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Debate at UCLA:
Can Intelligent Design Be Detected in Biology?
William A. Dembski and Niall Shanks

Formats: DVD

Item# V038
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In the mid-1990s, Professors Phillip Johnson and William Provine ignited the creation/evolution controversy with a series of spirited debates over human origins (ARN V004). Now, Professors William Dembski and Niall Shanks have picked up where Johnson and Provine left off. Shanks is a vocal defender of evolution. He is animated by his belief that ID'ers are infusing creationism into American society and American schools. On the other side of the coin, Dembski is a leading proponent of Intelligent Design and one of evolution's biggest critics. Together, they provide a lively discussion over the merits of each viewpoint.

Dembski and Shanks debate whether the complexities of nature require an intelligent designer. Dembski says that there is evidence that such a designer did play a role. Shanks argues that there is no scientific evidence for the claim and the fact that scientists cannot answer certain questions should not, by default, make the case for proponents.

Could intelligent design in biological systems be scientifically detectable, and has it in fact been detected in nature? Intelligent design holds that intelligence is responsible for many of the instances of the order and complexity in the natural world. The idea that intelligence underlies physical reality has a long and illustrious history. Throughout that history, intelligent design has seemed eminently reasonable. Only with the rise of Darwinian evolution, however, has this idea come to seem unreasonable. Is Darwinism now experiencing a crisis that is making its challenge to intelligent design increasingly unreasonable?

Dr. Niall Shanks is a native of England, earned his Ph.D. at the University of Alberta, Canada. He is currently Professor of Philosophy, Adjunct Professor of Biological Sciences and Adjunct Professor of Physics and Astronomy at East Tennessee State University. His recent book, God, the Devil, and Darwin: A Critique of Intelligent Design Theory (Oxford University Press, 2004), places him at the forefront of an escalating debate spanning the sciences, philosophy, and theology.

Dr. William Dembski is a mathematician and philosopher. He has authored such works as The Design Inference (Cambridge University Press, 1998) and sequel No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased Without Intelligence (Rowman & Littlefield, 2002).

Hosted by the Veritas Forum at UCLA. Includes Q&A.

Recorded April 21, 2004. Running time 1 hour 30 minutes.


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