theological studies and identifies his Designer. Others will use the same tools and come up with something/one different.

    dave557 notes “…the fact that the book, presents nothing more then the old ID arguments.” That’s fine, because the old arguments had yet to be properly addressed by PeeZed (Australian inflection) Myers anyway. Anyone wise enough can see that Myers is just trying to hand wring the same stuff that ultimately is bringing up more questions, heated debate and less convincing retorts by the evolutionised hierachy.

    Again, if ID is so easy to deny, why can’t he (and the others) properly do it? I Think he Doth Protest tooooooooo Much.

  14. Wow, great creationist tactics, ignore what I said and then insult me.

    Dembski has said in terms of ID and the designer:

    ID research is carried out “without speculating about the nature of the intelligence.”

    The designer “could be space aliens. There are many possibilities.”

    Inconsistent.

  15. I said that there are no new arguments in the book and that Dembski’s position on ID motivation changes. Please respond directly to my points – and not skirt around them.

  16. dave557 – have YOU read the book yet? I haven’t. You may have to provide us with which elements are unsatisfactory, and hopefully explain why they are not convincing to you.

    That, as you say, there are no ‘new arguments’ does not negate that the ‘old arguments’ aren’t powerful or correct. Evolutionary textbooks seem to bring out a lot of ‘old arguments’ …

    I believe that ‘Design’ wishes to explain the developments and bring them up to date, maybe an over-arching publication of what ID is, than rather what it is not. It may be tightening up/defining the current thought rather than bringing in new ideas.

  17. Thank you AussieID for not treating me as a infantile troll.

    But if the old arguments are watertight and so influential, surely other books previously published would have the (predicted by Dembski and others) effect?

    More importantly though is the inconsistent ID/god position?!

  18. dave557:

    I have not yet read the book, and so how can I, or anybody else here who has not read it, answer your question?

    If you want to know if I am surprised that PZ Myers did not like the book, well, I am not surprised. Guess why?

    I don’t know if the book gives new arguments. Probably not, because it seems to be a summary of the presently known arguments, and of course I think that we, on this blog, should know them well. But that’s not true of everybody.

    What Myers calls “the same old bluster that Wells and Dembski have been pounding their fists over for the last decade” are in reality the strict and absolutely convincing arguments of ID. They are true, strong, scientific and undeniable. They have never been really addressed by Myers and the like of him.

    About Dembski’s inconsistency. I don’t think Dembski is inconsistent. If you read all his writings, including t6he theological ones, it is pretty clear that he has always believe that the designer is the christian God. That’s his opinion, and he has a right to it. If he feel like expressing that opinion in an interview, I respect his right, although he could probably have made some more clear distinctions.

    But Dembski is not the leader of a movement, so his opinions are just that: his opinions. His scientific work, instead, belongs to us all, and is in no way dependent on his opinions.

    You cite: “ID research is carried out “without speculating about the nature of the intelligence.” That’s true. It has always been true, and will always stay true. The great lie of darwinists is that a scientific research may be disqualified by “motivations”. Scientific arguments are disqualified only by errors, not by motivations. Science is about the research for truth. If a researcher, for his own beliefs, is convinced that truth is in some way, and he investigates reality to verify if some hypothesis, compatible with his general view of reality, may explain scientific facts better than another one, that does not disqualify his work in any way, if his work is scientifically sound.

    This game of accusing people because of their “motivations” is really bad. It is not only anti-scientific, but also against any principle of respect of human values. Motivation are absolutely personal, and should not be used to criticize actions. Please, Myers and co, have the courage to criticize actions and ideas for their own merit, and not for “motivations”. I will never criticize Myers if, let’s say, he reaches some great scientific acoomplishment (not likely, but possible), only because he is an atheist and probably his atheism is a strong motivation of his actions. Or some other because he accomplishes his research only for the love of money, ot to be liked by girls. If their accomplishment are scientifically good, I am not interested in their motivations.

    So, Dembski has done a terrific work in science. His analysis of CSI and of design inference is of fundamental importance to contemporary thought, and not only to biology. If his christian faith has been his motivation, I am very happy of that. If he feels like declaring it, he is welcome.

    ID is not a political movement. It is science. Dembski is not a leader. He is a very respected thinker. I love his scientific work, and respect his theological work, but I am interested only in the former, not in the latter.

    Ah, and please, when you become aware of some “new” argument from PZ, please let me know. I have become a litlle bit tired of his old non-arguments.

  19. Dave 557:

    First, before accusing us of “Creationist” tactics of attacking the man, kindly first examine the behaviour of leading philosphers and scientists on the evolutionary materialist side of the ID debates:

    Exhibit 1: Ms Barbara Forrest, in her presentations and claims at Dover and in related book and speeches etc. She insistently will not even get the basic defintion of ID straight, nor can she seem to distinguish between a worldview level opinion and a scientific statement.

    Exhibit 2: Mr Richard Dawkins’ notprious and insisted upon asserion that those who differ with his evolutionary materialism are ignorant, stupid, insane or wicked.

    Also, I think you need to do your homework first before coming to the site here and demanding that we drop a discussion while we bring you up to speed on the points and issues, ins and outs of the debate over ID.

    I suggest that for starters you could try reading the IDEA site’s FAQs and primers.

    My own introductory summary on the issue from my own information theory and stat thermo-D based take on the issue — which is always linked to my posts through my handle — may also be helpful in seeing why for instance AussieID confidently observes that the old arguments had yet to be properly addressed by PeeZed [BTW that's how we read it over in the Caribbean, too.]

    On the issue of Dr Dembski’s statement:

    1] I, too, would have preferred a more cautious, hard to twist wording; given the known hostile rhetorical context.

    2] But then, let us remember there are other sides the the overall issue than just science. On science, Dr Dembski is in his own right a PhD level mathematician with serious skill, experience and knowledge in areas relevant to the empirically based inference to design from complex, specified information.

    3] Equally, he is a PhD level philosopher and holds an MDiv in Theology. So, on a worldviews level, comparative difficulties based assessment across live options, he has every qualification and right to stand up as an academic and state his own broader conclusions; which doubtless contribute to the fact that he is a Christian.

    4] Having said all of that, this is likely to become a re-hash of the situation where Ms Forrest twisted Dr Dembski’s earlier remark on the link between the scientific programme of ID and the theology of the LOGOS in Jn 1, where “in the beginning was THE WORD.” That is, he adverted to the fact that the Christian worldview has always been that Information and Reason Himself are foundational to and informed the origin and structuring of reality as we experience it.

    5] Science now empirically supports that. [cf my always linked on pervasiveness of information, on OOL, on body plan level biodiversity and on the fine-tuned organised complexity of the life facilitating cosmos we inhabit.]

    6] So, a fully qualified research-level Scholar who happens to be a Christian has every right to observe based on his professional level work, that this rather risky claim made ever so long ago by one of the theological founders of the Christain faith, circa 90 – 95 AD, has been astonishingly supported by empirical scientific findings over the past 50 or so years.

    7] To see the force of that, consider what evo mat advocates would be saying if it had tuned out that life did not exhibit functionally specified, fine-tuned complexity at cellular levels, or that body-plan level innovations were not based on huge injections of information [not to mention appearing characteristically suddenly in the fossil record, e.g the Cambrian revolution], or that the physics of the cosmos was not fine-tuned etc. (Ms Forrest’s stragatems read like “heads I win, tails you lose” rhetorical tactics to me!)

    8] As to motivation changing [with hints of hidden agendas], I simply point out that when one does science as science, one argues to best, empirically well-warranted best explanation. Here, one knows that chance, necessity and agency all act as causal factors. So, on IBE, which factor[s] best explain[s] OOL, body plan diversity and cosmological fine tuning?

