Design Inference Website



THE WRITINGS OF WILLIAM A. DEMBSKI
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NEW AS OF 12 August 2004
<> Information as a Measure of Variation. [v. 3.0, posted 12Aug04; v. 2.0, posted 23July04; originally posted 7July04] First installment in a set of seven planned technical articles under the rubric Mathematical Foundations of Intelligent Design.



2004
> Reflections on Human Origins. [version 2.0, posted 4Aug04; originally posted 21June04] Section from forthcoming book (i.e., The Design of Life).
<<> The Design of Life. [6May04] Prefatory material and epilogue of a forthcoming book, to appear this year, authored by Michael Behe, Percival Davis, William Dembski, Dean Kenyon, and Jonathan Wells, with William Dembski as academic editor.
<> Dealing with the Backlash against Intelligent Design. [14Apr04] Dr. Dembski's contribution to the forthcoming Phillip Johnson Festschrift Volume, edited by William Dembski and Jed Macosko.
<> Five Questions Evolutionists Would Rather Dodge. [14Apr04] A popular piece commissioned by Citizen Magazine.
<> Darwin's Meltdown. [3Apr04] World Magazine commissioned William Dembski to enlist several proponents of intelligent design to speculate about the state of Darwinism at the 100th anniversary of the Scopes trial in 2025. Phillip Johnson, Jonathan Wells, Jeffrey Schwartz, and William Dembski each wrote articles.
<> Society for the Advancement of Real Science Denounces Intelligent Design. [26Feb04] Denunciations of Intelligent Design by the American Association for the Advancement of Science (see here), the American Institute of Physics (see here and here), and the Society for Neuroscience (see here) have been far too tame. Finally, the Society for the Advancement of Real Science has released a denunciation worthy of the menace that is Intelligent Design. [[Please note: This press release by the Society for the Advancement of Real Science is a parody. No such organization exists. Unfortunately, because reality is nearly as extreme as this parody, many readers initially think that this "press release" is genuine. Hence this disclaimer.]]
<> Irreducible Complexity Revisited. [14Jan04] Update on where the debate over irreducible complexity is eight years after the publication of Michael Behe's book Darwin's Black Box.
<> Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher about Design. [14Jan04]



