1. Nature and Art
In Book II of the Physics Aristotle remarks, “If the shipbuilding art were in the wood, it would produce the same results by nature.” Aristotle is here contrasting nature and art. Nature provides the raw materials (here wood); art provides the means for fashioning those materials (here into a ship). For Aristotle, art consists in the knowledge and skill to produce an object and presupposes the imposition of form on the object from outside. On the other hand, nature consists in capacities inherent in the physical world-capacities that produce objects, as it were, internally and without outside help. Thus in Book VII of the Metaphysics Aristotle writes, “Art is a principle of movement in something other than the thing moved; nature is a principle in the thing itself.” Consequently, Aristotle refers to art as completing “what nature cannot bring to a finish.” Thomas Aquinas took this idea and sacramentalized it into grace completing nature.
In Aristotle’s distinction between art and nature lies the central issue in the debate over biological evolution. The central issue is not the interpretation of Genesis, nor whether humans are descended from apes, nor whether all organisms trace their lineage to a last common ancestor. Indeed, where one comes down on these side issues is irrelevant to the central issue. The central issue is whether nature has sufficient resources in herself to generate all of biological diversity or whether in addition nature requires art to complete what nature alone cannot bring to a finish. The Greek word for art is techne, from which we get our word technology. The English word most commonly used to capture what Aristotle means by art derives not from the Greek but from the Latin. That word is, of course, design.
The central issue in the debate over biological evolution can therefore be put as follows: Is nature complete in the sense of possessing all the resources necessary to bring about the biological structures we see around us or does nature also require some contribution of design to bring about those structures? A typical reaction to this question is simply to observe that biological systems are natural objects and then to pose the following counter-question: What besides nature could conceivably have played an essential role in the formation of biological systems? Although there has been no dearth of answers to this counter-question (special creation, vitalism, and orthogenesis come to mind), the answers given to date no longer inspire confidence within much of the scientific community.
It is therefore important to understand that intelligent design (or ID as it is increasingly being abbreviated) is not yet another answer to this counter-question. To ask what besides nature could conceivably have played an essential role in the formation of biological systems is to ask for an entity with causal powers to produce objects that nature unassisted could not produce. The problem is that any such entities are not open to direct empirical investigation. Our knowledge of them can be at best indirect, dependent on phenomena mediated through nature. But a designing intelligence that mediates its action through nature has since the time of Darwin seemed largely dispensable–certainly from science and now increasingly from common life.
The strength of intelligent design as an intellectual project consists not in presupposing a prepackaged conception of a designer and then determining how the facts of science square with that conception. Rather, intelligent design’s strength consists in starting with nature, exploring nature’s limitations, and therewith determining where design fits in the scheme of nature. Aristotle claimed that the art of shipbuilding is not in the wood that constitutes the ship. Likewise intelligent design claims that the art of life-building is not in the physical stuff that constitutes life. But intelligent design does not stop there. Rather, the very methods that establish nature’s limitations also establish that design is operating in nature. Nor does intelligent design commit a god-of-the-gaps fallacy. Intelligent design locates discontinuities in the causal structure of nature that are inherently unbridgeable by natural causes. Such gaps are ontological rather than epistemic, and thus offer no promise of being removed by closer investigation of natural causes.
But why admit any gaps at all? Nature gives rise to human beings. Once human beings are on the scene, they act as designing intelligences to produce artifacts. But human beings are themselves natural. Art in Aristotle’s sense is therefore at most once removed from nature: Nature produces embodied rational agents like us, who in turn produce designed objects. To speak of nature herself being designed or to speak of natural objects (like biological systems) being designed seems therefore to commit a category mistake. To state the problem in the language of evolution: Nature in her evolution produces life, and some of those evolved forms of life produce designed objects. Yet to place design prior to the evolved forms that produce design is to misconceive design.
The problem with this objection is that it still fails to address nature’s limitations, especially with regard to the emergence of biological systems. Does nature in and of herself–unassisted and unsupplemented–have what it takes to produce the diversity of life? To be sure, one can simply as a metaphysical assumption suppose that nature can do all her own designing. Aristotle made this assumption, and so did the ancient Stoics. For Aristotle, final causes operated as a part of nature. Final causes expressed purposes inherent in nature and were therefore capable of effecting design (biological designs in particular). Thus in Book II of the Physics Aristotle writes of purpose being present in both art and nature. But endowing nature with purpose and therewith empowering nature to produce design is not an option for most contemporary scientists. As Jacques Monod put it, “The cornerstone of the scientific method is the postulate that nature is objective. In other words, the systematic denial that ‘true’ knowledge can be got at by interpreting phenomena in terms of final causes–that is to say, of ‘purpose’.”
