Darwinism: Science or Philosophy

Proceedings of a Symposium Entitled "Darwinism: Scientific Inference Or Philosophical Preference?"Jon Buell, Virginia Hearn

This volume presents papers presented at an early conference at Southern Methodist University in 1992 which was a landmark event in uniting scholars who now make up the intelligent design movement. Phillip Johnson, Program Advisor for Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, explains that evolution is based upon assumptions of naturalism, which are often unsupported by the evidence. Johnson recounts both fossil and genetic evidence which are difficult to explain under evolution. Moreover, Johnson finds that many Darwinists have used the theory to promote materialism under the guise of science.

Michael Ruse responds to Johnson by noting that evolution does not have to be true, but that it is supported by Mendelian genetics and the explanatory power of natural selection. It is possible to be a Christian and a Darwinian, according to Ruse, but one would find difficulty if he or she were a biblical literalist or even a Christian who believed that Jesus rose from the dead through a miraculous event.

Philosopher of science and Senior Discovery Fellow Stephen C. Meyer challenges Ruse’s definition of science as subject to “natural law.” Meyer points out that in the historical sciences, laws do not explain singular events, such as the rising of a particular mountain range. Senior Discovery Fellow Michael Behe historically presented some of his arguments that the rarity of functional proteins challenges Neo-Darwinian explanations. When critics try to explain the origin of this complexity, Behe notes that their detail-less explanations are unconvincing. Finally, William Dembski, also a Senior Discovery Fellow, provides an early discussion of how the probabilistic resources available to describe the origin of biological complexity (such as Behe’s examples of unlikely functional proteins) rules out Darwinism as an explanation.

While critics have their say in this book as well, this is the earliest volume containing essays by noted design theorists such as Johnson, Behe, Meyer, and Dembski. Thus, it’s a must-read for anyone interested in the early development of the theory of intelligent design.

Other contributors not associated with Discovery include Peter Van Inwagen, Arthur M. Shapiro, David Wilcox, Leslie Johnson, K. John Morrow, and Fredrick Grinnell.

Proceedings of a Symposium Entitled “Darwinism: Scientific Inference Or Philosophical Preference?”: Held on the Southern Methodist University Campus in Dallas, Texas, March 26-28, 1992

Phillip E. Johnson

Former Program Advisor, Center for Science and Culture
Phillip E. Johnson taught law for more than thirty years at the University of California — Berkeley where he was professor emeritus until his passing in 2019. He was recognized as a leading spokesman for the intelligent design movement, and was the author of many books, including Darwin on Trial, Reason in the Balance and Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds.

Stephen C. Meyer

Director, Center for Science and Culture
Dr. Stephen C. Meyer received his Ph.D. from the University of Cambridge in the philosophy of science. A former geophysicist and college professor, he now directs the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle. He is author of the New York Times-bestseller Darwin’s Doubt (2013) as well as the book Signature in the Cell (2009) and Return of the God Hypothesis (2021). In 2004, Meyer ignited a firestorm of media and scientific controversy when a biology journal at the Smithsonian Institution published his peer-reviewed scientific article advancing intelligent design. Meyer has been featured on national television and radio programs, including The NewsHour with Jim Lehrer, CBS's Sunday Morning, NBC's Nightly News, ABC's World News, Good Morning America, Nightline, FOX News Live, and the Tavis Smiley show on PBS. He has also been featured in two New York Times front-page stories and has garnered attention in other top-national media.

Michael J. Behe

Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Michael J. Behe is Professor of Biological Sciences at Lehigh University in Pennsylvania and a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. He received his Ph.D. in Biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania in 1978. Behe's current research involves delineation of design and natural selection in protein structures. In his career he has authored over 40 technical papers and three books, Darwin Devolves: The New Science About DNA that Challenges Evolution, Darwin’s Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, and The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism, which argue that living system at the molecular level are best explained as being the result of deliberate intelligent design.

William A. Dembski

Founding and Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
A mathematician and philosopher, Bill Dembski is the author/editor of more than 25 books as well as the writer of peer-reviewed articles spanning mathematics, engineering, biology, philosophy, and theology. With doctorates in mathematics (University of Chicago) and philosophy (University of Illinois at Chicago), Bill is an active researcher in the field of intelligent design. But he is also a tech entrepreneur who builds educational software and websites, exploring how education can help to advance human freedom with the aid of technology.