Philosopher Peter S Williams rebuts Denis Alexander's flawed critique of Intelligent Design Theory.
In 2005, Terence Copley author wrote: ‘Our concern … is whether a secular indoctrination process is at work in British and European society, programming people against religious belief and, if so, whether education is an accomplice in this.’
Darwin wrote: “To the question why we do not find rich fossiliferous deposits belonging to these assumed earliest periods prior to the Cambrian system, I can give no satisfactory answer.”
The evolutionary dictum that macroevolution is just accumulated microevolution is advocated for essentially ideological rather than empirical reasons.
Evolution is based on the natural selection of individuals with favourable variations. But are there limits to the variations that can be produced?
What is the human mind and its unique consciousness? How have philosophers viewed the mind and its relationship to the body over the past centuries? Are we just physical matter, or is there more to us?
Defining consciousness is not easy. Why is this, and what does it say about us as persons? What are the unique qualities of consciousness? Do we have free-will and if so, does this imply some form of non-physical soul?
Although Intelligent Design (ID) does depend on any religious authority, it clearly has philosophical and religious implications. It does not specify who the Designer is, but does provide support for a theistic view of the universe.
'Recent discoveries about the primeval cosmos oblige us to accept that the expanding universe has been set up in its motion with a cooperation of astonishing precision' - Prof CW Davies
Modern biology has revealed a cellular world as complex as a galaxy of stars or a modern mega-city. The complexity and variety of the living cell is actually one of the best kept secrets of the modern world.
It's not only that biological macromolecules are prima facie very improbable sequences of nucleotides or amino acids, there are strong reasons why they could not have started off as short sequences.
The origin of the digitally-coded genetic information within the DNA molecule provides both the enduring mystery of modern biology and the most compelling argument for design in nature.
It is now clear that the digital information in DNA and RNA is only part of a complex information processing system - an advanced form of nanotechnology that both mirrors and exceeds our own in its complexity, design
Natural selection has been given an almost sacred position in our understanding of how life came about. How does it really work, and does it have the power to bring about the rich complexity we see in biology?
Language and speech mark us out from other creatures. New research shows us some of the anatomical and neural differences between us and other primates for having language. Can such specified complexity arise naturally over a very short time?
Although ID does not completely dismiss evolutionary processes, it challenges the basic Darwinism assumption that life is the result of blind and undirected forces.
Dr Antony Latham reviews Stephen Hawking’s book ‘The Grand Design’ which, curiously, seems to imply that there is no design in the universe!
Why is there something rather than nothing? How does the assertion by cosmologists that the universe began from ‘nothing’ affect our understanding of what or who caused the universe in the first place?
Intelligent Design (ID) is certainly scientifically credible, but where does it lead? This article explores some philosophical and practical implications.
In the DVD Expelled, Richard Dawkins accepts the possibility that molecular biology might contain evidence of ‘a higher intelligence’ – ‘a signature of some sort of designer’ !
The critical question for Darwinism is whether random mutations and natural selection can build the complex structures of life. By examining the mutations required for antibiotic resistance in malaria he shows it doesn't come remotely close.
In a climate of growing skepticism about the scientific credibility of contemporary Darwinism, this article by Prof Phillip Johnson is particularly relevant. He argues that materialist dogma, not scientific evidence, drives Darwinism.
In Part 2 of his series on The Design Inference, Peter S Williams finds support for the design argument in the writings of the three prominent atheists, Pigliucci, Dawkins and Sagan.
Intelligent design theory claims that 1) empirical evidence warrants 2) a scientific design inference using 3) reliable design detection criteria. This paper defends the second of these claims by reviewing recent works by several agnostics and atheists.
This article argues that the view promulgated by atheists that Darwinism provides a complete account of the origin of life in the universe and excludes design is based on an unwarranted assumption derived from metaphysical naturalism.
We know instinctively when an object is designed. However, there are objective criteria for design which can also be applied to the natural world.
The treatment of Intelligent Design by academics and entertainers alike bears little resemblance to the coherent position taken by its advocates. Philosophical aversion to the possibility of an intelligent agent behind nature is the problem.
This response to the Scottish Parliament was in response to a petition by the Scottish Secular Society which sought to outlaw the mention of Intelligent Design in school science education.
