Original: Grist for the EF mill, by Matt Brauer, posted on March 25, 2004 06:36 AM.
Dembski's "Explanatory Filter" (EF) claims to be a reliable technique for detecting design. To date, the EF is the only method presented by the "science" of ID. How well does it do? Nobody knows. It has been applied precisely once, by Dembski in his book No Free Lunch. And that application was a dismal failure.
Before going into the reasons that the EF is a psuedo-algorithm, I'd like to present an example of what Dawkins calls a "designoid," that is, something that appears designed but isn't. A "false positive" for the EF, if you will.
Original: Where exactly can I find this controversy again?, Matt Brauer, posted on March 24, 2004 03:35 PM.
The battle-cry of the IDists, "teach the controversy!" strongly presupposes that there is a controversy worthy of teaching. It is true that there is a controversy in evolutionary biology, in the political sense. But this is not what legal scholars DeWolf (et al.) mean when they use the term. They would like to convince the majority of citizens (or the minority that sit on school boards) that this is an issue of fairness. According to the truism there are two sides to every coin, why not "teach the controversy" and let the students make reasoned opinions for themselves? Why not use "the controversy" to teach about the process of science?
The best reason not to teach the "origins controversy" is that it simply is nowhere to be found. Genuine scientific controversies -- the important and useful ones -- take up a huge volume of space in the scientific literature. Even the controversies sparked by wrong ideas can be tracked as they generate discussion among the members of the scientific community. If no-one is talking about it, it's not controversial.
Original: You Missed a Spot, Dr. Dembski
William A. Dembski recently published a book, The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions About Intelligent Design. The subtitle offers a promissory note, and so do several of the blurbs on the dust jacket and front matter to the effect that Dembski covers herein all the criticisms that have been offered about "intelligent design" and Dembski's particular contribution, "specified complexity". This is untrue, as I will attempt to demonstrate.
A number of the contributors to the Panda's Thumb weblog review chapters from "intelligent design" advocate Jonathan Wells's 2006 book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design. The book proved to be a farrago of quote mines, obfuscation, misleading rhetoric, and just plain false claims.
Alan Gishlick, Nick Matzke, and Wesley R. Elsberry critique the paper published by "intelligent design" advocate Stephen C. Meyer in Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington in August, 2004. They conclude that Meyer's review paper presents an incomplete, misleading, and false impression of the biological evidence, and that his conclusion that "intelligent design" is supported because evolutionary alternatives are eliminated is illegitimate.
Ian F. Musgrave, Steve Reuland, and Reed A. Cartwright examine the claims of the Michael Behe and David Snoke paper published in Protein Science in 2004. While the goal of the Behe and Snoke paper is to generate impressive-looking improbabilities for the evolutionary development of a class of biochemical features, it turns out that use of biologically realistic numbers in their model shows that evolution is almost certain to develop them.
Richard Wein's review of No Free Lunch argues that Dembski's case is nothing more than a god-of-the-gaps argument dressed up in misleading pseudoscientific mumbo jumbo.
Read the full article PDF (off-site).
Richard Wein replies to William Dembski's reply to Wein's Not a Free Lunch But a Box of Chocolates.
Matt Inlay responds to the immunity chapter, Chapter 6, of Michael Behe's Darwin's Black Box.
Mark Perakh evaluates William Dembski's presentation at the CSICOP conference in Burbank, CA on June 21st, 2002.