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Welcome to ARN-Announce
by Dennis Wagner

Number Thirty-Five, January 28, 2004

ARN-Announce is the on-line announcement and information service of Access Research Network. ARN generates announcements to the current ARN Announce list as information becomes available. You have received this message because your email address was submitted to this list. Subscription and Unsubscription information is at the end of this message.

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IN THIS ARN-ANNOUNCE:

  • New Book: A Mathematical Mystery Tour: Discovering the Truth and Beauty of the Cosmos
    Why is mathematics so amazingly successful in describing the structure of physical reality? Is mathematics created or discovered? Join A.K. Dewdney in his quest to answer these questions and to discover the truth and beauty of the cosmos through mathematics.
  • New Book: The Design Revolution by William Dembski.
    Dembski lines up 60 of the toughest questions and objections amassed against Intelligent Design and mows them down one-by-one in a succinct, readable style.
  • Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher about Design
    Several years ago Jonathan Wells offered up Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher about Evolution. Now Bill Dembski adds to that Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher about Design.
  • New Book: Darwinism, Design and Public Education. John Angus Campbell, Stephen C. Meyer, editors
    The “Teach the Controversy” motto of the ID movement has been taken to the next level with this peer-reviewed collection of articles published by Michigan State University Press.
  • New Video Documentary for the Classroom: Where Does the Evidence Lead?
    Unlocking the Mystery of Life is a stunning video that has been one of our best sellers and has been appearing on local PBS programming. Now a 6-part Educational version of this video is available that is designed to be used in the classroom.
  • New ARN Featured Author: Peter S. Williams
    ARN welcomes English philosopher Peter S. Williams to the Featured Author section of our website. Some of his favorite topics to contemplate include Darwin, Richard Dawkins, and The Matrix.

A Mathematical Mystery Tour
Discovering the Truth and Beauty of the Cosmos

A.K. Dewdney
1999 (hardback edition), John Wiley & Sons, 218 pp.

When I was an engineering student in college there was a course offered for non-science majors entitled “Mathematics Without Tears.” I always envied the guys in that class imagining them sitting around discussing the beauty and philosophical implications of mathematics without having to spend hours a week doing math homework sets. A.K. Dewdney’s recent book A Mathematical Mystery Tour: Discovering the Truth and Beauty of the Cosmos now provides that opportunity for those of who weren’t able to take that course in college.

I’m also constantly searching for books from various disciplines that approach the topic of Intelligent Design from a different angle. In Tour, Dewdney undertakes to answer two questions. First, why is mathematics so amazingly successful in describing the structure of physical reality, and second, is mathematics discovered or is it created? I believe both of these questions would meet Phillip Johnson’s criteria for “asking the right question.”

Dewdney is on a quest to understand the true nature of math. To fulfill his quest, he employs what he describes as "a fictional narrative," where the reader is taken on a historical journey to interview famous mathematicians in Greece, Arabia, Italy, and England.

At the end of the journey Dewdney concludes that the essential contents of mathematics was not created by man, but rather discovered. He uses the term holos to describe the place where mathematics exists, apart from the human mind:

“The place, however one conceives it, is immense. The total amount of information it contains is incomparably greater than the information that would seem to be required to specify the cosmos, even were the cosmos infinite. Yet the holos subtly pervades the cosmos. What is an algebraic formula doing lurking in the wavelengths of the hydrogen atom? What gave Adams and Leverrier any right to expect that their predictions for the position of a new planet in the solar system would be correct? Who can doubt that if a cosmic system, be it planetary or atomic, obeys certain axioms, then it will obey every theorem that springs from those axioms?...The cosmos exists because there is a mind that can think it.”

My recommendation is that you read Tour and then when you find yourself surrounded by a group of techno-geeks at your next social event, you pop the question “Is mathematics discovered or is it created?” and see what happens.

To order your copy of Mathematical Mystery Tour go to: http://www.arn.org/arnproducts/php/book_show_item.php?id=64

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book cover

The Design Revolution
Answering the Toughest Questions About Intelligent Design

William A. Dembski
Foreword by Charles W. Colson
2004 (hardback edition), InterVarsity Press, 330 pp.

