William A. Dembski

William A. Dembski
William A. Dembski
Born July 18, 1960 (1960-07-18) (age 51)
Chicago, Illinois
Education University of Illinois at Chicago (B.A., M.S., Ph.D.),
University of Chicago (M.S., Ph.D.),
Princeton Theological Seminary (M.Div.)
Occupation Research professor in philosophy
Employer Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
Known for Intelligent design, specified complexity
Notable works "The Design Inference"
Religion Evangelical Christian
Spouse Jana L. Dembski
Parents William J. Dembski and Ursula Dembski

William Albert "Bill" Dembski (born July 18, 1960) is an American proponent of intelligent design, well known for promoting the concept of specified complexity. He is currently a Research Professor of Philosophy and Director of the Center for Cultural Engagement at the Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary at Fort Worth, Texas, and a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture. He is the author of a number of books about intelligent design, including The Design Inference (1998), Intelligent Design: The Bridge between Science and Theology (1999), The Design Revolution (2004), The End of Christianity (2009), and Intelligent Design Uncensored (2010).

The concept of intelligent design involves the argument that an intelligent mind is responsible for the complexity of life, and that it can be detected empirically.[1] Dembski postulates that probability theory can be used to prove irreducible complexity, or what he calls specified complexity.[2] Intelligent design—and Dembski's concept of specified complexity—are seen by the scientific community as a form of conservative Christian creationism, attempting to portray itself as science.[3]



Dembski was born in Chicago, Illinois, the only child of Catholic parents, his mother an art dealer and his father a college professor and lecturer. His father held a D.Sc in biology from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and taught evolutionary biology; while growing up Dembski was neither particularly religious nor did he question the theory of evolution.[4][5] He attended an all-male Catholic preparatory school in Chicago. Dembski finished high school a year early, excelling in math and finishing a calculus course in one summer. After high school he attended the University of Chicago. There, Dembski experienced educational and personal difficulties, struggling with the advanced courses and finding the unfamiliar social milieu of college challenging. Dembski dropped out of school and worked at his mother's art business while reading works on creationism and the Bible. Finding the creationist works interesting in their challenge of evolution but their literal interpretations lacking, Dembski returned to school at the University of Illinois at Chicago, studying statistics. It was in 1988 at a conference on randomness that Dembski began to believe that there was purpose, order, and design in the universe due to the intervention of God.[5] Remaining in academia, Dembski ultimately completed an undergraduate degree in psychology (1981, University of Illinois at Chicago) and masters degrees in statistics, mathematics, and philosophy (1983, University of Illinois at Chicago; 1985, University of Chicago; 1993, University of Illinois at Chicago respectively), two PhDs, one in mathematics and one in philosophy (1988, University of Chicago; 1996, University of Illinois at Chicago respectively), and a Master of Divinity in theology at the Princeton Theological Seminary (1996).[6]

At the Princeton Theological Seminary, Dembski met his future wife Jana.[7] Dissatisfied with what he called the "free-swinging academic style" of the school, Dembski also was involved a group known as the "Charles Hodge Society". Based on the works of the 19th century thinker Charles Hodge, the group was devoted to strengthening the faith of students faced with what members believed to be the "theological disarray" of the times, and to providing an example of how to oppose "false and destructive ideas." It published a journal (a recreation of the Princeton Theological Review) and met with considerable opposition on the campus, facing two lawsuits, threats of violence, accusations of racism and sexism; being denied funding; and hearing that membership "jeopardized their academic advancement".[8]

Dembski and Jana have one daughter and two sons. One of his sons is autistic and Dembski has attributed some of his son's problems to vaccines.[9]

Early opposition to evolution

Dembski holds that his knowledge of statistics and his skepticism concerning evolutionary theory led him to believe that the extraordinary diversity of life was statistically unlikely to have been produced by natural selection.[5] He presented these thoughts in his 1991 paper 'Randomness by Design', which appeared in the journal Noûs.[10] These ideas led to his notion of specified complexity, which he developed in The Design Inference, a revision of his PhD dissertation in philosophy.