    9] So soon as one imposes methodological naturalism as a cut-off to the obvious best explanation for CSI, agency, one is on question-begging philosophical grounds. The rebuttal to that is a philosophical exercise [as is addressed and further linked on in my always linked].

    10] So phil is inherently a part of the issue, and so also, the worldviews which phil sets out to analyse. In that broader context, Dr Dembski is perfectly in order to state his considered, empirically anchored wordview level, theistic opinion and conclusion.

    11] That is not a matter of motivation-level bait and switch tactics, but instead it is a mature reflection on the wider issues implicated in scientific research programmes — which as Lakatos reminds us, have a belt of theories and the like surrounding a worldview level core.

    GEM of TKI

  20. dave557,

    There is no inconsistency because you’re talking about two different things:
    a) ID research, which makes no claims, and can make no claims, about who or what the designer is, and
    b) an individual person’s beliefs about who or what the designer is.

    No doubt a Muslim IDer would believe the designer is Allah and that person would be perfectly entitled to have that opinion. Other IDers believe the designer(s) come from elsewhere in the material universe. Dr Dembski is as entitled as anyone to draw whatever conclusions he wants to draw about the identity of the designer but those are not determined by ID research. They are determined by everything else he knows about life, the universe and everything.

  21. Dave557: I find this attitude utterly arrogant. Darwinists reject a God belief — and they remain impartial and unbiased. Bill Dembski holds to a God belief and is therefore biased. Am I missing something here or is this an obvious double standard? If not, why not?

  22. G’day Dave557,

    I believe that the new ‘Design’ book is not focusing upon delivering ‘new’ arguments but rather that it seeks to further explain the developments that have been witnessed since the last tome came out. This is another book in tightening the underpinnings of the ID hypothesis, and thsi will continue to garner strength through the years. As I mentioned before, Myers and co. deliver a lot of hand waving to somehow indicate that there is no issue, yet they spend an unbelievably inordinate amount of time trying to combat a foe that seemingly isn’t there. “It ain’t convincing… ” sayeth Myers, and he will now continue ’til his retirement and then some, trying to continually say that there is no elephant in the room.

    To your “the inconsistent ID/god position?!”, I agree it *seems* to be problematic. I tried posting on this earlier, but as it sometimes does, everything crashed. Kairosfocus and Janice have certainly framed what I couldn’t post earlier. One’s personal belief will obviously provide degrees of bias, but ID research clearly can’t and won’t identify who/what the Designer is/was. That’s a separate step outside the defines of ID.

    I don’t consider you troll-like, but I do consider you are atttempting to get an answer free from strings-attached. Aren’t we all! ID, to me, provides the framework, even a paradigm. What you do with it or believe about for ultimate causes is a different philosphical question unable to be answered within the ID parameters.

    Have a good one, Dave.

  23. This poor writer, for one, is grateful for the clarity of Dr. Dembski’s statement about the designer.

    ID can certainly mean different things to different people. This is what it means to him.

    The purpose of the wedge strategy is to focus the debate on the indisputable reality of design. Use science to expose the weaknesses in scientific materialism.

    At the same time, it is important for Christians to be clear about what they believe. And certainly Dembski, Behe, Johnson, O’Leary, et al, have been transparent on that score.

    ID is significant to those who believe that the heavens declare the glory of God, and that God’s invisible qualities can be seen in everything that has been made. It is of vital importance philosophically because of the issues of sovereignty and purpose.

    The bluster of the old guard is losing its resonance. Common sense will prevail over theory in the end, and anyone with clear eyes and a clear mind can see overwhelming evidence of design in the complexity of the cell, the mystery of life, the beauty of nature, the reality of fine-tuning, not to mention the passingly strange phenomenon of the “I.”

    The battle here is not for the hearts of the Dawkinses and the Harrises. There’s no point in casting pearls before swine.

    The real battle is taking place in the court of public opinion, not in the pages of elitist party organs like Nature. And here ID is clearly on the rise.

  24. Don’t some evolutionists believe in pan spermia, which is ID. How can evolutionists have it both ways and ID’ers can’t have it anyway? I guess the rule is you can believe in anything, no matter how ridiculous it is as long as you don’t believe in God.

  25. 25

    I for one am glad that Dr. Demski isn’t so afraid of the atheists that he doesn’t acknowege the “One who gave us life.” We are here for a reason, and the reason is not to worship meteralism and science.

  26. “This raises the challenge of the First Amendment’s preservation of the unalienable rights to religious belief and speech:”

    Not really, because if I believe that Karl Marx is the creator of all life, it doesn’t make ID communist. If it does, it’s only because our arguments have been so degraded already.

    What is so annoying about this is that this is precisely the thing that evolutionocrats insist about evolution. Evolution is one thing, and despite that we want every lay person possible to believe in evolution, what a person believes about evolution is not ultimately evolution.

    Also “You only believe in a designer because you’re religious” is not a scientific argument. It’s not even a fair argument as a topic for debate. Unless your debate allows you to act as an authority on your opponent’s motive. Logically, you can never be more of an expert on somebody else’s motivation than they are.

  27. First off, Dembski’s statement is one of personal belief, not what “ID” as a whole believes. It simply isn’t what ID is about…ask Berlinski. Secondly, dave557 comes to this forum and expects to begin a discussion with a quote from PZ. I am entirely unconvinced by anything I read from a man who’s well known because of his hatred and vitriol, not because of anything he has done in the way of science. His claim to fame is standing in the shadow of more intelligent and articulate atheists who people in the real world actually pay attention to.

  28. The problem here is this. If dembski goes down as saying that the designer is the “christian” god then i dont see how this is going to get tought in any public school. The agnostic/ahtieist community will be up in arms and have the quotations to support thier seperation of church and state arugment. Well, perhaps it wont change anything at all. Maybe all of the people who are against ID are already out demonstarting nas conflating it with creationism. And its not im goal to tell a man o his education level what to do or say about a thoery that he largely developed. Bottom line, i know dembski is a christian but i did’t know that the ID WAS the christian god. In all od dembski’s book that i have read he has made a strong effort to make clear that the ID does not have to be the christian god. I think we should all be a little confused and i hope dembski weighs in on this as he knows the implications of what he has said.

  29. In the context of the interview, I was saying that I — personally — believe the Christian God is ultimately the designer behind the world. I’ve also written elsewhere that the Christian God might use teleological organizing principles to implement his designs (e.g., that God does not need to specifically toggle the bacterial flagellum). And I’ve stressed throughout my writings that there are alternative philosophical frameworks for making sense of ID. None of these considerations undercuts the scientific core of ID.

    Come on folks, it’s no secret that I’m a Christian and that I have various motivations for pursuing ID (if you want to put me on the couch, please do the same with Dawkins).

  30. With the shrill and vitriolic political debate surrounding ID and evolution, and this likelihood for misinterpretation and confusion, there is probably the need to clearly state and distinguish personal beliefs vs the presuppositions of scientific theories. e.g.,

    “My personal religious belief is . . . ”

    vs

    “The presuppositions of Intelligent Design are . . .”

    When Richard Dawkins asserts “God is a Delusion”, does that establish philosophical naturalism and invalidate evolution?
    The fact that Dawkins is a scientist lends no credence to such an assertion, nor to its rationality, nor to its logic. Those issues have to be evaluated separately on evidence.
    e.g., Depak Chopra proceeds to debunk ‘The God Delusion,’. Alister McGrath exposes “The Dawkins Delusion?: Atheist Fundamentalism and the Denial of the Divine.”