'Peer review' is the ultimate appeal for scientific accuracy, and in the case of Intelligent Design, it rejects it utterly. But is peer review the touchstone of scientific truth? There are good reasons to doubt it.
An astonishing review by AN Wilson in the Spectator magazine in November 2016 endorses a recent book by Michael Denton on evolution, and argues that it 'destroys the Darwinian position'.
Intelligent Design does not rule out some aspects of evolution, but the existence of design in Nature fundamentally contradicts the Darwinian view.
The British public is stubbornly skeptical about evolution but the educational establishment is determined to have it taught in schools as a protected theory to which no criticism is allowed. But they can't ignore the evidence for design for ever.
It is theoretically possible that some form gradual evolution could be part of the design of the universe but the evidence for that is scant and this would no longer be the accepted Darwinian view of origins, but something quite different.
Despite the growing tide of doubt among some scientists about the scientific credibility of traditional Darwinism, it has now achieved the status of unassailable truth and the protection of the Department of Education. This is not science.
Accepting the consensus view of the age of the earth has become a touchstone for scientific respectability. ID does not dissent from the accepted view and focuses rather on the evidence for design.
ID is frequently and erroneously portrayed as a religious position. However, it is based on the scientific principles of design detection and inference to the best explanation.
In most areas of human enquiry, including science, a consensus develops. But is the consensus always correct? There are some spectacular examples of how it was not only wrong but dangerous..
The commonest criticism of Intelligent Design (ID) is that it is just ‘creationism in a cheap tuxedo’. So what is the connection between the two?
It is strange that in our age the ‘scientific consensus’ about origins has attained almost the status of the Holy Grail and is to be regarded as beyond question.
If there are really objective moral values which do not depend on culture or opinion, then we have to ask how such values came to be. This article explores the arguments for and against objective morality and at the implications of objective morality.
In a lecture to the Glasgow Skeptics in 2011 Eugenie Scott, Executive Director of the American National Centre for Science Education, claims that there is no contrary evidence about evolution and the public is being misled. Alastair Noble begs to differ.
The glib dismissal of Intelligent Design as merely ‘Biblical Creationism’ is a convenient way for its ill-informed opponents to avoid engaging with the convincing arguments for design in Nature.
Why should leading scientists demand that Intelligent Design be banned from discussion in schools as a scientific proposition? Are they replacing scientific method with materialistic propaganda?
Government guidance to schools which bans the discussion of Intelligent Design in school science is tantamount to indoctrination in scientism.
In a remarkable book – Mind and Cosmos - published by OUP in 2012, Thomas Nagel argues that the inability of Darwinism to offer any credible explanation for conscious mind renders it ‘almost certainly false’.
The BBC's reputation for balance and objectivity was not well served by its treatment of Creationism and Intelligent Design in Radio 4’s Inside Science item for Darwin Day on February 12th 2015. What is the problem?
An introduction to some of the proponents of the Design Argument and the arguments they use.
The fact that the vertebrae of different classes of vertebrate form embryologically in substantially different ways shows that they do not share a common ancestor.
The manner in which the eye gathers information is, according to some and at a first glance, a poor way to gather light because of the intervening layers of the eye's structure. This is used repeatedly to attack any idea of an intelligent designer.
This series of articles by Peter Williams on The Design Inference from Specified Complexity was originally published as a single paper. It appears here, for reasons of accessibility, in 3 parts. The Introduction and Conclusions appear in Part 1.
In this article the author explores the contrasting arguments for actual or apparent design in the universe, focusing particularly on the differing positions taken by Richard Dawkins and William Dembski.
Intelligent Design is a completely intuitive idea which is derived from current scientific data about the origin of the universe and of life. It is strange that it gets such a bad press as it is the position which gave us modern science!
Where did the digital information in the cell come from? And how did the cell’s complex information processing system arise? Today, these questions lie at the heart of origin-of-life research.
To avoid the design implications of the 'cosmic fine tuning' of our universe, materialistic science postulates the existence of a multiverse. It is not clear though how postulating billions of universes solves the problem of where this one came from!
From aspects of cosmology, cell biology and neuroscience Prof David Galloway argues that design in Nature is not just apparent but real. He concludes that the sense of purpose we feel in life is genuine and is related to that design.