2003
<> Response to Paul Gross. [1Dec03] Paul Gross's September 2003 criticism of intelligent design in the National Association of Scholar's Science Insights (see here) garnered numerous responses from both friends and foes of intelligent design in the November issue of Science Insights (see here). The friends of intelligent design who responded to Gross included David Berlinski, Phillip Johnson, Jonathan Wells, Michael Behe, John West (on behalf of Discovery Institute), Robert Koons, Roland Hirsch, and William Dembski. The latter's response is included here.
<> Biology in the Subjunctive Mood: A Response to Nicholas Matzke. [11Nov03] A response to Nicholas Matzke's article posted on the Talk Reason website titled "Evolution in (Brownian) Space: A Model for the Origin of the Bacterial Flagellum."
<> Gauging Intelligent Design's Success. [11Nov03] Talk presented at the Ian Ramsey Centre, Oxford, October 30, 2003.
<> Response to Eugenie Scott's Letter to Texas Board of Education. [10Oct03] In her letter of September 30, 2003 to the Texas Board of Education, Eugenie Scott claimed that intelligent design research is not properly peer-reviewed and singled out William Dembski's monograph The Design Inference as a case in point. William Dembski's letter of October 10, 2003 to the Texas Board of Education refutes her charges.
<> Transcendence. [6Oct03] Article entry for IVP's forthcoming New Dictionary of Christian Apologetics.
<> Endorsements for The Design Revolution. [27Sep03] The endorsements for William Dembski's forthcoming book with InterVarsity as they will be appearing on the book cover and the first few pages.
<> Infinite Universe or Intelligent Design? [27Sep03] Paper delivered at 2003 Accelerating Change Conference at Stanford University, 13 September 2003 <http://www.accelerating.org/acc2003/schedule.htm>.
<> Paul Gross's Dilemma. [22Sep03] An open letter to the National Association of Scholars in response to Paul Gross's article on intelligent design in the NAS's September 2003 issue of Science Insights <http://www.nas.org/publications/sci_newslist/7_4/sci_insght74.pdf>.
<> Testimony of William Dembski before Texas State Board of Education. [10Sep03] Point at issue was the accuracy of high school biology textbooks in presenting evolutionary theory. Testimonies were strictly limited to three minutes.
<> ID FAQ presented by William Dembski to Texas State Board of Education. [10Sep03] Three frequently asked questions: (1) What is ID? (2) Is it peer reviewed? (3) What is its research program?
<> Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing. [revised 4Sep03; originally posted 22July03] Table of contents, introduction, and list of contributors to edited collection by William Dembski, due out with Intercollegiate Studies Institute early spring 2004. Revised in light of Andrea Bottaro's response at www.talkdesign.org.
<> The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions about Intelligent Design. [30Aug03] Table of contents, preface, and acknowledgments to book by William Dembski, due out with InterVarsity Press January 2004. Includes foreword by Charles Colson and endorsement by Senator Rick Santorum.
<> Intelligent Design. [28Aug03] Entry to Lindsay Jones's Encyclopedia of Religion, 2nd edition, forthcoming with Macmillan.
<> Does the Design Argument Show There Is a God? [28Aug03] Entry to Ted Cabal's Apologetics Study Bible, forthcoming with Broadman & Holman.
<> "Algorithm," "Algorithmic Complexity," "Boundary Conditions," "Dissipative Structures," and "Teleological Argument." [28Aug03] Five entries in the Macmillan Encyclopedia of Science and Religion, edited by Wentzel van Huyssteen, published spring 2003.
<> Making the Task of Theodicy Impossible? Intelligent Design and the Problem of Evil. [4Apr03] Paper delivered under the auspices of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (CTNS) at the Graduate Theological Union (GTU) in Berkeley, 1 April 2003.
<> Challenging Materialism's "Chokehold" on Neuroscience. [27Feb03] Book review for First Things of The Mind and the Brain: Neuroplasticity and the Power of Mental Force, by Jeffrey Schwartz and Sharon Begley. HarperCollins. 432 pp. Book available for purchase online here.
<> Letter in response to "The Virtue of Hate" by Meir Soloveichik. [27Feb03] Soloveichik's article appeared in the February 2003 issue of First Things and is available here.
<> Still Spinning Just Fine: A Response to Ken Miller. [17Feb03] William Dembski responds to Kenneth Miller's article "The Flagellum Unspun: The Collapse of 'Irreducible Complexity'." This article, which will be appearing in a collection that William Dembski is editing with Michael Ruse, is available on the web here.