    If one makes the a priori assumption of philosophical naturalism (there is nothing except nature), then one excludes and cannot test for or logically discuss intelligent intervention in nature.

    Conversely, consider ID Assumptions , particularly:

    1) “Intelligence: Direct and indirect intelligent causes exist, including human beings and intelligent systems made by them.”
    and
    5) “Openness: Observable phenomena may be within open systems accessible to the input or intervention of intelligent causes, some of which may be detectable, and might be reproducible.”

    These are permissive not exclusionary assumptions.

    i.e., together they allow that intelligent causation MAY exist. This allows modeling Intelligent Design AND testing it against atelic evolution.

    Note too the secondary assumptions:

    7) “Identity: The identity of the intelligent cause(s) are uncertain.”

    9) “Beliefs: The beliefs of Open Science & ID theorists and practitioners are uncertain beyond the above assumptions.”

    These were specifically added to clarify these issues of the presuppositions of the model vs personal beliefs of individuals.

    I strongly recommend clearly distinguishing such assumptions of scientific models versus personal beliefs which may/may not be the same.

    Thus William Dembski’s personal belief in the Christian God and Richard Dawkins’ personal belief that there is no god, must equally be set aside when evaluating the effectiveness of Intelligent Design and Neo-Darwinian Evolution as scientific theories in correlating and predicting empirical data and phenomena.

    Almost all of the founders of modern science had personal beliefs in the Christian God. That did not invalidate their scientific theories (despite the shrill opposition today against those who hold similar beliefs.) Neither can personal belief be used today to invalidate either Intelligent Design or NeoDarwinian Evolution.

  31. We all know the game that is being played. Someone in ID claims they have a religious belief and then someone then uses that to show that ID is religiously motivated. That way they can stain the research as religiously motivated and prevent it being considered as science. This has been tried so many times that its transparency is obvious.

    Based on this juvenile way of thinking, Newton’s laws of motion are religiously based and thus suspect and maybe shouldn’t be taught in schools. Newton was trying to figure out how God did it. So should Newton’s laws not be taught because of their religious associations? Newton had some very strong religious beliefs and he definitely associated some of them with his science.

  32. I’ve also written elsewhere that the Christian God might use teleological organizing principles to implement his designs (e.g., that God does not need to specifically toggle the bacterial flagellum).

    I would presume that the example given is a point of disagreement between yourself and Dr. Behe?

  33. there is probably the need to clearly state and distinguish personal beliefs vs the presuppositions of scientific theories. e.g.

    “My personal religious belief is . . . ”

    vs

    “The presuppositions of Intelligent Design are . . .”

    as it is, we have Mr Dembski stating that the designer is the Christian God, not just that that is an incidental belief that he holds. the reason Dawkins can get away with not assuming additional entities is because minimising assumptions is at the absolute core of science. this colours his view of science as much as not accepting that Zeus is true colours his view of science.

    in Dembski’s case, he’s approaching science from an extremely assumption based point of view, and the interview pretty much hammers home the point that Dembski is approaching science with a conclusion already in mind. this is extremely important.

  34. It seems to me that no one approaches the study or discussion of origins without some metaphysical presupposition. That Dr. Dembski’s happens to be framed within a Christian construct doesn’t disprove, nor does it disqualify him as an authority by his proclamation.

    Materialism is also a set of beliefs with all the metaphysical associations. The materialist however, has everything to lose by the implications of ID. If it were otherwise we wouldn’t see such writhing, nor would there be such visceral polemics being published by their own “belief groups.”

  35. ——alext: “in Dembski’s case, he’s approaching science from an extremely assumption based point of view, and the interview pretty much hammers home the point that Dembski is approaching science with a conclusion already in mind. this is extremely important.”

    Excuse me, but this is total nonsense. He did not say that the the Creator “is” the Christian God.

    You have to wonder what has happened to free speech in the western world when a man cannot even make a simple declaration of faith without getting all of this flak. What exactly would you folks have him do when someone asks for a straight answer to a straight question? Is this your scenario: “Well, gosh , if I tell the truth, one of my psychotic enemies will maliciously take the quote out of context and use it to develop another conspiracy theory, so I better just either shut up or lie.” Or, how about this: “If I give an honest answer, someone will say, ‘aha, I told you ID wasn’t really science.’” Now there comes a time when all this idiocy has to stop. We really do need to transcend all this political correctness and start looking at the big picture.
    Truth comes to us as a hierarchy. Theological truth illuminates philosophical truth, which in turn, illuminates scientific truth. So naturally, one would expect to find, as WAD does, some similarities between sound theology and sound science. Indeed, in his case, he is qualified to comment on the matter in an official capacity because he is an expert in all the relevant areas. His educated opinion (not his scientific conclusion) is that the same God who reveals himself in Scripture also revealed himself in nature. In other words—scandal of scandals—his world view hangs together.

    Competing against him and his coherency, we find the very popular, media friendly scientists who posit the “schizophrenic” perspective concerning the relationship between theology and science. I won’t mention any names, but you all know who they are. Let’s call them the Christian Darwinists. They want their God and their Darwin too; but they want a quiet God and a loud Darwin. To believers they say, “Hey, I am a Christian.” leaving the convenient impression they believe in a purposeful, mindful creator. To the academy they say, “Don’t worry, I am first and foremost a Darwinist, so I really believe in a purposeless, mindless process that has no need of a creator. I you don’t believe me, just watch how I slander and smear the ID people.” Not only are these people doing a disservice to the public, they are doing bad science.

    To do good science is to take a risk, to subject one’s world view to the test. Thus, the ID scientist opens up the investigation to allow for the possibility that his world view is in error—to take the intellectual gamble that those among you who are committed to agnosticism, or enthusiastic about extra-terrestrials, or attracted to immanent agencies, or settled on a Deistic God may be on to something—that you are right and that he is wrong. Thus, he is on your side because he is ready to go where the evidence leads, even if it goes in your direction. In fact, WAD has stated publicly, that he may be wrong. Have you ever heard anything like that from his ideological competitors? Neither Creation scientists nor Darwinists will provide you with that same open investigation; both have decided, in advance, what the answer is going to be. CS has decided that the Creator is the Trinitarian God—no matter what; methodological naturalism has decided that such a God, or any god for that matter, simply cannot be—no matter what.

    Thus, we have a man who A) believes that the God created the universe and B) has developed a scientific method that can help illuminate the matter either way. By stating both points without apology, he is teaching the world that strong faith is no detriment to good science. He has counted the cost in advance, which is exactly what his faith asks of him. Clearly, none of the other great Christian scientists of the past allowed anyone to intimidate them. Can you imagine Sir Isaac Newton saying, “Wow, I had better back off from all this God talk, Barbara Forrest has been keeping a journal on me.” Good grief! If we don’t learn this lesson and get it settled here and now, good scientists will be walking around on egg shells for the next hundred years. Wise up folks!

  36. Alext wrote:

    “in Dembski’s case, he’s approaching science from an extremely assumption based point of view, and the interview pretty much hammers home the point that Dembski is approaching science with a conclusion already in mind. this is extremely important.”

