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  1.  157 DLs
    William Dembski (2006). In Defence of Intelligent Design. In Philip Clayton (ed.), The Oxford Handbook of Religion and Science. OUP Oxford 715-731.
    Accession Number: ATLA0001712271; Hosting Book Page Citation: p 715-731.; Physical Description: il ; Language(s): English; General Note: Bibliography: p 728-731.; Issued by ATLA: 20130825; Publication Type: Essay.
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  2.  146 DLs
    William Dembski, Intelligent Design and the Problem of Evil.
    Intelligent design—the idea that a designing intelligence plays a substantive and empirically significant role in the natural world—no longer sits easily in our intellectual environment. Science rejects it for invoking an unnecessary teleology. Philosophy rejects it for committing an argument from ignorance. And theology rejects it for, as Edward Oakes contends, making the task of theodicy impossible.1 I want in this lecture to address all these concerns but especially the last. For many thinkers, particularly religious believers, intelligent design exacerbates the (...)
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  3.  130 DLs
    William A. Dembski, Becoming a Disciplined Science: Prospects, Pitfalls, and Reality Check for ID.
    Recently I asked a well-known ID sympathizer what shape he thought the ID movement was in. I raised the question because, after some initial enthusiasm on his part three years ago, his interest seemed to have flagged. Here is what he wrote: An enormous amount of energy has been expended on "proving" that ID is bogus, "stealth creationism," "not science," and so on. Much of this, ironically, violates the spirit of science. The proof of the pudding is in the eating. (...)
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  4.  111 DLs
    William Dembski, Infinite Universe or Intelligent Design?
    To reach the conclusion that the universe is infinite, physicists (a) make some observations; (b) fit those observations to some mathematical model; (c) find that the neatest model that accommodates the data extrapolates to an infinite universe; (d) conclude that the universe is infinite. In my presentation I will examine the logic by which physicists reach this conclusion. Specifically, I will show that there is no way to empirically justify the move from (b) to (c). An infinite universe should therefore (...)
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  5.  108 DLs
    William Dembski, Intelligent Design is Not Optimal Design.
    I was recently on an NPR program with skeptic Michael Shermer and paleontologist Donald Prothero to discuss intelligent design. As the discussion unfolded, it became clear that they were using the phrase "intelligent design" in a way quite different from how the emerging intelligent design community is using it.
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  6.  103 DLs
    William Dembski, Gauging Intelligent Design's Success.
    Proponents of intelligent design have been remarkably successful, at least in the United States, in creating a cultural movement. They have also been remarkably successful at exasperating a scientific and intellectual world that dismisses intelligent design as the latest incarnation of creationism—more sophisticated than previous incarnations to be sure, but with many of the old faults. In this paper I want to focus on intelligent design’s merits as an intellectual project. I will show that the questions it raises are legitimate (...)
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  7.  100 DLs
    William Dembski, Evolution of Biological Information.
    National Cancer Institute, Frederick Cancer Research and Development Center, Laboratory of Experimental and Computational Biology, PO Box B, Frederick, MD 21702-1201, USA..
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  8.  95 DLs
    William Dembski, Intelligent Design.
    Intelligent design begins with a seemingly innocuous question: Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of an intelligent cause? To see what’s at stake, consider Mount Rushmore. The evidence for Mount Rushmore’s design is direct—eyewitnesses saw the sculptor Gutzon Borglum spend the better part of his life designing and building this structure. But what if there were no direct evidence for Mount Rushmore’s design? What if humans went extinct and (...)
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  9.  88 DLs
    William A. Dembski, Three Frequently Asked Questions About Intelligent Design.
    Intelligent design is the science that studies how to detect intelligence. Recall astronomer Carl Sagan’s novel Contact about the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (or SETI). Sagan based the SETI researchers’ methods of design detection on scientific practice. Real-life SETI researchers have thus far failed to detect designed signals from distant space. But if they encountered such a signal, as the astronomers in Sagan’s novel did, they too would infer design. Intelligent design research currently focuses on developing reliable methods of design (...)
