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Pennock’s Convenient Distortion

Reply to Misquotation Original Article

Robert Pennock’s misquote of me in Books & Culture (Sep/Oct 99, p. 31) is mischief in the making. He quotes me as writing that design theorists “are no friends of theistic evolutionists.” What I in fact wrote is: “Design theorists are no friends of theistic evolution.” (He got the quote right in his book Tower of Babel, but not in his article for Books & Culture).
It makes a huge difference whether one refuses friendship with an idea or with a group of people. To refuse the former is a matter of personal conscience and opinion. To refuse the latter signifies bigotry and ill-will. As a design theorist I disagree with theistic evolution but value theistic evolutionists not only as persons but also as dialogue partners.

Perhaps as an evolutionist himself, Pennock thinks the evolution of “evolution” into “evolutionIST” represents a minor adaptive change. I don’t. I think it represents shoddy scholarship. Indeed, most intelligent agents resist the evolution of their texts and like them to stay as they were originally created.

William A. Dembski

Board of Directors, Discovery Institute
A mathematician and philosopher, Bill Dembski is the author/editor of more than 20 books as well as the writer of peer-reviewed articles spanning mathematics, engineering, philosophy, and theology. A past philosophy professor, he retired in 2014 from active research and teaching in intelligent design (ID) to focus on the connections between freedom, technology, and education — specifically, how education helps to advance human freedom with the aid of technology. Bill Dembski is presently an entrepreneur who builds educational software and websites. He lives near Denton, Texas.