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.