    I’m not sure if you’re attempting to make some kind of argument or just stating your own beliefs? To say that Dawkins does not approach science with a conclusion already in mind is laughable, absurd, and quite dishonest. Dawkins admitted that it was darwins theory which allowed him to become fulfilled as an atheist. He was looking for a reason to be an atheist. And the zeus thing is also weak (and like, way old). Not many Christians believe God is an old man hurling lighting bolts from heaven, although there are kooks on both sides. Atheists try to diminish belief in God by associating it with childish beliefs such as Santa Claus, but not many adults start believing in St. Nick based on scientific evidence for design. No, most Christians believe God is the First Cause – an eternal Mind. This is quite different from belief in zeus or belief in the multi-verse (dumb luck). There’s evidence for design everywhere we look. I see no evidence for multi-verses or zeus. I may believe the designer is an alien from another dimension, just as dawkins may believe the universe appears designed because of a mythical multi-verse. The difference is that if it really is designed, my pre-conclusion will not cause me to misinterpret evidence for design and thereby stifle science (vestigial organs, “junk DNA”). As a design advocate, I can freely accept evidence for design AND evidence for natural causes. Dawkins can and only does accept evidence that conforms to his atheism. Dembski could believe the designer is God (a perfectly logical conclusion), or an alien from seti-alpha-5. Design is still design. And not for nothing, but a few scientists in the past have approached science with the conclusion that God is the designer already in mind. One was Newton.

  37. alext

    “In Dembski’s case, he’s approaching science from an extremely assumption based point of view, “

    You are reading your presuppositions into this and are taking it out of context. See Dembski’s statement:

    “The focus of my writings is not to try to understand the Christian doctrine of creation; it’s to try to develop intelligent design as a scientific program.”

    He explicitly states that he is working on a scientific theory. He is NOT setting out to prove a particular religion. Above Dembski further clarifies:

    In the context of the review, I was saying that I — personally — believe the Christian God is ultimately the designer behind the world.

    Note particularly:

    “I’ve stressed throughout my writings that there are alternative philosophical frameworks for making sense of ID.”

    Intelligent Design has been supported by Agnostics, Deists, Jews, and Muslims. You cannot extrapolate from one person’s beliefs to a dogmatic statement on validity of the theory.

  38. Shaner74:

    Dawkins admitted that it was darwins theory which allowed him to become fulfilled as an atheist. He was looking for a reason to be an atheist.

    i believe he had originally worries about atheism because he didn’t realise any alternative to design until he came across evolution at an early age. as it stands, evolution removes the necessity for a designer – if the teleological argument is the one thing stopping you from becoming an intellectually fulfilled atheist, a demonstrable refutation of the teleological argument will remove this obstacle.

    StephenB:

    You have to wonder what has happened to free speech in the western world when a man cannot even make a simple declaration of faith without getting all of this flak.

    i’m afraid freedom of speech does not affect science – of course Dembski can give voice his views. this does not make them scientifically valid by default. the issue i have with Dembski pronouncing his case to be based on a religious view is that at that point, his view ceases to be science. as my understanding is, intelligent design presents itself as a secular theory. when one of its leading proponents declares this to not be the case, this casts doubt over his motives.
    in respect to the rest of your post, i apologise if i came off as confrontational.

    i’d take issue with the posts referring to Isaac Newton. although he was religious, his laws are entirely secular. they do not incorporate his belief in God, and they work whether or not a supernatural force is behind them. if in fact, Newton was trying to find the nature of God, or similar, his laws would be noticably different.

    thanks for yr responses.

  39. Alext wrote:

    “i believe he had originally worries about atheism because he didn’t realise any alternative to design until he came across evolution at an early age.”

    Alex, that was my point. He *knew* his atheism was true (a conclusion he had already reached) and was looking for evidence to back it up. Are you agreeing with me? Dembski believes in the Christian God, and has found evidence for design in biology. It’s quite logical for him to assume the designer is God. Dawkins believes in atheism, and absolutely will not consider evidence to the contrary, unlike Flew. But regardless, both men clearly have drawn “conclusions” as you put it. To suggest otherwise is unreasonable.

    “as it stands, evolution removes the necessity for a designer – if the teleological argument is the one thing stopping you from becoming an intellectually fulfilled atheist, a demonstrable refutation of the teleological argument will remove this obstacle.”

    This is a philosophical interpretation of evidence, based on your pre-conceived notions Alex. There is a debate, and you have come to an ID site, because “evolution” certainly has not removed the necessity for a designer. In fact, “evolution” has been of no more use than to reiterate, “things change”. Well, we knew that already. Darwinian evolution has not provided the evidence for the origin of new information, which is essentially the only thing that matters. Show us a cell spontaneously developing from raw materials in accordance with natural law and ID is refuted.

    “i’d take issue with the posts referring to Isaac Newton. although he was religious, his laws are entirely secular.”

    He was a deeply religious man, and felt the work he was doing was revealing the work of God. You say they are “secular laws”, whatever that means, but would you expect the author of physics and mathematics to design the universe to run on fairy dust?

    ***************
    On an unrelated side note, if I had to vote on the #1 overused word by atheists, it would have to be “secular” I’m actually beginning to cringe every time I read or hear it. Secular this, secular that. “Yes, the food was made in a church by religious people, but the ingredients were entirely secular, therefore no mention of God shall accompany Communion.” Aaahhhh! Does anyone else know what I’m talking about??

  40. alext:
    “i believe he [Dawkins] had originally worries about atheism because he didn’t realise any alternative to design until he came across evolution at an early age.”

    Why was he looking for an alternative to design? Because he decided when he was young that mind couldn’t exist before matter and that matter must be able to blindly produce mind without any guidance or intelligent input.

    Now, apply that to a theist saying that intelligent design makes it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled theist.

    Both sides bring in metaphysical assumptions.

    alext:
    “as it stands, evolution removes the necessity for a designer.”

    Actually, as it stands, from the viewpoint of information theory and the common sense interpretation of convergent evolution, evolution is a goal oriented, non-random process operating off of problem specific information. Thus, evolution itself provides evidence of intelligence and the intelligent designer is brought back into the picture.

    alext:
    “the issue i have with Dembski pronouncing his case to be based on a religious view is that at that point, his view ceases to be science.”

    When did he ever said that the basis was religious? He only said that it was consistent with certain religious views, including his own.

    What a horrible crime in this relativistic era — that a person’s philisophical, religious, and scientific views are actually consistent!!

    alext:
    “i’d take issue with the posts referring to Isaac Newton. although he was religious, his laws are entirely secular.”

    yes … and? No one is trying to input religous laws (whatever that would be) into science. Unless you’re trying to say that the operation of intelligence is somehow “religious.”

    alext:
    “they do not incorporate his belief in God, and they work whether or not a supernatural force is behind them.”

    Of course, this starts a whole new discussion of “what is ‘supernatural’”?

    If the laws themselves are the beginning of the natural order of our universe, and if those laws began to exist then they were caused by something super (outside/fundamental to) natural.

    Thus natural laws rely on “supernatural” force. But, in this case, there is nothing inherently “religious” to “supernatural” forces.

    alext:
    “if in fact, Newton was trying to find the nature of God, or similar, his laws would be noticably different.”

    Example please.

    That is completely incorrect, since scientific investigation originally began with the assumption that there was a rational, orderly mind (God) “behind it all” and therefore the resulting nature should be orderly and able to be understood rationally — hence natural laws (into which the necessary relationship between intelligence and information should be categorized).

    Science began with the search for these natural “secular” laws of God.

  41. Famous Scientists Who Believed in God

    http://www.godandscience.org/a.....faith.html

    Nicholas Copernicus (1473-1543)

    His new system was actually first presented in the Vatican gardens in 1533 before Pope Clement VII who approved, and urged Copernicus to publish it around this time. Copernicus was never under any threat of religious persecution

    Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1627)

    Bacon was a philosopher who is known for establishing the scientific method of inquiry based on experimentation and inductive reasoning. Although his work was based upon experimentation and reasoning, he rejected atheism as being the result of insufficient depth of philosophy, stating, “It is true, that a little philosophy inclineth man’s mind to atheism, but depth in philosophy bringeth men’s minds about to religion; for while the mind of man looketh upon second causes scattered, it may sometimes rest in them, and go no further; but when it beholdeth the chain of them confederate, and linked together, it must needs fly to Providence and Deity.”

