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Debating Design


  • Page extent: 422 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.62 kg


 (ISBN-13: 9780521709903)

In this book, first published in 2004, William Dembski, Michael Ruse, and other prominent philosophers provide a comprehensive balanced overview of the debate concerning biological origins - a controversial dialectic since Darwin published The Origin of Species in 1859. Invariably, the source of controversy has been 'design'. Is the appearance of design in organisms (as exhibited in their functional complexity) the result of purely natural forces acting without prevision or teleology? Or, does the appearance of design signify genuine prevision and teleology, and, if so, is that design empirically detectable and thus open to scientific inquiry? Four main positions have emerged in response to these questions: Darwinism, self-organisation, theistic evolution, and intelligent design. The contributors to this volume define their respective positions in an accessible style, inviting readers to draw their own conclusions. Two introductory essays furnish a historical overview of the debate.

• One of the hottest topics in current philosophical thinking • Only well-balanced, even-handed overview of the debate about intelligent design and biological origins • Some of the leading contributors to this debate are featured in the volume (Elliott Sober, Robert Pennock, Paul Davies, John Polkinghorne, Keith Ward, Richard Swinburne, Michael Behe)


Introduction: General introduction William Dembski and Michael Ruse; The argument from design: a brief history Michael Ruse; Who's afraid of ID? A survey of the intelligent design movement Angus Menuge; Part I. Darwinism: 1. Design with designer: Darwin's greatest discovery Francisco Ayala; 2. The flagellum unspun: the collapse of 'irreducible complexity' Kenneth Miller; 3. The design argument Elliott Sober; 4. DNA by design? Stephen Meyer and the return of the god hypothesis Robert Pennock; Part II. Complex Self-Organization: 5. Prolegomenon to a general biology Stuart Kauffman; 6. Darwinism, design and complex systems dynamics David Depew and Bruce Weber; 7. Emergent complexity, teleology, and the arrow of time Paul Davies; 8. The emergence of biological value James Barham; Part III. Theistic Evolution: 9. Darwin, design and divine providence John Haught; 10. The inbuilt potentiality of creation John Polkinghorne; 11. Theistic evolution Keith Ward; 12. Intelligent design: some geological, historical and theological questions Michael Roberts; 13. The argument from laws of nature reassessed Richard Swinburne; Part IV. Intelligent Design: 14. The logical underpinnings of intelligent design William Dembski; 15. Information, entropy and the origin of life Walter Bradley; 16. Irreducible complexity: obstacle to Darwinian evolution Michael Behe; 17. The Cambrian information explosion: evidence for intelligent design Stephen Meyer.


'The topic is hot; the editors are superb; the cast of contributors is star-studded.' Ronald Numbers, The University of Wisconsin, Madison

'The editors have done a fine job in amassing the leaders of various fields, all of whom are very well known - theologians, scientists, mathematicians and philosophers.' Ronald Trigg, University of Warwick

'The two editors have put together an excellent team to discuss a hot topic … I would expect this to become a standard work of reference on the issue of 'intelligent design'.' John Brooke, University of Oxford

'No other collection offers a comprehensive, balanced, accessible overview like this.'

'The book is highly recommended.' Philosophy in Review

'It is a masterly exposition of the issue of design in the biological context … It will serve as a useful reference work in the coming years.' Milltown Studies


William Dembski, Michael Ruse, Angus Menuge, Francisco Ayala, Kenneth Miller, Elliott Sober, Stephen Meyer, Robert Pennock, Stuart Kauffman, David Depew, Bruce Weber, Paul Davies, James Barham, John Haught, John Polkinghorne, Keith Ward, Michael Roberts, Richard Swinburne, Walter Bradley, Michael Behe

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