Bill Dembski has been on the bleeding edge of the Intelligent Design movement and has the scars to show for it. His ideas, and those of the ID movement in general, have been challenged by the status quo critics in debates, lectures, book reviews and internet forums. In this book Dr. Dembski rises to the occasion clearly and concisely answering the most vexing questions posed to the Intelligent Design program. Writing with nonexperts in mind, Dembski responds to more than sixty questions asked by experts and nonexperts alike in short succinct chapters. Here are a few endorsements from the reviewers:

"Dembski, a philosopher/mathematician who has been an important theorist for the intelligent design movement, handles a wide range of questions and objections that should give both fans and detractors of ID plenty to chew on."
Publishers Weekly (Dec 22, 2003)

"Not everyone will agree with all that is claimed in this book, and some knuckleheads will reject its theses without reading the book at all; but something of what is claimed in these pages will strike every fair-minded reader as important and provocative. The book does what it proposes to do. It meets criticisms of intelligent design honorably; it allows new ideas to breathe."
David Berlinski, mathematician and author of A Tour of the Calculus and Secrets of the Vaulted Sky

"This book spells out clearly for the general public how and why the progress of modern science points strongly toward an intelligent designer. It answers the most common criticisms of design theory so deftly that it makes one wonder if dogged opponents of design have something on their minds other than pure science."
Michael Behe, Professor of Biology, Lehigh University, and author of Darwin's Black Box

"Dembski's latest book indicates more clearly than any other recent publication that I know why CSI--the sort of order observed in complex machines or computer programs--cannot originate by cumulative selection. The improbability is far too great! Obviously if biological systems contain considerable amounts of CSI as Dembski claims, then the standard Darwinian explanation is deeply flawed, and what is needed is a new paradigm for understanding the natural world."
Michael Denton, molecular geneticist and author of Evolution: A Theory in Crisis and Nature's Destiny

"Bill Dembski poses all the tough questions that critics ask about intelligent design in biology, and brilliantly answers them all!"
Phillip Johnson, author of Darwin on Trial

To read more endorsements or order The Design Revolution go to http://www.arn.org/arnproducts/php/book_show_item.php?id=65


Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher About Design

William Dembski

Several years ago Jonathan Wells released Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher about Evolution based on his book Icons of Evolution. Recently we enlisted William Dembski’s help to develop a companion handout for students Ten Questions to Ask Your Biology Teacher about Design based on his new book The Design Revolution. Armed with these two handouts and these two books we won’t have to wait for state legislators to adopt “Teach the Controversy” policies. Students will make sure the controversy is taught by asking the right questions (unless the states make it illegal for students to ask questions in the public school classroom).

 

Darwinism, Design and Public Education

John Angus Campbell, Editor
Stephen C. Meyer, Editor
2003 (Paperback edition), Michigan State University Press, 634 pp.

One of the favorite arguments of ID critics is the false claim that ID advocates don’t publish in peer-reviewed publications. Darwinism, Design and Public Education, is yet one more example of how off-base the critics are. The publisher, Michigan State University, in accordance with academic policies for its Rhetoric and Public Affairs Series, submitted the book to an expert panel of reviewers including a professor of biochemistry at an Ivy-league school and professors in the philosophy of science and rhetoric of human inquiry fields. There is no doubt that this volume has been peer-reviewed.

The book presents a multi-faceted scientific case for the theory of intelligent design and also examines the legal and pedagogical arguments for teaching students about the scientific controversies that surround the issue of biological origins.

Editor John Angus Campbell lays out the design of the book in the introduction:

Darwinism, Design, and Public Education will seek to advance public discussion of science education by presenting arguments for and against a more inclusive, controversy-based biology curriculum. In order to do this, the book will also present arguments for and against both contemporary Darwinism and the theory of ID itself. Darwinism, Design, and Public Education is divided into four parts and appendixes. The first part of the volume presents three essays arguing for a more inclusive approach to science education—indeed, one that would encourage science educators to teach students about scientific challenges to Darwinian theory and about the challenge posed to Darwinism by advocates of the theory of intelligent design. The second part includes several essays that provide scientific critiques of contemporary evolutionary theories or textbook presentations of these theories. The third part presents essays that develop the scientific case for intelligent design. The fourth part offers responses, chiefly critical, to the essays in the first three parts of the volume. The appendixes present both supporting documents about the controversy over the teaching of evolution in the public schools (including the transcript of a recent hearing of the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights and an essay by Donald Kennedy) and a technical supplement to the case by Stephen C. Meyer, Marcus Ross, Paul Nelson, and Paul Chien on the Cambrian explosion.”

Those familiar with the ID movement will recognize most of the contributors to this volume, as well as some of the articles which appear in book form for the first time. Integrated under the watchful eyes of editors John Angus Campbell and Stephen C. Meyer, this book is an important contribution to the “Teach the Controversy” viewpoint for how to handle the origins controversy in our public schools.