2002
<> Evolution's Logic of Credulity: An Unfettered Response to Allen Orr. The Boston Review gave William Dembski 1000 words to respond to Allen Orr's 6000-word book review of No Free Lunch (for Dembski's 1000-word response see "Sheer vs. Real Possibilities" below). A fuller response to Orr's review was required. Here it is.
<> Becoming a Disciplined Science: Prospects, Pitfalls, and Reality Check for ID. Keynote address delivered at RAPID Conference (Research and Progress in Intelligent Design), Biola University, La Mirada, California, 25 October 2002.
<> Elliott Sober's Independent Evidence Requirement for Design. A brief reply to Elliott Sober's main line of attack against the legitimacy of design within biology. Dr. Dembski plans to extend this reply.
<> The Logical Underpinnings of Intelligent Design. Dr. Dembski's contribution to Debating Design: From Darwin to DNA (Cambridge University Press, to appear 2003, co-edited with Michael Ruse).
<> Evolutionary Logic. This bit of frivolity adapts and extends Paul Dunmore's "The Uses of Fallacy," New Zealand Mathematics Magazine, vol. 7, 1970.
<> Naturalism's Argument from Invincible Ignorance: A Response to Howard Van Till. Howard Van Till's review of Dr. Dembski's book No Free Lunch is available at the AAAS Evolution Resources page -- http://www.aaas.org/spp/dser/evolution/perspectives/default.htm. The actual review is available as a pdf file at http://www.aaas.org/spp/dser/evolution/perspectives/vantillecoli.pdf. Dr. Dembski responds to Van Till's review here.
<> If Only Darwinists Scrutinized Their Own Work as Closely: A Response to "Erik". An Internet persona and critic of intelligent design known as "Erik" reviewed those aspects of Dr. Dembski's book No Free Lunch dealing with the Law of Conservation of Information and specificational resources. Erik's review is titled "On Dembski's Law of Conservation of Information" and is available at http://www.talkreason.org/articles/dembski_LCI.pdf. Dr. Dembski responds to the review here.
<> Sheer vs. Real Possibilities: A Response to Allen Orr. Allen Orr reviewed Dr. Dembski's book No Free Lunch in the Summer 2002 issue of the Boston Review. Orr's review is available at http://bostonreview.mit.edu/BR27.3/orr.html. The response below is at the request of the Boston Review and will be appearing in a subsequent issue. Dembski was limited to 1000 words by the Boston Review and plans a more extensive response to Orr in the future.
<> Addicted to Caricatures: A Response to Brian Charlesworth. The journal Nature had Brian Charlesworth review Dr. Dembski's book No Free Lunch in its 11 July 2002 issue. The article is available at http://www.nature.com to subscribers for free and to nonsubscribers for a fee.
<> Then and Only Then: A Response to Mike Gene. Mike Gene is the pseudonym of a biologist known and respected for his work on intelligent design. Dr. Dembski disagrees with him sharply, however, over his views whether intelligent design may at this time properly be taught in the public school science curriculum (for his views see here and here). The addendum to Dr. Dembski's response is by Jonathan Wells.
<> Random Predicate Logic I: A Probabilistic Approach to Vagueness. Regarding this paper, Dr. Dembski writes: "This is an old paper, written twelve years ago, that's been in cold storage ever since. I had always intended to get back to it and apply the formalism it develops, but other projects kept getting in the way. I finally decided to clean it up and get it into circulation, not only because it provides a more powerful and ultimately, I believe, more fruitful formalism than fuzzy logic, but also because I am eager to apply it to confirmation theory, logical paradoxes, and, most importantly from my view, to design-theoretic concepts. I want in particular to treat predicates that attribute complexity, specified complexity, and design as random predicates and see what fruit this reformulation will bear. Since Bart Kosko has shown that fuzzy logic cannot be subsumed under Bayesian techniques, and since fuzzy logic is strictly subsumable under random predicate logic, I intend, as it were, to transcend Bayesian techniques by moving to a completely different formalism. All of this, of course, constitutes a promissory note and will have to await 'Random Predicate Logic II: Applications and Interpretations'. The present paper merely lays out the basic formalism."
<> Commentary by William Dembski on Eugenie Scott and Glenn Branch's "Guest Viewpoint: 'Intelligent design' Not Accepted by Most Scientists" -- their article appeared July 2nd on the website of the National School Boards Association .
<> The Primacy of the First Person: Reply to Ray Kurzweil. Reply to Ray Kurzweil's criticism of Dr. Dembski's essay "Kurzweil's Impoverished Spirituality" in the book Are We Spiritual Machines?, edited by Jay Richards and available online here. This reply was made in the context of an ISCID reading discussion on that book organized by Micah Sparacio (see http://www.iscid.org/arewespiritualmachines.php).
<> Skepticism's Prospects for Unseating Intelligent Design. Talk delivered at CSICOP's Fourth World Skeptics Conference in Burbank, California, 21 June 2002, at a discussion titled "Evolution and Intelligent Design." The participants included ID proponents William Dembski and Paul Nelson as well as evolutionists Wesley Elsberry and Kenneth Miller. Massimo Pigliucci moderated the discussion.
<> The Fantasy Life of Richard Wein. A further response to Richard Wein.
<> Obsessively Criticized but Scarcely Refuted: A Response to Richard Wein. A response to Richard Wein's overly long and ill-conceived review of No Free Lunch. Wein expended 37,000 words in his initial response and from comments on talk.origins apparently plans to expand it still further.
<> Asking the Tough Questions. A brief response to an exchange between Michael Ruse and Jonathan Wells to appear in Research News in Science and Religion.
<> If Not Natural Selection? A review of Steven Orzack and Elliott Sober's Adaptationism and Optimality (CUP, 2001) to appear in Books & Culture.
<> Does Evolution Even Have a Mechanism? Talk delivered at the American Museum of Natural History, 23 April 2002 at a discussion titled "Evolution or Intelligent Design?" The participants included ID proponents William A. Dembski and Michael J. Behe as well as evolutionists Kenneth R. Miller and Robert T. Pennock. Eugenie C. Scott moderated the discussion.
<> Moral Darwinism: How We Became Hedonists. Foreword by William A. Dembski. Available at Amazon.com.
<> Darwin's Predictable Defenders: A Response to Massimo Pigliucci. A response to "Design Yes, Intelligent No: A Critique of Intelligent Design Theory and Neocreationism," by Massimo Pigliucci, Skeptical Inquirer (Sep/Oct 2001): 34-39. To appear in the Christian Research Journal.
<> MESA (Monotonic Evolutionary Simulation Algorithm). A Java program by William Dembski, John Bracht, and Micah Sparacio that models evolutionary searches and employs monotonic smooth fitness gradients. Its aim is to determine the degree to which fitness perturbation and variable coupling impede evolutionary searches. The link here is to the ISCID website.
<> Response to Walter Thorson. The March 2002 issue of Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith was devoted to an extended article by Walter Thorson titled "Legitimacy and Scope of 'Naturalism' in Science." William Dembski was one of twelve respondents.
<> Edward Kennedy -- Expert on Science? Statement by William Dembski on the scientific status of intelligent design. Responds to Edward Kennedy's claim that ID is not properly scientific.
<> Not Taking Information Seriously Enough. Review of James E. Huchingson, Pandemonium Tremendum: Chaos and Mystery in the Life of God (Cleveland: Pilgrim Press, 2001). Appeared in Princeton Theological Seminary Bulletin.
<> Detecting Design in the Natural Sciences. Article commissioned for POISK (the magazine of the Russian Academy of Science) and currently being translated into Russian.
<> Robert Pennock's Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics. William Dembski's press releases in response to the publication of this book. Integrity is hard won and easily lost. For publishing William Dembski's work without his knowledge or permission, Robert Pennock and MIT Press compromised their integrity.
<> Refuted Yet Again! This article is written in response to Matt Young's "How to Evolve Specified Complexity by Natural Means." Both pieces appeared on Metanexus (http://www.metanexus.net).
<> No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence. Jacket endorsements for William Dembski's most important book to date. Available at Barnes & Noble for $28.