    Johannes Kepler (1571-1630)

    Kepler was an extremely sincere and pious Lutheran, whose works on astronomy contain writings about how space and the heavenly bodies represent the Trinity. Kepler suffered no persecution for his open avowal of the sun-centered system, and, indeed, was allowed as a Protestant to stay in Catholic Graz as a Professor (1595-1600) when other Protestants had been expelled!

    Galileo Galilei (1564-1642)

    Galileo expressly said that the Bible cannot err, and saw his system as an alternate interpretation of the biblical texts.

    Rene Descartes (1596-1650)

    He had a deep religious faith as a Roman Catholic, which he retained to his dying day, along with a resolute, passionate desire to discover the truth. At the age of 24 he had a dream, and felt the vocational call to seek to bring knowledge together in one system of thought. His system began by asking what could be known if all else were doubted – suggesting the famous “I think therefore I am”. Actually, it is often forgotten that the next step for Descartes was to establish the near certainty of the existence of God – for only if God both exists and would not want us to be deceived by our experiences – can we trust our senses and logical thought processes. God is, therefore, central to his whole philosophy. What he really wanted to see was that his philosophy be adopted as standard Roman Catholic teaching. Rene Descartes and Francis Bacon (1561-1626) are generally regarded as the key figures in the development of scientific methodology. Both had systems in which God was important, and both seem more devout than the average for their era.

    Isaac Newton (1642-1727)

    In optics, mechanics, and mathematics, Newton was a figure of undisputed genius and innovation. “The most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion on an intelligent and powerful Being.”

    # Robert Boyle (1791-1867)
    One of the founders and key early members of the Royal Society, Boyle gave his name to “Boyle’s Law” for gases, and also wrote an important work on chemistry. Encyclopedia Britannica says of him: “By his will he endowed a series of Boyle lectures, or sermons, which still continue, ‘for proving the Christian religion against notorious infidels…’ As a devout Protestant, Boyle took a special interest in promoting the Christian religion abroad, giving money to translate and publish the New Testament into Irish and Turkish.

    Michael Faraday (1791-1867)

    Michael Faraday became one of the greatest scientists of the 19th century. His work on electricity and magnetism not only revolutionized physics, but led to much of our lifestyles today, which depends on them (including computers and telephone lines and, so, web sites). Faraday was a devoutly Christian member of the Sandemanians, which significantly influenced him and strongly affected the way in which he approached and interpreted nature.

    Gregor Mendel (1822-1884)

    Mendel was the first to lay the mathematical foundations of genetics, in what came to be called “Mendelianism”. He began his research in 1856 (three years before Darwin published his Origin of Species) in the garden of the Monastery in which he was a monk.

    William Thomson Kelvin (1824-1907)

    Kelvin was foremost among the small group of British scientists who helped to lay the foundations of modern physics. He was a very committed Christian, who was certainly more religious than the average for his era. Interestingly, his fellow physicists George Gabriel Stokes (1819-1903) and James Clerk Maxwell (1831-1879) were also men of deep Christian commitment, in an era when many were nominal, apathetic, or anti-Christian. The Encyclopedia Britannica says “Maxwell is regarded by most modern physicists as the scientist of the 19th century who had the greatest influence on 20th century physics; he is ranked with Sir Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein for the fundamental nature of his contributions.” Lord Kelvin was an Old Earth creationist, who estimated the Earth’s age to be somewhere between 20 million and 100 million years, with an upper limit at 500 million years based on cooling rates (a low estimate due to his lack of knowledge about radiogenic heating).

    Max Planck (1858-1947)

    Planck made many contributions to physics, but is best known for quantum theory, which revolutionized our understanding of the atomic and sub-atomic worlds. In his 1937 lecture “Religion and Naturwissenschaft,” Planck expressed the view that God is everywhere present, and held that “the holiness of the unintelligible Godhead is conveyed by the holiness of symbols.” Atheists, he thought, attach too much importance to what are merely symbols. Planck was a churchwarden from 1920 until his , and believed in an almighty, all-knowing, beneficent God (though not necessarily a personal one). Both science and religion wage a “tireless battle against skepticism and dogmatism, against unbelief and superstition” with the goal “toward God!”

    Albert Einstein (1879-1955)

    Einstein is probably the best known and most highly revered scientist of the twentieth century, and is associated with major revolutions in our thinking about time, gravity, and the conversion of matter to energy (E=mc2). Although never coming to belief in a personal God, he recognized the impossibility of a non-created universe. The Encyclopedia Britannica says of him: “Firmly denying atheism, Einstein expressed a belief in “Spinoza’s God who reveals himself in the harmony of what exists.” This actually motivated his interest in science, as he once remarked to a young physicist: “I want to know how God created this world, I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details.” Einstein’s famous epithet on the “uncertainty principle” was “God does not play dice” – and to him this was a real statement about a God in whom he believed. A famous saying of his was “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

    From this list, I am very glad to count myself a believer in God.

  42. Shaner74 -

    my point about Richard Dawkins is that, as i understand from reading his work, is that he doubted the existence of a God but didn’t know of any alternatives until he heard of evolution, which made him more certain. he freely admits that genuine, hard evidence of a god would change his mind, although i expect the evidence would have to be on a fairly revolutionary scale to validate such an enormous claim.

    in reference to your point about it being “quite logical for [Dembski] to assume the designer is God” i’d suggest that it’s a massive leap of assumption (some might say faith) to go from observing complexity in biological systems to vindicating a very extravagant and ancient religion. Christianity makes a lot of claims that you cannot infer simply from the theory of ID.

    This is a philosophical interpretation of evidence, based on your pre-conceived notions Alex.

    i don’t see how you get to this? to turn my statement on its head and instead say that if i strongly felt, based on evidence that God did exist, but that the theory of evolution was strongly persuasive against this, then a demonstrable, perhaps theistic refutation of evolution would allow me scope to fully adopt an intellectually fulfilled belief in God.

    i didn’t realise there was a strong antipathy towards the “s”-word in these parts. i’m afraid i won’t refrain from using it, as it is an important concept. obviously, in my usage of “secular” in relation to the laws of thermodynamics, i meant that the Laws have absolutely no relation to God at all in their application. whether or not God exists, the laws of thermodynamics will apply the same way.

  43. bornagain77:

    Famous Scientists Who Believed in God

    i suspect that nowadays they are far outnumbered by non-famous scientists who are atheist/agnostic.
    all that you can infer from that list is that belief in God makes you famous :)

  44. There doesn’t seem to be any inconsistency in saying that PZ Meyer is right, DoL may not have any brand-spanking new arguments, but that is because the question of where biological information has come from has never receieved an adequate response from the Darwinian community. If they simply admitted that their paradigm is inadequate to answer the question and allowed ID scientists the right of free inquiry, then we would not have the combative atmosphere we currently experience.

  45. 4. Does your research conclude that God is the Intelligent Designer?

    I believe God created the world for a purpose. The Designer of intelligent design is, ultimately, the Christian God.

    The focus of my writings is not to try to understand the Christian doctrine of creation; it’s to try to develop intelligent design as a scientific program.”

    So what happens if an understanding of Christian doctrine ends up helping intelligent design develop the solid core of a scientific research program? It has obviously had great influence in the creation of the movement, and on science in general.