Whence the removal of purpose and therewith design from nature? I lay the blame with the mechanical philosophy that was prevalent at the birth to modern science. Paradoxically, the very clockwork universe that the early mechanical philosophers like Robert Boyle used to buttress design in nature was in the end probably more responsible than anything for undermining design in nature. The mechanical philosophy viewed the world as an assemblage of material entities interacting by purely mechanical means. Boyle advocated the mechanical philosophy because he saw it as refuting the immanent teleology of Aristotle and the Stoics for whom design arose as a natural outworking of natural forces. For Boyle this was idolatry, identifying the source of creation not with God but with nature.
The mechanical philosophy offered a world operating by mechanical principles and processes that could not be confused with God’s creative activity and yet allowed such a world to be structured in ways that clearly indicated the divine handiwork and therefore design. What’s more, the British natural theologians always retained miracles as a mode of divine interaction that could bypass mechanical processes. Over the subsequent centuries, however, what remained was the mechanical philosophy and what dropped out was the need to invoke miracles or God as designer. Henceforth, purely mechanical processes could themselves do all the design work for which Aristotle and the Stoics had required an immanent natural teleology and for which Boyle and the British natural theologians required God.
2. Testing Nature’s Limits
The mechanical philosophy is still with us, though in place of particles and force we now tend to think in terms of fields and energy. The mechanical philosophy has bequeathed to us a view of nature in which natural processes operate unsupplemented by any form of teleology, purpose, or design. Fortunately, this view of nature is testable. To see this, I will need to describe some of my own work on design detection (especially as laid out in my book The Design Inference). Yet instead of merely recapitulating that work, I will approach it through Murray Gell-Mann’s work on effective complexity and total information.
Since the early 1990s Gell-Mann has been attempting to combine Shannon’s statistical theory of information with Kolmogorov’s algorithmic theory of information into a comprehensive theory of complexity and information for science. Gell-Mann starts with the observation that the complexity that interests us in practice is not pure randomness but patterned regularities that remain once the effects of randomness have been factored out. Gell-Mann thus defines “effective complexity” as the complexity inherent in these patterned regularities. Moreover, he defines “total information” as the effective complexity together with the complexity inherent in the effects of randomness that were factored out. He then characterizes effective complexity mathematically in terms of an algorithmic information measure that measures the extent to which patterned regularities can be compressed into a minimal representation (he calls such representations “schemata”). Moreover, he characterizes the residual effects of randomness mathematically in terms of a Shannon information measure that measures the extent to which random deviations depart from the patterned regularities in question. Total information thus becomes the sum of an algorithmic information measure and a Shannon information measure.
Gell-Mann’s theory of effective complexity attempts to account for how complex adaptive systems like us make sense out of a world that exhibits regularities as well as random deviations from those regularities. Though richly suggestive, applying Gell-Mann’s mathematical formalism in practice is largely intractable since it requires taking conceptual schemata of patterned regularities appropriate to some inquiry, mapping them onto a computational data structure, and then seeing how such data structures can be reduced in size while faithfully preserving the conceptual structures that map from conceptual to computational space. Thus far Gell-Mann’s theory has resisted detailed applications to real-world problems.
Why then do I consider it here? According to philosopher David Roche, design theorists like me are all mixed up about information theory and complexity. Thus Roche argues that the Darwinian mechanism is well able to account for biological complexity once we are clear about the type of complexity that is actually at issue in biology. The problem, according to Roche, is that design theorists are using the wrong notion of complexity. What is the right notion? Roche claims Gell-Mann’s concept of effective complexity is the right one for biology.
But there is a problem with Gell-Mann’s approach to complexity. While Gell-Mann’s approach is well-suited for describing how regularities of nature that are subjected to random perturbations match our conceptual schemata, it is not capable of handling contingencies in nature that are unaccountable by any regularities but that happen all the same to match our conceptual schemata. Such contingencies establish a design in nature that is not reducible to nature. What are these contingencies that are unaccountable by regularities but that nonetheless match our conceptual schemata? The technical name for such contingencies is specified complexity.
Think of the signal that convinced the radio astronomers in the movie Contact that they had found an extraterrestrial intelligence. The signal was a long sequence of prime numbers. On account of its length the signal was complex and could not be assimilated to any natural regularity. And yet on account of its arithmetic properties it matched our conceptual schemata. The signal was thus both complex and specified. What’s more, the combination of complexity and specification convincingly pointed those astronomers to an extraterrestrial intelligence. Design theorists contend that specified complexity is a reliable indicator of design, is instantiated in certain (though by no means all) biological structures, and lies beyond the remit of nature to generate it.
