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The Design Revolution: Answering the Toughest Questions About Intelligent Design Paperback – January 13, 2004

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Dembski, a philosopher/mathematician who has been an important theorist for the intelligent design movement, handles a wide range of questions and objections that should give both fans and detractors of ID plenty to chew on. The book's timing is appropriate; it is only in the past few years that ID, initially dismissed by some scientists as "creationism in a cheap tuxedo," has also begun to attract a more sophisticated brand of criticism. These critiques come not only from evolutionary biologists and philosophers of biology, but also from Christian theologians who have made peace with Darwinian evolution. While most of the core arguments of this book will be familiar to readers of the ID literature, they are presented here in (if one may say so) more highly evolved form: explanations are clearer, objections are borne more patiently, distinctions and concessions are artfully made. Without denying the theological and cultural implications of ID, Dembski is more concerned with ID's future as a scientific enterprise: a point where despite some successes the movement continues to struggle. The book's format-responding to individual questions in 44 short chapters-makes for a clear, if repetitive, read. Chapters can focus on a single issue and adopt an appropriate tone: basic questions get basic replies, pointed objections get forceful rejoinders, and technical questions allow Dembski to unleash a faculty for technical detail that can only be called impressive. The latter may leave some general-interest readers in the dark, but readers with the requisite background will appreciate the subtlety, insight, and occasional quirkiness of Dembski's theoretical work.
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


"Dembski's Intelligent Design is a centerpiece in the current renewal of intellectual responsibility among thoughtful Christians. Everyone with interest in and responsibility for how science and theology interrelate should study it carefully. This is especially true for leaders in education." -- --Dallas Willard, professor of philosophy, University of Southern California --This text refers to the MP3 CD edition.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 324 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Books (January 13, 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830832165
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830832163
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 15.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (74 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,062,325 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

A mathematician and philosopher, William A. Dembski is Research Professor in Philosophy at Southwestern Seminary in Ft. Worth, where he directs its Center for Cultural Engagement. He is also a senior fellow with Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture in Seattle. Previously he was the Carl F. H. Henry Professor of Theology and Science at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, where he founded its Center for Theology and Science. Before that he was Associate Research Professor in the Conceptual Foundations of Science at Baylor University, where he headed the first intelligent design think-tank at a major research university: The Michael Polanyi Center.

Dr. Dembski has taught at Northwestern University, the University of Notre Dame, and the University of Dallas. He has done postdoctoral work in mathematics at MIT, in physics at the University of Chicago, and in computer science at Princeton University. A graduate of the University of Illinois at Chicago where he earned a B.A. in psychology, an M.S. in statistics, and a Ph.D. in philosophy, he also received a doctorate in mathematics from the University of Chicago in 1988 and a master of divinity degree from Princeton Theological Seminary in 1996. He has held National Science Foundation graduate and postdoctoral fellowships.

Dr. Dembski has published articles in mathematics, engineering, philosophy, and theology journals and is the author/editor of more than a dozen books. In The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance Through Small Probabilities (Cambridge University Press, 1998), he examines the design argument in a post-Darwinian context and analyzes the connections linking chance, probability, and intelligent causation. The sequel to The Design Inference appeared with Rowman & Littlefield in 2002 and critiques Darwinian and other naturalistic accounts of evolution. It is titled No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence. Dr. Dembski has edited several influential anthologies, including Uncommon Dissent: Intellectuals Who Find Darwinism Unconvincing (ISI, 2004) and Debating Design: From Darwin to DNA (Cambridge University Press, 2004, co-edited with Michael Ruse). His newest book, The End of Christianity, differs markedly from his others, attempting to understand how the Fall of humanity can be real in light of modern science.

As interest in intelligent design has grown in the wider culture, Dr. Dembski has assumed the role of public intellectual. In addition to lecturing around the world at colleges and universities, he is frequently interviewed on the radio and television. His work has been cited in numerous newspaper and magazine articles, including three front page stories in the New York Times as well as the August 15, 2005 Time magazine cover story on intelligent design. He has appeared on the BBC, NPR (Diane Rehm, etc.), PBS (Inside the Law with Jack Ford; Uncommon Knowledge with Peter Robinson), CSPAN2, CNN, Fox News, ABC Nightline, and the Daily Show with Jon Stewart.

