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The slogan, "Teach the controversy," has simple appeal in a democracy. Behind the headlines, however, intelligent design as a field of inquiry is failing to gain the traction its supporters had hoped for. It has gained little support among the academics who should have been its natural allies. And if the intelligent design proponents lose the case in Dover, there could be serious consequences for the movement's credibility. On college campuses, the movement's theorists are academic pariahs, publicly denounced by their own colleagues.

Design proponents have published few papers in peer-reviewed scientific journals. The Templeton Foundation, a major supporter of projects seeking to reconcile science and religion, says that after providing a few grants for conferences and courses to debate intelligent design, they asked proponents to submit proposals for actual research. Harper Jr. While intelligent design has hit obstacles among scientists, it has also failed to find a warm embrace at many evangelical Christian colleges.

Even at conservative schools, scholars and theologians who were initially excited about intelligent design say they have come to find its arguments unconvincing. They, too, have been greatly swayed by the scientists at their own institutions and elsewhere who have examined intelligent design and found it insufficiently substantiated in comparison to evolution.

At Wheaton College, a prominent evangelical university in Illinois, intelligent design surfaces in the curriculum only as part of an interdisciplinary elective on the origins of life, in which students study evolution and competing theories from theological, scientific and historical perspectives, according to a college spokesperson. The only university where intelligent design has gained a major institutional foothold is a seminary. Dembski, a leading proponent of intelligent design, after he left Baylor, a Baptist university in Texas, amid protests by faculty members opposed to teaching it.


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  • The Science Behind Intelligent Design Theory;

Intelligent design and Mr. Dembski, a philosopher and mathematician, should have been a good fit for Baylor, which says its mission is "advancing the frontiers of knowledge while cultivating a Christian world view.

The Science Behind Intelligent Design Theory

Derek Davis, director of the J. I'm a religious person. And my basic perspective is intelligent design doesn't belong in science class. Davis noted that the advocates of intelligent design claim they are not talking about God or religion. Davis said. It's a religious worldview that's being advanced.

Intelligent design

John G. Critics of intelligent design have argued that although we may observe through experience that various structures are always made by intelligence, we can still argue that they were constructed by natural processes. A typical example given is the "arch" where in our experience humans make arches, but arches, such as the one found in Arches National Park , can be explained naturally.


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The problem here is that we have experience that some arches can be made by humans, and experience that some arches can be made through natural processes--exactly as witnessed by this one made in Arches National Park. A quick experiment with sand and water at the beach can vaguely reproduce what happened at Arches National Park, empirically verifying that natural processes can create arches. But this is no surprise. Natural arches themselves contain small amounts of information. In our experience we have no instances of specified complex information created through natural processes alone.

Thus, as seen in Figure 1, intelligent design theory makes a testable prediction from observations from the natural world: that specified complex information will be found. As seen in Figure 2, intelligent action can potentially produce just about any level of information content. However, as Dembski argues in his "No Free Lunch" and "The Design Inference", there is an upper limit to the sorts of information content which can be produced by natural processes represented by Curve C. Where we see high [Dembski would add "specified"] information content, we know that natural processes were not involved, and that intelligent design alone can be responsible.

Thus, we can infer design. When low information content is involved, it could have been designed, but the from our understanding of what natural processes can do, probability shifts towards the information having been produced by natural processes. Figure 2. Point A represents something probably made by natural processes.

Point B represents something made by intelligent design. Curve C represents the upper limit to what natural processes can produce. Inferences made from both points A and B are based upon probabilities. As Dembski says describing the processes by which we explain things, "the [explanatory] filter asks three questions in the following order: 1 Does a law explain it? If law or chance can explain low complexity, then perhaps we might accept a chance-law based explanation might be most appropriate for the origins of low information content. However, if only design can explain high information content, then we are justified in inferring design Figure 3 below.

Information is a very real entity which may or may not be created by a conscious intelligent being. Design theorist William Dembski says, "No one disputes that there is such a thing as information. As Keith Devlin , p. Huge amounts of money change hands in exchange for information.

People talk about it all the time. Lives are lost in its pursuit.

Vast commercial empires are created in order to manufacture equipment to handle it. In other words, information is the narrowing down of what you're talking about. He quotes from Fred Dretske saying: "Information theory identifies the amount of information associated with, or generated by, the occurrence of an event or the realization of a state of affairs with the reduction in uncertainty, the elimination of possibilities, represented by that event or state of affairs. To learn something, to acquire information, is to rule out possibilities.

To understand the information conveyed in a communication is to know what possibilities would be excluded by its truth" 2 Complexities of information are given by assigning probabilities to the excluded scenarios. When our observed scenario has a low probability and excluded scenarios have a high probability, we have information of high complexity.

Through a mathematical transformation involving logarithms, probabilities of scenarios can be converted into units of information, measured in bits. DNA as a genetic molecule contains information because it tells you what to produce--to produce one entity rather than to produce other entities.

This means it has information. Now perhaps a DNA molecule on its own without the machinery to produce the proteins wouldn't have nearly as much information.

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So when I speak of DNA, in this context I mean the entire machinery for using the genetic code to create biological structures. Functions are biological features which do things for the organism. The purpose of intelligent design theory is to look at various functions and ask if they bear the marks of something which has been designed by an intelligence. So, in other words, when we see in the biological structure-producing DNA machinery the ability to create some structures, and not others, which perform some specific action and not some other specific action, we can legitimately say that we have complex genetic information.

When we specify this information as necessary for some function given a pre-existing pattern, then we can say it was designed. This is called "complex specified information" or "CSI". However, because the intelligent design took place in the past, intelligent design theorists can only detect the design in the biological realm after it has happened.