William A. Dembski has a number of questions that he'd like to have students pose to their teachers. These questions quoted from Dembski are rendered in italics.
Here are some answers for the teachers to give their students in reply.
1. DESIGN DETECTION. If the universe, or some aspect of it, is intelligently designed, how could we know it? Do reliable methods for detecting design exist? What are they? Are such methods employed in forensics, archeology, and data fraud analysis? Could they conceivably detect design in biological systems?
A. We know about "design" because of our prior experience. Our appreciation of "design" comes about through an inductive process, as David Hume noted over two centuries ago. Nothing so far discovered by science has changed this. Scientists have developed a number of techniques and protocols to aid them in distinguishing artifacts that have been made by humans and other animals from things that have simply weathered or been subject to some non-volitional process. These techniques, however, have had nothing to do with conjectures posed by "intelligent design" advocates. Humans who alter the genetic information of bacteria and other organisms sometimes patent the exact changes made. Matching the genetic information in an organism to the changed genetic sequences would establish that the organism inherited that information from such an altered source. Again, this sort of process is not based upon and has not benefited from work done by "intelligent design"
Additional reading: The advantages of theft over toil, an article that clearly lays out problems in the sort of procedure that is common to "intelligent design" approaches to "detecting design". Information Theory, Evolutionary Computation, and Dembski's "Complex Specified Information" is an in-depth analysis of the claims that Dembski made concerning "design detection" up through 2003. There are also chapters devoted to this topic in Mark Perakh's Unintelligent Design and the anthology edited by Matt Young and Taner Edis, Why Intelligent Design Fails.
This etext covers Dr. Barbara Forrest's acceptance as an expert witness for the plaintiffs despite a series of objections by the defense and her direct examination by Eric Rothschild.
In a blurb for The Privileged Planet, Phillip Skell says
"In this fascinating and highly original book, Guillermo Gonzalez and Jay Richards advance a persuasive argument, and marshal a wealth of diverse scientific evidence to justify that argument. In the process, they effectively challenge several popular assumptions, not only about the nature and history of science, but also about the nature and origin of the cosmos. The Privileged Planet will be impossible to ignore. It is likely to change the way we view both the scientific enterprise and the world around us. I recommend it highly."
- Philip Skell, Evan Pugh Professor Emeritus of Physics, Pennsylvania State University, Member, National Academy of Sciences.
But how original is the basic idea in Gonzalez and Richards' book, that we are especially well-situated to observe and make sense of astronomical data? It turns out that the giant whose shoulders Gonzalez and Richards stand upon is none other than the Reverend William Paley.
Here's a couple of things I've been working on rather than posting here lately:
Waterloo In Dover: The Kitzmiller v. DASD Case, on the Panda's Thumb.
I may do some podcasting as the trial gets going. We'll see.
An open letter to the 600 NCSE Steves,
My dearest, my darlings, you little stinkers! In all of my 25 plus years as a professional something or other, (and believe me, I've done a lot of stuff for money!) nothing makes me prouder than to have been involved in what became known internationally as Project Steve. Oh, poo to project lead on one of BellSouth's largest re-engineering software projects of the late 90s, GE Financial Services first venture into the World Wide Web and Bechtel Engineering's Web Initiative Plan what'cha'ma'call'it. Project Steve beat the pants off all of them.
From the moment that Matt Inlay first pondered the vastness of Steves (individually or collectively, only Matt himself knows), Glenn and I fell giggling onto the floor of the NCSE office munching Twinkies and causing the Darwinian-Only Terror herself, Dr. Eugenie Scott, to come from her lair and roar, “C'mon guys, what's so funny,” we knew we were on to something.
At first we thought it just too outrageous to even contemplate. After all, who were these so-called Steves? Botanists, geologists, paleontologists, biologists, tobacconists? Would they answer our call? Well, my boys, you did answer. With all the courage and conviction of someone who would send an email to a colleague stating, “Hey Steve, did you get one of these? Are the clowns at NCSE serious about this?” you charged to the front trenches defending quality science education.
Check out The Battle Over Evolution: How Geoscientists Can Help by Glenn Branch of the National Center for Science Education.
Casey Luskin writes in the Discovery Institute's Evolution News and Views blog concerning the widespread perception that "intelligent design" invokes supernatural explanation. Luskin says that critics of ID have misled the public on this issue, and that all becomes clear when one examines what ID advocates have to say on the matter. Luskin goes on at length concerning his conjectures of the structure of misinformation about ID; it's a relatively amusing read. But don't expect much in the way of empirical support for the claims.
Christian high schools teaching antievolution as course content in biology classes are suing the California state university system. California state schools have a policy in place that does not credit biology courses based upon the Bob Jones University or A Beka curriculum materials when evaluating student admissions applications.
Amid the growing national debate over the mixing of religion and
science in America's classrooms, University of California admissions
officials have been accused in a federal civil rights lawsuit of
discriminating against high schools that teach creationism and other
2005/08/01: USA President George W. Bush was asked about "intelligent design" during a press conference.
In a press conference on August 1st, 2005, President George W. Bush responded to a question on "intelligent design". A Washington Post news article gives the complete exchange:
Q I wanted to ask you about the -- what seems to be a growing debate over evolution versus intelligent design. What are your personal views on that, and do you think both should be taught in public schools?
"THE PRESIDENT: I think -- as I said, harking back to my days as my governor . . . Then, I said that, first of all, that decision should be made to local school districts, but I felt like both sides ought to be properly taught.
NCSE's Anj Petto will be on "Conversations with Kathleen Dunn" on Wisconsin Public Radio on Thursday, August 25, 2005. The segment begins at 10 AM CDT. Yesterday, the Kathleen Dunn show interviewed Discovery Institute Senior Fellow Michael Behe.
To call in to the program, use 1-800-486-8655 or 227-2050 in Milwaukee.