physics of Galileo and Newton displaced the physics of Aristotle, scientists
tried to explain the world by discovering its deterministic natural laws.
When the quantum physics of Bohr and Heisenberg in turn displaced the physics
of Galileo and Newton, scientists realized they needed to supplement their
deterministic natural laws by taking into account chance processes in their
explanations of our universe. Chance and necessity, to use a phrase made
famous by Jacques Monod, thus set the boundaries of scientific explanation.
Today, however, chance and necessity have proven insufficient to account for
all scientific phenomena. Without invoking the rightly discarded teleologies,
entelechies, and vitalisms of the past, one can still see that a third mode
of explanation is required, namely, intelligent design. Chance, necessity,
and design--these three modes of explanation--are needed to explain the full
range of scientific phenomena.
Not all scientists see that excluding intelligent design artificially
restricts science, however. Richard Dawkins, an arch-Darwinist, begins his
book The Blind Watchmaker by stating, "Biology is the study of
complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a
purpose." Statements like this echo throughout the biological
literature. In What Mad Pursuit, Francis Crick, Nobel laureate and
co-discoverer of the structure of DNA, writes, "Biologists must
constantly keep in mind that what they see was not designed, but rather
The biological community thinks it has accounted for the apparent design in
nature through the Darwinian mechanism of random mutation and natural
selection. The point to appreciate, however, is that in accounting for the
apparent design in nature, biologists regard themselves as having made a
successful scientific argument against actual design. This is important,
because for a claim to be scientifically falsifiable, it must have the possibility
of being true. Scientific refutation is a double-edged sword. Claims that are
refuted scientifically may be wrong, but they are not necessarily wrong--they
cannot simply be dismissed out of hand.
To see this, consider what would happen if microscopic examination revealed
that every cell was inscribed with the phrase "Made by Yahweh." Of
course cells donít have "Made by Yahweh" inscribed on them, but
thatís not the point. The point is that we wouldnít know this unless we
actually looked at cells under the microscope. And if they were so inscribed,
one would have to entertain the thought, as a scientist, that they actually
were made by Yahweh. So even those who do not believe in it tacitly admit
that design always remains a live option in biology. A priori prohibitions
against design are philosophically unsophisticated and easily countered.
Nonetheless, once we admit that design cannot be excluded from science
without argument, a weightier question remains: Why should we want to admit
design into science?
To answer this question, let us turn it around and ask instead, Why shouldnít
we want to admit design into science? Whatís wrong with explaining something
as designed by an intelligent agent? Certainly there are many everyday
occurrences that we explain by appealing to design. Moreover, in our workaday
lives it is absolutely crucial to distinguish accident from design. We demand
answers to such questions as, Did she fall or was she pushed? Did someone die
accidentally or commit suicide? Was this song conceived independently or was
it plagiarized? Did someone just get lucky on the stock market or was there
Not only do we demand answers to such questions, but entire industries are
devoted to drawing the distinction between accident and design. Here we can
include forensic science, intellectual property law, insurance claims
investigation, cryptography, and random number generation--to name but a few.
Science itself needs to draw this distinction to keep itself honest. Just
last January there was a report in Science that a Medline web search
uncovered a "paper published in Zentralblatt fŁr Gynškologie in
1991 [containing] text that is almost identical to text from a paper
published in 1979 in the Journal of Maxillofacial Surgery." Plagiarism
and data falsification are far more common in science than we would like to
admit. What keeps these abuses in check is our ability to detect them.
If design is so readily detectable outside science, and if its detectability
is one of the key factors keeping scientists honest, why should design be
barred from the content of science? Why do Dawkins and Crick feel compelled
to constantly remind us that biology studies things that only appear to be
designed, but that in fact are not designed? Why couldnít biology study
things that are designed?
The biological communityís response to these questions has been to resist
design absolutely. The worry is that for natural objects (unlike human
artifacts) the distinction between design and non-design cannot be reliably
drawn. Consider, for instance, the following remark by Darwin in the
concluding chapter of his Origin of Species: "Several eminent
naturalists have of late published their belief that a multitude of reputed
species in each genus are not real species; but that other species are real,
that is, have been independently created. . . . Nevertheless they do not
pretend that they can define, or even conjecture, which are the created forms
of life, and which are those produced by secondary laws. They admit variation
as a vera causa in one case, they arbitrarily reject it in another, without
assigning any distinction in the two cases." Biologists worry about
attributing something to design (here identified with creation) only to have
it overturned later; this widespread and legitimate concern has prevented
them from using intelligent design as a valid scientific explanation.
