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Uncommon Dissent

Intellectuals who find Darwinism Unconvincing Original Article

This volume provides a summary of the widespread attack upon Darwinism by some of today’s leading intellectuals. While authors may vary widely in their religious outlook on life, they have one view in common: Darwinism is deficient to account for life as we know it.

Senior Discovery Institute Fellow William Dembski opens with a lively recounting of how Darwinists have promoted a myth that they have won this debate. After scrutinizing the citations in one Darwinist’s account of Darwinism’s victory, Dembski concludes this is merely a “myth of victory past.” Discovery Fellow Robert C. Koons and CSC Program Advisor Phillip Johnson both concur that methodological naturalism is the main prop for Darwinism, not the actual empirical evidence. Discovery Fellow Nancy Pearcey explains how some Darwinists take the assumption of methodological naturalism and then forget it was an assumption, using evolution to explain everything from the origin of “every feature of every living thing, including human beings.” Thus, evolution provides a biological explanation for everything from rape to infanticide to religion, which Dawkins calls a “virus of the mind.”
One interesting component of the book is a 1996 interview with the late Marcel-Paul Schützenberger. Schützenberger, a mathematician, explains that “Darwinians have too simple a conception of biology, rather like a locksmith misguidedly convinced that his handful of keys will open any lock.” Schützenberger believes that the “functional complexity” of living organisms is beyond the horizon of the explanatory power of Darwinism.

Other highlights include Michael Denton’s account of the transformation of his own views, from being a creationist, to being a Darwinist, to being a Darwin skeptic but not a creationist. According to Denton, homologies” may be better explained by appeal to underlying Platonic forms. He believes that both adaptive and non-adaptive features of biology may be inherent in nature itself.

Discovery fellow Cornelius Hunter explains that Darwinism is more of a religious theory that has penetrated the sciences, based upon presuppositions about what a designer would not do. Senior Discovery Institute Fellow David Berlinski closes the book discussing how Darwinism does not account for complexity. Berlinski contends that Richard Dawkins may be right that 5% vision is better than no vision at all, but Berlinski explains that to get any vision requires a myriad of interacting structures, which are unlikely to exist all at once.

Finally, Senior Discovery Institute Fellow Michael Behe recounts his own personal story of transitioning from an acceptor of Darwinism to a scientific skeptic of the theory. He says that religious people should not reject evolution fully out-of-hand, but should look at the evidence where they will find aspects of the theory that are deficient. Discovery Institute Fellow Jay Budziszewski explains that whether matter or mind is primary in our world can have major implications for law. If all that exists is matter and energy, then Darwinian views of the world are fundamentally at odds with natural law.

Other contributors not affiliated with Discovery Institute include James Barham, Michael John Denton, Roland F. Hirsch, Christopher Michael Langan, Marcel-Paul Schützenberger, Edward Sisson, and Frank J. Tipler.

Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals who find Darwinism Unconvincing

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 in Iowa.