Lawyer Phillip E. Johnson's first book Darwin on Trial (published in 1991) attracted a group of scholars[11] who shared his view that the exclusion of supernatural explanations by the scientific method was unfair and had led to the Edwards v. Aguillard ruling that teaching creation science in public schools was unconstitutional. Dembski was part of that group at a symposium at Southern Methodist University in Dallas in March 1992, before they came to call themselves "The Wedge".[12] In 1987, the phrase "intelligent design" replaced "creation science" in drafts of a book, Of Pandas and People that was intended for secondary-school students. The phrase referred to the idea that life was created through unspecified processes by an intelligent but unidentified designer. The book asserted that there was a logical need for such a designer because of the appearance of design in biological organisms. This replacement was intended to evade the Edwards v. Aguillard ruling. The book was published in 1989 amidst campaigning by the publisher for the introduction of "intelligent design" into school science classes.

Biochemist Michael Behe, another member of "The Wedge", contributed the argument that he subsequently called "irreducible complexity" (IC) to a subsequent edition of Pandas in 1993. The book contained concepts which Dembski later elaborated in his treatment of "specified complexity" (SC).[13]

Discovery Institute

After completing graduate school in 1996, Dembski was unable to secure a university position; from then until 1999 he received what he calls "a standard academic salary" of $40,000 a year as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture (CSC). "I was one of the early beneficiaries of Discovery largess," says Dembski.[14] As of 2008, Dembski serves as a senior fellow at the CSC,[15] where he plays a central role in the center's extensive public and political campaigns advancing the concept of intelligent design and its teaching in public schools through its "Teach the Controversy" campaign as part of the institute's wedge strategy.

Baylor University

Michael Polanyi Center controversy

In 1999, Dembski was invited by Robert B. Sloan, President of Baylor University, to establish the Michael Polanyi Center at the university. Named after the Hungarian physical chemist and philosopher Michael Polanyi (1891–1976), Dembski described it as "the first intelligent design think tank at a research university". Dembski had known Sloan for about three years, having taught Sloan's daughter at a Christian study summer camp not far from Waco, Texas. Sloan was the first Baptist minister to serve as Baylor's president in over 30 years, had read some of Dembski's work and liked it; according to Dembski, Sloan "made it clear that he wanted to get me on the faculty in some way".[16]

The Polanyi Center was established without much publicity in October 1999, initially consisting of two people — Dembski and a like-minded colleague, Bruce L. Gordon, who were hired directly by Sloan without going through the usual channels of a search committee and departmental consultation. The vast majority of Baylor staff did not know of the center's existence until its website went online, and the center stood outside of the existing religion, science, and philosophy departments.

The center's mission, and the lack of consultation with the Baylor faculty, became the immediate subject of controversy. The faculty feared for the university's reputation – it has historically been well regarded for its contributions to mainstream science – and scientists outside the university questioned whether Baylor had "gone fundamentalist".[16] Faculty members pointed out that the university's existing interdisciplinary Institute for Faith and Learning was already addressing questions about the relationship between science and religion, making the existence of the Polanyi Center somewhat redundant. In April 2000, Dembski hosted a conference on "naturalism in science" sponsored by the Templeton Foundation and the hub of the intelligent design movement, the Discovery Institute, seeking to address the question "Is there anything beyond nature?". Most of the Baylor faculty boycotted the conference.

A few days later, the Baylor faculty senate voted by a margin of 27–2 to ask the administration to dissolve the center and merge it with the Institute for Faith and Learning. President Sloan refused, citing issues of censorship and academic integrity, but agreed to convene an outside committee to review the center. The committee recommended setting up a faculty advisory panel to oversee the science and religion components of the program, dropping the name "Michael Polanyi" and reconstituting the center as part of the Institute for Faith and Learning.[17] These recommendations were accepted in full by the university administration.

In a subsequent press release, Dembski asserted that the committee had given an "unqualified affirmation of my own work on intelligent design", that its report "marks the triumph of intelligent design as a legitimate form of academic inquiry" and that "dogmatic opponents of design who demanded that the Center be shut down have met their Waterloo. Baylor University is to be commended for remaining strong in the face of intolerant assaults on freedom of thought and expression." [18]

Dembski's remarks were criticized by other members of the Baylor faculty, who protested that they were both an unjustified attack on his critics at Baylor and a false assertion that the university endorsed Dembski's controversial views on intelligent design. Charles Weaver, a professor of psychology and neuroscience at Baylor and one of the most vocal critics of the Polanyi Center, commented: "In academic arguments, we don't seek utter destruction and defeat of our opponents. We don't talk about Waterloos."

