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Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing

William A. Dembski (editor)

ISI Books, (paperback), 366 pp., 2004

Item# B093
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Foreword by John Wilson

Recent years have seen the rise to prominence of ever more sophisticated philosophical and scientific critiques of the ideas marketed under the name of Darwinism. In Uncommon Dissent, mathematician and philosopher William A. Dembski brings together essays by leading intellectuals who find one or more aspects of Darwinism unpersuasive. As Dembski explains, Darwinism has gathered around itself an aura of invincibility that is inhospitable to rational discussion-to say the least: "Darwinism, its proponents assure us, has been overwhelmingly vindicated. Any resistance to it is futile and indicates bad faith or worse." Indeed, those who question the Darwinian synthesis are supposed, in the famous formulation of Richard Dawkins, to be ignorant, stupid, insane, or wicked.

The hostility of dogmatic Darwinians like Dawkins has not, however, prevented the advent of a growing cadre of scholarly critics of metaphysical Darwinism. The measured, thought-provoking essays in Uncommon Dissent make it increasingly obvious that these critics are not the brainwashed fundamentalist buffoons that Darwinism's defenders suggest they are, but rather serious, skeptical, open-minded inquirers whose challenges pose serious questions about the viability of Darwinist ideology. The intellectual power of their contributions to Uncommon Dissent is bracing.

From Publishers Weekly:
If you've never heard the term "post-Darwinian," welcome to the world of thinkers who reject evolutionary theory and its reliance on the notion of chance (i.e. "random mutation"). In this provocative volume, biologists, mathematicians and physicists as well as theologians and other intellectuals-many affiliated with the Discovery Institute, which espouses the concept of intelligent design-argue, as editor Dembski writes, that "the preponderance of evidence goes against Darwinism." The contributors invoke mathematics and statistics to support their theory that an "intelligent cause is necessary to explain at least some of the diversity of life." In other words, the degree of diversity and complexity in life forms implies the need for an intelligent designer. The nature and identity of this designer is not discussed by all the writers; others call this intelligence God. Supporters of intelligent design differentiate themselves from creationists, but they, too, argue that their theory should be taught in high school biology courses. Anyone interested in these debates and their implications for education will find this collection to be important reading.

Copyright (c) Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.

About the Author
William A. Dembski is associate research professor in the conceptual foundations of science at Baylor University and a senior fellow with Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture in Seattle. The author of numerous articles on intelligent design and mathematical, philosophical, and theological matters, his books include The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities and No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence.

John Wilson is the founding editor of the bimonthlyreview, Books & Culture, and an editor at large for ChristianityToday.

"I am delighted to strongly recommend William Dembski's new bookUncommon Dissent. The scientific and philosophical underpinnings ofthe origins debate need to be better understood by the intellectualpublic, and Dembski's book is exceptionally helpful in this regard."
- Henry F. Schaefer III, Graham Perdue Professor ofChemistry and Director, Center for Computational Chemistry, Universityof Georgia

"I salute the intellectual honesty and courageof all the contributors who participated in writing Uncommon Dissent.These dissenters masterfully bring to light the flaws and fallacy ofDarwinism, a secular ideology dogmatically rooted in naturalistic philosophy.This illuminating book constitutes another sign that a new scientificrevolution is coming, one that will ultimately lead to the recognitionof the quintessential role of intelligent causation in evolution andmark the end of metaphysical materialism."
- Mario Beauregard, Department of Psychology and NeuroscienceResearch Center, Universit� de Montr�al

"Darwin, a free thinker who dared make far-reachingconclusions based on observations, would have been dismayed to see thepetrified doctrine his brainchild has become. Must we admit that allorganisms are nothing but watery Turing machines evolved merely by asequence of accidents favored by nature? Or do we have the intellectualfreedom to rethink this fundamental issue, as is done in this book?I'm sure Darwin would have been glad to contribute an essay to thisinteresting and fearless collection, a collection every open-mindedscientist and layman alike will benefit from reading."
- Eshel Ben Jacob, Maguy-Glass Chair in Physics ofComplex Systems, Tel Aviv University

Table of Contents
* Foreword by John Wilson
* Introduction: The Myths of Darwinism by William A. Dembski

1." The Check Is in the Mail: Why Darwinism Fails to Inspire Confidence" by Robert Koons
2. "Darwinism as Dogma: The Establishment of Naturalism" by Phillip E. Johnson
3. "The Miracles of Darwinism" by Marcel-Paul Sch�tzenberger

4. "Darwin Meets the Berenstain Bears: The Cultural Impact of Evolution" by Nancy R. Pearcey
5." Teaching the Flaws in Neo-Darwinism" by Edward Sisson
6. "Accept No Imitations: The Rivalry of Naturalism and Natural Law" by J. Budziszewski
7. "Refereed Journals: Do They Insure Quality or Enforce Orthodoxy?" by Frank J. Tipler

8. "A Catholic Scientist Looks at Darwinism and Design" by Michael J. Behe
9. "An Anti-Darwinian Intellectual Journey: Biological Order as an Inherent Property of Matter" by Michael John Denton
10. "Why I Am Not a Darwinist" by James Barham

11. "Why Evolution Fails the Test of Science" by Cornelius G. Hunter
12. "Darwinian Evolutionary Theory and the Life Sciences in the 21st Century" by Roland F. Hirsch
13. "Cheating the Millennium: The Mounting Explanatory Debts of Scientific Naturalism" by Christopher Michael Langan
14. "The Deniable Darwin" by David Berlinski

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