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  10.  79 DLs
    William Dembski, Is Intelligent Design a Form of Natural Theology?
    There are good and bad reasons to be skeptical of intelligent design. Perhaps the best reason is that intelligent design has yet to establish itself as a thriving scientific research program. Thus far philosophical, theoretical, and foundational concerns have tended to predominate. From the vantage of design advocates, this simply reflects the earliness of the hour and the need to clear the decks before a shift of paradigms can take place. Give us more time, and we'll deliver on the program. (...)
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  11.  52 DLs
    William Dembski, Hume, Reid, and Signs of Intelligence.
    David Hume’s critique of intelligent design is vastly overrated. Nevertheless, his critique, especially at the hands of his contemporary disciples, has been highly effective at shutting down discussion about design. I want here to review Hume’s critique, indicate how modern disciples have updated it, and then describe the response to Hume by his contemporary Thomas Reid. That response in my view is decisive. Would that more philosophers studied it. Hume did not demolish design. Reid demolished Hume.
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  12.  40 DLs
    William Dembski, The Logical Underpinnings of Intelligent Design.
    For many natural scientists, design, conceived as the action of an intelligent agent, is not a fundamental creative force in nature. Rather, material mechanisms, characterized by chance and necessity and ruled by unbroken laws, are thought sufficient to do all nature’s creating. Darwin’s theory epitomizes this rejection of design.
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  13.  36 DLs
    William A. Dembski (1999). Are We Spiritual Machines? First Things 96:25-31.
    For two hundred years materialist philosophers have argued that man is some sort of machine. The claim began with French materialists of the Enlightenment such as Pierre Cabanis, Julien La Mettrie, and Baron d’Holbach (La Mettrie even wrote a book titled Man the Machine). Likewise contemporary materialists like Marvin Minsky, Daniel Dennett, and Patricia Churchland claim that the motions and modifications of matter are sufficient to account for all human experiences, even our interior and cognitive ones. Whereas the Enlightenment philosophes (...)
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  14.  29 DLs
    William A. Dembski (1991). Randomness by Design. Noûs 25 (1):75-106.
    “Anyone who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin.”1 John von Neumann’s famous dictum points an accusing finger at all who set their ordered minds to engender disorder. Much as in times past thieves, pimps, and actors carried on their profession with an uneasy conscience, so in this day scientists who devise random number generators suffer pangs of guilt. George Marsaglia, perhaps the preeminent worker in the field, quips when he asks his (...)
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  15.  27 DLs
    William Dembski, Why Joe Schmoe Doesn't Buy Evolution.
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  16.  26 DLs
    William Dembski, Challenging Materialism's "Chokehold" on Neuroscience.
    In the epilogue to The Mind and the Brain , we read: "Finally, after a generation or more in which biological materialism has had neuroscience -- indeed, all the life sciences -- in a chokehold, we may at last be breaking free.... Biological materialism did and does have real-world consequences. We feel its reach every time a pharmaceutical company tells us that, to cure shyness (or "social phobia"), we need only reach for a little pill.... Biological materialism is nothing if (...)
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  17.  25 DLs
    William A. Dembski, God's Use of Chance.
    In God, Chance and Purpose, statistician David Bartholomew chides Christians who cling to, in his words, a “naive orthodoxy.” Such Christians view God as exhibiting a set of perfections (especially omniscience and omnipotence) and as satisfying a set of propositions (a creed). Such a view is, according to Bartholomew, unworthy of God. In place of a “naive orthodoxy,” he therefore proposes a “critical orthodoxy.” At the center of his “critical orthodoxy” is the skeptical claim that “all knowledge is uncertain, in (...)
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  18.  24 DLs
    William Dembski, Can Functional Logic Take the Place of Intelligent Design? A Response to Walter Thorson.
