Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Centre for Intelligent Design UK Website Now LIVE

In recent years, the development of Intelligent Design has been associated largely with the USA. This week marks the launch of the Centre for Intelligent Design UK (website here). The Centre brings ID back to its roots, which can be traced right to the early developments of science in the UK and wider Europe. Many of the early pioneers of modern science held the view that the natural world was intelligible because it was itself the product of a rational mind. The new Centre is set up by a network of volunteers across the UK, with a variety of areas of expertise and professional interests – as diverse as medicine, science, education, business, and law. It exists as a non-profit organisation and Read More ›

Of mind and matter: David Attenborough meets Richard Dawkins

An article was published in The Guardian today, featuring a discussion between Oxford Zoologist, Richard Dawkins, and the renowned broadcaster, Sir David Attenborough. Describing the transformation of a dragonfly larva into a dragonfly, the pair remarked, DA: I am a naturalist rather than a scientist. Simply looking at a flower or a frog has always seemed to me to be just about the most interesting thing there is. Others say human beings are pretty interesting, which they are, but as a child you’re not interested in Auntie Flo’s psychology; you’re interested in how a dragonfly larva turns into a dragonfly. RD: Yes, it’s carrying inside it two entirely separate blueprints, two different programmes. DA: I couldn’t believe it! I remember Read More ›

The Great Debate – Dembski & Behe vs. Miller & Pennock

A few weeks ago, the NCSE’s youtube channel uploaded a 2002 debate featuring our very own William Dembski and Michael Behe, each of whom presented a short description of their contribution to the science of ID, before being cross-examined by Michigan State University philosopher Robert Pennock, and Brown University biologist, Kenneth Miller. The debate was chaired by the ever-impartial Eugenie Scott, of the National Center for Science Education (NCSE). Miller brought up the traditional arguments which he has become so renowned for, alleging that Behe’s claims regarding irreducible complexity were false on the basis that 10 proteins homologous to a complement of those present in the flagellar system could be found in the Type-III Secretary System. When Behe attempted to Read More ›

“Is Intelligent Design Viable?” William Lane Craig vs. Francisco Ayala

Late last year, the eminent Christian philosopher and proponent of intelligent design, William Lane Craig, crossed swords in debate with the avid apologist for Darwinian evolution, Francisco Ayala, of the Biologos Foundation. The debate was chaired by philosopher of physics Bradley Monton of the University of Colorado, an ID sympathizer, though a convinced atheist himself. Monton is the author of the book, Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design. A fascinating ID the Future interview with Professor Monton can be downloaded here. Following Dr. Ayala’s opening statement, Dr. Craig commenced his presentation by carefully setting out the definition of ID as the study of legitimate design inferences. Craig stipulated that, were Ayala to attempt to refute the inference Read More ›

If Darwinian Evolution Can’t Fix Broken Genes, How Can It Create New Ones?

The Darwinian model of evolution holds that one of the key mechanisms of evolutionary innovation is the duplication of genes and the subsequent divergence of one of the duplicate copies to undertake a new functional role. Because a probability of a single gene stumbling upon a significantly different (yet functionally advantageous) sequence is so small, the idea is that, following a duplication of a gene, one copy is able to retain the original function, while the other is free to explore the vast sea of combinatorial possibilities in search of some novel function. It is widely believed that a duplicate gene has no phenotypic cost or advantage associated with it – that is, it is selectively neutral. In such a Read More ›

Intelligent Design and the Demarcation Problem

One common objection which is often raised regarding the proposition of real design (as opposed to design that is only apparent) is the criticism that design is unable to be falsified by the ruthless rigour of empirical scrutiny. Science, we are told, must restrict its explanatory devices to material causes. This criterion of conformity to materialism as a requisite for scientific merit is an unfortunate consequence of a misconstrual of the principal of uniformitarianism with respect to the historical sciences. Clearly, a proposition – if it is to be considered properly scientific – must constrict its scope to categories of explanation with which we have experience. It is this criterion which allows a hypothesis to be evaluated and contrasted with our experience of that causal entity. Explanatory devices should not be abstract, lying beyond the scope of our uniform and sensory experience of cause-and-effect.

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The Application of Double Standards is the Surest Sign of a Failed Argument

In 2009, outspoken Darwinist and opponent of intelligent design, PZ Myers, presented a lecture at the Atheist Alliance International 2009 conference in Burbank, California. The Richard Dawkins Foundation kindly posted it on youtube: As per usual, Myers blasts Intelligent Design and the Discovery Institute for allegedly erroneously presuming that complex structures only arise from intelligent agents, implicating that one needs to demonstrate something other than complexity to demonstrate intent. Curiously, PZ Myers adamently asserts in his introductory remarks that he has attended ID conferences and lectures; that he as read the literature and hence qualifies as an authorotative expert on the topic of Intelligent Design. One can only wonder whether Myers was awake during these lectures that he claims to Read More ›