If the previous remarks about complexity, specification, and information have seemed unduly elliptical, it is because this is a complicated subject and the details can quickly become overwhelming, especially in so short a talk as this. Nonetheless, I do want to give some sense of why specified complexity is the right instrument for identifying nature’s limitations. To say that specified complexity lies beyond the remit of nature to generate it is not to say that naturally occurring systems cannot exhibit specified complexity or that natural processes cannot serve as a conduit for specified complexity. Naturally occurring systems can exhibit specified complexity and nature operating unassisted can take preexisting specified complexity and shuffle it around. But that is not the point. The point is whether nature can generate specified complexity in the sense of originating it when previously there was none. Take, for instance, a[n Albrecht] Durer woodcut. It arose by mechanically impressing an inked woodblock on paper. The Durer woodcut exhibits specified complexity. But the mechanical application of ink to paper via a woodblock does not account for that specified complexity in the woodcut. The specified complexity in the woodcut must be referred back to the specified complexity in the woodblock which in turn must be referred back to the designing activity of Durer himself. Specified complexity’s causal chains end not with nature but with a designing intelligence.
To place the burden of design detection on specified complexity remains controversial. The philosophy of science community, wedded as it is to a Bayesian approach to probabilities, is still not convinced that my account of specified complexity is even coherent. The Darwinian community, convinced that the Darwinian mechanism can do all the design work in biology, regards specified complexity as an unexpected vindication of Darwinism. On the other hand, mathematicians and statisticians have tended to be more generous with my work on specified complexity and to regard it as an interesting contribution to the study of randomness. Perhaps the best reception of my work has come from engineers and the defense industry looking for ways to apply specified complexity to pattern matching. The final verdict is not in. Indeed, the discussion has barely begun. In my forthcoming book titled No Free Lunch I respond at length to my critics (including Wesley Elsberry). Since I will presumably have some time to respond to Wesley’s criticisms of my work following his talk, I’ll leave off further discussion of specified complexity’s merits.
3. Technological Evolution
I want next to focus on what insights into biological evolution a design perspective offers. Here we are at a conference on interpreting evolution. Suppose that specified complexity lies beyond the remit of natural causes to generate it, and that specified complexity is a reliable empirical marker of actual design, and that specified complexity is instantiated in actual biological systems (huge suppositions for many of you). How then should we interpret biological evolution?
Phillip Johnson has criticized Ohio State University zoologist Tim Berra for likening Darwinian evolution to the technological evolution of the Corvette automobile. Darwinian evolution is by definition undirected by any intelligence whereas Corvette evolution is directed by an intelligence. According to Johnson, there is a fundamental disanalogy between these two types of evolution, and to use one to justify the other is invalid. Johnson therefore refers to Berra’s conflation of Darwinian evolution and technological evolution as Berra’s Blunder. I prefer instead to refer to it as Berra’s Freudian Slip. Berra was quite right to compare biological evolution to technological evolution. Biological evolution is indeed a form of technological evolution. Berra’s mistake was in thinking that Darwinian evolution is a form of technological evolution. It is not.
Darwinian evolution is a trial-and-error method for gradually improving preexisting functions and for co-opting serendipitous functions. Within Darwinian evolution natural selection supplies the trial and random variation the error. Although trial and error plays a role in technological evolution, trial and error is too myopic to serve as the powering force behind technological evolution. The watchmaker behind technological evolution needs to be farseeing, not myopic and certainly not blind.
We now have extremely good information about the trends that technologies follow in their evolution. Once designed systems are in place, operational, and interacting (be they within an economy or ecosystem), technological evolution tends to follow certain patterns. These patterns of evolution have been extensively studied by Russian engineers and scientists, beginning notably with the work of Genrich Altshuller. As Semyon Savransky remarks, “Engineers in the former Soviet Union were responsible to spend eight hours [a day] at their work place but often had nothing to do (their regular salary did not depend on their effort, experience, or quantity and quality of work). Many of them … used this time to study patents.”
Altshuller, an engineer, studied more than 400,000 patents from across the world to uncover patterns in technological evolution. Another Russian engineer, I. V. Vikent’ev, studied all USSR patents (about a million at the time) looking for patterns in technological evolution. The systematic study of patents by Russian engineers and scientists created a new discipline, now known under the acronym T-R-I-Z. TRIZ corresponds to a Russian phrase that in English means “Theory of Inventive Problem Solving.” Although Russian researchers have been actively investigating TRIZ for the last fifty years, it has only made its mark in the West in the last decade. TRIZ as a methodology for facilitating inventions and solving problems is increasingly being employed in industry. On the other hand, its applications to biology are only now becoming evident.