2001
<> ISCID. William Dembski, John Bracht, and Micah Sparacio together founded the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design in December of 2001.
<> What Have Butterflies Got to Do with Darwin? Review of Bernard d’Abrera, The Concise Atlas of Butterflies of the World (London: Hill House, 2001).
<> ID as a Theory of Technological Evolution. William Dembski delivered this paper as a lecture at the June 2001 AAAS conference at Haverford College. The conference title was Interpreting Evolution. His lecture was part of a session on intelligent design in which he was paired with Wesley Elsberry (hence the reference to him in the paper). The talk was reprinted on Metanexus (http://www.metanexus.net).
<> The Pragmatic Nature of Mathematical Inquiry. This article appeared in Mathematics in a Postmodern Age (Eerdmans, 2001), edited by Rossell Howell and James Bradley. It's approach is similar to the experimental approach to mathematics outlined in Gregory Chaitin's The Limits of Mathematics.
<> Is Intelligent Design a Form of Natural Theology? Examines the relation between ID and natural theology. First appeared on Metanexus (http://www.metanexus.net).
<> How Blind Is the Watchmaker. William Dembski's foreword to Neil Broom's book. Available at Amazon.com.
<> Signs of Intelligence: Understanding Intelligent Design (Amazon.com link). William Dembski's most accessible book. An expanded version of a Touchstone Magazine special issue on intelligent design.
<> Unapologetic Apologetics: Meeting the Challenges of Theological Studies (Amazon.com link). Co-edited with Jay Richards.



