Discovery Institute Senior Fellows William Dembski and Jay Richards launch a scathing attack on naturalistic philosophy in this anthology aimed at a Christian audience, with various chapters explaining why naturalism is failing as a philosophical paradigm.
Richards notes that naturalism as a philosophy is impossible to establish, for it relies upon proof of the negative claim that there is no supernatural. Richards further argues that naturalism bows too strongly before Ockham’s razor, in that it is not appropriate to rule out the supernatural as an explanation if the supernatural may indeed exist. Finally, Richards recognizes that scholars sometimes make a distinction between methodological naturalism and naturalism. But he also explains that Christians have no business adopting the methodological “assumption” of naturalism when they believe that God sometimes directly intervenes in the world. God does not need to be invoked to explain everything, but the pendulum has swung too far to the extreme if we assume that God never acts.
William Dembski also provides a few chapters on intelligent design. He explains that at the heart of the creation/evolution controversy is the big question “Is there evidence of God interacting with the world?” Many theologians have thought that science cannot address this question. But Dembski protests otherwise, by laying out a detailed statistical method by which we can detect design. Dembski, who holds a Ph.D. in mathematics, a Ph.D. in philosophy, and an M.Div. from Princeton Theological Seminary, seems a good candidate to explain whether God’s purposeful action really might be detectable in the natural world. Dembski explains that “intelligent design resists speculating about the nature, moral character or purposes of this intelligence” (pg. 225) and leaves it as a task for theology to answer religious questions about the identity or purposes of the designer. But the rigorous methods of science now permit us to empirically detect when an object was designed.