TRIZ is a vast topic, so in my few remaining minutes I will provide only the barest sketch of this methodology as it relates to biology. TRIZ is concerned with the improvement of existing designs and the emergence of novel designs. I’ll call the one intraspecific technological evolution, the other transpecific technological evolution. Although intraspecific technological evolution can proceed by trial and error (as in the Darwinian mechanism), the trial-and-error method is only suitable, as TRIZ expert Semyon Savransky observes, for “simple, well-defined, routine closed problems.” Problems are routine if all the critical steps leading to a solution are known. On the other hand, a problem is nonroutine if at least one critical step leading to a solution is unknown.
In response to environmental pressure (be it economic or ecological), intraspecific technological evolution is frequently called on to solve nonroutine problems. Environmental pressure pushes designed systems toward what TRIZ proponents call “ideality.” A system is said to approach ideality to the degree that it maximizes the system’s useful functions and minimizes its harmful functions. In the Marxist spirit in which TRIZ was invented, TRIZ seeks to overcome the contradictions that arise when improving one function of a system leads to deficits in another function of the system. TRIZ seeks to resolve these contradictions not so much by balancing advantages against disadvantages, as in constrained optimization, but by novel win-win solutions that maximize useful functions without (ideally) incurring harmful side-effects. The great obstacle in the way of ideality is psychological inertia, which artificially constricts a solution space rather than opening it to undreamt of possibilities. Psychological inertia thinks, as it were, inside a box. Ideality requires thinking outside the box.
TRIZ characterizes ideality in the following Zen-like terms (I quote from Savransky):
- The ideal machine has no mass or volume but accomplishes the required work.
- The ideal method expends no energy or time but obtains the necessary effect in a self-regulating manner.
- The ideal process is actually only the process result without the process itself.
- The ideal substance is actually no substance (a vacuum), but whose function is performed.
- The ideal technique occupies no space, has no weight, requires no labor or maintenance, delivers benefit without harm, and “does it itself,” without any additional energy, mechanisms, cost, or raw materials.
This Zen-like dwindling of a system’s substantiality to nothing while its function progresses to perfection is to be sure an idealization that cannot be realized in any concrete physical system. Nonetheless, this idealization serves as a useful regulative principle for designed systems. Certainly, ideality’s best instantiation is found in biology (according to Genrich Altshuller, biology has given us the best of all patent libraries). Among human artifacts ideality’s best instantiation is perhaps found in computers. Whether Moore’s law will continue to obtain and push computers closer to ideality than biological systems (especially in regard to the human brain) is very much a matter of debate at this time.
According to TRIZ, intraspecific evolution gives way to transpecific evolution when a given technology has been pushed as close to ideality as possible and when new pressures from the environment require new technologies with new functions. When novel technological systems emerge, as far as possible they take advantage of and incorporate preexisting technologies. What’s more, novel systems tend to emerge suddenly. Once a novel system has emerged, the pressure is on to achieve ideality. A system that approximates ideality will persist for long stretches of time provided its environmental niche is undisturbed. Stasis is therefore part of TRIZ’s evolutionary scheme. But so is extinction: When environmental pressures become too great, antiquated systems either give way to novel systems or simply disappear without any system taking their place. Unlike emergence, which is sudden, extinction can be sudden or gradual (thus a new technology may gradually displace an old one or eliminate it all at once). Finally, good ideas get reused and reinvented. Technological evolution therefore includes convergent evolution. Moreover, it readily accommodates homologies (similar structures used for different purposes) as well as analogies (different structures used for similar purposes).
Sudden innovation, convergence to ideality, and extinction are all part of TRIZ’s evolutionary scheme. Now where have we seen that scheme before? The scheme is non-Darwinian. Nor can the Darwinian scheme be easily modified to accommodate it. For instance, Robert Wright’s addition of game theory to selection and variation is insufficient to account for technological innovation–at best game theoretic constraints provide a necessary condition for technological innovation. TRIZ’s evolutionary scheme fits quite nicely with Eldredge and Gould’s model of punctuated equilibria. Leaving aside their model’s mechanism of evolutionary change and innovation, the patterns of evolution described by TRIZ and the Eldredge-Gould model are quite similar.
Perhaps the one discrepancy is that the Eldredge-Gould model does not make explicit the convergence to ideality. From the vantage of technological evolution, the speed of convergence to ideality reflects the perspicacity of the designing intelligence responsible for technological improvement. In the limiting case, therefore, a designing intelligence produces technological systems that are as close to ideality as possible from the start. Although suboptimality of design remains an issue in biological evolution, aspects of biological designs seem indeed to approach ideality. For instance, the miniaturization of molecular machines in the cell seems to approach the physico-chemical limits of matter.