John Angus Campbell is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in the Department of Communication at the University of Memphis and is a past President of the American Association for the Rhetoric of Science and Technology. Dr. Campbell's research has focused on the rhetoric of science. He has published numerous technical articles analyzing the rhetorical strategy of Darwin's The Origin of Species and is widely regarded as the world's foremost expert on the subject. The Rhetoric of Charles Darwin is a video interview with Dr. Campbell available from ARN.

Praise for Darwinism, Design, & Public Education

“Darwinism, Design, and Public Education should be read by everyone seeking a fair and comprehensive debate about the teaching of evolution in American public schools… this book’s careful yet passionate dialogue actually provides the tools needed by a democratic public to make sense of this difficult controversy.”

—James Arnt Aune, Texas A&M University, author of Rhetoric and Marxism and Selling the Free Market

To view the table of contents or order Design, Darwin and Public Education go to http://www.arn.org/arnproducts/php/book_show_item.php?id=66


Video Documentary

Where Does the Evidence Lead?

A segmented educational format exploring the theory of Intelligent Design.
For 7th grade classrooms and above.

Unlocking the Mystery of Life has been one of our besting selling videos for the past year. Now this hour long documentary on Intelligent Design as been repackaged into six, ten minute segments that is ideal for use in the classroom or small group discussion.

The six episodes include:

Part 1
LIFE: THE BIG QUESTIONS
A new challenge to the theory of natural selection.

Part 2
WHAT DARWIN DIDN'T KNOW
Exploring the complexity of the living cell.

Part 3
MOLECULES & MOUSETRAPS
Molecular machines that defy Darwin’s theory.

Part 4
HOW DID LIFE BEGIN?
Why “chance” cannot explain the origin of life.

Part 5
THE LANGUAGE OF LIFE
DNA genetic information, and life on Earth.

Part 6
THE DESIGN INFERENCE
The scientific evidence for intelligent design.

The video includes insightful interviews with leaders of the Intelligent Design movement including Phillip Johnson, Paul Nelson, Stephen Meyer, Dean Kenyon, Michael Behe, William Dembski, Jonathan Wells, Jed Macosko and Scott Minnich.

The interviews are brought to life with state-of-the-art computer animation and microscopic photography of living systems. The viewer is transported into the interior of the living cell to explore systems and machines that bear the unmistakable hallmarks of design. Amazing animation footage of the bacterial flagellum provides the viewer with a detailed tour of “the most efficient machine in the universe.”

Within the nucleus explore the wonder of DNA, a threadlike molecule that stores instructions to build the essential components of every living organism. It is part of a biological information processing system more complex and more powerful than any computer network. Where Does the Evidence Lead documents how scientists are abandoning naturalistic explanations for the origin of genetic information and looking to theories of design for new answers.

If you have already seen Unlocking the Mystery of Life you will not find any new material in Where Does the Evidence Lead (in fact it appears to be 7 or 8 minutes shorter). But if you have been looking for a tool to introduce Intelligent Design in the classroom or small group situation, this is it. The six-part segmented format makes it ideal to digest the material in small bites and provides the opportunity for important classroom discussion and student interaction.

To order Where Does the Evidence Lead go to http://www.arn.org/arnproducts/php/video_show_item.php?id=27


Peter S. Williams

ARN Featured Author: Peter S. Williams

ARN welcomes English philosopher Peter S. Williams as a featured author on the ARN website (http://www.arn.org/williams/pwhome.htm). ARNies will enjoy William’s essays on Darwinism, Bio-Ethics, the Mind-Body problem and Richard Dawkins (Darwin’s Rottweiler and the Public Understanding of Scientism), as well as his contributions to a new book Matrix Revelations: A Thinking Fan's Guide to the Matrix Trilogy. Williams studied Philosophy at Cardiff University (BA), Sheffield University (MA) and the University of East Anglia (MPhil), where he completed his thesis on objective definitions of truth, knowledge, goodness and beauty in relation to the nature of God. Williams currently works with the Southampton based Damaris trust (www.damaris.org).


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A FEW NOTES ABOUT ARN ANNOUNCE

ARN-Announce describes many of the upcoming events and new articles, books, videos and other resources on Intelligent Design. Please forward this message to several of your friends and colleagues to let them know about the resources available at Access Research Network (www.arn.org). Back issues of ARN-Announce can be found at www.arn.org/announce.htm


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ARN-Announce is written by Dennis Wagner (dwagner@arn.org)

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1.28.04