While Crick and Watson solved the mystery of the chemical structure of DNA in 1953, they uncovered another major puzzle - what is the origin of its genetic information? The answer to that question has profound implications.
There are many ways in which philosophy contributes to the debate about origins of life and the universe. Like it or not, you will be taking a particular philosophical view about this subject – perhaps unconsciously.
In Part 3 of his series of articles on the Design Inference, Peter Williams finds further support for the design argument in the writings of the four theists, Ward, Humphreys, Alexander and Mitchell.
Humanists' concerns about 'creeping creationism' in Scottish schools at the Edinburgh Science Festival proved to be the dampest of damp squibs and demonstrated a galloping intolerance to challenges to their philosophical adherence to naturalism in science
You think computers are complicated? Have a think about your brain!
ID is frequently dismissed because it is not consistent with the scientific consensus. But is that consensus always correct? This article gives some disturbing examples of where the scientific consensus got it badly wrong.
The Centre for Intelligent Design’s Conference at Malvern in 2012 brought scientist Douglas Axe and mathematician John Lennox together in a stimulating exposition of the design argument and a devastative critique of Darwinism.
The detection of Intelligent Design in the universe and in life is based on purely scientific evidence. But its implications touch philosophy and theology and are far-reaching.
A recent book by Prof James Shapiro of the University of Chicago raises serious doubts about the credibility of Darwinian processes.
Compound eyes appear very suddenly in the fossil record and are hugely complex and sophisticated organs. Modern digital cameras are being made by copying the same design. What does this say about design in nature?
The superior oblique muscle of the eye is superbly arranged in a way that is coordinated with the other eye muscles and the nervous system. How was it formed?
The folding of proteins into the precise 3-dimensional configuration they require is hugely complex and requires a system of other proteins called chaperones. Can such a system evolve by natural selection?
The conditions and physical laws at the very beginning of the universe were exquisitely critical for formation of galaxies, stars and planets such as ours. How do we account for such ‘fine tuning’?
“What makes the origin of life and the genetic code a disturbing riddle is this: the code cannot be translated except by using certain products of its translation” (Karl Popper)
The usual demarcation between micro- and macroevolution is at the level of species. However there are substantial drawbacks to this usage.
While Crick and Watson solved the mystery of the chemical structure of DNA in 1953, they uncovered another and, arguably, a greater puzzle– the origin of genetic information. This puzzle is only solved if we see DNA as the product of intelligent mind.
When Prof Stephen Hawking asserts that life arose spontaneously on Earth, it sounds convincing until you uncover the philosophical assumptions which underpin his position. Then you discover you are not dealing with science but assertion.
Is Earth the only planet with life? Do we have evidence of life elsewhere in the universe? What does all this say about the origin and purpose of life?
Far from being the simple blob of protoplasm that Darwin envisaged, we now know that each living cell is an unbelievably complex structure with an organisation as complicated as that of a large city.
ID is an idea that is not going to go away and was, in fact, the position which gave us Western science in the first place. The pioneers of modern science believed the universe was rational and designed by a supreme intelligence.
It is frequently claimed that ID is not really science and that it is derived from religious ideas. But the strength of the Intelligent Design (ID) argument is that is entirely based on scientific observations.
Homology is frequently cited as evidence for evolution. But there are significant examples where apparent homologies have proved not to be. This is clear evidence against common ancestry.
Why is there such a fuss about mentioning 'creationism' in schools. Why do some think it is illegal? And why is it always confused with Intelligent Design?
Had Darwin doubts about his theory of evolution? He had real misgivings about missing fossils and subsequent research has confirmed his doubts.
The astonishing position we have reached in education is that scientism, not science, is being taught in our schools. In the area of origins this means that any explanation which implies an intelligent agent beyond Nature is not permitted.
This article argues that although Darwin changed the terms of debate about design in Nature, his theory fails to discredit it.
It is easier to detect design than to describe how we recognise it! But we should be clear that design is not just a subjective decision. It has objective, scientific criteria which distinguish it from the random or merely repetitive.
In this two minute video clip Mike Behe explains the current postion regarding Darwin's theory of natural selection.