    Walter Thorson's two articles on the legitimacy and scope of naturalism within science attempt to identify a mediating position between the reductive naturalism of thinkers like Richard Dawkins and the complete rejection of naturalism by thinkers like Phillip Johnson. Thorson rightly notes that the purely mechanistic approach to science characteristic of reductive naturalism is inadequate. Nonetheless, he argues that science still needs naturalism as a methodological or regulative principle. Thorson's methodological naturalism leaves room for teleology in nature, though a (...)
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  19.  23 DLs
    William Dembski, An Analysis of Homer Simpson and Stephen Jay Gould.
    Note: The Simpson's, television's popular prime-time cartoon known for its satirical commentary on various social issues, recently took a shot at the creation-evolution debate by featuring Stephen Jay Gould prominently in one of its episodes. Here is Bill Dembski's review and observations of that episode.
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  20.  22 DLs
    William Dembski, The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions About Intelligent Design.
    Mainstream modern science, with its analytical methods and its “objective” teachings, is the dominant force in modern culture. If science simply discovered and taught the truth about reality, who could object? But mainstream science does not simply “discover the truth”; instead it relies in part on a set of unscientific, false philosophical presuppositions as the basis for many of its conclusions. Thus, crucial aspects of what modern science teaches us are simply shabby philosophy dressed up in a white lab coat.
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  21.  21 DLs
    William Dembski, Irreducible Complexity Revisited.
    Michael Behe’s concept of irreducible complexity, and in particular his use of this concept to critique Darwinism, continues to come under heavy fire from the biological community. The problem with Behe, so Darwinists inform us, is that he has created a problem where there is no problem. Far from constituting an obstacle to the Darwinian mechanism of random variation and natural selection, irreducible complexity is thus supposed to be eminently explainable by this same mechanism. But is it really? It’s been (...)
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  22.  21 DLs
    William Dembski (2005). Specification: The Pattern That Signifies Intelligence. Philosophia Christi 7 (2):299-343.
    Specification denotes the type of pattern that highly improbable events must exhibit before one is entitled to attribute them to intelligence. This paper analyzes the concept of specification and shows how it applies to design detection (i.e., the detection of intelligence on the basis of circumstantial evidence). Always in the background throughout this discussion is the fundamental question of Intelligent Design (ID): Can objects, even if nothing is known about how they arose, exhibit features that reliably signal the action of (...)
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  23.  20 DLs
    William Dembski, What Can We Reasonably Hope For?
    In a memorable scene from the movie The Graduate , Dustin Hoffman’s parents throw him a party to celebrate his graduation from college. The parents’ friends are all there congratulating him and offering advice. What should Hoffman do with his life? One particularly solicitous guest is eager to set him straight. He takes Hoffman aside and utters a single word-- plastics!
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  24.  19 DLs
    William Dembski, The Pragmatic Nature of Mathematical Inquiry.
    In 1926 Hermann Weyl’s Philosophy of Mathematics and Natural Science appeared in Oldenbourg’s Handbuch der Philosophie. At the time Hilbert’s formalist program to “eradicate via proof theory all the foundational questions of mathematics” was in full swing. As a pupil of Hilbert, Weyl was looking to the complete and ultimate success of Hilbert’s program, a confidence evident in Weyl’s treatment of the foundations of mathematics in the original version of Philosophy of Mathematics and Natural Science. But in an appendix to (...)
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  25.  18 DLs
    William A. Dembski, Skepticism's Prospects for Unseating Intelligent Design.
    Talk delivered at CSICOP's Fourth World Skeptics Conference in Burbank, California, 21 June 2002, at a discussion titled "Evolution and Intelligent Design." The participants included ID proponents William Dembski and Paul Nelson as well as evolutionists Wesley Elsberry and Kenneth Miller. Massimo Pigliucci moderated the discussion.