In conclusion, Aristotle’s distinction between nature and art remains very much a live issue for the natural sciences. In particular, at the heart of the current debate over intelligent design is whether biological systems exhibit some feature that cannot be ascribed to nature as such but in addition requires art or design to complete what, as Aristotle put it, “nature cannot bring to a finish.” Moreover, if design theorists are correct in arguing that specified complexity lies beyond the remit of natural causes to generate it, that specified complexity is a reliable empirical marker of actual design, and that specified complexity is instantiated in actual biological systems; then the way is open for a massive reinterpretation of biological evolution. In that case, biological evolution becomes a form of technological evolution. What’s more, thanks to TRIZ, a ready-made theory of technological evolution is already in place to interpret biological evolution. Biology confirms the patterns of technological evolution outlined by TRIZ. Significantly, these patterns are non-Darwinian.
The quotes from Aristotle are taken from Jonathan Barnes, ed., The Complete Works of Aristotle (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1984). For Internet information on TRIZ, start with www.triz.org and www.triz-journal.com. The citations to Savransky and Altshuller are taken respectively from Semyon Savransky, Engineering of Creativity: Introduction to TRIZ Methodology of Inventive Problem Solving (Boca Raton, Fl.: CRC Press, 2000) and Genrich Altshuller, The Innovation Algorithm: TRIZ, Systematic Innovation and Technical Creativity (Worcester, Mass.: Technical Innovation Center, 1999).
Nachdruck mit Genehmigung des Autors.
Siehe auch www.designinference.com undwww.designinference.com/documents/2001.06.Interpr_Evol_Conf.htm
Prof. Dr. Dr. William A. Dembski ist Associate Research Professor für Conceptual Foundations of Science am Baylor University’s Institute for Faith and Learning; Senior Fellow am Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture; Executive Director of the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (www.iscid.org). Er hat folgende akademische Abschlüsse:
B.A. in Psychologie (University of Illinois at Chicago)
M.S. in Statistik (University of Illinois at Chicago)
S.M. in Mathematik (University of Chicago)
Ph.D. in Mathematik (University of Chicago)
M.A. in Philosophie (University of Illinois at Chicago)
Ph.D. in Philosophie (University of Illinois at Chicago)
M.Div. in Theologie (Princeton Theological Seminary).
Nancy Hirshberg Memorial Prize for best undergraduate research paper in psychology at the University of Illinois at Chicago, 1981.
National Science Foundation Graduate Fellowship for psychology and mathematics, 1982-1985
McCormick Fellowship (University of Chicago) for mathematics, 1984-1988
National Science Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship for mathematics, 1988-1991
Northwestern University Postdoctoral Fellowship (Department of Philosophy) for history and philosophy of science, 1992-1993
Pascal Centre Research Fellowship for studies in science and religion, 1992-1995
Notre Dame Postdoctoral Fellowship (Department of Philosophy) for philosophy of religion, 1996-1997
Discovery Institute Fellowship for research in intelligent design, 1996-1999
Templeton Foundation Book Prize ($100,000) for writing book on information theory, 2000-2001
Lecturer, University of Chicago, Department of Mathematics teaching undergraduate mathematics, 1987-1988
Postdoctoral Visiting Fellow, MIT, Department of Mathematics research in probability theory, 1988
Postdoctoral Visiting Fellow, University of Chicago, James Franck Institute research in chaos & probability, 1989
Research Associate, Princeton University, Department of Computer Science research in cryptography & complexity theory, 1990 Postdoctoral Fellow, Northwestern University, Department of Philosophy teaching philosophy of science + research, 1992-1993
Independent Scholar, Center for Interdisciplinary Studies, Princeton research in complexity, information, and design, 1993-1996
Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Notre Dame, Department of Philosophy teaching philosophy of religion + research, 1996-1997
Adjunct Assistant Professor, University of Dallas, Department of Philosophy teaching introduction to philosophy, 1997-1999
Fellow, Discovery Institute, Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture research in complexity, information, and design, 1996-present Associate Research Professor, Institute for Faith and Learning, Baylor University research in intelligent design, 1999-present
Discovery Institute-senior fellow
Wilberforce Forum-senior fellow
Foundation for Thought and Ethics-academic editor
Origins & Design-associate editor
Princeton Theological Review-editorial board
Torrey Honors Program, Biola University-advisory board
American Scientific Affiliation
Evangelical Philosophical Society
Access Research Network
International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design-executive director
Weitere akademische Aktivitäten:
Endowed Lectures „Truth in an Age of Uncertainty and Relativism.“ Dom. Luke Child’s Lecture, Portsmouth Abbey School, 30 September 1988.
„Science, Theology, and Intelligent Design.“ Staley Lectures, Central College, Iowa, 4-5 March 1998.
„Intelligent Design: Bridging Science and Faith.“ Staley Lectures, Union University, Tennessee, 28 February – 1 March 2000.