2000
<> Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe (Amazon.com link). Co-authored with Michael Behe and Stephen Meyer.
<> Intelligent Design Coming Clean. Explains why intelligent design is a "big tent." This article first appeared on Metanexus (http://www.metanexus.net).
<> The Evidential Collapse of Darwinism [21Oct00] Amazon.com review of Jonathan Wells's Icons of Evolution.
<> Who's Got the Magic? A response to Robert Pennock's false dichotomy that ID forces one to choose between mechanism and magic. This article first appeared on Metanexus (http://www.metanexus.net). It was reprinted without permission in Robert Pennock's Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics.
<> The Limits of Natural Teleology. Review of Robert Wright's Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny. Appeared in August/September 2000 issue of First Things.
<> The Nature of Nature (Conference at Baylor, April 2000). Description and schedule of historic conference. Organized by William Dembski and Bruce Gordon through Baylor's erstwhile Michael Polanyi Center.
<> Disbelieving Darwin--And Feeling No Shame! Why do people resist Darwin's theory? Because it is deeply flawed or because they feel threatened? This article first appeared on Metanexus (http://www.metanexus.net).
<> Because It Works. That's Why! Review of The Concept of Probability in Statistical Physics by Y.M. Guttmann (CUP, 1999). This article first appeared in Books & Culture.
<> Intelligent Design is not Optimal Design. Response to Francisco Ayala. This article first appeared on Metanexus (http://www.metanexus.net).
<> What Can We Reasonably Hope For? Invited contribution on the topic of science and religion to First Things' Millennium Symposium, January 2000 issue.



1999
<> Are We Spiritual Machines? A response to Ray Kurzweil's Age of Spiritual Machines. This article first appeared in First Things.
<> The Last Magic. A review of The Applicability of Mathematics as a Philosophical Problem by Mark Steiner (Harvard University Press, 1999). This review first appeared in Books & Culture.
<> Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology. Jacket endorsements for book. Available at Amazon.com.



1998 and before
<> The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities. Endorsements for book. Available at Amazon.com.
<> Mere Creation: Science, Faith & Intelligent Design. Endorsements for book. Available at Amazon.com.
<> Science and Design. Popular piece on design detection. This article first appeared in First Things.
<> Act of Creation: Bridging Transcendence and Immanence. Talk presented at Millstatt Forum, Strasbourg, France, 10 August 1998.
<> The Intelligent Design Movement. Overview of ID movement as things stood in March of 1998. Appeared in Fred Heeren's periodical Cosmic Pursuit.
<> Simpson (not G. G.) and Gould (not Harold or Elliot). An analysis of the Simpsons episode featuring Stephen Jay Gould.
<> Alchemy, NK Boolean Style. A review of At Home in the Universe: The Search for the Laws of Self Organization and Complexity by Stuart Kauffman (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995).
<> Randomness by Design. Dr. Dembski's first significant contribution to intelligent design. This article appeared in the spring of 1991 in the philosophy journal Nous. It has appeared elsewhere on the Internet, but in each case the formatting was garbled and some content was lost. Dr. Dembski has therefore re-typeset the article in TeX and made it available here. Many of the ideas about small probability and specification are in this article in seminal form.



