How To Be An Intellectually Fulfilled Atheist (Or Not) (Paperback) Paperback – 30 Oct 2008
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About the Author
William A. Dembski is a Senior Fellow with the Discovery Institute s Center for Science and Culture. He has authored or edited more than a dozen books, including the first book on intelligent design to be published by a major university press, The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities (Cambridge University Press, 1998). He has seven earned degrees, including two doctorates, one in philosophy from the University of Illinois at Chicago, the other in mathematics from University of Chicago. His work has been featured on the front page of the New York Times and he has appeared on numerous radio and television broadcasts, including ABC s Nightline and Jon Stewart s The Daily Show. Bill and his wife, Jana, live in Central Texas with their daughter and twin boys. Jonathan Wells is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute s Center for Science and Culture. He holds a Ph.D. in Molecular and Cell Biology from the University of California at Berkeley, and a PhD. in Religious Studies from Yale University. He has worked as a postdoctoral research biologist at the University of California at Berkeley and the supervisor of a medical laboratory in Fairfield, California, and he has taught biology at California State University in Hayward. He is the author numerous articles and several books including Icons of Evolution, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design."
Most helpful customer reviews on Amazon.com
I work at a government research facility and had the book on my shelve. A colleague saw it but didn't see the little (Or Not) in the title and was all giddy about it. When I told him what it was, he was disgusted. We talked about one thing this book has a chapter on that he was familiar with and said he'd read it. He came back and said it was trash and misinformed. "How's that?" I asked, and he proceeded to rant against the ID movement and why this book is trash. I asked again, and he just said it was trash and went on why there is no science to ID. The usual mantra. Never said what was wrong. I have also used a few things to stop someone cold in their tracks when expounding on the "science" of evolution. In each case they come back with the anti-evolutionist mantra. Never addressing the scientific questions for missing links there exists. That is glossed over in their quickness to start rhetoric.
This won't give all the answers, but it does open up a lot of gaps that need addressing in a well written format.
They concentrate on the origin of life, which they regard as the greatest obstacle to atheism (p.115). I do not quite agree, finding that the obstacles extend to all of many-faceted life. The authors define life as (e.g. p.5) "reproduction, growth, metabolism, homeostasis, well-defined internal organization, maintenance of boundaries, stimulus-response repertoire, and goal-directed interaction with the environment". That goal-directedness can, however, be seen to characterize all these functions. All of life is in fact well known to be directed toward the goal of self-preservation, by which life can accordingly be defined.
The authors thus occasionally allude to "the strangely purposeful activities" ("of these uncanny molecular machines"), yet they focus--as does "intelligent design" and its opponents in general--on the design of the "machines", e.g. "that despite all our accumulated knowledge in the natural and engineering sciences, the task of designing even the most basic components of the cell's molecular machinery, the proteins, is completely beyond our present capacity" (pp.2-3), the purport being that Darwinists are hard-pressed to explain such machinery as resulting from "unguided material processes" (p.i).
The focus on design of the machinery, and the confinement to life's origin and corresponding cell structure, weakens the arguments to (p.93): "if intelligence is responsible for the origin of life,...[a]t the very least, we can know that such an intelligence is highly skilled in nano-engineering". The narrow consideration, on both sides of the arguments, of the origin of only biological structure, prompts further the authors' vulnerable: "The design hypothesis for the origin of life [though of course all of life is concerned] may ultimately be shown wrong".
There is no such uncertainty if instead of the organism's structure is considered its behavior, as I have tried to elucidate in these places and chiefly in my book. Unlike in the quotation (p.114) of Dawkins, "The illusion of purpose is so powerful that biologists themselves use the assumption of good design as a working tool", purpose is neither an illusion nor a supposition based on useful form, but a reality observable in all organisms in their activities aimed at survival. Behind these activities an intelligence can then be inferred.
Notwithstanding the preceding, the book's authors surely did an outstanding job within the confines. (See more on the puzzle of page 108 at the bottom of my web page [...]
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