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  26.  18 DLs
    William Dembski, Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher About Design.
    Professor Will Provine teaches a course for incoming freshman at Cornell University. In it, he contends that Darwin’s theory of evolution removes all rational basis for believing in the existence of a benevolent God, much less the God of Christianity. For Provine, “evolution is the greatest engine of atheism ever invented,” As evidence for this claim, he need look no further than the success of his course at producing new atheists.
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  27.  18 DLs
    William Dembski, Darwin's Predictable Defenders: A Response to Massimo Pigliucci by William A. Dembski.
    Some Darwinists keep their Darwinism close to the vest. Others wear it on their sleeves. Massimo Pigliucci has it tattooed on his forehead. Indeed, his "Darwin Day" celebrations at the University of Tennessee have become an annual orgy of self-congratulation before Darwin's idol.
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  28.  16 DLs
    William Dembski (2004). Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing. Isi Books.
    Motto: “The purpose of freedom is to create it for others,” Bernard Malamud, The Fixer Dedication: To the memory of Michael Polanyi, for freeing inquiry from ideology..
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  29.  16 DLs
    William Dembski, Unintelligent Evolution.
    According to evolutionist Francisco Ayala, Darwin’s greatest achievement was to show that the organized complexity of living things could be brought about without recourse to a designing intelligence. Given this view of Darwin’s achievement, what evolutionary biology has come to mean by “evolution” is an unintelligent or blind form of it. This was brought home to me two years ago at a debate in which I participated. I was invited, along with my colleague and friend Michael Behe, to debate Darwinists (...)
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  30.  15 DLs
    William Dembski, Evolutionary Logic.
    Since the neo-Darwinian synthesis of the 1930s, evolutionary biology has become a growth industry. This growth has resulted in the demand for more flexible methods of establishing evolutionary biology's grandiose claims than the laborious, difficult, pedantic, and "rigorous" methods favored throughout the rest of the sciences. This demand has been met by what is now a well-developed branch of evolutionary biology known as evolutionary logic.
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  31.  15 DLs
    William A. Dembski, Random Predicate Logic I: A Probabilistic Approach to Vagueness.
    Predicates are supposed to slice reality neatly in two halves, one for which the predicate holds, the other for which it fails. Yet far from being razors, predicates tend to be dull knives that mangle reality. If reality is a tomato and predicates are knives, then when these knives divide the tomato, plenty of mush remains unaccounted for. Of course some knives are sharper than others, just as some predicates are less vague than others. “x is water” is certainly sharper (...)
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  32.  15 DLs
    William Dembski, Does Evolution Even Have a Mechanism?
    Evolutionary biology teaches that all biological complexity is the result of material mechanisms. These include principally the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection and random variation, but also include other mechanisms (symbiosis, gene transfer, genetic drift, the action of regulatory genes in development, self-organizational processes, etc.). These mechanisms are just that: mindless material mechanisms that do what they do irrespective of intelligence. To be sure, mechanisms can be programmed by an intelligence. But any such intelligent programming of evolutionary mechanisms is not (...)
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  33.  15 DLs
    William Dembski, Commentary on Eugenie Scott and Glenn Branch's "Guest Viewpoint: 'Intelligent Design' Not Accepted by Most Scientists," 7/2/02. [REVIEW]
    The National School Boards Association enlisted Eugenie Scott and Glenn Branch to criticize intelligent design bullet point fashion. Here I want to respond to these bullet-point assertions. I would repeat the entire article, but copyright restrictions prevent me. The article is available at http://nsba.org/sbn/02-jul/070202-8.htm.
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  34.  15 DLs
    William A. Dembski, Elliott Sober's Independent Evidence Requirement for Design.
    In his paper "The Design Argument," Elliott Sober predicts that "human beings will eventually build organisms from nonliving materials."[1] In that case, we could obtain clear evidence that certain organisms resulted from intelligent design whereas earlier we might have thought they were due to a Darwinian process. I consider a similar possibility in chapter 6 of No Free Lunch.