Though perhaps justified in the past, this worry is no longer tenable. There
now exists a rigorous criterion--complexity-specification--for distinguishing
intelligently caused objects from unintelligently caused ones. Many special
sciences already use this criterion, though in a pre-theoretic form (e.g.,
forensic science, artificial intelligence, cryptography, archeology, and the
Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence). The great breakthrough in
philosophy of science and probability theory of recent years has been to
isolate and make precise this criterion. Michael Beheís criterion of
irreducible complexity for establishing the design of biochemical systems is
a special case of the complexity-specification criterion for detecting design
(cf. Beheís book Darwinís Black Box).
What does this criterion look like? Although a detailed explanation and
justification is fairly technical (for a full account see my book The
Design Inference, published by Cambridge University Press), the basic
idea is straightforward and easily illustrated. Consider how the radio
astronomers in the movie Contact detected an extraterrestrial intelligence.
This movie, which came out last year and was based on a novel by Carl Sagan,
was an enjoyable piece of propaganda for the SETI research program--the
Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. In the movie, the SETI researchers
found extraterrestrial intelligence. (The nonfictional researchers have not
been so successful.)
How, then, did the SETI researchers in Contact find an extraterrestrial
intelligence? SETI researchers monitor millions of radio signals from outer
space. Many natural objects in space (e.g., pulsars) produce radio waves.
Looking for signs of design among all these naturally produced radio signals
is like looking for a needle in a haystack. To sift through the haystack,
SETI researchers run the signals they monitor through computers programmed
with pattern-matchers. As long as a signal doesnít match one of the pre-set
patterns, it will pass through the pattern-matching sieve (even if it has an
intelligent source). If, on the other hand, it does match one of these
patterns, then, depending on the pattern matched, the SETI researchers may
have cause for celebration.
The SETI researchers in Contact found the following signal:
In this sequence of 1126 bits, 1ís correspond to beats and 0ís to pauses.
This sequence represents the prime numbers from 2 to 101,where a given prime
number is represented by the corresponding number of beats (i.e., 1ís), and
the individual prime numbers are separated by pauses (i.e., 0ís).
The SETI researchers in Contact took this signal as decisive confirmation of
an extraterrestrial intelligence. What is it about this signal that
decisively indicates design? Whenever we infer design, we must establish two
things--complexity and specification. Complexity ensures that the object in
question is not so simple that it can readily be explained by chance.
Specification ensures that this object exhibits the type of pattern that is
the trademark of intelligence.
To see why complexity is crucial for inferring design, consider the following
sequence of bits:
These are the first twelve bits in the previous sequence representing the
prime numbers 2, 3, and 5 respectively. Now it is a sure bet that no SETI
researcher, if confronted with this twelve-bit sequence, is going to contact
the science editor at the New York Times, hold a press conference, and
announce that an extraterrestrial intelligence has been discovered. No
headline is going to read, "Aliens Master First Three Prime
The problem is that this sequence is much too short (i.e., has too little
complexity) to establish that an extraterrestrial intelligence with knowledge
of prime numbers produced it. A randomly beating radio source might by chance
just happen to put out the sequence "110111011111." A sequence of
1126 bits representing the prime numbers from 2 to 101, however, is a
different story. Here the sequence is sufficiently long (i.e., has enough
complexity) to confirm that an extraterrestrial intelligence could have
Even so, complexity by itself isnít enough to eliminate chance and indicate
design. If I flip a coin 1,000 times, Iíll participate in a highly complex
(or what amounts to the same thing, highly improbable) event. Indeed, the
sequence I end up flipping will be one in a trillion trillion trillion . . .
, where the ellipsis needs twenty-two more "trillions." This
sequence of coin tosses wonít, however, trigger a design inference. Though
complex, this sequence wonít exhibit a suitable pattern. Contrast this with
the sequence representing the prime numbers from 2 to 101. Not only is this
sequence complex, it also embodies a suitable pattern. The SETI researcher
who in the movie Contact discovered this sequence put it this way: "This
isnít noise, this has structure."
