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Uncommon Dissent

William A. Dembski, John. Wilson, eds. (ISI Books: June 1, 2004)


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.

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 of the bimonthly review, Books & Culture, and an editor at large for Christianity Today.

Table of Contents 

    • Foreword
    • Introduction : the myths of Darwinism
  • Pt. I  A crisis of confidence
    • 1. The check is in the mail : why Darwinism fails to inspire confidence    3
    • 2. Darwinism as dogma : the establishment of naturalism    23
    • 3. The miracles of Darwinism    41
  • Pt. II Darwinism’s cultural inroads
    • 4. Darwin meets the Berenstain Bears : evolution as a total worldview    53
    • 5. Teaching the flaws in neo-Darwinism    75
    • 6. Accept no imitations : the rivalry of naturalism and natural law    99
    • 7. Refereed journals : do they insure quality or enforce orthodoxy?    115
  • Pt. III Leaving the Darwinian fold
    • 8. A Catholic scientist looks at Darwinisim    133
    • 9. An anti-Darwinian intellectual journey : biological order as an inherent property of matter    153
    • 10. Why I am not a Darwinist    177
  • Pt. IV Auditing the books
    • 11. Why evolution fails the test of science    195
    • 12. Darwinian evolutionary theory and the life sciences in the twenty-first century    215
    • 13. Cheating the millennium : the mounting explanatory debts of scientific naturalism    233
    • 14. The deniable Darwin    263