President Sloan asked Dembski to withdraw his press release, but Dembski refused, accusing the university of "intellectual McCarthyism" (borrowing a phrase that Sloan himself had used when they first tried to dissolve the center). He declared that the university's action had been taken "in the utmost of bad faith ... thereby providing the fig leaf of justification for my removal."[19] Professor Michael Beaty, director of the Institute for Faith and Learning, said that Dembski's remarks violated the spirit of cooperation that the committee had advocated and stated that "Dr. Dembski's actions after the release of the report compromised his ability to serve as director."[20] Dembski was removed as the center's director, although he remained an associate research professor until May 2005. He was not asked to teach any courses in that time and instead worked from home, writing books and speaking around the country. "In a sense, Baylor did me a favor," he said. "I had a five-year sabbatical."[21]

Seminary teaching

From 1999 to 2005, he was on the faculty of Baylor University, where he was a focus of attention and controversy. During the academic year 2005-6, he was briefly the Carl F. H. Henry Professor of Theology and Science at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky, as well as the first director of the school's new Center for Theology and Science (since replaced by prominent creationist Kurt Wise).[22] The seminary teaches creationism but its professors vary on the details, with most adhering to the Young Earth creationist viewpoint of a relatively recent creation which occurred literally as described in Genesis; Dembski does not hold to Young Earth creationism. On his position at Southern, Dembski also remarked that "Theology is where my ultimate passion is and I think that is where I can uniquely contribute."[23] He left Southern in May 2006.[24] Starting in June 2006 he became a professor in philosophy at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. Since taking up a position within Southwestern's School of Theology in June 2006, Dembski has taught a number of courses within its Department of Philosophy of Religion.[25][26] For some of his courses, he requires that his students promote Intelligent Design on "hostile" websites for course credit.[26] The Southern Baptist Convention operates both seminaries.

In September 2007, the SWBTS hosted a conference on 'Intelligent Design in Business Practice', presented by Dembski, Acton Institute theologian Jay Richards, and three business academics presently or formerly teaching at universities in the Southern United States.[27]

Mims–Pianka controversy

On April 2, 2006, Dembski stated on his blog that he reported Eric Pianka to the Department of Homeland Security because he and fellow Discovery Institute Fellow Forrest Mims felt that Pianka's speech while accepting the Texas Academy of Sciences Distinguished Scientist of the Year award in 2006 fomented bioterrorism.[28] This resulted in the Federal Bureau of Investigation interviewing Pianka in Austin.[29] On April 5 Dembski wagered that Pianka's popularity would drop if the full text of his speech to the Texas Academy of Sciences was made public.[30]

Baylor Evolutionary Informatics Lab controversy

Subsequently in July and August 2007, Dembski played a central role in the formation of the Evolutionary Informatics Lab (EIL),[citation needed] formed by Baylor University Engineering Professor Robert J. Marks II. According to Baylor administration, the EIL website hosted at Baylor was deleted because it violated university policy forbidding professors from creating the impression that their personal views represent Baylor as an institution. Dembski says the website was removed because it dealt with intelligent design.[31] Baylor said they would permit Marks to repost his website on their server, provided a 108 word disclaimer [32] accompany any intelligent design-advancing research to make clear that the work does not represent the university's position.[33][34][35] The site[36] now resides on a third-party server and still contains the material advancing intelligent design. Dembski's participation was funded by a $30,000 grant from the Lifeworks Foundation, which is controlled by researcher Brendan Dixon of the Biologic Institute (which has close ties to the Discovery Institute).[37]

Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary flood controversy

While serving as a professor at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, Dembski wrote The End of Christianity (2009), which argued that a Christian can reconcile an old earth creationist view with a literal reading of Adam and Eve in the Bible by accepting the scientific consensus of a 4.5 billion year of Earth.[38] He further wrote that "Noah’s flood likely was limited to the Middle East rather than being global in scope."[39] This caused controversy and Dembski's reading of the Bible was criticized by Tom Nettles, a young Earth creationist,[39] in The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology, Southern Seminary’s official theological journal.[40] In 2010, Southwestern’s School of Theology Dean, "released a White Paper through the seminary’s Center for Theological Research defending Dembski as within the bounds of orthodoxy and critiquing Nettles for misunderstanding the book. The paper included Dembski’s statement admitting error regarding Noah’s flood."[39][41] Southwestern Seminary president Paige Patterson, a young Earth creationist, "said that when Dembski’s questionable statements came to light, he convened a meeting with Dembski and several high-ranking administrators at the seminary. At that meeting, Dembski was quick to admit that he was wrong about the flood."[39]

