edited by William A. Dembski and Michael Ruse

Chapter 1 William A. Dembski and Michael Ruse

Intelligent Design is the hypothesis that in order to explain life it is necessary to suppose the action of an unevolved intelligence. One simply cannot explain organisms, those living and those long gone, by reference to normal natural causes or material mechanisms…Although most supporters of Intelligent Design are theists of some sort…[229]

This quote is supposed to be an explanation of what Intelligent Design is, however, it modifies the word causes with the adjective natural without explaining what a supernatural cause is. It also uses the word theists without defining this concept. The entire chapter is an exercise in circular reasoning. It purports to explain Intelligent Design by using the undefined words natural and theist.
My definition of an atheist is someone who thinks believing in life after death is irrational. Defining theism is pointless because very few people understand the cosmological argument for God’s existence. Most of the contributors to this book, I don’t doubt, think the argument has to do with the Big Bang or “first causes.” The cosmological argument is based on the metaphysical principle that a finite being needs a cause.

Chapter 2 Michael Ruse

And although natural theology has recovered somewhat, there seems to be general recognition among theologians that old-fashioned approaches—supposedly proving God’s existence beyond doubt—are no longer viable enterprises.[782]
The Catholic Church teaches that you can prove God exists. According to the Baltimore Catechism, “We can know by our natural reason that there is a God, for natural reason tells us that the world we see about us could have been made only by a self-existing Being, all-wise and almighty.” Catholic theologians and philosophers explain the proof in many works, for example, The One and the Many: A Contemporary Thomistic Metaphysics by W. Norris Clark, S.J.

Chapter 3 Angus Menuge

Now suppose one thinks that there are exactly four possible explanations for the origin of life: chance, necessity, a combination of chance and necessity, and design. And suppose also that one believes on has reason to eliminate the first three candidates. However surprising or bizarre, design is then the rational inference. [1044]
This fallacy is repeated a number of times in this book because it is equivalent to John Leslie’s analogy of a condemned man not being struck by bullets from a firing squad. Leslie thinks the choice is between the squad’s deliberately missing or the misses were a matter of chance. The other possibility is that the bullets disappeared on the way to the victim. Likewise, Menuge has a blind spot. There is a fifth answer: The universe is not intelligible. The rational answer is the one supported by the evidence. Since there is no evidence for a designer, chance, necessity, a combination of chance and necessity, the universe must not be intelligible.

Chapter 4 Francisco J. Ayala

The theory of evolution manifests chance and necessity jointly intertwined in the stuff of life; randomness and determinism interlocked in a natural process that has spurted the most complex, diverse, and beautiful entities in the universe: the organisms that populate the Earth, including humans, who think and love, who are endowed with free will.[1612] …..The creation or origin of the universe involves a transition from nothing into being. But a transition can only be scientifically investigated if we have some knowledge about the states or entities on both sides of the boundary. Nothingness, however, is not a subject for scientific investigation or understanding. Therefore, as far as science is concerned, the origin of the universe will remain forever a mystery. [1683] (emphasis added)
Ayala is saying free will is the result of chance and necessity, but we don’t know what caused the Big Bang. Hence, free will is not a mystery, but the Big Bang is a mystery. What caused the Big Bang is a scientific question, and the scientific method has a tremendous track record of success. Free will, however, is not something we observe with our senses. We know we have free will because we can make ourselves the subject of our own knowledge. Free will raises metaphysical questions, and Catholic philosophers and theologians think that free will is a mystery and that humans are embodied spirits.

Chapter 5 Kenneth R. Miller

Anyone can state at any time that he or she cannot imagine how evolutionary mechanisms might have produced a certain species, organ, or structure. Such statements, obviously, are personal—and they say more about the limitations of those who make them than they do about the limitations of Darwinian mechanisms.  [2038] … Living cells are filled, of course, with complex structures whose detailed evolutionary origins are not known. [2070]
First, Miller implies that there are no limits to the explanatory power of Darwinian mechanisms, and then he says that there are. Unfortunately, this way that Miller has of expressing himself deceives and misinforms laymen about evolutionary biology. The following quote shows that the following linguistics Ph.D. thinks the known Darwinian mechanisms explains how mammals evolved from bacteria in only a billion times as much time as it takes a fertilized human egg to generate all of the cells in an adult:
They [Pinker and Bloom] particularly emphasized that language is incredibly complex, as Chomsky had been saying for decades. Indeed, it was the enormous complexity of language that made is hard to imagine not merely how it had evolved but that it had evolved at all. But, continued Pinker and Bloom, complexity is not a problem for evolution. Consider the eye. The little organ is composed of many specialized parts, each delicately calibrated to perform its role in conjunction with the others. It includes the cornea,…Even Darwin said that it was hard to imagine how the eye could have evolved. And yet, he explained, it did evolve, and the only possible way is through natural selection—the inestimable back-and-forth of random genetic mutation with small effects…Over the eons, those small changes accreted and eventually resulted in the eye as we know it. “(Christine Kenneally, The First Word: The Search for the Origins of Language, pp. 59–60)

Chapter 6 Elliot Sober

The design argument is one of three main arguments for the existence of God; the others are the ontological argument and the cosmological argument…And whereas the cosmological argument can focus on any present event to get the ball rolling (arguing that it must trace back to a first cause, namely God)…[2391]
In the cosmological argument, God is not the “first cause.” God is an infinite being that exists outside of any chain of causality and gives existence to all finite beings, such as human beings. Humans are finite beings because they possess a center of action (free will) that unifies them with respect to themselves and separates them from other beings. Like a being that begins to exist at some point in time, a finite being needs a cause. In the West, the infinite being is called God.

