witness testifies in a Russian court
witness testifies in a Russian court

Rebuttal to Reports by Opposing Expert Witnesses

Originally published at DesignInference.com

I have carefully read the reports by the six opposing expert witnesses. In this rebuttal, I will respond to five of the reports, omitting the one by Brian Alters. Alters’s report focuses on philosophy of education, the pedagogical value of teaching intelligent design in the high school biology curriculum, and the reception of intelligent design among educators (especially among the professional educational associations concerned with science instruction). Alters’s main concern is that through the teaching of intelligent design, science teachers will “engender needless misconceptions” in their students’ understanding of evolutionary biology (Alters, p. 3). Other experts in these matters take exactly the opposite view. For instance, according to Larry Arnhart evolutionary theory cannot be properly understood and taught without considering ID as its foil and counterpart.1 Note that Arnhart himself is not a proponent of ID.2

Although the pedagogical value of teaching ID is an interesting question, the key question is whether intelligent design constitutes a scientific program and whether the textbook in question, Of Pandas and People (2nd ed.), adequately represents the theory of intelligent design. Because

the other reports address this key question, this rebuttal will focus on these other reports. I therefore defer to the expert witnesses on my side who are more qualified to rebut Alters’s concerns about the educational value of ID (especially Warren Nord, Dick Carpenter, and John Angus Campbell).

I am a philosopher of science and have published on the relation between science and religion. I therefore feel qualified to respond to the expert witness reports of Barbara Forrest, Robert Pennock, and John Haught in their entirety. As for the reports by Kenneth Miller and Kevin Padian, I am qualified to assess the logic of their arguments. In particular, as a professional mathematician, I am qualified to critique their assessments of my own mathematical work on design detection.

Except for Barbara Forrest and Brian Alters, I have interacted professionally with the opposing expert witnesses regarding intelligent design: Kevin Padian and I were together on Jack Ford’s PBS program Inside the Law back in 1996. Kenneth Miller and I have squared off at a number of conferences and debates (e.g., the Design and Its Critics conference at Concordia University in Mequon Wisconsin in 2000 and at the World Skeptics Conference in Burbank in 2002). Robert Pennock and I met for a formal debate at the American Museum of Natural History in New York in 2002. Finally, John Haught and I were together for a week at Oxford University (Wycliffe Hall) in the summer of 2001 to discuss intelligent design.


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.