Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Who Will Be Michele Bachmann’s Science Advisers?

Michele BachmannAn earlier post yesterday underscored Michele Bachmann’s support of ID. That she supports ID is fine and well. Back in 2005 George W. Bush supported ID in the same terms as Bachmann. But Bush also had as his science adviser “company man” John Marburger (the “company” being Darwinian naturalists).

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Review of Giberson & Collins at Patheos.com

I was invited to review Karl Giberson and Francis Collins’ newest book, THE LANGUAGE OF SCIENCE AND FAITH, at patheos.com. Below are the first few paragraphs as well as a link to the entire review. —————————– BioLogos and Theistic Evolution: Selling the Product “There’s nothing wrong with selling one’s ideas. But it needs to be done honestly, and that’s just what I don’t find in this book.” By William A. Dembski, April 27, 2011 Editor’s Note: The following is the first piece in a four-part conversation between Dr. William Dembski and Dr. Karl Giberson, concerning Giberson and Francis Collins’ new book, The Language of Science and Faith: Straight Answers to Genuine Questions. Find more resources and discussion surrounding the book Read More ›

Significance is not what it used to be …

Interesting article in PLoS Medicine (source): Why Most Published Research Findings Are False By John P. A. Ioannidis Abstract: There is increasing concern that most current published research findings are false. The probability that a research claim is true may depend on study power and bias, the number of other studies on the same question, and, importantly, the ratio of true to no relationships among the relationships probed in each scientific field. In this framework, a research finding is less likely to be true when the studies conducted in a field are smaller; when effect sizes are smaller; when there is a greater number and lesser preselection of tested relationships; where there is greater flexibility in designs, definitions, outcomes, and Read More ›

The Nature of Nature — sticky

THE NATURE OF NATURE is now finally out and widely available. If you haven’t bought it yet, let me suggest Amazon.com, which is selling it for $17.94, which is an incredible deal for a 7″x10″ 1000-page book with, for most of us, no tax and no shipping charge (it costs over $10 to ship this monster priority mail). This is a must-have book if you are interested at all in the ID debate. To get it from Amazon.com, click here. Below is the table of contents and some introductory matter.

(Other news coverage continues below)


Seven years in the making, at 500,000 words, with three Nobel laureate contributors, this is the most thorough examination of naturalism to date.


Nature of NatureThe Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science

Edited by Bruce L. Gordon

and William A. Dembski

ISI Books

Intercollegiate Studies Institute

Wilmington, DE 19807

Back Cover:

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The Conway Morris Disclaimer

Johnnyb has already posted on this here at UD, but I thought it might be good to have the full disclaimer at the new Map of Life website up for your consideration here: The message? First, that evolution is true. Forms of life change over time, or evolve, as successive generations inherit genetic, epigenetic or cultural information that is modified relative to their ancestors. Features of the changing environment in which organisms live favour differential survival of individuals with the most suitable (or ‘adapted’) modifications for living there. This leads to change in species over time, or their extinction if the environment changes too fast for ecologically well-adapted variants to become established. Of note, the science of evolutionary biology is Read More ›

Biologos, Valiant Defender of Common Descent

Kathryn Applegate writes a long post at Biologos purporting to refute a short observation of mine here at UD, namely, my post about Craig Venter challenging Richard Dawkins over common descent. Most of her post does not merit response, but I will note the following: (1) Yes, I did carefully view the video in question. (2) To talk about a “bush of life” is to deny, or at least question, common descent: the geometry of a bush is fundamentally different from the geometry of a tree, which has one main trunk; a bush, by contrast suggests multiple “origins.” (3) In line with the last point, Venter agrees that life on earth is all of the same genetically based type (we’re Read More ›

Craig Venter denies common descent — Dawkins incredulous

Interesting story at Evolution News & Views about an exchange between Craig Venter (of human genome fame) and Richard Dawkins (of neo-atheist fame). Venter denies common descent, Dawkins can’t believe that he would even question it. For the exchange, which also includes Paul Davies, go here (start at the 9 minute mark). Origin-of-life researchers such as Ford Doolittle and Carl Woese have questioned for some time whether there even is a tree of life. Venter is now following in their train. What’s significant is not so much whether Venter is right (I think he is), but what his dissent from Darwinian orthodoxy suggests about the disarray in the study of biological origins. If common descent is up for grabs, what isn’t? Read More ›

