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Welcome to ARN-Announce
by Dennis Wagner

Number Thirteen, March 30, 2001

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.

 


IN THIS ARN-ANNOUNCE:


A FEW NOTES ABOUT ARN-ANNOUNCE

This is the thirteenth issue of ARN-Announce. It 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

In this issue of ARN-Announce I would like to tell you about three new books as well as several new features and articles on the ARN web site.


SIGNS OF INTELLIGENCE: UNDERSTANDING INTELLIGENT DESIGN

New book edited by Dembski and Kushiner (ARN Item #B047, $8.75) Amazon Buster!

If you are scanning through our catalog looking for the best bang for your buck, look no further. My favorite resource to introduce folks to the concept of intelligent design use to be the Touchstone Magazine, July/August 1999 special issue on ID. It contained a collection of well-written, readable articles by leaders of the movement including Phillip Johnson, Michael Behe, Paul Nelson, William Dembski, Jonathan Wells, Walter Bradley, Stephen Meyer, Jay Richards, Nancy Pearcey, and John Wiester.

The magazine issue sold so well, that the publishers decided to produce an expanded book edition. The book includes all the main articles along with a substantial new introduction by Dembski, and a new closing article by Bruce Gordon on the scientific status and future of design-theoretic explanations.

This is my favorite "first" book because the reader is introduced to a wide range of authors and topics in capsule format. If an author’s topic or style does not interest you, you can quickly move on. The arguments build in sequence starting with philosophical issues, then moving on to biology, information, natural selection, fossil record and cosmological evidence. But readers can easily jump to their area of interest first without feeling like they are starting in the middle of the book.

At this price, fans of ID should have two or three copies lying around to pass out like popcorn whenever the topic comes up in conversation. I often find myself referring back to the magazine whenever I’m trying to recall or defend a particular ID argument. I’m sure the new book edition will soon look just as worn as my magazine copy.

Table of Contents:

Preface

Introduction: What Intelligent Design is Not – William A. Dembski

    1. The Intelligent Design Movement: Challenging the Modernist Monopoly on Science – Phillip E. Johnson
    2. Design and the Discriminating Public: Gaining a Hearing from Ordinary People – Nancy Pearcey
    3. Proud Obstacles and a Reasonable Hope: The Apologetic Value of Intelligent Design – Jay Wesley Richards
    4. The Regeneration of Science and Culture: The Cultural Implications of Scientific Materialism Versus Intelligent Design – John G. West Jr.
    5. The World as Text: Science, Letters, and the Recovery of Meaning – Patrick Henry Reardon
    6. Getting God a Pass: Science, Theology, and the Consideration of Intelligent Design – John Mark Reynolds
    7. Darwin’s Breakdown: Irreducible Complexity and Design at the Foundation of Life – Michael J. Behe
    8. Word Games: DNA, Design, and Intelligence – Stephen C. Meyer
    9. Making Sense of Biology: The Evidence for Development by Design – Jonathan Wells
    10. Unfit for Survival: The Fatal Flaws of Natural Selection – Paul A. Nelson
    11. The Cambrian Explosion: The Fossil Records and Intelligent Design – Robert F. DeHaan and John L. Wiester
    12. The "Just So" Universe: The Fine-Tuning of Constants and Conditions in the Cosmos – Walter L. Bradley
    13. Signs of Intelligence: A Primer on the Discernment of Intelligent Design – William A. Dembski
    14. Is Intelligent Design Science? The Scientific Status and Future of Design-Theoretic Explanations – Bruce L. Gordon

To order a copy of this book at the best price on the net, go to: http://www.arn.org/arnproducts/php/book_show_item.php?id=45


NATURE, DESIGN, AND SCIENCE: THE STATUS OF DESIGN IN NATURAL SCIENCE

New book by Del Ratzsch (ARN Item #B050, $17.95) Amazon Buster Deal!

If you are the type that enjoys discussions on the philosophy of science, or why the argument from design belongs in the scientific enterprise, than you should consider spending a couple evenings with this new book by Del Ratzsch. While the formal work of most philosophers usually leaves us mere mortals in a daze, I think you will be pleasantly surprised by the rigorous but readable approach taken by the author.

Del Ratzsch, Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College, has been thinking and writing about the origins debate for many years. In his latest work he weighs in with a work aimed at developing a definition of design, and particularly a more specific concept of supernatural design, which he hopes will lay the foundation for a meaningful dialog about the scientific legitimacy of intelligent design.

Despite its long history (centuries of prominence in philosophical 'arguments from design,' for instance), there have been virtually no attempts to formally analyze the concept of design. Assessment of specific cases for or against design in nature demand clarity on a number of foundational concepts and issues. Unfortunately, clarity is not prominently evident in current discussions of the issue, and as the discussion heats up positions seem to be becoming increasingly entrenched. The usual consequences of entrenchment preceding clarity are evident in most discussions in this area. The present work is an attempt to step back and survey in systematic fashion the conceptual landscape on which the growing dispute is being and will be fought.

Both critics and proponents of intelligent design will find the appendix of particular interest. Here Ratzsch takes a detailed look at William Dembski's use of specified complexity and the Explanatory Filter. While he finds Dembski's work valuable, he also points out why he thinks The Design Inference is limited in its application.

Section I (Chapters 1 and 2) is devoted to investigation of the concept of design as related to activities and productions of non-supernatural beings (finite design). Primary topics include the character of design, the nature of evidences for design, principles of design recognition, and the relationship between the concept of finite design and relevant scientific endeavors (e.g., anthropology, Search for ExtraTerrestrial Intelligence [SETI]).

