Debra Conley‘s Review:
Intelligent Design presents the idea as a whole new area of science wherein the researchers base findings on the premise that some form of design was the origin for empirical discoveries. Author William Dembski clearly states that this is not the same as Creation science (faith based) or theistic evolution, which often includes the idea that God allowed evolution and shows how scientific naturalism is Hinduism recreated (no pun intended). The study of Intelligent Design is taking the evident observations and conclusions (empirical evidences) and discovering what intelligent plan might have put this evidence in place. Dembski lays out the case for how molecular biology does not fit into natural selection. Recent science has cemented a Complexity Theory that, in layman’s terms, says that there is a definite relationship between how complex an organism is compared to the probability of random event. Molecular biologists are just beginning to understand that the molecule is so complex a machine that the probability of assembling itself to this level of complexity through random selection is incredulous.
“Intelligent design properly formulated is a theory of information. Within such a theory, information becomes a reliable indicator of intelligent causation as well as a proper objective for scientific investigation,” states Dembski on page 106. “Within molecular science, the idea perpetuated by natural selection that slight, successive modifications produce the end result cannot be claimed. Molecules are such complex mechanisms that they are irreducible. They exhibit an irreducibly complex system such that to remove any one part renders the entire assembly nonfunctional. Since natural selection can only choose to modify systems that are already working, the assumption has to be made that if a biological system cannot be produced gradually, it must have had to arise as an integrated unit for natural selection to have anything to act on” (p. 148-149). Dembski also pleads for the inclusion of Specification, a method of scientific study whereby a pattern with sufficient complexity warrants a design inference. “Intelligent design is one intelligence determining what another intelligence has done. There is nothing mysterious (or religious) about this” (p. 109).
The falling away from acceptance of only natural selection is fast and furious. Fewer than 10% of today’s scientists accept natural selection as the only explanation.1 Why, then, is the theory of natural selection the only one used in texts? Dembski acknowledges what we all know: those are the 10% in academia (p. 114). Among scientists who really want to know the truth, the rise of other possibilities has grown immensely in the last decade.
Dembski puts the narrow mind of the natural selection scientist into perspective:
“Throughout Scripture the fundamental divide separating humans is between those who can discern God’s action in the world and those who are blind to it. Those who discern God’s action in the world the Scripture (I Corinthians 2:14) calls “spiritual.” Those who cannot discern, the Scripture calls “natural” or “soulish.” For those who cannot discern God’s action in the world, the world is a self-contained, self-sufficient, self-explanatory, self-ordering system. They view themselves as autonomous and the world as independent of God. This severing of the world from God is the essence of idolatry and is, in the end, what keeps us from knowing God” (p. 99).
1. Ronald Numbers, Darwinism Comes to America (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1998) pp. 9, 11
William Dembski holds a Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago, is a two time recipient of the National Science Foundation Fellowship, is a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute Center, and is currently doing post-doctoral studies at MIT, Princeton, and Northwestern University.