Tuesday, January 11, 2005

News: Theorist and Author Challenges Viability of Evolution

From Agape press the following article:
Theorist and Author Challenges Viability of Evolution: "(AgapePress) - A mathematician and philosopher says a growing number of intellectuals are questioning the viability of Darwinian evolution."

Interesting quotes

Narrowing the big tent of ID Dembski comments on theism

Theorist and Author Challenges Viability of Evolution" author="Dembski">Dembski says if one accepts a blind evolutionary point of view, it is hard to square with any coherent form of theism.

and argues that "teaching Darwinism in schools causes children to lose their religious faith".

Theorist and Author Challenges Viability of Evolution" author="Dembski">The theorist says public school children who, for example, are taught Darwinian evolution as a proven fact are likely to lose their faith in God.

And presents some interesting statistics (no source provided)

Theorist and Author Challenges Viability of Evolution" author="Dembski">Dembski, who is an associate research professor in the conceptual foundations of science at Baylor University, estimates that only one or two percent of biological scientists believe in God.

Statistical estimation does not seem to be his strong point

See also The Flagellum Unspun The Collapse of "Irreducible Complexity" by Kenneth R. Miller

and Commentary on William A. Dembski's "No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence" (Lanham, Maryland:Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc., 2002, 404pp.) by Wesley R. Elsberry

The most disappointing aspect of "No Free Lunch", though, has to do with section 5.10, "Doing The Calculation". Dembski had promised, under critical questioning, to publish an example of the application of his framework for inferring design from "The Design Inference" as it would be applied to a non-trivial example of a biological system. Section 5.10 is apparently what Dembski intended to serve as payment on that promissory note. However, it fails to deliver on several points. Dembski does not establish that the example, that of a bacterial flagellum, has a specification according to the usage in "The Design Inference". Dembski also fails to enumerate and then eliminate multiple relevant chance hypotheses, as indicated in "The Design Inference". Dembski especially does not evaluate the hypothesis that the bacterial flagellum developed through evolutionary change; a curious omission given the context. The single "chance" hypothesis that Dembski does bother to consider is a marginal refinement on the old antievolution standby, "random assembly". At least, the technical jargon looks denser around Dembski's argument than I've seen around "tornado in a junkyard" presentations. But all in all, section 5.10 does little to help those who wanted to see how a design inference could be rigorously applied to biological examples.

Read more!