What is a suitable pattern for inferring design? Not just any pattern will
do. Some patterns can legitimately be employed to infer design whereas others
cannot. It is easy to see the basic intuition here. Suppose an archer stands
fifty meters from a large wall with bow and arrow in hand. The wall, letís
say, is sufficiently large that the archer canít help but hit it. Now suppose
each time the archer shoots an arrow at the wall, the archer paints a target
around the arrow so that the arrow sits squarely in the bullís-eye. What can
be concluded from this scenario? Absolutely nothing about the archerís
ability as an archer. Yes, a pattern is being matched; but it is a pattern
fixed only after the arrow has been shot. The pattern is thus purely ad hoc.
But suppose instead the archer paints a fixed target on the wall and then
shoots at it. Suppose the archer shoots a hundred arrows, and each time hits
a perfect bullís-eye. What can be concluded from this second scenario?
Confronted with this second scenario we are obligated to infer that here is a
world-class archer, one whose shots cannot legitimately be explained by luck,
but rather must be explained by the archerís skill and mastery. Skill and
mastery are of course instances of design.
Like the archer who fixes the target first and then shoots at it,
statisticians set what is known as a rejection region prior to an experiment.
If the outcome of an experiment falls within a rejection region, the
statistician rejects the hypothesis that the outcome is due to chance. The
pattern doesnít need to be given prior to an event to imply design. Consider
the following cipher text:
nfuijolt ju jt mjlf b xfbtfm
Initially this looks like a random sequence of letters and spaces--initially
you lack any pattern for rejecting chance and inferring design.
But suppose next that someone comes along and tells you to treat this
sequence as a Caesar cipher, moving each letter one notch down the alphabet.
Behold, the sequence now reads,
methinks it is like a weasel
Even though the pattern is now given after the fact, it still is the right
sort of pattern for eliminating chance and inferring design. In contrast to
statistics, which always tries to identify its patterns before an experiment
is performed, cryptanalysis must discover its patterns after the fact. In
both instances, however, the patterns are suitable for inferring design.
Patterns divide into two types, those that in the presence of complexity
warrant a design inference and those that despite the presence of complexity
do not warrant a design inference. The first type of pattern is called a
specification, the second a fabrication. Specifications are the non-ad hoc
patterns that can legitimately be used to eliminate chance and warrant a
design inference. In contrast, fabrications are the ad hoc patterns that
cannot legitimately be used to warrant a design inference. This distinction
between specifications and fabrications can be made with full statistical
rigor (cf. The Design Inference).
Why does the complexity-specification criterion reliably detect design? To
answer this, we need to understand what it is about intelligent agents that
makes them detectable in the first place. The principal characteristic of
intelligent agency is choice. Whenever an intelligent agent acts, it chooses
from a range of competing possibilities.
This is true not just of humans and extraterrestrial intelligences, but of
animals as well. A rat navigating a maze must choose whether to go right or
left at various points in the maze. When SETI researchers attempt to discover
intelligence in the radio transmissions they are monitoring, they assume an
extraterrestrial intelligence could have chosen to transmit any number of
possible patterns, and then attempt to match the transmissions they observe
with the patterns they seek. Whenever a human being utters meaningful speech,
he chooses from a range of utterable sound-combinations. Intelligent agency
always entails discrimination--choosing certain things, ruling out others.
Given this characterization of intelligent agency, how do we recognize that
an intelligent agent has made a choice? A bottle of ink spills accidentally
onto a sheet of paper; someone takes a fountain pen and writes a message on a
sheet of paper. In both instances ink is applied to paper. In both instances
one among an almost infinite set of possibilities is realized. In both
instances one contingency is actualized and others are ruled out. Yet in one
instance we ascribe agency, in the other chance.
What is the relevant difference? Not only do we need to observe that a
contingency was actualized, but we ourselves need also to be able to specify
that contingency. The contingency must conform to an independently given
pattern, and we must be able independently to formulate that pattern. A
random ink blot is unspecifiable; a message written with ink on paper is
specifiable. Wittgenstein in Culture and Value made the same point:
"We tend to take the speech of a Chinese for inarticulate gurgling.
Someone who understands Chinese will recognize language in what he
In hearing a Chinese utterance, someone who understands Chinese not only
recognizes that one from a range of all possible utterances was actualized,
but he is also able to identify the utterance as coherent Chinese speech.
Contrast this with someone who does not understand Chinese. He will also
recognize that one from a range of possible utterances was actualized, but
this time, because he lacks the ability to understand Chinese, he is unable
to tell whether the utterance was coherent speech.