„Intelligent Design.“ Staley Lectures, Anderson College, Anderson, South Carolina, 15 & 16 January 2002.
„The Design Revolution.“ Norton Lectures, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky, 11 & 12 February 2003.
Participant, International Institute of Human Rights in Strasbourg France, 28 June to 27 July 1990.
Summer research in design, Cambridge University, sponsored by Pascal Centre (Ancaster, Ontario, Canada), 1 July to 4 August 1992. Participant, The Status of Darwinian Theory and Origin of Life Studies, Pajaro Dunes, California, 22-24 June 1993.
Faculty in theology and science at the C. S. Lewis Summer Institute, Cosmos and Creation. Cambridge University, Queen’s College, 10-23 July 1994.
Canadian lecture tour on intelligent design (Simon Fraser University, University of Calgary, and University of Saskatchewan), sponsored by the New Scholars Society, 4-6 February 1998.
Faculty in theology and science at the C. S. Lewis International Centennial Celebration, Loose in the Fire. Oxford and Cambridge Universities, 19 July to 1 August 1998.
The Nature of Nature, conference at Baylor University, 12-15 April 2002, organized by WmAD and Bruce Gordon.
Seminar Organizer, „Design, Self-Organization, and the Integrity of Creation,“ Calvin College Seminar in Christian Scholarship, 19 June – 28 July 2000. Follow-up conference 24-26 May 2001 (speakers included Alvin Plantinga, John Haught, and Del Ratzsch).
Contributor, „Prospects for Post-Darwinian Science,“ symposium, New College, Oxford, August 2000. Other contributors included Michael Denton, Peter Saunders, Mae-Wan Ho, David Berlinski, Jonathan Wells, Stephen Meyer, and Simon Conway Morris.
Participant, Symposium on Design Reasoning, Calvin College, 22-23 May 2001. Other participants were Stephen Meyer, Paul Nelson, Rob Koons, Del Ratzsch, Robin Collins, Tim & Lydia McGrew. Tim will edited the proceedings for an academic press.
Presenter, on topic of detecting design, 23-27 July 2001 at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford University in the John Templeton Oxford Seminars on Science and Christianity.
Debate with Massimo Pigliucci, „Is Intelligent Design Smart Enough?“ New York Academy of Sciences, 1 November 2001.
Debate with Michael Shermer, „Does Science Prove God?“ Clemson University, 7 November 2001.
Discussion with Stuart Kauffman, „Order for Free vs. No Free Lunch,“ Center for Advanced Studies, University of New Mexico, 13 November 2001.
Program titled „Darwin under the Microscope,“ PBS television interview for Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson facing Eugenie Scott and Robert Russell, 7 December 2001
Canadian lecture tour on intelligent design (University of Guelph, University of Toronto, and McMasters University), sponsored by the Canadian Scientific and Christian Affiliation, 6-8 March 2002.
Debate titled „God or Luck: Creationism vs. Evolution,“ with Steven Darwin, professor of botany, Tulane University, New Orleans, 7 October 2002.
The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998.
Intelligent Design: The Bridge between Science and Theology. Downer’s Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1999. [Award: Christianity Today’s Book of the Year in the category „Christianity and Culture.“]
No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence. Lanham, Md.: Rowman & Littlefield, 2002.
Mere Creation: Science, Faith, and Intelligent Design (proceedings of a conference on design and origins at Biola University, 14 – 17 November 1996). Downer’s Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 1998.
Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Proceedings of the Wethersfield Institute, vol. 9 (co-edited with Michael J. Behe and Stephen C. Meyer). San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2000.
Unapologetic Apologetics: Meeting the Challenges of Theological Studies (co-edited with Jay Wesley Richards; selected papers from the Apologetics Seminar at Princeton Theological Seminary, 1995-1997). Downer’s Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity Press, 2001.
Signs of Intelligence: Understanding Intelligent Design (co-edited with James Kushiner). Grand Rapids, Mich.: Brazos Press, 2001.
„Uniform Probability.“ Journal of Theoretical Probability 3(4), 1990: 611-626.
„Scientopoly: The Game of Scientism.“ Epiphany Journal 10(1&2), 1990: 110-120.
„Converting Matter into Mind: Alchemy and the Philosopher’s Stone in Cognitive Science.“ Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 42(4), 1990: 202-226. Abridged version in Epiphany Journal 11(4), 1991: 50-76. My response to subsequent critical comment: „Conflating Matter and Mind“ in Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 43(2), 1991: 107-111.
„Inconvenient Facts: Miracles and the Skeptical Inquirer.“ Philosophia Christi (formerly Bulletin of the Evangelical Philosophical Society) 13, 1990: 18-45.
„Randomness by Design.“ Nous 25(1), 1991: 75-106.