    I guess the “religion” part would get tossed out while the “science” part is kept. Keep the “evidence” and “proof”, but throw away or hide the influence that leads to it. From this modern perspective, Intelligent Design can make just as strong of an argument against the existence of God as Darwinism can.

    In the case of Intelligent Design evolution, it is disturbing to think that the desire of avoiding issues with the separation of Church and State is resulting in the separation of “Science” and “Religion”.

  46. —–alext, “i’m afraid freedom of speech does not affect science.”

    You are not serious, right? Secularist judges have arrogated to themselvws the right to define science and set limits concerning where and when these matters may be discussed.

    ——…”as my understanding is, intelligent design presents itself as a secular theory.”

    Your understanding is not informed by the facts. ID does not present itself as either religious or secular.

    —–“i’d take issue with the posts referring to Isaac Newton. although he was religious, his laws are entirely secular.”

    Earth to Alex—–they are not “his” laws. He discovered them; he did not create them.

    —–“if in fact, Newton was trying to find the nature of God, or similar, his laws would be noticably different.”

    Scientic laws do not change their texture because of the intent of the scientiest.

    ——”in reference to your point about it being “quite logical for [Dembski] to assume the designer is God” i’d suggest that it’s a massive leap of assumption (some might say faith) to go from observing complexity in biological systems to vindicating a very extravagent and ancient religion.”

    According to the Bible, God revealed himself in nature. In both the Old and New Testaments, God’s “designs” have been made manifest. Inasmuch as no other religious or secular world view makes that claim, it’s not that much of a leap now is it?

    —–”I didn’t realise there was a strong antipathy towards the “s”-word in these parts. i’m afraid i won’t refrain from using it, as it is an important concept. obviously, in my usage of “secular” in relation to the laws of thermodynamics, i meant that the Laws have absolutely no relation to God at all in their application. whether or not God exists, the laws of thermodynamics will apply the same way.”

    There is no antipathy toward the “s” word. The only problem is secularists who pretend not to have a world view and try to pass themselves off as disinterested observers.

  47. According to the Bible, God revealed himself in nature. In both the Old and New Testaments, God’s “designs” have been made manifest. Inasmuch as no other religious or secular world view makes that claim, it’s not that much of a leap now is it?

    – ok, i see we’re on a completely different wavelength here. over and out, earth.

  48. Alext wrote:

    “my point about Richard Dawkins is that, as i understand from reading his work, is that he doubted the existence of a God but didn’t know of any alternatives until he heard of evolution, which made him more certain.”

    Are you for real?? Let me spell it out for you: HE WAS LOOKING FOR EVIDENCE FOR HIS ATHEISM. You obviously can’t be reasoned with. I’ve learned the hard way to not waste my time with internet atheists such as yourself.

    “i suspect that nowadays they are far outnumbered by non-famous scientists who are atheist/agnostic.”

    Well dawkins is famous. Shall we compare him to Newton? He isn’t even a pebble stuck to Newton’s shoe. What happens when a committed atheist sets out to discover how nature “just happened”? They are met with constant surprise because all their assumptions are wrong. Contrast that with Newton who set out to discover how God made the universe tick. He found what he was looking for.

  49. alext,

    The correct phrase is either “over” or “out” not “over and out.” The term “over” used in communication refers to “over to you” and not that you are finished. In fact it means you plan to continue the conversation. “Out” means termination.

    It is a remnant of when using voice communication one could either transmit or receive but not both at the same time.

  50. alext, you are a space cadet! if not a graduate from space camp.

    bornagain77:

    Famous Scientists Who Believed in God

    i suspect that nowadays they are far outnumbered by non-famous scientists who are atheist/agnostic.

    Non-famous scientists outnumber famous ones — wow what revelation!! STOP THE PRESSES!

    all that you can infer from that list is that belief in God makes you famous

    alext, there’s a heck of a lot more non-famous people who believe in God than famous ones — me included. BornAgain77 did not attempt to prove a ratio between famous scientists that acknowledge God, and famous or non-famous scientists that don’t. He only established that a whole bunch of people who have way more credibility as scientists than you (presuming you, like me, are non-famous — oops, obvious, famous scientists have to be way better at formulating an argument than you are) believe in God. As such, the suggestion by some non-famous people such as yourself or more famous people like Dawkins that believing in God is somehow idiotic is not supported.

    Some of the most famous scientists believe in God. Therefore it is not a prerequisite of good science to reject the idea of God.

  51. alext,

    I consider atheism intellectually bankrupt because it defies the available evidence provided by science. However, science does not point to any specific god, just that one is so highly likely that it defies logic to reject it.

    One has to go to other sources of information besides science to conclude the God is the Judeo Christian God. While many may not accept the sources of information or their reliability that one uses, it does not mean the science is then bad.

    We believe the science points to an intelligence of massive levels but have to go to other sources for a belief on the nature of the intelligence. These later sources would not count as science but affect individual’s bellefs all the same.

    To then claim the science is religious based is a charade. As I said above it is a game that is frequently played.

  52. alext,
    Science is about evidence, so lets look at a little evidence.

    To infer intelligent design we need look no further than the protein molecule.

    It is easily demonstrated mathematically that the entire universe does not even begin to come close to being old enough, nor large enough, to ally generate just one small but precisely sequenced 100 amino acid protein (out of the over one million interdependent protein molecules of longer sequences that would be required to match the sequences of their particular protein types) in that very first living bacteria. If any combinations of the 20 L-amino acids that are used in constructing proteins are equally possible, then there are (20^100) =1.3 x 10^130 possible amino acid sequences in proteins being composed of 100 amino acids. This impossibility, of finding even one “required” specifically sequenced protein, would still be true even if amino acids had a tendency to chemically bond with each other, which they don’t despite over fifty years of experimentation trying to get amino acids to bond naturally (The odds of a single 100 amino acid protein overcoming the impossibilities of chemical bonding and forming spontaneously have been calculated at less than 1 in 10^125 (Meyer, Evidence for Design, pg. 75)). The staggering impossibility found for the universe ever generating a “required” specifically sequenced 100 amino acid protein by would still be true even if we allowed that the entire universe, all 10^80 sub-atomic particles of it, were nothing but groups of 100 freely bonding amino acids, and we then tried a trillion unique combinations per second for all those 100 amino acid groups for 100 billion years! Even after 100 billion years of trying a trillion unique combinations per second, we still would have made only one billion, trillionth of the entire total combinations possible for a 100 amino acid protein during that 100 billion years of trying! Even a child knows you cannot put any piece of a puzzle anywhere in a puzzle. You must have the required piece in the required place! The simplest forms of life ever found on earth are exceedingly far more complicated jigsaw puzzles than any of the puzzles man has ever made. Yet to believe a naturalistic theory we would have to believe that this tremendously complex puzzle of millions of precisely shaped, and placed, protein molecules “just happened” to overcome the impossible hurdles of chemical bonding and probability and put itself together into the sheer wonder of immense complexity that we find in the cell.

    Instead of us just looking at the probability of a single protein molecule occurring (a solar system full of blind men solving the Rubik’s Cube simultaneously), let’s also look at the complexity that goes into crafting the shape of just one protein molecule. Complexity will give us a better indication if a protein molecule is, indeed, the handi-work of an infinitely powerful Creator.
    In the year 2000 IBM announced the development of a new super-computer, called Blue Gene, that is 500 times faster than any supercomputer built up until that time. It took 4-5 years to build. Blue Gene stands about six feet high, and occupies a floor space of 40 feet by 40 feet. It cost $100 million to build. It was built specifically to better enable computer simulations of molecular biology. The computer performs one quadrillion (one million billion) computations per second. Despite its speed, it is estimated it will take one entire year for it to analyze the mechanism by which JUST ONE “simple” protein will fold onto itself from its one-dimensional starting point to its final three-dimensional shape.