To someone who does not understand Chinese, the utterance will appear
gibberish. Gibberish--the utterance of nonsense syllables uninterpretable
within any natural language--always actualizes one utterance from the range
of possible utterances. Nevertheless, gibberish, by corresponding to nothing
we can understand in any language, also cannot be specified. As a result,
gibberish is never taken for intelligent communication, but always for what
Wittgenstein calls "inarticulate gurgling."
Experimental psychologists who study animal learning and behavior employ a
similar method. To learn a task an animal must acquire the ability to
actualize behaviors suitable for the task as well as the ability to rule out
behaviors unsuitable for the task. Moreover, for a psychologist to recognize
that an animal has learned a task, it is necessary not only to observe the
animal making the appropriate discrimination, but also to specify this
Thus to recognize whether a rat has successfully learned how to traverse a
maze, a psychologist must first specify which sequence of right and left
turns conducts the rat out of the maze. No doubt, a rat randomly wandering a
maze also discriminates a sequence of right and left turns. But by randomly
wandering the maze, the rat gives no indication that it can discriminate the
appropriate sequence of right and left turns for exiting the maze.
Consequently, the psychologist studying the rat will have no reason to think
the rat has learned how to traverse the maze. Only if the rat executes the
sequence of right and left turns specified by the psychologist will the
psychologist recognize that the rat has learned how to traverse the maze.
Note that complexity is implicit here as well. To see this, consider again a
rat traversing a maze, but now take a very simple maze in which two right
turns conduct the rat out of the maze. How will a psychologist studying the
rat determine whether it has learned to exit the maze? Just putting the rat
in the maze will not be enough. Because the maze is so simple, the rat could
by chance just happen to take two right turns, and thereby exit the maze. The
psychologist will therefore be uncertain whether the rat actually learned to
exit this maze, or whether the rat just got lucky.
But contrast this now with a complicated maze in which a rat must take just
the right sequence of left and right turns to exit the maze. Suppose the rat
must take one hundred appropriate right and left turns, and that any mistake
will prevent the rat from exiting the maze. A psychologist who sees the rat
take no erroneous turns and in short order exit the maze will be convinced
that the rat has indeed learned how to exit the maze, and that this was not
This general scheme for recognizing intelligent agency is but a thinly
disguised form of the complexity-specification criterion. In general, to
recognize intelligent agency we must observe a choice among competing
possibilities, note which possibilities were not chosen, and then be able to
specify the possibility that was chosen. Whatís more, the competing
possibilities that were ruled out must be live possibilities, and
sufficiently numerous (hence complex) so that specifying the possibility that
was chosen cannot be attributed to chance.
All the elements in this general scheme for recognizing intelligent agency
(i.e., choosing, ruling out, and specifying) find their counterpart in the
complexity-specification criterion. It follows that this criterion formalizes
what we have been doing right along when we recognize intelligent agency. The
complexity-specification criterion pinpoints what we need to be looking for
when we detect design.
Perhaps the most compelling evidence for design in biology comes from
biochemistry. In a recent issue of Cell (February 8, 1998),Bruce
Alberts, president of the National Academy of Sciences, remarked, "The
entire cell can be viewed as a factory that contains an elaborate network of
interlocking assembly lines, each of which is composed of large protein
machines. . . . Why do we call the large protein assemblies that underlie
cell function machines? Precisely because, like the machines invented by
humans to deal efficiently with the macroscopic world, these protein
assemblies contain highly coordinated moving parts."
Even so, Alberts sides with the majority of biologists in regarding the
cellís marvelous complexity as only apparently designed. The Lehigh
University biochemist Michael Behe disagrees. In Darwinís Black Box
(1996), Behe presents a powerful argument for actual design in the cell.
Central to his argument is his notion of irreducible complexity. A system is
irreducibly complex if it consists of several interrelated parts so that
removing even one part completely destroys the systemís function. As an
example of irreducible complexity Behe offers the standard mousetrap. A
mousetrap consists of a platform, a hammer, a spring, a catch, and a holding
bar. Remove any one of these five components, and it is impossible to
construct a functional mousetrap.