Chapter 7 Robert T. Pennock

Human beings, so far as all experience has shown, are made of ordinary natural materials, which is good evidence that natural process can produce CSI [complex specified information].[3430]
The human mind has four levels of structure: observations, inquiry, reflective judgment, and free will. All of these levels give rise to questions that there is no answer to: What the relationship is between my self and my body? What is the conscious knowledge of humans? This means humans are embodied spirits or indefinabilities that become conscious of their own existence.

Chapter 8 Stuart Kauffman

The strange thing about the theory of evolution is that everyone thinks he understands it. But we do not. A biosphere, or an econosphere, self-consistently co-constructs itself according to principles we do not yet fathom.[4007]
I agree with this statement. My criticism of Kauffman is that he does not say it often enough and loud enough. It is as if he is in a theatre with a friend and whispers, “I smell smoke. Let’s get out of here before we get trampled.”

Chapter 9 Bruce H. Weber and David J. Depew

The danger of ID, considered as a theological position rather than in the scientific light in which we have discussed it here, is that it potentially implies a limiting conception of God (while adding nothing to the pursuit of scientific exploration). These facts suggest that from a theological and well as a scientific perspective, the presumption should be in favor of methodological naturalism—the working hypothesis that a scientific explanation for a puzzling phenomenon will be found that does not invoke a source of functional design outside of nature. It is important to add, however, that it is not logically necessary that methodological naturalism must lead to metaphysical naturalism or materialism, which must deny any type of theology. [4354]
Usually, intelligence is a measure of how fast or how slow it takes someone to grasp a theory or insight. About religion, there is so much anxiety that people are inhibited from thinking intelligently. They have blind spots. The blind spot of most “materialists” is that they can grasp only two solutions to the mind-body problem: dualism and materialism. They literally cannot grasp the theory that the human mind is a mystery. Most “materialists” would agree with the following quote from a major biology textbook: And certain properties of the human brain distinguish our species from all other animals. The human brain is, after all, the only known collection of matter that tries to understand itself. To most biologists, the brain and the mind are one and the same; understand how the brain is organized and how it works, and we’ll understand such mindful functions as abstract thought and feelings. Some philosophers are less comfortable with this mechanistic view of mind, finding Descartes’ concept of a mind-body duality more attractive. (Neil Campbell, Biology, 4th edition, p. 776 )

Chapter 10 Paul Davies

He [Hermann von Helmholtz] based his prediction on the Second Law of Thermodynamics, according to which there is a natural tendency for order to give way to chaos. It is not hard to find examples in the world about us: people grow old, snowmen melt, houses fall down, cars rust, and stars burn out. Although islands of order may appear in restricted regions (e.g., the birth of a baby, crystals emerging from a solute), the disorder of the environment will always increase by an amount sufficient to compensate. This one-way slide into disorder is measured by a quantity called entropy. [4499]
The second law of thermodynamics only applies to thermodynamic systems. It does not apply to the evolution of stars or living organisms. The idea that the growth of an embryo represents a decrease in entropy and that this decrease is compensated for by an increase in entropy in the environment is nonsense. It is not harmful nonsense because it gives rise to the fallacy that evolution violates the second law of thermodynamics. This fallacy gives rise to the absurdity that evolution does not violate the second law because of the sun. This absurdity gave rise to an article titled “Entropy and evolution,” (Am. J. Phys., Vol. 76, No. 11, November 2008) with a fake equation proving that evolution does not violate the second law.

Chapter 11 James Barham

If the functional logic of the cell is irreducible to physical law as we currently understand it, then there would appear to be only two ways to explain it naturalistically. Either the teleological design of living things is, at bottom, a matter of chance; or else there is some unknown qualitative difference inherent in the material constitution of organisms that gives them an intrinsic functional integrity. [ 5012]
This statement implies that there are supernatural explanations. According to the cosmological argument, an infinite being created the universe of finite beings because a universe with only finite beings is less intelligible than a universe with an infinite being. This raises the question of what motivated the infinite being to create finite beings. The only thing that could motivate an infinite being to do anything is self-love. Hence, finite beings exist because the infinite being loved itself as giving. But, the infinite being could just as well love itself without giving.  The existence of an infinite being has no explanatory power. There is no such thing as a supernatural or a natural explanation. There are only explanations that are supported by the evidence or not.