The Original NATURE OF NATURE Conference — Baylor, April 12-15, 2000

Pat Neff Hall at BaylorAn anthology based on the NATURE OF NATURE conference at Baylor (April 12-15, 2000) has just come out (see the preceding post here at UD). All of the contributors to this anthology who were at the original conference have revised and updated their contributions, so the volume is thoroughly up to date. Many of the presenters at the original conference, however, were not represented in this volume. Mainly this was a matter of space limitations (the volume is even now at 500,000 words). As it is, the original conference had about 30 plenary speakers and another 35 or so concurrent speakers. A detailed description of the original NATURE OF NATURE conference can be found online here (scroll down) and is reprinted below:



An Interdisciplinary Conference on the Role of Naturalism in Science

April 12-15, 2000

 Is the universe self-contained or does it require something beyond itself to explain its existence and internal function? Philosophical naturalism takes the universe to be self-contained, and it is widely presupposed throughout science. Even so, the idea that nature points beyond itself has recently been reformulated with respect to a number of issues. Consciousness, the origin of life, the unexpected effectiveness of mathematics at modeling the physical world, and the fine-tuning of universal constants are just a few of the problems that critics have claimed are incapable of purely naturalistic explanation. Do such assertions constitute arguments from incredulity – an unwarranted appeal to ignorance? If not, is the explanation of such phenomena beyond the pale of science? Is it, perhaps, possible to offer cogent philosophical and even scientific arguments that nature does point beyond itself? The aim of this conference is to examine such questions. Read More ›

Quote of the Day — John Kenneth Galbraith

“Foresight is an imperfect thing — all prevision in economics is imperfect. And, even more serious, the economist in high office is under a strong personal and political compulsion to predict wrongly. That is partly because of the temptation to predict what is wanted, and it is better, not worse, economic performance that is always wanted.” –John Kenneth Galbraith, MONEY (1975), pp. 269-70. This quote is relevant to the ID debate. People in high scientific office, whether in the straight-up secular world or in evangelical educational circles, would look bad if they were seen as endorsing a grand scientific theory, for which they are on record as saying that this theory contributes to science’s caché, that ends up being thoroughly Read More ›

Elsevier publishes Granville Sewell’s latest on the Second Law

Elsevier has just published Granville Sewell’s “A Second Look at the Second Law” (Applied Mathematics Letters, June 2011): ABSTRACT: It is commonly argued that the spectacular increase in order which has occurred on Earth does not violate the second law of thermodynamics because the Earth is an open system, and anything can happen in an open system as long as the entropy increases outside the system compensate the entropy decreases inside the system. However, if we define ‘‘X-entropy’’ to be the entropy associated with any diffusing component X (for example, X might be heat), and, since entropy measures disorder, ‘‘X-order’’ to be the negative of X-entropy, a closer look at the equations for entropy change shows that they not only Read More ›

Ants Solve Steiner Problem

Some years back, ID critic Dave Thomas used to tout the power of genetic algorithms for their ability of solve the Steiner Problem, which basically tries to minimize distance of paths that connect nodes on a two-dimensional surface (last I looked, he’s still making this line of criticism — see here). In fact, none of his criticisms hit the mark — the information problem that he claims to resolve in evolutionary terms merely pushes the design problem deeper, as the peer-reviewed research at the Evolutionary Informatics Lab makes clear (go to the publications page there). Now here’s an interesting twist: Colonies of ants, when they make tracks from one colony to another minimize path-length and thereby also solve the Steiner Problem (see Read More ›

CrossExamined.org conference August 11-13

My good friend Frank Turek is organizing a conference for training apologetics instructors this August. The dates have just been nailed down and I’ll be speaking there on, what else, ID. Frank’s best known book, co-authored with Norm Geisler, is I DON’T HAVE ENOUGH FAITH TO BE AN ATHEIST. It’s an insightful and fun book. ID is clearly a factor here in undermining faith in atheism. For conference details, go here.