Monday, July 31, 2006


Robert C. Koons on The Failure of Demarcation Arguments

'Much of the philosophy of science in the mid-twentieth century was taken up in a quixotic attempt to find a line of demarcation between science, on the one hand, and metaphysics and commonsense knowledge, on the other. Every such attempt to find necessary and sufficient conditions for counting something as "scientific enquiry" or as a "scientific theory" ended in utter failure. The usual candidates - verifiability, falsifiability, testability, repeatability, quantifiability, operationalizability - all turned out to be at best rules of thumb, useful guidelines to bear in mind, but far from characterizing all the scientific ideas... If science really were a distinctive mode of knowing, demonstrably superior to commonsense and all other methods, we might be under a kind of intellectual duty to base all of our beliefs on science alone. However, since science cannot be demarcated from the rest of knowledge, our ordinary ways of warranting beliefs are under no such cloud of suspicion and remain innocent until proven guilty.'

(Robert C. Koons, 'Science and theism: Concord not conflict', in Paul Copan & Paul K. Moser (ed.'s), The Rationality of Theism, Routledge, 2003, p. 76-77)

Watch Koons' lecture on 'Science and Theism' @

Thursday, July 27, 2006


Response to Prof Denis Alexander Re: ID and Theistic Evolution

Intelligent Designs on Science

Published by Access Research Network - this surreply to Dr Alexander should be of particular interest to readers who attended my debate with theistic evolutionist Dr Keith Fox earlier this month, as Alexander makes some of the same criticisms of ID as does Professor Fox.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


Irreducible Complexity Still Going Strong

One of the most interesting things about the Christians in Science organized debate on theistic evolution and ID in which I participated on July 13th was a question from the floor which assumed that design theorists' notions about irreducible complexity had been squashed by scientists and that ID was a 'shell game' because as soon as one proposed IC system had been shown not to be IC, the design theorists moved on to another system. The assumption behind this question is simply wrong. ID theorists have not conceeded the failure of any proposed IC system. ID theorists continue to defend their claims about IC in the face of critiques that play well to the gallery but which are more often than not simply exercizes in attacking a straw man definition of IC and the argument to design from IC systems. If anyone is playing a shell game, it is actually the evolutionists who propose hand waving explanations of IC systems that constitute 'just so stories' without supporting empirical evidence. Anyway, for all those who think, hope or fear that ID claims about IC systems are not faring well, here is a list of resources to the contrary:

Video Material

Dr. Michael J. Behe, "Considering Intelligent Design ," Andrews University (59 minutes)
56kbps Broadband-Small Broadband-Large Large downloadable version

Scott Minnich, ‘Paradigm of Design: The Bacterial Flagellum’

On-Line Chapters & Articles

Michael J. Behe, ‘Answering Scientific Criticisms of Intelligent Design’

Michael J. Behe, ‘The Lamest Attempt Yet to Answer the Challenge Irreducible Complexity Poses for Darwinian Evolution’

Michael J. Behe, 'In Defence of the Irreducibility of the Blood Clotting Cascade'

Michael J. Behe, 'A True Acid Test: A Response to Ken Miller'

Michael J. Behe, 'A Mousetrap Defended'

William A. Dembski, ‘Still Spinning Just Fine: A Response to Ken Miller’

William A. Dembski, ‘Irreducible Complexity Revisited’

Mike Gene, ‘Evolving the Bacterial Flagellum Through Mutation and Cooption, Parts I-VI’

Stephen Griffith, ‘Irreducible Complexity’

Peer Reviewed Papers

Scott Minnich & Stephen C. Meyer, ‘Genetic Analysis of Coordinate Flagellar and Type III Regulatory Circuits’, Proceedings of the Second International Conference on Design & Nature, Rhodes Greece, (ed.) M.W. Collins and C.A. Brebbia (WIT Press, 2004) @

Michael J. Behe, ‘The Modern Intelligent Design Hypothesis’, Philosophia Christi, Series 2, vol. 3, no. 1 (2001)

Michael J. Behe & D.W. Snoke, ‘Simulating Evolution by Gene Duplication of Protein Features That Require Multiple Amino Acid Residues’, Protein Science, 13 (2004)

Wolf-Ekkehard Lonning, ‘Dynamic genomes, morphological stasis, and the origin of irreducible complexity’, Dynamical Genetics (2004) @


