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  Topic: Leiter, Beckwith, & van Dyke, Review of book review makes waves< Next Oldest | Next Newest >  
Wesley R. Elsberry

Posts: 4966
Joined: May 2002

(Permalink) Posted: Mar. 19 2004,15:13   

Brian Leiter reviews a book review:

Harvard Law Review Embarrasses Itself

This received some attention in the blogosphere:

Remind me...

The discussion prompted me to post the following:

Greg berates Leiter for not taking account of William Dembski's contributions and a few citations. Leiter's comments, though, exclude Dembski, since Leiter was discussing scientists, and Dembski is not in that class of people.

Dembski's ideas have been tried and found wanting. Greg is invited to peruse for a long examination of the arguments made by Dembski.

The citations Greg lists likewise show no glimmer of a positive scientific program for "intelligent design". At most, they do something toward criticism of current evolutionary biology. The paper which Greg says cites Behe and Dembski favorably simply includes them in lists of citations documenting that opinions differ.

Greg could try to argue that I'm "uninformed" or "unread" on the topic of "intelligent design". Greg would be wrong, but he could try.

"Intelligent design" is subset creationism. It's the same old hoary chestnuts long used past their sell-by dates by young-earth creationists, stripped of explicit references to God and the bible. (Leiter's remark about lawyers and PR agents was right on the mark, IMO.) Behe's "irreducible complexity" is the "what good is half a wing?" argument updated to "what good is half a flagellum?" Dembski's "specified complexity" is the "evolution is too improbable" argument with extra mathematical notation and propositional logic. Both are strictly negative arguments against the sufficiency of evolutionary theory to account for all the phenomena of life's history and diversity. Saying that someone else is wrong doesn't mean that one thereby has a theory.

"You can't teach an old dogma new tricks." - Dorothy Parker

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