In the overwhelming ocean of information available online, I still find the best way to stay afloat is with a book. For the surprising issue of Intelligent Design, I’ve decided to focus on one particular book by a proponent of the form of Intelligent Design that I find most worthy of scrutiny, William A. Dembski: The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions about Intelligent Design.
The fundamental claim is this:
There are natural systems that cannot be adequately explained in terms of undirected natural forces and that exhibit features which in any other circumstance we would attribute to intelligence. (p. 27)
Put in the most succinct way possible, if true this would represent as great a challenge to institutional science as Darwin did to traditional religion.
The question, then, is whether or not there are natural systems that cannot be explained in such terms. Or, as Dembski writes, whether the formula “time plus chance plus matter entails life” is truly tenable.
While I’ll engage this work with as an open mind as possible, my position at the outset is that though Theosophy would agree that natural forces are directed, such direction may not be detectable by “probability theory, computer science, molecular biology, the philosophy of science and the concept of information”, the combination of which Dembski believes will justify an intelligent designer. Rather, Theosophy states that natural forces are subject to natural law, but that higher forces working on higher planes are the ultimate source of such law and that access to such planes is a spiritual act inseparable from personal development.
But first, let’s look at a key concept in Dembski’s work: specified complexity. (more…)
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In my last blog post I raised the question of the relationship between Theosophy and Intelligent Design.
My first college level philosophy class was a philosophy of biology class intended for post-grad science students. At that time, Creationism was vying for equal time in the classroom with Darwinism and the contrast between the two was so obvious as to make the former’s claim to ‘science’ laughable. The situation made a convenient, if charged, test case for defining the parameters of science. Creationism’s science was actually natural theology, or the study of god’s work in the natural world, with the Judeo-Christian God of revealed scripture as an unquestioned premise.
Intelligent Design, or ID, emerged into public consciousness several years later, initially as an attempt to replace the term ‘creationism’, which the Supreme Court declared in 1987 could not be taught as science in public schools. It was simply a substitute term, not a substantive difference in theory.
As such, when I raised the question of ID, I was fully prepared to find creationism with a mere patina of psuedo-scientific jargon. What I have found instead makes explicit claims of difference from creationism and aspires to nothing short of a scientific revolution.
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