„Reviving the Argument from Design: Detecting Design through Small Probabilities.“ Proceedings of the 8th Biannual Conference of the Association of Christians in the Mathematical Sciences (at Wheaton College), 29 May – 1 June 1991: 101-145.
„The Incompleteness of Scientific Naturalism.“ In Darwinism: Science or Philosophy? edited by Jon Buell and Virginia Hearn (Proceedings of the Darwinism Symposium held at Southern Methodist University, 26-28 March 1992), pp. 79-94. Dallas: Foundation for Thought and Ethics, 1994.
„On the Very Possibility of Intelligent Design.“ In The Creation Hypothesis, edited by J. P. Moreland, pp. 113-138. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1994.
„What Every Theologian Should Know about Creation, Evolution, and Design.“ Princeton Theological Review 2(3), 1995: 15-21.
„Transcendent Causes and Computational Miracles.“ In Interpreting God’s Action in the World (Facets of Faith and Science, volume 4), edited by J. M. van der Meer. Lanham: The Pascal Centre for Advanced Studies in Faith and Science/ University Press of America, 1996.
„The Problem of Error in Scripture.“ Princeton Theological Review 3(1)(double issue), 1996: 22-28.
„Teaching Intelligent Design as Religion or Science?“ Princeton Theological Review 3(2), 1996: 14-18.
„Schleiermacher’s Metaphysical Critique of Miracles.“ Scottish Journal of Theology 49(4), 1996: 443-465.
„Christology and Human Development.“ FOUNDATIONS 5(1), 1997: 11-18.
„Intelligent Design as a Theory of Information“ (revision of 1997 NTSE conference paper). Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith 49(3), 1997: 180-190.
„Fruitful Interchange or Polite Chitchat? The Dialogue between Theology and Science“ (co-authored with Stephen C. Meyer). Zygon 33(3), 1998: 415-430.
„Mere Creation.“ In Mere Creation: Science, Faith, and Intelligent Design.
„Redesigning Science.“ In Mere Creation: Science, Faith, and Intelligent Design. „Science and Design.“ First Things no. 86, October 1998: 21-27. „Reinstating Design within Science.“ Rhetoric and Public Affairs 1(4), 1998: 503-518.
„Signs of Intelligence: A Primer on the Discernment of Intelligent Design.“ Touchstone 12(4), 1999: 76-84.
„Are We Spiritual Machines?“ First Things no. 96, October 1999: 25-31. „Not Even False? Reassessing the Demise of British Natural Theology.“ Philosophia Christi 2nd series, 1(1), 1999: 17-43.
„Naturalism and Design.“ In Naturalism: A Critical Analysis, edited by William Lane Craig and J. P. Moreland (London: Routledge, 2000). „Conservatives, Darwin & Design: An Exchange“ (co-authored with Larry Arnhart and Michael J. Behe). First Things no. 107 (November 2000): 23-31.
„The Third Mode of Explanation.“ In Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, edited by Michael J. Behe, William A. Dembski, and Stephen C. Meyer (San Francisco: Ignatius, 2000).
„The Mathematics of Detecting Divine Action.“ Mathematics in a Postmodern Age: A Christian Perspective, edited by James Bradley and Russell Howell (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2001).
„The Pragmatic Nature of Mathematical Inquiry.“ Mathematics in a Postmodern Age: A Christian Perspective, edited by James Bradley and Russell Howell (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2001).
„Detecting Design by Eliminating Chance: A Response to Robin Collins.“ In Christian Scholar’s Review 30(3), Spring 2001: 343-357.
„The Inflation of Probabilistic Resources.“ In God and Design: The Teleological Argument and Modern Science, edited by Neil Manson. (London: Routledge, to appear 2002).
„Can Evolutionary Algorithms Generate Specified Complexity?“ In From Complexity to Life, edited by Niels H. Gregersen, foreword by Paul Davies (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2002).
„Design and Information.“ To appear in Detecting Design in Creation, edited by Stephen C. Meyer, Paul A. Nelson, and John Mark Reynolds. „Why Natural Selection Can’t Design Anything,“ Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design 1(1), 2002: iscid.org/papers/Dembski_WhyNatural_112901.pdf
„Random Predicate Logic I: A Probabilistic Approach to Vagueness,“ Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design 1(2-3), 2002: www.iscid.org/papers/Dembski_RandomPredicate_072402.pdf „Another Way to Detect Design?“ Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design 1(4), 2002: iscid.org/papers/Dembski_DisciplinedScience_102802.pdf „Evolution’s Logic of Credulity: An Unfettered Response to Allen Orr,“ Progress in Comlexity, Information, and Design 1(4), 2002: www.iscid.org/papers/Dembski_ResponseToOrr_010703.pdf
„The Chance of the Gaps,“ in God and Design: The Teleological Argument and Modern Science, edited by Neil Manson, Routledge, forthcoming 2003.