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  35.  15 DLs
    William Dembski, Paul Gross's Dilemma: An Open Letter to the National Association of Scholars in Response to Paul Gross's Article on Intelligent Design in the Nas's September 2003 Issue of Science Insights.
    I have before me a letter dated January 5, 2000 from Bradford Wilson, the executive director of the NAS. It begins, “I really enjoyed your contribution to the recent symposium in the January issue of First Things, so much so that I’ve also decided to invite you to join the NAS. Many of your fellow contributors including Robert George, Jeffrey Satinover, and Father Neuhaus are among our current members, and I think you’d find it well worth your while if you (...)
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  36.  15 DLs
    William Dembski, Uniform Probability.
    This paper develops a general theory of uniform probability for compact metric spaces. Special cases of uniform probability include Lebesgue measure, the volume element on a Riemannian manifold, Haar measure, and various fractal measures (all suitably normalized). This paper first appeared fall of 1990 in the Journal of Theoretical Probability, vol. 3, no. 4, pp. 611—626. The key words by which this article was indexed were: ε-capacity, weak convergence, uniform probability, Hausdorff dimension, and capacity dimension.
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  37.  14 DLs
    William A. Dembski, Dealing with the Backlash Against Intelligent Design.
    Why is that? The stakes are now considerably higher. Darwinism: Science or Philosophy? is the proceedings of a symposium that took place at Southern Methodist University in the spring of 1992. The focus of that symposium was Phillip Johnson’s then recently published book Darwin on Trial. At the time, Johnson was a novelty -- a respected professor of criminal law at Cal Berkeley who was raising doubts about evolution. All harmless, good fun, no doubt. And Berkeley has an illustrious history (...)
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  38.  14 DLs
    William Dembski, If Only Darwinists Scrutinized Their Own Work as Closely: A Response to "Erik".
    An Internet persona known as "Erik" reviewed those aspects of my book No Free Lunch dealing with the Law of Conservation of Information and specificational resources. Erik's review is titled "On Dembski's Law of Conservation of Information" and is available at http://www.talkreason.org/articles/dembski_LCI.pdf. I respond to the review here.
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  39.  14 DLs
    William Dembski, Fitness Among Competitive Agents: A Brief Note.
    The upshot of the No Free Lunch theorems is that averaged over all fitness functions, evolutionary computation does no better than blind search (see Dembski 2002, ch 4 as well as Dembski 2005 for an overview). But this raises a question: How does evolutionary computation obtain its power since, clearly, it is capable of doing better than blind search? One approach is to limit the fitness functions (see Igel and Toussaint 2001). Another, illustrated in David Fogel’s work on automated checker (...)
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  40.  14 DLs
    William Dembski, Why President Bush Got It Right About Intelligent Design by William A. Dembski, August 4, 2005.
    Wisdom -- because he understands that ideas are best taught not by giving them a monopoly (which is how evolutionary theory is currently presented in all high school biology textbooks) but by being played off against well-supported competing ideas.
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  41.  14 DLs
    William Dembski, The Last Magic.
    If mathematics is about finding solutions to well-defined problems, then philosophy is about finding problems in what previously we thought were well-settled solutions. Mark Steiner's The Applicability of Mathematics As a Philosophical Problem mirrors both sides of this statement, admitting that mathematics is the key to solving problems in the physical sciences, but also asserting that this very applicability of mathematics to physics constitutes a problem.
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  42.  13 DLs
    William Albert Dembski (1996). The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance Through Small Probabilities. Dissertation, University of Illinois at Chicago
    Shoot an arrow at a wall, and then paint a target around it so that the arrow sticks squarely in the bull's eye. Alternatively, paint a fixed target on a wall, and then shoot an arrow so that it sticks squarely in the bull's eye. How do these situations differ? In both instances the precise place where the arrow lands is highly improbable. Yet in the one, one can do no better than attribute the arrow's landing to chance, whereas in (...)