Speaking Schedule

<> 16-17 January 2004, University of California, Davis (contact Richard Spencer).
<> 30 October 2003, Ian Ramsey Center, Oxford.
<> 14-16 October 2003, Symposium: "Explaining Evolution: Darwinian Descent or Detectable Design?" featuring Michael Ruse and William Dembski, University of Central Arkansas Honors College -- Challenge Week 2003 [rescheduled from February 2003 because of blizzard].
<> 12-14 September 2003, Stanford University, Accelerating Change Conference.
<> 9-10 April 2003, University of Maine (contact Doug Palmeter).
<> 1 April 2003, Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences, Berkeley (contact Ted Peters).
<> 25 March 2003, Southern Methodist University (contact Steve Sternberg with CLM).
<> 9-17 March 2003, New Zealand, promoting Unlocking the Mystery of Life video through Focus on the Family.
<> 11-12 February 2003, Norton Lectures, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville (contact James Parker).
<> 6 February 2003, Southwest Texas State University (contact Karl Stephan).
<> 13 November 2003, Hillsdale College, Symposium: "The Intelligent Design Debate." Featuring Michael Ruse, Larry Arnhart, Michael Behe, Mano Singham, Niles Eldredge, Jonathan Wells, and William Dembski. For details go here.
<> 8 November 2003, UT Austin (contact Marty Poenie)
<> 25 October 2002, RAPID Conference (Research and Progress in Intelligent Design), Biola University, La Mirada, California.
<> 24 October 2002, "Darwinism in Crisis" (panel w/ Paul Nelson, John Bloom, Jonathan Wells, Fuz Rana, and Hugh Ross), Chase Gymnasium, Biola University, La Mirada, California, 7:00-9:30PM.



Links

INTELLIGENT DESIGN
<> International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design.
<> Center for Science and Culture. A program of Seattle's Discovery Institute.
<> ARN. Access Research Network.
<> Teleologic. Mike Gene's ID website.
<> IDNET. Intelligent Design Network.
<> IDEA Center. Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness Center.
<> IDURC. Intelligent Design Undergraduate Research Center.

RECOMMENDED BOOKS
<> From Darwin to Hitler: Evolutionary Ethics, Eugenics, and Racism in Germany by Richard Weikhart.
<> The Privileged Planet by Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Wesley Richards.

COMPLEX SYSTEMS
<> Santa Fe Institute.
<> NECSI. New England Complex Systems Institute.
<> ICAM. Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter.

CRITICS
<> The Flagellum Unspun: The Collapse of "Irreducible Complexity", Ken Miller.
<> Review of No Free Lunch, H. Allen Orr, Boston Review, Summer 2002.
<> The Design Argument, Elliott Sober, in W. Mann, ed., The Blackwell Guide to Philosophy of Religion, forthcoming.
<> Intelligent Design and Probability Reasoning, Elliott Sober, International Journal for the Philosophy of Religion 52 (2002): 65-80. ABSTRACT: This paper defends two theses about probabilistic reasoning. First, although modus ponens has a probabilistic analog, modus tollens does not - the fact that a hypothesis says that an observation is very improbable does not entail that the hypothesis is improbable. Second, the evidence relation is essentially comparative; with respect to hypotheses that confer probabilities on observation statements but do not entail them, an observation O may favor one hypothesis H1 over another hypothesis H2 , but O cannot be said to confirm or disconfirm H1 without such relativization. These points have serious consequences for the Intelligent Design movement. Even if evolutionary theory entailed that various complex adaptations are very improbable, that would neither disconfirm the theory nor support the hypothesis of intelligent design. For either of these conclusions to follow, an additional question must be answered: With respect to the adaptive features that evolutionary theory allegedly says are very improbable, what is their probability of arising if they were produced by intelligent design? This crucial question has not been addressed by the ID movement.
<> Testability, Elliott Sober, Proceedings and Addresses of the American Philosophical Association 73 (1999): 47-76.
<> How Not to Detect Design, Branden Fitelson, Christopher Stephens, Elliott Sober. A review of William A. Dembski’s The Design Inference that appeared in Philosophy of Science 66 (1999): 472-88.

SCRAPBOOK
<> Nature's Diversity beyond Evolution: Debate over Intelligent Design, Carl T. Hall, front page story, San Francisco Chronicle, 17 March 2002.
<> Seeking the Deity in the Details, Richard Monastersky, cover story, Chronicle of Higher Education, 21 December 2001.
<> Darwinism under Attack, Beth McMurtrie, cover story, Chronicle of Higher Education, 21 December 2001.
<> Evolutionists Battle New Theory of Creation, James Glanz, front page story, New York Times, 8 April 2001.
<> Enlisting Science to Find Fingerprints of a Creator, Teresa Watanabe, front page story, Los Angeles Times, 25 March 2001.