Public advocacy

In December 2001, Dembski launched the International Society for Complexity, Information and Design (ISCID), of which he is Executive Director. Dembski is also the editor-in-chief of ISCID's journal, Progress in Complexity, Information, and Design (PCID), which appears to have ceased publication with its November 2005 issue.[42] He has several more books in preparation as well as producing a string of Flash animations mocking his detractors. He is also a member of American Scientific Affiliation, the Evangelical Philosophical Society, and the American Mathematical Society, and is a senior fellow of the Wilberforce Forum.

Dembski frequently gives public talks, principally to religious, pro-ID groups, and creationists. Barbara Forrest and Paul R. Gross noted that Dembski has not been hesitant in associating with young Earth creationists, such as attending conferences with Carl Baugh.[43] His lectures have been met with criticism by scientists for being half-hearted, lackluster, containing numerous errors and distortions, lacking positive evidence for intelligent design, and for evading questions.[44]

Dembski, along with fellow Discovery Institute associates Michael Behe and David Berlinski, tutored Ann Coulter on science and evolution for her book Godless: The Church of Liberalism. Approximately one-third of the book is devoted to polemical attacks on evolution, which Coulter, as Dembski often does, terms "Darwinism".[45]

Dembski participated in the film Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, released in 2008. Dembski told the Southern Baptist Texan that those who need to see the movie are the "parents of children in high school or college, as well as those children themselves, who may think that the biological sciences are a dispassionate search for truth about life but many of whose practitioners see biology, especially evolutionary biology, as an ideological weapon to destroy faith in God."[46] Dembski has appeared on several television shows, including a 2005 interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show with Edward Larson and Ellie Crystal where he said he accepted religion before science.[47]


In 1998, Dembski published his first book, The Design Inference: Eliminating Chance through Small Probabilities, which became a Cambridge University Press bestselling philosophical monograph.

In 2002, Dembski published his book No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot Be Purchased without Intelligence. Dembski's work, however, was strongly criticized within the scientific community, which argued that there were a number of major logical inconsistencies and evidential gaps in Dembski's hypothesis. David Wolpert, co-creator of the No free lunch theorem on which Dembski based his book, characterised his arguments as "fatally informal and imprecise," "written in jello," reminiscent of philosophical discussion "in art, music, and literature, as well as much of ethics" rather than of scientific debate.[48]

Mathematician Mark Perakh has stated he believes Dembski overemphasizes his own self importance in his writing.[49]

Peer-review controversy

One of the common objections to intelligent design being accepted as valid science is that ID proponents have published no scientific papers in the peer-reviewed scientific literature in support of their conjectures. The ruling in the 2005 Dover trial, Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, found that intelligent design had not been tested by the process of being published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal and was not supported by any peer-reviewed research, data or publications.[50][51] Despite the Dover trial ruling, the Discovery Institute lists Dembski's 1998 book The Design Inference under the heading "Peer-Reviewed Scientific Books Supportive of Intelligent Design Published by Trade Presses or University Presses".[52] The Discovery Institute describes Dembski as a mathematician and philosopher, who includes in his credentials postdoctoral work in physics and in computer science, and a B.A. in psychology.[53][54]

Computer scientist and number theorist Jeffrey Shallit states in an expert report that despite common claims in the popular and religious press, Dembski is not a scientist by any reasonable standard, has not published any experimental or empirical tests of his claims, submitted his claims to the scrutiny of his peers or published in a scientific journal. In a footnote Shallit states that he does not consider mathematics to be science. Shallit describes Dembski's published mathematical output as "extremely small" for a research mathematician, and remarks that "it is very unlikely that his meagre output would merit tenure at any major university".[55]

