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The Design of Life

The long-awaited and much-hyped update of Of Pandas and People is finally out. From UD.

The Foundation for Thought and Ethics has just published The Design of Life. This definitive book on intelligent design (ID) comes as a shot across the bow to dogmatic defenders of Darwinian orthodoxy. Written by two key ID theorists, mathematician William Dembski and biologist Jonathan Wells, it presents the full case for intelligent design to a general audience.

“A shot across the bow”? That’s quite a claim for a hypothesis that has failed as badly as intelligent design. I suppose I should acknowledge a key phrase there: dogmatic defenders of Darwinian orthodoxy. They’re challenging Huxley, aren’t they? (It’s always fun to throw down the gauntlet to someone who’s been dead 112 years.) Not the neo-Darwinists, not the non-dogmatic defenders…just people who “dogmatically defend” the 150-year-old predecessor of modern evolutionary biology. Are they planning to show that Darwin was wrong on the mechanism of inheritance? (That would be up there with MikeGene’s discovery of pleiotropy.) But no, I wouldn’t expect anything that sensible from that pair of clowns. Dembski and Wells? Mr. Show-me-every-single-step-or-I-won’t-believe-it and Mr. HIV-denial. Hilarious.

The press release continues

Critics, in dismissing The Design of Life, contend that intelligent design has collapsed in the wake of the 2005 Dover trial. Author William Dembski responded, “Those same people have been announcing intelligent design’s demise every year since 1990. Strangle it as they might, intelligent design just won’t die. The Design of Life shows why the better arguments and stronger evidence are now on the intelligent design side.”

“[T]he better arguments and stronger evidence are on the intelligent design side”? Then why keep them from us? I spent a whole evening listening to your presentation and you delivered nothing but the same old crap. So were you saying up “the better arguments and stronger evidence” for the book? It’s so unkind of you to keep all these “arguments and…evidence” under wraps.

According to FTE president Jon Buell, The Design of Life is not intended for high school students; it is aimed rather at college/university students and adults who want a clearer understanding of why a growing number of scientists doubt Darwin.

I see…so, post-Kitzmiller the tactics have changed. Makes sense. The Kitzmiller trial revealed the missing link between “creation scientists” and “design proponents” (“cdesign proponentsists”), revealing the creationist roots of ID. But there’s always the college market. Bob Jones University, Regent University, Liberty University…lots of places that are free to teach crap instead of science. Presumably that’s the market, though at $35 a copy it falls in a price gap between exorbitantly priced textbooks ($70-150) and books people actually buy to read (I don’t think hardcovers have crossed the $30 threshold yet).

“FTE enlisted William Dembski and Jonathan Wells because the public needs a book that compares the argument for design, point by point, with the argument for no-design,” noted Buell.

Argument for no-design? Oh, like the Snoke and Behe paper, which uses a non-selectionist model, and then tries to use it to conclude that selection is too weak? Or Dembski and Marks, who used an incorrectly-initialised run of Tom Schneider’s “ev” evolutionary computation program. Talk about attacking a straw man. Argument for no-design? And here I was thinking they were attacking “Darwinian” evolution.

The book covers the origin of life, origin of species, and origin of consciousness, as well as other controversial areas. “We now know so much more than Darwin did” said author Jonathan Wells, who also wrote The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design (Regnery 2006). “Instead of just papering over more cracks, it’s time to take a fresh look. The Design of Life did,” said author Jonathan Wells, who also wrote shows why it is no longer possible to be an intellectually fulfilled Darwinist.”

Let’s see…Jonathan Wells. First he wrote Icons of Evolution. When that was shown to be totally flawed, he re-packaged it in PIGDIG, which was described as being “not only politically incorrect but incorrect in most other ways as well: scientifically, logically, historically, legally, academically, and morally.”. Will he get it right on his third try? Or does he just re-package the same old crap?

Things get even funnier when you go across to the book’s website. There’s a page titled “The Buzz”. Ahh, you think, buzz about the book. Let’s see what people say about it. There are nine quotes on the page. The first one is from Publisher’s Weekly; since it doesn’t say otherwise, I’ll assume it’s about the book. The next three quotes are about The Design Inference. Then two about No Free Lunch. The next two are simply about Wells, including the very enlightening: “Wells is a leading figure in the intelligent design (ID) movement.” That’s buzz? Well, I suppose in the sense of “annoying noise in the background”. Finally there’s this quote from the IDEA website: “William Dembski is perhaps the foremost researcher into intelligent design theory. His work turns intelligent design into a practical rather than purely theoretical theory”. Let’s see – an assault not only on facts, but also on English.

Looks like there’s nothing to see here.

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4 Responses

  1. Aw, come on, spoil the surprise…tell us what the book says the Theory of Intelligent Design is, what it predicts, and how it leads to new knowledge.

    Author William Dembski responded, “Those same people have been announcing intelligent design’s demise every year since 1990.

    Actually, I think ID was stillborn.

  2. “Actually, I think ID was stillborn.”

    ha! Neat.

  3. Have you actually read the book?

    A prescribed Darwinist with an agenda like yourself doesn’t have to answer that, we already know the answer.

  4. Nope, I haven’t seen a copy yet. Been looking in the bookstores. I’d be deeply shocked if it wasn’t the same dishonest crap they’ve been pouring out for years, but it’s true, you never know. I’m sure it will be good for a few more laughs.

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