Michael J. Behe, Darwin’s Black Box, 10th anniversary edition, (Free Press, 2006)

John Angus Campbell and Stephen C. Meyer (ed.’s) Darwinism, Design, & Public Education, (Michigan State University Press, 2003)

William A. Dembski, No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot be Purchased without Intelligence, (Rowman & Littlefield, 2001)

Tuesday, July 18, 2006


C.S. Lewis Society Publish my paper on 'The Abolition of Man'

The C.S. Lewis Society of California have published my paper on The Abolition of Man, which applies Lewis' thought to the contemporary debate about human genetic engineering:

The Abolition of Man: Reflections on Reductionism with Special Reference to Eugenics


Phil Dowe on the God of the Gaps objection

Philosopher of Science Phil Dowe on the 'god of the gaps' objection to design arguments in his book Galileo, Darwin and Hawking: The Interplay of Science, Reason, and Religion (Cambridge: Eerdmans, 2005):

'One of the marks of scientific knowledge is that it is defeasible, that is, open to revision. No scientific theory can be regarded as the final word, no matter how well confirmed and established it is today. There may yet be a different, even more accurate and sucessful theory to take its place at some time in the future. This is all the more true for the more speculative and tentative results of many arguments to the best explanation... Provided there is no independent evidence of multiple worlds, we should infer the existence of a designer [from the anthropic fine tuning of the universe]. However, once there is such independent evidence, then we need to face the question of whether there is a need for explanation. [There may be a need for a meta-explanation of the system that accounts for there being many universes - but even such an explanation may reduce the evidence for design]. This approach is open to the god of the gaps objection. According to this way of thinking, it is a mistake to believe in God on the grounds that doing so will explain some particular fact about nature, because such reasoning is open to refutation the moment subsequent scientific development uncovers perfectly good natural explanations for the facts in question... However, this objection is faulty. It is true that further developments in cosmology may force us to rethink the argument from the fine-tuning, and indeed abandone it. But there is no reason to ignore it now. We must draw conclusions based on the evidence we have. All scientific reasoning works like that - it is by nature defeasible. That it is defeasible is no reason to ignore the conclusions as we now see them. The same may sometimes be true of reasons for God. If the reason is removed at a later time, then unless that was our only evidence for God, that is no reason to think God does not exist, and should, logically, be no reason to doubt.' (p. 193-194.)

Wednesday, July 12, 2006


British Academics and Dissent from Darwinism - The List Grows

I note with interrest from the latest update of the 'Scientific Dissent From Darwinism', organized by the Discovery Institute, that at least 20 of the now 610 (and rising) signatories are from scholars at, or hold degrees from, British Universities (or, in one instance, who work at the British Museum of Natural History). The Dissent reads: "We are skeptical of claims for the ability of random mutation and natural selection to account for the complexity of life. Careful examination of the evidence for Darwinian theory should be encouraged."

The 'British' contingent are:

Bernard d'Abera, Visiting Scholar, Department of Entomology - British Museum (Natural History)
Geoff Barnard, Senior Research Scientist, Department of Vetinary Medicine - University of Cambridge
Mark A. Chambers, PhD Virology - University of Cambridge
Malcolm D. Chisholm, PhD Insect Ecology (MA Zoology, Oxford University) - University of Bristol
I. Caroline Crocker, PhD Immunopharmacology - University of Southampton
Eshan Dias, PhD Chemical Engineering - King's College, Cambridge University
Alistair Donald, PhD Environmental Science - University of Wales
Martin Emery, PhD Chemistry - University of Southampton
Mike Forward, PhD Applied Mathematics (Chaos Theory) - Imperial College, University of London
Martin Krause, Research Scientist (Astronomy) - University of Cambridge
Alan Linton, Emeritus Professor of Bacteriology - University of Bristol
Andy McIntosh, Full Professor of Thermodynamics and Combustion Theory - University of Leeds
Stephen C. Meyer, PhD Philosophy of Science - Cambridge University
Alistair M. Noble, PhD Chemistry - University of Glasgow
Philip R. Page, PhD Theoretical Particle Physics - University of Oxford
Luke Randall, PhD Molecular Microbiology - University of London
Colin R. Reeves, Professor of Operational Research (PhD Evolutionary Algorithums) - Coventry University
Peter Silley, PhD Microbial Biochemistry - University of Newcastle upon Tyne
Mark Toleman, PhD Molecular Microbiology - Bristol University
John Worraker, PhD Applied Mathematics, University of Bristol