    “Blue Gene’s final product, due in four or five years, will be able to “fold” a protein made of 300 amino acids, but that job will take an entire year of full-time computing.” Paul Horn, senior vice president of IBM research, September 21, 2000
    http://www.news.com/2100-1001-233954.html

    In real life, the protein folds into its final shape in a fraction of a second! The computer would have to operate at least 33 million times faster to accomplish what the protein does in a fraction of a second. That is the complexity found for JUST ONE “simple” protein. It is estimated, on the total number of known life forms on earth, that there may be some 50 billion different types of unique proteins today. It is very possible the domain of the protein world may hold many trillions more completely distinct and different types of proteins. The simplest bacterium known to man has millions of protein molecules divided into, at bare minimum, several hundred distinct proteins types. These millions of precisely shaped protein molecules are interwoven into the final structure of the bacterium. Numerous times specific proteins in a distinct protein type will have very specific modifications to a few of the amino acids, in their sequence, in order for them to more precisely accomplish their specific function or functions in the overall parent structure of their protein type. To think naturalists can account for such complexity by saying it “happened by chance” should be the very definition of “absurd” we find in dictionaries. Naturalists have absolutely no answers for how this complexity arose in the first living cell unless, of course, you can take their imagination as hard evidence. Yet the “real” evidence scientists have found overwhelmingly supports the anthropic hypothesis once again. It should be remembered that naturalism postulated a very simple “first cell”. Yet the simplest cell scientists have been able to find, or to even realistically theorize about, is vastly more complex than any machine man has ever made through concerted effort !! What makes matters much worse for naturalists is that naturalists try to assert that proteins of one function can easily mutate into other proteins of completely different functions by pure chance. Yet once again the empirical evidence we now have betrays the naturalists. Individual proteins have been experimentally proven to quickly lose their function in the cell with random point mutations. What are the odds of any functional protein in a cell mutating into any other functional folded protein, of very questionable value, by pure chance?

    “From actual experimental results it can easily be calculated that the odds of finding a folded protein (by random point mutations to an existing protein) are about 1 in 10 to the 65 power (Sauer, MIT). To put this fantastic number in perspective imagine that someone hid a grain of sand, marked with a tiny ‘X’, somewhere in the Sahara Desert. After wandering blindfolded for several years in the desert you reach down, pick up a grain of sand, take off your blindfold, and find it has a tiny ‘X’. Suspicious, you give the grain of sand to someone to hide again, again you wander blindfolded into the desert, bend down, and the grain you pick up again has an ‘X’. A third time you repeat this action and a third time you find the marked grain. The odds of finding that marked grain of sand in the Sahara Desert three times in a row are about the same as finding one new functional protein structure (from chance transmutation of an existing functional protein structure). Rather than accept the result as a lucky coincidence, most people would be certain that the game had been fixed.” Michael J. Behe, The Weekly Standard, June 7, 1999, Experimental Support for Regarding Functional Classes of Proteins to be Highly Isolated from Each Other

  53. Alext,

    As well God has not left Himself without witness in the Christian faith:

    Many people would argue that the Bible is proof of God’s supernatural and personal involvement with man since it is the only sacred book in the world, besides the Torah, to have the supernatural watermark of hundreds of precisely fulfilled prophecies in it that can be verified by a variety of sources. This is a compelling hard fact in and of itself; yet, there is one more piece of solid physical evidence that bears powerful witness to the Bible’s validity and also sheds an undeniable light on God’s deep personal commitment to man; The Shroud of Turin. The Shroud of Turin is one of the most scientifically scrutinized artifacts in recorded history. Through a rigid process of elimination for all naturalistic possibilities, it becomes crystal clear that the way in which the image of the man, on the Shroud of Turin, had to be imprinted was “supernatural” in its process. Many solid lines of evidence pointed to the Shroud’s authenticity back in the 1980’s, yet the carbon dating of the Shroud indicated a medieval age. In spite of the many other solid lines of evidence establishing the authenticity of the Shroud, many people unquestionably accepted the carbon dating as valid and presumed the Shroud to be a medieval fake. Yet now the carbon dating question has been thoroughly addressed and refuted in the year 2000 by Joseph G. Marino and M. Sue Benford. Their research, with textile experts showing the carbon testing was done with a piece of the Shroud that was subject to expert medieval reweaving in the 1500’s, has been published in many peer reviewed science journals. Thus, the fact that a false age was shown by the 1988 carbon testing has been accepted across the board scientifically. Now all major lines of solid evidence converge and establish the Shroud as authentic. This rigidly tested and scrutinized artifact establishes the uniqueness of the Shroud among all the ancient artifacts of man found on earth. I know of no other ancient artifact from any other culture which has withstood such intense scrutiny and still remained standing in its claim of supernatural origin. It is apparent God thought this event was so important for us to remember that He took a “photograph” of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, using the Shroud itself as a medium. After years of painstaking research searching through every naturalistic possibility, scientists still cannot tell us exactly how the image of the man on the Shroud was imprinted. Even with the advantage of all our advanced space-age technology at their fingertips, all scientists can guess is that it was some type of electro-magnetic radiation (light) that is not natural to this world. For the “light”, that had to be used to make such a precise (photographic negative) image, left no detectable “heat damage” when it imprinted the image. All electro-magnetic radiation that scientists are familiar with, with enough intensity to make an image of a man on that type of medium, would have left detectable “heat damage” on the Shroud. I have a suggestion, if scientists want to find the source for the supernatural light that made the image I suggest they look to the thousands of documented Judeo-Christian after-life experiences of people who have been deceased for a short while. It is in their testimonies that you find mention of an indescribably bright “Light” or “Being of Light” who is always described as being of a much brighter light than the people had ever seen before. All people who have been in the presence of “The Being of Light” while deceased have no doubt whatsoever that the “The Being of Light” they were in the presence of is none other than “The Lord” of heaven and earth. Another very interesting point is, since the Shroud had to be extremely close to the body when the image was made, and also considering the lack of any distinctive shadow pattern on the image, it is made apparent the only place this supernatural light that produced the image could have possibly come from is from the body itself ! In other words, THE SOURCE OF LIGHT WAS THE BODY ITSELF !!!
    God’s crowning achievement for this universe was not when He created this universe. God’s crowning achievement for this universe was when He Himself inhabited the human body He had purposely created the whole universe for, to sanctify human beings unto Himself through the and resurrection of his “Son” Jesus Christ. This is truly something that should fill anyone who reads this with awe. The wonder of it all is something that I can scarcely begin to understand much less write about. Thus, I will finish with a scripture.

    Hebrews 2:14-15
    “Since we, God’s children, are human beings – made of flesh and – He became flesh and too by being born in human form; for only as a human being could He die and in dying break the power of the devil who had the power of . Only in that way could He deliver those who through fear of have been living all their lives as slaves to constant dread.”

  54. I don’t understand why so many want to jump on Dembski. I guess it’s easier to take potshots than to look at the evidence that he offers. No, there is no “Jesus is the Designer” theory.

    (besides, I think it is more likely that the Designer had something to do with the Talmud but that would be way off track…)

    There are plenty of Jews and Christians who believe that G-d is behind all the randomness in this world. They will tell you about the importance of faith (and that there other more compelling reasons for such faith) and that in the end, what appears to be a long string of random numbers is just a small section of the Pi sequence.

