Understanding Intelligent Design

Everything You Need to Know in Plain LanguageWilliam A. Dembski and Sean McDowell


This compact guide lays out the basics of Intelligent Design, popularly known as ID. William Dembski, the dean of the intelligent-design movement, and Sean McDowell especially target readers whose understanding may have been confused by educational bias and one-sided arguments and attacks.

Commonsense and no-nonsense, with pointed examples, the authors explain

  • the central theories of ID, showing why the presence of information and meaningful complexityrequire the involvement of intelligence
  • why ID adheres to the scientific method and is a valid field of scientific inquiry
  • why scientific evidence increasingly conflicts with evolutionary theories
  • how both evolutionary theory and ID have religious/philosophical underpinnings, and why this causes so much controversy
  • how both systems of thought have radical implications for our culture—and what readers can do about it

Clarifying crucial issues, this key resource gives nonspecialists a solid grasp of one of today’s foundational religious-scientific-cultural concepts.


This book is long overdue! Finally, an understandable, engaging, and well–written introduction to intelligent design. Understanding Intelligent Design is the best book of its type.

J.P. Moreland, distinguished professor of philosophy, Biola University, author of Kingdom Triangle

Bill and Sean have written a superb book that I wish I had when I was in high school―it would have spared me decades of believing in Darwinism! This book presents a crystal–clear overview of the most important and exciting development in science in our lifetime―the growing recognition that life and the cosmos reveal clear scientific evidence for design by a Mind.

Michael Egnor, professor and vice–chairman, department of neurosurgery, State University of New York at Stony Brook, featured in Ben Stein’s movie Expelled

Understanding Intelligent Design provides a magnificent introductory explanation of the most significant intellectual controversy of our time. I highly recommend it.

Phillip E. Johnson, author of Darwin on Trial

Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not one bit simpler.’ So runs a quote often attributed to Einstein. Using clear and easily read prose, Dembski and McDowell do exactly this in painting a powerful and wonderfully coherent case for intelligent design.

Robert J. Marks II, distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering, Baylor University, featured in Ben Stein’s movie Expelled

Intelligent design is often rejected, but rarely understood, especially by those who incessantly tell the rest of us to keep an ‘open mind.’ This is an age when sophisticated academics do not flinch at requiring public school students to watch ‘sex education’ demonstrations that involve bananas and condoms. Yet these same intellectuals insist that our children be shielded from any literature that may cast doubts on materialism. This is why ID advocates would face less resistance in our more cerebral venues if someone somewhere would just label it as pornography. But, alas, that has not happened. So, you’ll just have to discover by your lonesome self what gets Richard Dawkins’ panties in a bunch. Start by reading this book and learning something. If you wind up disagreeing with portions of it or even the whole thing, that’s okay, for many of us (me included) have issues with and questions about ID as well. But some of us are far more suspicious of the thought–police that want to protect you from this new boogeyman.

Francis J. Beckwith, professor of philosophy and church–state studies, Baylor University

William A. Dembski

Founding and Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture, Distinguished Fellow, Walter Bradley Center for Natural and Artificial Intelligence
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.

Sean McDowell

Sean is an Associate Professor in the Christian Apologetics program at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. Sean is the author, co-author, or editor of over twenty books including The Fate of the ApostlesSo The Next Generation Will KnowEvidence that Demands a Verdict, Same-Sex Marriage: A Thoughtful Approach to God’s Design for Marriage , Is God Just a Human Invention? and Understanding Intelligent Design . Sean has one of the leading apologetics blogs, which can be read at