Section II. Supernatural design. Although supernatural design has some significant core similarities to finite design, it exhibits a number of extremely important differences as well. Those are related to the special character, capabilities, and alternatives open to supernatural beings. Those differences have substantive consequences both for the scope of design explanations and for principles and prospects of recognition of supernatural design. Such issues are explored in Chapters 3-6.

Section III. Boundaries of scientific legitimacy. Whether or not the concept of supernatural design falls outside the bounds of scientific legitimacy depends both upon features of that concept and upon exactly where the boundaries of scientific legitimacy lie. That latter issue is addressed in Chapters 7-9. A general picture of the conceptual structure of science is sketched, and a legitimacy criterion is developed within that context.

Section IV. The permissibility question - conceptual and pragmatic issues. The relevant pieces being in place, the overall issue comes down to whether or not relevant design concepts (Section II) are ever capable of meeting the legitimacy criterion (Section III). The answer, as it turns out, is that some types of supernatural design can, under some circumstances, meet the relevant conditions. The main thrust of Chapters 10-11 consists of arguments that the standard objections to design theories do not demonstrate what they are intended to, that a case for the in-principle permissibility of supernatural design considerations within even the 'hard' sciences can indeed be made, and that such considerations even offer some potential scientific payoffs.

A few quotes from the back of the book:

"I found it remarkable--as a skeptic of both design arguments and their relevance to science--that I have come away from this book less of a skeptic than I was. I like the fact that Ratzsch's modern philosophical exploration of the full potential range of design arguments provides a firm and convincing taxonomy of the logical possibilities. This exercise clears the waters of many naive treatments pro and con, and provides a basis for raising substantially the intellectual level of the inevitable debate."

- John Suppe, Princeton University

"It is a bold, innovative venture into a cutting-edge field of philosophy of science--design theory. It makes an original contribution to this nascent field."

- William Lane Craig, Biola University

To order a copy of this book at the lowest price around go to: http://www.arn.org/arnproducts/php/book_show_item.php?id=48


SCIENCE AND EVIDENCE FOR DESIGN IN THE UNIVERSE

New book by Behe, Dembski and Meyer (ARN Item #B048, $10.25) Amazon Buster!

Three leaders of the Intelligent Design movement have teamed up for this collection of papers published in The Proceedings of the Wethersfield Institute under the title Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe.

Mathematician William Dembski, author of The Design Inference and Intelligent Design, first argues that new developments in the information sciences make intelligent design objectively and scientifically detectable-he identifies the signs of design. Next, philosopher of science, Stephen Meyer, and biochemist Michael Behe, author of Darwin's Black Box, argue that these signs are now clearly evident in both the architecture of the universe and the features of living systems. Other essays by the authors defend the scientific status of the theory of intelligent design and show how that theory supports traditional religious belief without necessarily "proving" the existence of God. Michael Behe also responds specifically to critics of his best selling book, Darwin's Black Box, thus bringing readers up-to-date on the status of the contemporary design argument in biology.

Table of Contents:

Contributors

Foreword

William Dembski: The Third Mode of Explanation: Detecting Evidence of Intelligent Design in the Sciences

Stephen C. Meyer: Evidence for Design in Physics and Biology: From the Origin of the Universe to the Origin of Life

Michael J. Behe: Evidence for Design at the Foundation of Life Appendices:

Stephen C. Meyer: Answering Scientific Criticisms of Intelligent Design

Stephen C. Meyer: The Scientific Status of Intelligent Design: The Methodological Equivalence of Naturalistic and Non-Naturalistic Origins Theories

William Dembski and Stephen C. Meyer: Fruitful Interchange or Polite Chitchat? The Dialogue Between Science and Theology

To order a copy of this book go to: http://www.arn.org/arnproducts/php/book_show_item.php?id=46


"IN THE NEWS" New feature on the ARN home page

For the latest news and commentary on science related issues

We have recently redesigned the ARN home page (www.arn.org). On the right side of the page you will find a new column titled "In the News." Here you will find recent news articles and event reports related to intelligent design and general science topics.

For instance this week you will find the LA Times report on the Meave Leakey article in Nature announcing a new ancient skull discovery Kenyanthropus platyops--the flat-faced man of Kenya. Its tiny teeth, distinctive jaw structure and relatively modern face set it apart from the only other early species known to have been alive at that period, the 3.2-million-year-old skeleton called Lucy. Until now, Darwinists thought Lucy to be humanity's direct forerunner. "The differences between the two species are so obvious and significant," Leakey said. "They are the opposite of what you would expect." http://www.arn.org/docs/news/skullcloud032201.htm

The same day the LA Times and Nature article appeared, Phillip Johnson attended a lecture by Meave Leakey in San Francisco. For a report on the lecture and Professor Johnson’s initial thoughts on the new find go to http://www.arn.org/docs/johnson/pj_leakey032201.htm

Other articles you will find posted here include a new view of Junk DNA from the Human Genome Project, the search for Earth-like planets, an interview with Stuart Kauffman, and a report on how alien biology is being used to get students interested in science.

We won’t be able to post a commentary on every news article that appears, but we thought you would appreciate being able to find recent news articles in one place. Whenever possible we also provide a link to the original web article or source publication. If you have questions or comments about the articles we encourage you to visit our discussion forum to see if the article is currently being discussed or to start a discussion yourself: http://www.arn.org/cgi-bin/ubb/Ultimate.cgi?action=intro

There are many other new resources on our web site that you will have to browse or search to find, but we thought you might enjoy knowing about these particular books and articles and hope you can put them to good use.


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ARN-ANNOUNCE IS PRODUCED BY ACCESS RESEARCH NETWORK

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

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