„Reverse Diffusion-Limited Aggregation.“ Journal of Statistical Computation and Simulation 37(3&4), 1990: 231-234.
„The Fallacy of Contextualism.“ Themelios 20(3), 1995: 8-11.
„The God of the Gaps.“ Princeton Theological Review 2(2), 1995: 13-16. „The Paradox of Politicizing the Kingdom.“ Princeton Theological Review 3(1)(double issue), 1996: 35-37.
„Alchemy, NK Boolean Style“ (review of Stuart Kauffman’s At Home in the Universe). Origins & Design 17(2), 1996: 30-32.
„Intelligent Design: The New Kid on the Block.“ The Banner 133(6), 16 March 1998: 14-16.
„The Intelligent Design Movement.“ Cosmic Pursuit 1(2), 1998: 22-26. „The Bible by Numbers“ (review of Jeffrey Satinover’s Cracking the Bible Code). First Things, August/September 1998 (no. 85): 61-64. „Randomness.“ In Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy, edited by Edward Craig. London: Routledge, 1998.
„The Last Magic“ (review of Mark Steiner’s The Applicability of Mathematics as a Philosophical Problem). Books & Culture, July/August 1999. [Award: Evangelical Press Association, First Place for 1999 in the category „Critical Reviews.“]
„Thinkable and Unthinkable“ (review of Paul Davies’s The Fifth Miracle). Books & Culture, September/October 1999: 33-35.
„The Arrow and the Archer: Reintroducing Design into Science.“ Science & Spirit 10(4), 1999(Nov/Dec): 32-34, 42.
„What Can We Reasonably Hope For? – A Millennium Symposium.“ First Things no. 99, January 2000: 19-20.
„Because It Works, That’s Why!“ (review of Y. M. Guttmann’s The Concept of Probability in Statistical Physics). Books & Culture, March/April 2000: 42-43.
„The Design Argument.“ In The History of Science and Religion in the Western Tradition: An Encyclopedia, edited by Gary B. Ferngren (New York: Garland, 2000), 65-67.
„The Limits of Natural Teleology“ (review of Robert Wright’s Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny). First Things no. 105 (August/September 2000): 46-51.
„Conservatives, Darwin & Design: An Exchange“ (co-authored with Larry Arnhart and Michael J. Behe). First Things no. 107 (November 2000): 23-31.
„Shamelessly Doubting Darwin,“ American Outlook (November/December 2000): 22-24.
„Intelligent Design Theory.“ In Religion in Geschichte und Gegenwart, 4th edition, edited by Hans Dieter Betz, Don S. Browning, Bernd Janowski, Eberhard Jüngel. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck.
„What Have Butterflies Got to Do with Darwin?“ Review of Bernard d’Abrera’s Concise Atlas of Butterflies. Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design 1(1), 2002: www.iscid.org/papers/Dembski_BR_Butterflies_122101.pdf „Detecting Design in the Natural Sciences,“ Natural History 111(3), April 2002: 76.
„The Design Argument,“ in Science and Religion: A Historical Introduction, edited by Gary B. Ferngren (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 2002), 335-344 .
„How the Monkey Got His Tail,“ Books & Culture, November/December 2002: 42 (book review of S. Orzack and E. Sober, Adaptationism and Optimality).
„Detecting Design in the Natural Sciences,“ to appear in Russian translation in Poisk. Expanded version of Natural History article.
Work in Progress:
Debating Design: From Darwin to DNA, co-edited with Michael Ruse; an edited collection representing Darwinian, self-organizational, theistic evolutionist, and design-theoretic perspectives; book under contract with Cambridge University Press.
The Design Revolution: Making a New Science and Worldview, cultural and public policy implications of intelligent design; book under contract with InterVarsity Press.
Freeing Inquiry from Ideology: A Michael Polanyi Reader, co-edited with Bruce Gordon; an anthology of Michael Polanyi’s writings; book under contract with InterVarsity Press.
Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing, edited collection of essays by intellectuals who doubt Darwinism on scientific and rational grounds; book under contract with Intercollegiate Studies Institute.
The End of Christianity, coauthored with James Parker III, book under contract with Broadman & Holman.
Of Pandas and People: The Intelligent Design of Biological Systems, academic editor for third updated edition, coauthored with Michael Behe, Percival Davis, Dean Kenyon, and Jonathan Wells.
Being as Communion: The Metaphysics of Information, Templeton Book Prize project, proposal submitted to Ashgate publishers for series in science and religion.
The Patristic Understanding of Creation, co-edited with Brian Frederick; anthology of writings from the Church Fathers on creation and design.