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  43.  13 DLs
    William A. Dembski (2002). No Free Lunch Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased Without Intelligence.
    Darwin's greatest accomplishment was to show how life might be explained as the result of natural selection. But does Darwin's theory mean that life was unintended? William A. Dembski argues that it does not. In this book Dembski extends his theory of intelligent design. Building on his earlier work in The Design Inference (Cambridge, 1998), he defends that life must be the product of intelligent design. Critics of Dembski's work have argued that evolutionary algorithms show that life can be explained (...)
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  44.  13 DLs
    William Dembski, A Primer on Probability for Design Inferences.
    Probabilities are numbers between 0 and 1 that attach to events. Events always occur with respect to a reference class of possibilities. Consider a die with faces 1 through 6. The reference class of possibilities in this case can be represented by the set {1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6}. Any subset of this reference class then represents an event. For instance, the event Eodd, i.e., “an odd number was tossed,” corresponds to {1, 3, 5}. Such an event is said (...)
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  45.  13 DLs
    William Dembski, If Not Natural Selection?
    According to Darwinism, biological evolution proceeds without discernible plan or purpose. To be sure, biological evolution produces things that look planned or purposed. But what underlies Darwinian evolution ultimately is a blind mechanical process -- the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection.
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  46.  12 DLs
    William Dembski, The Primacy of the First Person: Reply to Ray Kurzweil.
    Are We Spiritual Machines? as well as Ray Kurzweil for his response to my essay in that book and his willingness to take part in this discussion. My essay in that book was titled "Kurzweil's Impoverished Spirituality" and was essentially a stripped down version of a piece I had done for..
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  47.  12 DLs
    William Dembski, Does the Design Argument Show There is a God? William A. Dembski.
    Suppose you take a tour of the Louvre, that great museum in Paris housing one of the finest art collections in the world. As you walk through the museum, you come across a painting by someone named Leonardo da Vinci -- the Mona Lisa . Suppose this is your first exposure to da Vinci -- you hadn't heard of him or seen the Mona Lisa before. What could you conclude? Certainly you could conclude that da Vinci was a consummate (...)
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  48.  12 DLs
    William Dembski, Evolution as Alchemy.
    In its heyday alchemy was a comprehensive theory of transmutation describing not only transformations of base into precious metals but also transformations of the soul up and down the great chain of being. Alchemy was not just a physics but also a metaphysics. Alchemy as metaphysics attracts interest to this day, as in Carl Jung's writings about the soul and personal identity. As he noted, "The alchemists sought for that effect which would heal not only the disharmonies of the physical (...)
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  49.  11 DLs
    William Dembski, Design by Elimination Vs. Design by Comparison.
    Behind this question are two fundamentally different approaches about how to reason with chance hypotheses. One approach, due to Ronald Fisher, rejects a chance hypothesis provided sample data appear in a prespecified rejection region. The other, due to Thomas Bayes, rejects a chance hypothesis provided an alternative hypothesis confers a bigger probability on the data in question than the original hypothesis. In the Fisherian approach, chance hypotheses are rejected in isolation for rendering data too improbable. In the Bayesian approach, chance (...)
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  50.  11 DLs
    William Dembski, Intelligent Design's Contribution to the Debate Over Evolution: A Reply to Henry Morris.
    In the spring of 1992, I had lunch with Michael Ruse during a symposium at Southern Methodist University. The symposium addressed Phillip Johnson's then recently published book, Darwin on Trial . Johnson and Ruse were the keynote speakers, with Johnson defending his critique of evolution, Ruse challenging it. My role, and that of several other speakers, including Michael Behe, Stephen Meyer, Fred Grinnell, and Arthur Shapiro, was to contribute to the primary discussion between Johnson and Ruse. (The symposium proceedings, under (...)
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