[Photo by Laszlo Bencze]

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

159 of 203 people found the following review helpful By Zach Stearns on December 18, 2004
Format: Hardcover
I am simply disheartened by the dearth of actual consideration displayed by many reviewers of this book. One cannot use this book review as a chance to rant about Dembski's past work and call it a book review. The reason of The Design Revolution is to handle the same criticisms that are cited in many of the Amazon reviews of this book. While I will give some of my opinions on the book, I first find it important to address some issues.

For instance, do not review this book if you have not read it. Just because one does not feel that intelligent design (ID) satisfies his/her a priori dogmatisms does not mean that he/she has the right to reject this book, or even intelligent design for that matter. Doing so would be a prime example of apriorism, a logical fallacy. It is surely ironic that virtually all of those here who pass off this book as drivel, without even considering the content of it, do so while practically proclaiming Charles Darwin -- who said that "A fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question" -- is correct. Ah, but the critic may reply with some silly "objections."

The easiest way for the fundamentalist Darwinist to evade this attack is to say that there are no facts or arguments behind intelligent design. They use the fact that Dembski is a Christian to constitute their decision to impulsively reject the book as creationist propaganda. This action is not only illogical, it is also intrinsically unscientific, since the act refuses to weigh the evidence supporting their claim that it is creationist propaganda. Once again, this is quite ironic.
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14 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Carl Gustafson on January 5, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
People read books on intelligent design and evolution from one of two motives that I can see: to reinforce their worldview, or to understand their opponent for the purpose of dismantling his position. There may be a few reading from curiosity but they are obviously in the minority as anyone can see from the reviews of books on design and evolution. The readers either give five stars or one star to these kinds of books, which is absurd. The stars are being awarded on the basis of subject, not merit as literature or craftsmanship. I read this book because as I look around the world it seems like it is designed. I wanted to read scientifically sound logic to support my observations. This book does do that and does it well. But I don't give it five stars because it lacks passion and style. While I don't want an arrogant, puffed up, counter puncher to the condescending style of Richard Dawkins, I would like to see some flair and maybe a competitive edge. But that's just me.

Dembski manages to explain things in relatively understandable scientific language so a non scientist has a chance of comprehension, and his arguments are cogent and tight, without the feel of a preacher hiding in there somewhere. I found it to be fair, mature, intelligent, and unemotional. While I'd like see at least a hint of panache, maybe some humor, or a cuss word or two, I imagine one has to write on these subjects like an academician to have credibility among scientists. At least I did get through this one, unlike some of the stodgy, stilted, esoteric, self-indulgence some of these guys hand out that has to be read with a hammer and chisel applied to the impenetrable vocabulary. But I never really got a sense of to whom Dembski was writing. It seems to be "just written" and then tossed out to whoever.
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117 of 158 people found the following review helpful By Doc Walker on September 3, 2004
Format: Hardcover
As a professional in the scientific research field, I find this book challenging intellectually and stimulating to myself and my colleagues. The main question for those rejecting ID and embracing its alternative DD (Dumb Determinism, or Deterministic Developmentalism) is: which postulation administers the most satisfactory answer to why of necessity there has been an unbroken, uninterrupted sequential, cumulative increase (Quality and Quality) in useful information in our universe? We deride the notion of Spontaneous Generation (in no-time or like time-lapse photography or fast-forwarding an accelerated video), but have no problem with the identical concept in magnified astronomical time-delay or decelerated super-slo-mo trillions of frames over billions of years? Instantaneous or Spontaneous or Extemporaneous or 'spur of the moment',nope. Extenuaneous, Superannuated, 'spur of the megatemporal', yep.

Both ID and DD deal with information creation, identification, evaluation and decisioned opting in or out as functional or non-functional. Both deal with sorting. Both deal with selectivity of data. The other question for DD (that ID answers) is: how does the universe get from a-Necessity to Necessity? How does it get from No-Chance to Chance? Needlessness to Need? Neither Random nor non-Random to either or both??

ID deals with Big Beginning; DD deals with Big Banging. Question for DD: at Absolute Zero pre matter/energy/space-time, what triggered a non-existent 'Bigness' to 'Bangness' status? Before anything was, theoretically there was no chance, no need, no will, no intent, no necessity, no random, no concept of anything, no choices, no options for natural selection to operate from, no nature, no selectionability.
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