Irreducible complexity needs to be contrasted with cumulative complexity. A
system is cumulatively complex if the components of the system can be
arranged sequentially so that the successive removal of components never
leads to the complete loss of function. An example of a cumulatively complex
system is a city. It is possible successively to remove people and services
from a city until one is down to a tiny village--all without losing the sense
of community, the cityís "function."
From this characterization of cumulative complexity, it is clear that the
Darwinian mechanism of natural selection and random mutation can readily
account for cumulative complexity. Darwinís account of how organisms
gradually become more complex as favorable adaptations accumulate is the flip
side of the city in our example from which people and services are removed.
In both cases, the simpler and more complex versions both work, only less or
But can the Darwinian mechanism account for irreducible complexity?
Certainly, if selection acts with reference to a goal, it can produce
irreducible complexity. Take Beheís mousetrap. Given the goal of constructing
a mousetrap, one can specify a goal-directed selection process that in turn
selects a platform, a hammer, a spring, a catch, and a holding bar, and at
the end puts all these components together to form a functional mousetrap.
Given a pre-specified goal, selection has no difficulty producing irreducibly
But the selection operating in biology is Darwinian natural selection. And by
definition this form of selection operates without goals, has neither plan
nor purpose, and is wholly undirected. The great appeal of Darwinís selection
mechanism was, after all, that it would eliminate teleology from biology. Yet
by making selection an undirected process, Darwin drastically reduced the
type of complexity biological systems could manifest. Henceforth biological
systems could manifest only cumulative complexity, not irreducible
As Behe explains in Darwinís Black Box: "An irreducibly complex
system cannot be produced . . . by slight, successive modifications of a
precursor system, because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that
is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional. . .. Since natural
selection can only choose systems that are already working, then if a bio
logical system cannot be produced gradually it would have to arise as an
integrated unit, in one fell swoop, for natural selection to have anything to
For an irreducibly complex system, function is attained only when all
components of the system are in place simultaneously. It follows that natural
selection, if it is going to produce an irreducibly complex system, has to
produce it all at once or not at all. This would not be a problem if the
systems in question were simple. But theyíre not. The irreducibly complex
biochemical systems Behe considers are protein machines consisting of
numerous distinct proteins, each indispensable for function; together they
are beyond what natural selection can muster in a single generation.
One such irreducibly complex biochemical system that Behe considers is the
bacterial flagellum. The flagellum is a whip-like rotary motor that enables a
bacterium to navigate through its environment. The flagellum includes an
acid-powered rotary engine, a stator, O-rings, bushings, and a drive shaft.
The intricate machinery of this molecular motor requires approximately fifty
proteins. Yet the absence of any one of these proteins results in the
complete loss of motor function.
The irreducible complexity of such biochemical systems cannot be explained by
the Darwinian mechanism, nor indeed by any naturalistic evolutionary
mechanism proposed to date. Moreover, because irreducible complexity occurs
at the biochemical level, there is no more fundamental level of biological
analysis to which the irreducible complexity of biochemical systems can be
referred, and at which a Darwinian analysis in terms of selection and
mutation can still hope for success. Undergirding biochemistry is ordinary
chemistry and physics, neither of which can account for biological
information. Also, whether a biochemical system is irreducibly complex is a
fully empirical question: Individually knock out each protein constituting a
biochemical system to determine whether function is lost. If so, we are
dealing with an irreducibly complex system. Experiments of this sort are
routine in biology.
The connection between Beheís notion of irreducible complexity and my
complexity-specification criterion is now straightforward. The irreducibly
complex systems Behe considers require numerous components specifically
adapted to each other and each necessary for function. That means they are
complex in the sense required by the complexity-specification criterion.
Specification in biology always makes reference in some way to an organismís
function. An organism is a functional system comprising many functional
subsystems. The functionality of organisms can be specified in any number of
ways. Arno Wouters does so in terms of the viability of whole organisms,
Michael Behe in terms of the minimal function of biochemical systems. Even
Richard Dawkins will admit that life is specified functionally, for him in
terms of the reproduction of genes. Thus in The Blind Watchmaker
Dawkins writes, "Complicated things have some quality, specifiable in
advance, that is highly unlikely to have been acquired by random chance
alone. In the case of living things, the quality that is specified in advance
is . . . the ability to propagate genes in reproduction."
