When it comes to the evolution-ID controversy, Daniel Dennett seems to forget that he is a philosopher, foregoing rigorous argumentation for bold, but unsupported, assertions. In his recent New York Times piece (“Show Me the Science,” 28Aug05, go here), he remarks:
William Dembski, one of the most vocal supporters of intelligent design, notes that he provoked Thomas Schneider, a biologist, into a response that Dr. Dembski characterizes as “some hair-splitting that could only look ridiculous to outsider observers.” What looks to scientists — and is — a knockout objection by Dr. Schneider is portrayed to most everyone else as ridiculous hair-splitting.
The rhetoric of “knock-out objections” is unfortunately all too common in this debate. Let me encourage readers to check things out for themselves. You can read what Schneider was arguing here. For my refutation, look at chapter 4 of my book No Free Lunch. I’ve since shown how Schneider’s claims fail much more generally (go here). Ian Strachan, an expert in computational intelligence, has written the most detailed refutation of Schneider’s work to date — go here (note that Schneider has never adequately responded to it).
For more on calling Dennett’s bluff, go here.