Continuing with James Barham’s The Best Schools interview with design theorist Bill Dembski – who founded this blog – this time on what – in an age of uproars around Darwin in the schools – what an ID-centred program would look like.
TBS: How many lessons or hours would be required to study and understand the theory? Would it fill entire semesters for students? What body of research would such a curriculum cite? Is there a substantial literature of ID papers in the peer-reviewed science journals that could be cited?
WD: ID theorists, in developing their views about design in nature, appeal to the full range of mathematical, engineering, biological, and physical sciences. So an ID curriculum will include everything their Darwinian counterparts are currently studying. But there will be more. I can think of ten full-semester college courses off the top of my head that would have significant ID content and could not reasonably be taught from a Darwinian perspective:
(1) Evolvability and Unevolvability (biology)
(2) Conservation of Information Theorems (mathematics)
(3) Bayesian and Fisherian Design Inferences (statistics)
(4) The Failure of Naturalistic Origin of Life Scenarios (chemistry)
(5) Toward a Nonreductive Neuroscience (psychology/neuroscience)
(6) Recovering Free Will (philosophy of mind)
(7) Ethics, Biology, and Responsibility (ethics)
(8) The Comprehensible Universe (cosmology)
(9) The Unreasonable Effectiveness of Mathematics (philosophy of mathematics)
(10) The Reductionist Roots of Modern Science (history and philosophy of science)
One thing to understand: ID looks at the very same data that Darwinists are looking at. As Nobelist Lawrence Bragg remarked, “The important thing in science is not so much to obtain new facts as to discover new ways of thinking about them.” ID is thinking about the world in new ways. So, one way for ID to get into the lesson plan is simply for textbooks to be rewritten from an ID perspective.
For instance, a standard basal biology textbook will have many facts about biology, but it will also frame those facts within a Darwinian picture of the world. Some of the more recent textbooks will even slam ID. Such a textbook could be rewritten, giving the standard evolutionary accounts, but also critiquing them and indicating the lines of evidence that argue for a design conclusion.
Theodosius Dobzhansky is famously quoted as saying that “nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution,” by which he meant the neo-Darwinian theory of evolution. From the ID perspective, life is replete with the marks of intelligence, an intelligence not reducible to Darwinian processes. Perhaps the biggest part that ID will play in most curricula for now, leaving aside courses that deal with its specific contributions in the peer-reviewed literature, is in framing the various disciplines and fields that have been infected with Darwinian thinking.
As for the ID peer-reviewed literature, I wouldn’t say it’s substantial, but it is growing. Ten years ago there was almost nothing. Now, there’s a fair amount. (See, also, here.) There’s a lot also in the pipeline. For instance, I have a very substantial anthology coming out with a major academic publisher, but I’m not at liberty to say where until it actually comes out, because Darwinists have the disturbing habit of trying to get publication agreements for ID-friendly literature revoked.
The case of Granville Sewell is one of the more recent. Briefly, Applied Mathematics Letters agreed to publish an article of his critical of neo-Darwinism, only to revoke it under pressure from Darwinists. The publisher ended up paying $10,000 for Sewell’s legal feels and issued a public apology. Nice of them. But they still didn’t publish his piece—after it had been peer-reviewed and accepted for publication.
Next: Who are your favorite Christian or other theist authors?
See also: Is information a primitive concept, on a par with matter and energy?
Is there any such thing as information in the abstract or is it always information for an agent?
What does Bill Dembski think of David Abel’s “prescriptive information” theory?
Dembski on why ID’s struggle is going to be long and hard
Bill Dembski answers, How do we explain bad design?
Bill Dembski on the problem of good
Bill Dembski on young vs. old Earth creationists, and where he stands
Bill Dembski on the Evolutionary Informatics Lab – the one a Baylor dean tried to
Why Bill Dembski took aim against the Darwin frauds and their enablers #1
Why Bill Dembski took aim against the Darwin frauds and their enablers Part 2
Bill Dembski: The big religious conspiracy revealed #3
Bill Dembski: Evolution “played no role whatever” in his conversion to Christianity #4
So how DID Bill Dembski get interested in intelligent design? #5b – bad influences, it seems
So how DID Bill Dembski get interested in intelligent design? #5a
Bill Dembski: Trouble happens when they find out you mean business
What is Bill Dembski planning to do now?
What difference did Ben Stein’s Expelled film make? Dembski’s surprisingly mixed review
Bill Dembski on the future of intelligent design in science