    They see evolution as vindicating their religious view just as many other people will see ID as vindicating theirs.

  55. All (Esp AlexT):

    Point of information, re Newton’s worldview context:

    General Scholium to Principia, excerpt:

    . . . This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets, could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being. And if the fixed stars are the centres of other like systems, these, being formed by the like wise counsel, must be all subject to the dominion of One; especially since the light of the fixed stars is of the same nature with the light of the sun, and from every system light passes into all the other systems: and lest the systems of the fixed stars should, by their gravity, fall on each other mutually, he hath placed those systems at immense distances one from another.

    This Being governs all things, not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called Lord God pantokrator , or Universal Ruler; for God is a relative word, and has a respect to servants; and Deity is the dominion of God not over his own body, as those imagine who fancy God to be the soul of the world, but over servants. The Supreme God is a Being eternal, infinite, absolutely perfect; but a being, however perfect, without dominion, cannot be said to be Lord God; for we say, my God, your God, the God of Israel, the God of Gods, and Lord of Lords; but we do not say, my Eternal, your Eternal, the Eternal of Israel, the Eternal of Gods; we do not say, my Infinite, or my Perfect: these are titles which have no respect to servants. The word God1 usually signifies Lord; but every lord is not a God. It is the dominion of a spiritual being which constitutes a God: a true, supreme, or imaginary dominion makes a true, supreme, or imaginary God. And from his true dominion it follows that the true God is a living, intelligent, and powerful Being; and, from his other perfections, that he is supreme, or most perfect. He is eternal and infinite, omnipotent and omniscient; that is, his duration reaches from eternity to eternity; his presence from infinity to infinity; he governs all things, and knows all things that are or can be done. He is not eternity or infinity, but eternal and infinite; he is not duration or space, but he endures and is present. He endures for ever, and is every where present; and by existing always and every where, he constitutes duration and space. Since every particle of space is always, and every indivisible moment of duration is every where, certainly the Maker and Lord of all things cannot be never and no where. Every soul that has perception is, though in different times and in different organs of sense and motion, still the same indivisible person. There are given successive parts in duration, co-existent puts in space, but neither the one nor the other in the person of a man, or his thinking principle; and much less can they be found in the thinking substance of God. Every man, so far as he is a thing that has perception, is one and the same man during his whole life, in all and each of his organs of sense. God is the same God, always and every where. He is omnipresent not virtually only, but also substantially; for virtue cannot subsist without substance. In him2 are all things contained and moved [Cites Ac 17]; yet neither affects the other: God suffers nothing from the motion of bodies; bodies find no resistance from the omnipresence of God. It is allowed by all that the Supreme God exists necessarily; and by the same necessity he exists always, and every where. Whence also he is all similar, all eye, all ear, all brain, all arm, all power to perceive, to understand, and to act; but in a manner not at all human, in a manner not at all corporeal, in a manner utterly unknown to us. As a blind man has no idea of colours, so have we no idea of the manner by which the all-wise God perceives and understands all things. He is utterly void of all body and bodily figure, and can therefore neither be seen, nor heard, or touched; nor ought he to be worshipped under the representation of any corporeal thing [cites Exod 20] . We have ideas of his attributes, but what the real substance of any thing is we know not. In bodies, we see only their figures and colours, we hear only the sounds, we touch only their outward surfaces, we smell only the smells, and taste the savours; but their inward substances are not to be known either by our senses, or by any reflex act of our minds: much less, then, have we any idea of the substance of God. We know him only by his most wise and excellent contrivances of things, and final cause [i.e from his designs!]: we admire him for his perfections; but we reverence and adore him on account of his dominion: for we adore him as his servants; and a god without dominion, providence, and final causes, is nothing else but Fate and Nature. Blind metaphysical necessity, which is certainly the same always and every where, could produce no variety of things. [i.e necessity does not produce contingency] All that diversity of natural things which we find suited to different times and places could arise from nothing but the ideas and will of a Being necessarily existing. But, by way of allegory, God is said to see, to speak, to laugh, to love, to hate, to desire, to give, to receive, to rejoice, to be angry, to fight, to frame, to work, to build; for all our notions of God are taken from. the ways of mankind by a certain similitude, which, though not perfect, has some likeness, however. And thus much concerning God; to discourse of whom from the appearances of things, does certainly belong to Natural Philosophy. [Cf also his Rules of Reasoning.]

    Remember, this is perhaps the most significant scientific book of all time.

    In short, Newton was a design thinker in the Judaeo-Christian tradition, who understood his science as being integral to and in that context supportive of that tradition in thought.

    Observe too, that many of the above thoughts, find rather direct echoes in modern design thinking at both scientific and philosophical levels. [H'mm I think I may be putting up a fourth appendix to the always linked, perhaps!]

    GEM of TKI

    PS: It is surprisingly hard to find an online HTML text that is complete!

  56. PS: Done.

  57. Dembski, thanks for clearing that up- I just wanted you to make clear that ID’s science is not dependent on one believing in the Christian God. No one wants to put you “on the couch” so to speak- I just dont want to see ID put “in the electiric chair!”

  58. Also Dembski, (correct me if im wrong and you already have) but I hope that you write a book on theology one day. I would really like to see you publsih a mainstream book on appologetic like arguments and explanations about question of faith. I think a book like that today could do really well.

  59. 59
    EndoplasmicMessenger

    I’m on the last chapter of the Design of Life and all I can say is: Wow! There was new clarity and new depth in the presentation of the ID position. There were certainly arguments and refutations that I has never heard before. It was the most complete treatment of ID from top to bottom than I have read so far. Even the presentation of irreducible complexity was deeper and more fleshed out than I have seen before. The Design of Life and the Edge of Evolution provide a powerful one-two punch. Next on my list is Mike Gene’s new book.

    It seems like there is a lot of exciting activity on the ID front these days. Keep up the good work!

  60. Bill,
    Get ready to receive aa lot of undeserved heat for that sentence. I say this not as an attack, since I hold the same religious worldview as you do. I say this because materialists, who are good in combining their worldview with their science, can’t make the diference between personal beliefs and testable science when the science seems to point away from the magical powers of impersonal forces.

    Anyway, I hope I get to grab a copy of your book here in Lisbon.

  61. Like I said above, some anti-ID-ers are in bad need of some critical reading skills.

    Bill said, “I believe God created the world for a purpose. The Designer of intelligent design is, ultimately, the Christian God.”

    To which Alext said, “as it is, we have Mr Dembski stating that the designer is the Christian God, not just that that is an incidental belief that he holds.”

    Not really, you have “believe” in the previous sentence, but if that was not enough, he said it is “ultimately the Christian God”. If you think Science decides anything ultimately you should review your concept of Science.

    But we have two cases, the second sentence is elaboration on the first, or the second sentence is separate, not expressing belief as the first one does.

    Dembski first says “I believe God created the world for a purpose.” How strange that we should impute purpose to design–with God in the role of designer? Now this relatively ID-consonant principle is given with “I believe.” Thus, by isolating belief to the first sentence only, we get an odd condition where he implies that Yahweh is the designer, but he believes that the designer had a purpose. What is Yahweh, a theist God, without a purpose–even if known only fully to him? And how is it the guess that a generic “God” had a purpose can be held looser than an insistence that a God known for purpose is the designer?

    It can’t. It’s a bad read. The only thing that makes it worse, is digging in on whether it was a good one.

  62. Christian “God”?

    (the) Christian “God” = (the) “God” of Abraham = (the) “God” of Judaism= (the) “God” of Islam

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