To hear my debate about intelligent design theory with Pete Hearty of the British ‘national secular society’ on Premier Christian Radio, click this link for an MP3 File of the programme on Pete Hearty’s website:
I enjoyed my experience debating ID on Premier Christian Radio’s Saturday lunch-time ‘Unbelieveable’ show (11th February 2006). I enjoyed talking with Peter Hearty of the national secular society both on and off air, and our host Justin Brierly did a good job of keeping a level playing field. The format inevitably meant picking the simplest/shortest response to questions rather than the most comprehensive, and I did have to let a lot of points slide, so the process was not without its frustrations. With this in mind, here are the ‘footnotes’ I would add to the show if one could do such a thing!
On ‘specified complexity’ as a reliable test for design with special reference to Richard Dawkins (the example I used on the show) cf: Peter S. Williams, Is Life Designed or Designoid? Dawkins, Science and the Purpose of Life
I wrote one of the first articles tracing Antony Flew’s journey from athesim to a minimal form of philosophical theism (cf. A Change of Mind for Antony Flew), although more recent comments from Flew on this issue have muddied the waters (cf. http://idpluspeterswilliams.blogspot.com/2005/11/think-about-intelligent-design-but-not.html).
By defending ID I naturally frustrated both evolutionists (Christian and secular) and creationists. However, perhaps reporters in the media who refuse to take ID theorists at their word when they assert that ID is not creationism will take creationists (like the lady who called the show to say how frustrated it made her not to hear me defending a young earth) at their word when they make the same point! Nevertheless, here’s an ID theorist making clear the differences between ID and creationism: John G. West, Intelligent Design and Creationism are Just not the Same
As for the conspiracy theory that ID is ‘creationism in sheep’s clothing’, as I said on the show, it contradicts the testimony of ID theorists, ignores the differences between the two views, and fails to account for the support for ID in Britain by non-creationists such as myself (where there is no separation of state and church). For a historical rebuttal of this conspiracy theory, cf. Jonathan Witt, The Origin of Intelligent Design
I was somewhat taken-a-back by the caller who was so very insistent about Michael Behe being shown to be a liar by the Dover Court! The caller didn’t specify what it was Behe is meant to have lied about, and I know of nothing that indicates such a sin on his part - despite having followed the Dover trial quite closely. Behe himself recently posted a devastating response to the Dover decision: Michael Behe, Whether Intelligent Design Is Science: A Response to the Opinion of the Court in Kizmiller vs. Dover Area School District
Leading ID think tank The Discovery Institute do not advocate teaching ID in schools. They advocate teaching criticism of evolutionary theory as it appears in the peer reviewed scientific literature. There is a difference between presenting evidence for and against evolution and presenting an alternative theory (of which ID is one among several).
On the question of whether ID is science, may I recommend the following materials: William A. Dembski, In Defence of Intelligent Design; Stephen C. Meyer, The Scientific Status of Intelligent Design; Bradley Monton, Is Intelligent Design Science? Dissecting the Dover Decision; Peter S. Williams, If SETI Is Science and UFOlogy Is Not, Which Is Intelligent Design Theory?
On my reference to David Hume and the limitations of design arguments in general cf: Peter S. Williams, Design and the Humean Touchstone
Unfortunately, many critics of Behe’s argument from irreducible complexity accept proposed defeaters without considering the rebuttals that Behe and other scholars (e.g. Dembski, Gene, Meyer, Minnich) have made. Interested readers may like to consider the following: Michael Behe, In Defence of the Irreducibility of the Blood Clotting Cascade (an issue raised in passing by one of our callers); Michael Behe, A True Acid Test: A Response to Ken Miller; William Dembski, Still Spinning Just Fine: A Response to Ken Miller; William Dembski, Irreducible Complexity Revisited; For a quick response on the ‘flagellum and the pump’ debate cf: Stephen C. Meyer, Verdict on the Bacterial Flagellum Premature
On the fossil record and whether or not it supports evolutionary explanations of life’s diversity at the higher taxonomic levels, cf: Mark Hartwig, Doesn’t the fossil evidence support natural selection? (very brief); Stephen C. Meyer et al, The Cambrian Explosion: Biology’s Big Bang & Stephen C. Meyer, 'Intelligent Design: The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories (two not very brief peer reviewed articles)
Copyright © 2006 Peter S. Williams. All rights
reserved. International copyright secured.
File Date: 02.21.06