I'm unsure whether the scholars listed under 'Dartmouth Medical School' and 'Dartmouth College' refer to Dartmouth in Britian (if anyone knows - perhaps you can let me know). Of course, these scholars represent a minority report. Yes indeed. However: a) the minority report is growing - the scientific dissent list began with 100 signatures in 2001 and has grown by an average of c. 100 signatures per year since then. At this rate, the list will reach 1,000 signatures by 2010. In fact, the rate will probably increase - if you agree with the dissent and qualify to sign, who not sign up now? b) the list is as disproof to the claim that no scientists, or no well informed scientists, doubt Darwinism. c) the list also disproves the idea that scientific dissent from Darwinism is an exclusively 'American' phenomena:

'International scientists now represent just over 12% of all signers, and as a group has seen nearly 40% growth in the past four months... The list of 610 signatories includes member scientists from National Academies of Science in Russia, Czech Republic, Hungary, India (Hindustan), Nigeria, Poland, Russia and the United States. Many of the signers are professors or researchers at major universities and international research institutions such as Cambridge University, British Museum of Natural History, Moscow State University, Masaryk University in Czech Republic, Hong Kong University, University of Turku in Finland, Autonomous University of Guadalajara in Mexico, University of Stellenbosch in South Africa, Institut de Paléontologie Humaine in France, Chitose Institute of Science & Technology in Japan, Ben-Gurion University in Israel...' (

A handful of other notable signers:

Philip Skell, Emeritus Evan Pugh Prof. of Chemistry Pennsylvania State University, American National Academy of Sciences

Lyle H. Jensen, Professor Emeritus Dept. of Biological Structure & Dept. of Biochemistry University of Washington, Fellow AAAS

Lev Beloussov, Prof. of Embryology, Honorary Prof., Moscow State University, Russian Academy of Natural Sciences

Eugene Buff, Ph.D. Genetics, Institute of Developmental Biology, Russian Academy of Sciences

Emil Palecek, Prof. of Molecular Biology, Masaryk University; Leading Scientist Inst. of Biophysics, Academy of Sci., Czech Republic

Saturday, July 08, 2006


Resources for your viewing and listening pleasure

Every now and then I like to highlight some ID related resources to readers of this blog - if you've been visiting for a while some of these links will be familiar to you, but I've marked links I haven't advertised before in green:

Watch an amazing 35 min documentary about bacterial flagella research by scientists interested in nano-technology at Osaka University @

Watch the science documentary Unlocking The Mystery Of Life

Watch the science documentary The Privileged Planet

Watch the science documentary Icons of Evolution


The Debate between leading ID theorist Stephen C. Meyer and Astrobiologist Peter D. Ward hosted by the Seattle Times

Dr Steve Fuller (Pro-ID secular humanist) & Dr Jack Cohen discuss ID @

Peter S. Williams & Pete Hearty on Premier Christian Radio: Darwinism vs. ID

Video and Audio Lectures

William A. Dembski, ‘Order and Design: Philosophical Issues’ @

John Lennox, ‘God and Richard Dawkins’ @

Stephen C. Meyer, ‘Intelligent Design Theory’ @

Alvin Plantinga, ‘Evolutionary Arguments Against Naturalism’ @

Granville Sewell, ‘A Second Look at the Second Law - Video’ @

Discovery Institute Links to TV & Radio @

ARN Video Page @

There is a lot of relevant video material in the apologia project video library from the likes of Michael J. Behe, David Berlinski, Phillip E. Johnson, Dean Kenyon, Robert C. Koons, Scott Minnich, Robert C. Newman & Jonathan Wells @

Graphics (origins graphics) & (molecular machine museum)

Tuesday, July 04, 2006


ID Research Website

Just highlighting the addition to my Links of a new ID research project.

Also, I'm currently preparing for a debate on ID and theistic evolution to be held at Highfield Church Southampton on Thursday July 13th, starting at 7:30pm. I'll be debating Dr Keith Fox of Southampton University, and the event will be chaired by Dr Peter May of UCCF.

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