Chapter 12 John F. Haught

For example, don’t the elements of chance, suffering, and impersonal natural selection, operative over the course of a wasteful immensity of time, entail a materialist and therefore Godless universe. Aren’t Dennett, Dawkins, Rose, Cziko, Crews and, the rest fully justified in reading evolution as the direct refutation of any plausible notion of divine Providence? [5563]
Haught never acknowledges that these are good reasons for not believing in divine Providence. Dennett, Dawkins, and others usually give bad reasons for not believing. For example, free will is an illusion and God does not exist. When they give good reasons, it should be acknowledged.

Chapter 13 John Polkinghorne

Metaphysical questions do not lend themselves to categorical knockdown answers. There will always be some room for more tacit considerations to come into play in determining a personal conclusion (room for the commitment of faith, a theologian might say.[5890]
Metaphysics is a method of inquiry that consists mostly of “knockdown answers.” For example, humans have free will and are embodied spirits, finite beings need a cause, God exists, a being that is a member of a class of beings is composed of form and matter, etc. Personal conclusions are required when trying to decide whether there is life after death. In this context, it is reasonable to ask if free will is an illusion, if a finite being is really a composition of essence and existence, etc.

Chapter 14 Kieth Ward

It is an evaluation of personal existence that springs from a sustained attempt at reflexive understanding—an understanding not based on experimental observation and hypothesis but on the effort to understand from within, from one’s own personal experience, one’s own distinctive form of existence as a human being. If this is admitted as a source of knowledge and understanding, then it must stand alongside the experimental observations of the natural sciences as a way of providing an adequate account of human nature and the nature of the universe of which humans are an integral part. [6137]
Ward is saying we know we have free will and conscious knowledge because we can make ourselves the subject of our own knowledge, not because we can see, hear, touch, or smell free will. Ward is saying it is just as okay to ask, “Why is the sky blue?” as to ask, “What is knowing the sky is blue?” I agree that the method of inquiry called metaphysics “stands alongside” science as a source of knowledge.

Chapter 15 Michael Roberts

This opens up the question of miracles, as any creed that accepts the Virgin Birth or the Empty Tomb of the Resurrection must, in a sense, be super—or possibly supranaturalist in the eyes of through going naturalists. [6592]
The primary believe of Christians is that Jesus is alive in a new life with God, and that if you follow Jesus the same good thing can happen to you. We are not promised salvation, but we can hope for it “with fear and trembling.” The doctrine of the Virgin Birth means that we can’t assume anything natural about the birth of Jesus. The stories in the gospels about the empty tomb of Jesus constitutes just one kind of tradition about the Easter experience.

Chapter 16 Richard Swinburne, University of Oxford

In order to be a person, you need to have some power to perform intentional actions and some knowledge of how to perform them. God is supposed to have power and knowledge with zero limits.[7013]
According to Thomas Aquinas, a person is a being that has self-knowledge, self-determination, and self-expression. God has knowledge by analogy. Humans exist and humans have knowledge. Worms exist and worms have knowledge. By analogy, God has knowledge.

Chapter 17 William A. Dembski

For many natural scientists, design conceived as the action of an intelligent agent, is not a fundamental creative force in nature. Rather, material mechanisms, characterized by chance and necessity and ruled by unbroken laws, are thought to be sufficient to do all nature’s creating. But how do we know that nature requires no help from a designing intelligence? [7184]
We know because there is no evidence for an intelligent designer other than human beings. The evidence for God’s existence is that humans are embodied spirits and all the evidence that the universe is intelligible. The Big Bang, origin of life, fine-tuning, and evolution constitute evidence that the universe is not intelligible.

Chapter 18 Walter L. Bradley

The total entropy change that takes place in an open system such as a living cell must be consistent with the Second Law of Thermodynamics and can be described as follows: ∆S(cell) + ∆S(surrounding) > 0.[7904]
This is like saying ∆S(airplane in flight) + ∆S(surrounding) > 0. An airplane can be broken up into a number of thermodynamic systems, e.g., the engine, pilot’s cabin, metal wing, etc. Each thermodynamic system will have its surroundings and this law will apply. But to suggest that there is such a thing as the entropy of an airplane in flight is nonsense. A living cell has much more machinery in it than an airplane. It is like an airplane that can replace or repair a broken wing.

Chapter 19 Michael J. Behe

Many scientists of Darwin’s era took the cell to be a simple glob of protoplasm, something like microscopic piece of Jell-O. Thus the intricate molecular basis of life was utterly unknown to Darwin and his contemporaries. [8138]
Darwin knew how complex life is on a macroscopic level and understood the limited explanatory power of natural selection. His comment is well known: To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. (Charles Darwin, The Origin of Species)

Chapter 20  Stephen C. Meyer

Many scientists now openly acknowledge the fundamental difficulties facing chemical evolutionary theories of the origin of life, including the problem of explaining the origin of biological information from nonliving chemistry. Nevertheless, many assume that theories of biological evolution do not suffer from a similar information problem. [8576]
This may be. But it does not prove that there is a disagreement about evolutionary biologists about evolution. All biologists agree that natural selection acting upon innovations only explains adaptive evolution. There is a conflict, of course, about the theory of intelligent design. It is a conflict, not a disagreement, because neither side is able to define the word intelligence. They are fighting about something they don’t understand.