by Devon Williams, associate editor, CitizenLink.org
‘Are there patterns in biological systems that would point us to intelligence?’
Leading scientist and mathematician William A. Dembski has devoted years to researching intelligent design.
He is a research professor in philosophy at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and has been featured on the front page of The New York Times. He has appeared on numerous radio and television broadcasts, including Jon Stewart’s The Daily Show and ABC’s Nightline.
Dembski talked to CitizenLink about his latest book, The Design of Life — which he co-authored with Jonathan Wells.
1. What is intelligent design?
The study of patterns in nature that are best explained by intelligence. But the focus is really on biology. Are there patterns in biological systems that would point us to intelligence? What we find is that we see design in everything from human consciousness, through the fossil record, through similarities between organisms, through various molecular structures inside the cell to the very origin of life — the origin of the first cell.
2. Tell me about your new book.
It’s a comprehensive overview of intelligent design, trying to make it clear what intelligent design is. There’s lots that’s been written about intelligent design, especially in the media and some of the scientific community, that’s often misrepresented. This really puts to rest a lot of those biased and misrepresented claims about intelligent design. . . .
4. Does your research conclude that God is the Intelligent Designer?
I believe God created the world for a purpose. The Designer of intelligent design is, ultimately, the Christian God.
The focus of my writings is not to try to understand the Christian doctrine of creation; it’s to try to develop intelligent design as a scientific program.
There’s a big question within the intelligent design community: “How did the design get in there?” We’re very early in this game in terms of understanding the history of how the design got implemented. I think a lot of this is because evolutionary theory has so misled us that we have to rethink things from the ground up. That’s where we are. There are lots and lots of questions that are now open to re-examination in light of this new paradigm. . . .”
See full interview
Dembski’s answer to Question 4 is likely to be widely quoted – or misquoted out of context as: Dembski declares “The Designer of intelligent design, is, ultimately, the Christian God.”
This raises the challenge of the First Amendment’s preservation of the unalienable rights to religious belief and speech:
“Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, . . ” (See annotations)
This includes rights to academic freedom.
* Do academic’s have the freedom to develop scientific theories in public institutions free from discrimination?
* Or can some people use government resources to forbid speech and religious practice by others based on the implications of the theories they develop in public institutions?
* Can some use government resources to forbid any theory that posits an intelligent agent, and, by government sanction, only allow theories that presume materialistic naturalism or philosophical naturalism?