Book Review: Intelligent Design 101: Leading Experts Explain the Key Issues
by Rich Deem

Introduction

Intelligent Design 101: Leading Experts Explain the Key IssuesIntelligent design proponents Michael Behe, Eddie Colanter, Logan Gage, Phillip Johnson, Casey Luskin, J. P. Moreland, and Jay Richards have written a book on the basics of intelligent design theory, Intelligent Design 101. Each author has written a chapter on a specific topic.

Phillip Johnson

Bringing Balance to a fiery debate. Phillip Johnson, the "founder" of the intelligent design movement with his book, Darwin on Trial, provides a general introduction to intelligent design and responses to it. Johnson has always been more interested in winning the popular opinion poll than looking for the truth. In his chapter Johnson pans efforts to examine the truth of the history of the universe and earth and dismisses such as attempts as divisive. Obviously, we at GodAndScience.org do not hold the view that truth should be determined by consensus or a need for unity. This is probably the weakest chapter, but does provide a reasonable history of the recent intelligent design movement.

J.P. Moreland

Intelligent Design and the Nature of Science. Moreland's contribution is primarily a philosophical examination of the issues regarding intelligent design and the nature of science. The new atheists (and others) have redefined science to automatically exclude non-naturalistic explanations - even if those explanations are supported by scientific evidence. Moreland points out that most scientists have never taken courses in philosophy, but attempt to use philosophical arguments (usually rather badly) against intelligent design. He says that intelligent design is a scientific theory because it generates positive and negative test results, explains facts in scientifically standard ways, can be confirmed by facts, and solves conceptual problems that evolution doesn't solve. Although ID has been described as a "God of the gaps" argument, Moreland points out that science makes many "naturalism of the gaps" arguments that are usually accepted on face value, despite their lack of supporting evidence.

Casey Luskin

Finding Inelligent Design in Nature. Casey Luskin is the founder of the Intelligent Design and Evolutionary Awareness (IDEA) Center and has degrees in earth sciences and a Juris Doctorate (law) degree. His chapter examines some of the technical and scientific issues supporting intelligent design theory, including the basics of how ID is defined, its role in physics, cosmology, DNA, information theory, biochemistry, micromolecular machines, systematics, and morphology. The chapter also briefly covers problems in neo-Darwinian theories. This chapter is particularly well illustrated to help the lay reader understand the concepts.

Michael Behe

Darwin's Black Box - Is Irreducible Complexity Still a Conundrum for Darwinism? Michael Behe, a biochemists who still publishes in scientific journals, has written a chapter that is a brief introduction to his first book, Darwin's Black Box. The chapter includes an introduction to the concept of irreducible complexity, and Behe's famous arguments involving the bacterial flagellum and blood clotting cascade.

Jay Richards

Why Are We Here? Jay Richards is a philosopher and theologian who has written a number of scholarly articles and popular books. As co-author of The Privileged Planet, Richards examines the extensive evidence supporting the hypothesis that the universe was designed specifically to house human beings. Most of these arguments are summarized on another page on this website, The Incredible Design of the Earth and Our Solar System.

Eddie Colanter

Philosophical Implications of Neo-Darwinism and Intelligent Design. Eddie Colanter is co-founder of the IDEA Center, and is trained in bioethics. As an ethicist, Colanter is interested in the philosophical implications of Darwinism and its impact on worldviews and morality, particularly in the area of worth and value of human beings. Colanter makes the case that a Darwinistic worldview does negatively impact human behavior.

H. Wayne House

Darwinism and the Law. H. Wayne House is a professor of biblical and theological studies and holds a Juris Doctorate degree. House's chapter examines the legal history of creationism and intelligent design, beginning with the Scopes Trial. He leads us through the legal cases that have brought us to where we are today - that intelligent design cannot be taught in public schools - and shows why those rulings are legally and scientifically suspect.

Casey Luskin and Logan Cage

A Reply to Francis Collins's Darwinian Arguments for Common Ancestry of Apes and Humans. The final chapter (actually labeled as the Appendix) examines the theistic evolutionary view of Francis Collins, as put forth in his book, The Language of God and other recent writings. Collins sees intelligent design arguments as God of the gaps and ascribes to theistic evolution as an explanation for the origin of the human species. Luskin and Gage take apart the arguments Collins uses to support his theistic evolutionary beliefs. This is probably the most technical of the chapters, which is probably why it is labeled as the Appendix.

Conclusion Top of page

Intelligent Design 101 is a short, good introduction into the arguments for intelligent design theory from leaders in the field. If you have hesitated to buy one of the more specific books on intelligent design because of fear of getting lost in the technical discourse, this is a good way to get introduced to all the areas of discussion without getting bogged down in too many technical details. Once you have finished this book, you will be ready to take on some of the more detailed aspects of the theory, with an understanding of the basic concepts and issues.

Intelligent Design 101: Leading Experts Explain the Key IssuesIntelligent Design 101: Leading Experts Explain the Key Issues
 


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Last Modified April 9, 2008

 

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