So there exists a reliable criterion for detecting design strictly from
observational features of the world. This criterion belongs to probability
and complexity theory, not to metaphysics and theology. And although it
cannot achieve logical demonstration, it does achieve a statistical
justification so compelling as to demand assent. This criterion is relevant
to biology. When applied to the complex, information-rich structures of
biology, it detects design. In particular, we can say with the weight of
science behind us that the complexity-specification criterion shows Michael
Beheís irreducibly complex biochemical systems to be designed.
What are we to make of these developments? Many scientists remain
unconvinced. Even if we have a reliable criterion for detecting design, and
even if that criterion tells us that biological systems are designed, it
seems that determining a biological system to be designed is akin to
shrugging our shoulders and saying God did it. The fear is that admitting
design as an explanation will stifle scientific inquiry, that scientists will
stop investigating difficult problems because they have a sufficient
But design is not a science stopper. Indeed, design can foster inquiry where
traditional evolutionary approaches obstruct it. Consider the term "junk
DNA." Implicit in this term is the view that because the genome of an
organism has been cobbled together through along, undirected evolutionary
process, the genome is a patchwork of which only limited portions are
essential to the organism. Thus on an evolutionary view we expect a lot of
useless DNA. If, on the other hand, organisms are designed, we expect DNA, as
much as possible, to exhibit function. And indeed, the most recent findings
suggest that designating DNA as "junk" merely cloaks our current
lack of knowledge about function. For instance, in a recent issue of the Journal
of Theoretical Biology, John Bodnar describes how "non-coding DNA in
eukaryotic genomes encodes a language which programs organismal growth and
development." Design encourages scientists to look for function where
evolution discourages it.
Or consider vestigial organs that later are found to have a function after
all. Evolutionary biology texts often cite the human coccyx as a
"vestigial structure" that hearkens back to vertebrate ancestors
with tails. Yet if one looks at a recent edition of Grayís Anatomy, one finds
that the coccyx is a crucial point of contact with muscles that attach to the
pelvic floor. The phrase "vestigial structure" often merely cloaks
our current lack of knowledge about function. The human appendix, formerly
thought to be vestigial, is now known to be a functioning component of the
Admitting design into science can only enrich the scientific enterprise. All
the tried and true tools of science will remain intact. But design adds a new
tool to the scientistís explanatory tool chest. Moreover, design raises a
whole new set of research questions. Once we know that something is designed,
we will want to know how it was produced, to what extent the design is
optimal, and what is its purpose. Note that we can detect design without
knowing what something was designed for. There is a room at the Smithsonian
filled with objects that are obviously designed but whose specific purpose
anthropologists do not understand.
Design also implies constraints. An object that is designed functions within
certain constraints. Transgress those constraints and the object functions
poorly or breaks. Moreover, we can discover those constraints empirically by
seeing what does and doesnít work. This simple insight has tremendous implications
not just for science but also for ethics. If humans are in fact designed,
then we can expect psychosocial constraints to be hardwired into us.
Transgress those constraints, and we as well as our society will suffer.
There is plenty of empirical evidence to suggest that many of the attitudes
and behaviors our society promotes undermine human flourishing. Design
promises to reinvigorate that ethical stream running from Aristotle through
Aquinas known as natural law.
By admitting design into science, we do much more than simply critique
scientific reductionism. Scientific reductionism holds that everything is
reducible to scientific categories. Scientific reductionism is self-refuting
and easily seen to be self-refuting. The existence of the world, the laws by
which the world operates, the intelligibility of the world, and the
unreasonable effectiveness of mathematics for comprehending the world are
just a few of the questions that science raises, but that science is
incapable of answering.
Simply critiquing scientific reductionism, however, is not enough. Critiquing
reductionism does nothing to change science. And it is science that must
change. By eschewing design, science has for too long operated with an
inadequate set of conceptual categories. This has led to a constricted vision
of reality, skewing how science understands not just the world, but also
Martin Heidegger remarked in Being and Time that "a scienceís
level of development is determined by the extent to which it is capable of a
crisis in its basic concepts." The basic concepts with which science has
operated these last several hundred years are no longer adequate, certainly
not in an information age, certainly not in an age where design is
empirically detectable. Science faces a crisis of basic concepts. The way out
of this crisis is to expand science to include design. To admit design into
science is to liberate science, freeing it from restrictions that can no
longer be justified.
William A. Dembski, a mathematician and philosopher, is a fellow of the
Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture at the Seattle-based Discovery
Institute. His new book, The Design Inference, has just been published
by Cambridge University Press.