Since Shallit's statement, as of May 2010, Dembski has published four peer reviewed papers in information theory venues associated with the IEEE professional society. The papers deal with active information in the context of search for solutions to problems. Quantified active information is introduced in "Conservation of Information in Search: Measuring the Cost of Success."[56] A second paper,"Evolutionary Synthesis of Nand Logic: Dissecting a Digital Organism",[57] claims to deconstruct the evolution simulation Avida by uncovering the sources of active information in the program. A third paper [58] discusses the role of Jacob Bernoulli's principle of indifference in the analysis of evolution. The most recent paper, "Efficient Per Query Information Extraction from a Hamming Oracle," [59] calculates the performance of various search algorithms which use the Hamming distance to search for a single string of a certain length in the set of all strings of this length.

Dembski states that his 1998 book The Design Inference has also been peer reviewed. Dembski says: "This book was published by Cambridge University Press and peer-reviewed as part of a distinguished monograph series, Cambridge Studies in Probability, Induction, and Decision Theory".[60] In his expert report, Shallit states, "I know that book manuscripts typically do not receive the same sort of scrutiny that research articles do. ...it is not uncommon for a 10-page paper to receive 5 pages or more of comments whereas a book manuscript of 200 pages often receives about the same number...".[55] In addition, Mark Isaak claims that Dembski's book was reveiewed by philosophers and not biologists.[61]

'The Inner Life of the Cell' copyright controversy

In November, 2007, a graduate student named S. A. Smith brought an apparent case of wholesale academic misuse of unlicenced content to public attention. She noticed that a video used by Dembski in his lecture was identical to The Inner Life of the Cell animation created by Harvard University and a company called XVIVO. The audio track giving a scientific explanation was stripped off and the video was used with an alternative narration. The matter was brought to the attention of Harvard and XVIVO. David Bolinsky, creator of the video, wrote that Dembski was warned about using the video without permission.[62]

In response to the allegations, Dembski has claimed that he downloaded the video from the Internet, and added a voiceover narration that he deemed appropriate for his audience. According to Dembski, the downloaded version omitted the opening credits but contained the closing credits, which were shown to the audience.[63] However, Smith later documented several instances where images from the Harvard/XVIVO animation were apparently removed from his book The Design of Life but the related footnotes and references were not.[64][65] indicating that Dembski was already aware that permission had been denied for him to use the animation when he delivered his presentation at the University of Oklahoma.[65]

On April 9, 2008 Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a movie Dembski appears in, was given a cease-and-desist by XVIVO accusing Premise Media, the Expelled producers, of plagiarism concerning the same video.[66] A June 2008 Premise Media press release announced Premise Media and XVIVO, LLC. "reached an agreement" noting "XVIVO has agreed that the Premise Media documentary does not infringe on any of XVIVO's intellectual property rights."[67]


Dembski's views on evolution have been a source of considerable controversy within both the mainstream scientific and creationist communities. Dembski does not accept universal common descent.[68] His mainstream scientific critics have accused him of dishonesty in his representation of scientific facts and writing,[69][70] and he has also been criticised by the traditional creationist community for not supporting the young earth creationist position,[71] though he is also defended on other grounds by the same creationist community.[72][73][74]

Science vs. naturalism

Dembski objects to the presence of the theory of evolution in a variety of disciplines, presenting intelligent design as an alternative to reductionist materialism that gives a sense of purpose that the unguided evolutionary process lacks[75] and the ultimate significance of ID is its success in undermining materialism and naturalism.[76] Dembski has also stated that ID has little chance as a serious scientific theory as long as methodological naturalism is the basis for science.[77] Although intelligent design proponents (including Dembski) have made little apparent effort to publish peer-reviewed scientific research to support their hypotheses, in recent years they have made vigorous efforts to promote the teaching of intelligent design in schools.[78] Dembski is a strong supporter of this drive as a means of making young people more receptive to intelligent design, and said he wants "to see intelligent design flourish as a scientific research program" among a "new generation of scholars" willing to consider the theory and textbooks that include it.[79]

Intelligent designer

Dembski has so far failed to explain the origin of the intelligent designer that created the universe, something he argues as unnecessary since such an intelligent designer is likely outside the dimensions of space and time, or to have any of his pro-intelligent design articles published in the peer-reviewed mainstream scientific journals. While intelligent design proponents often claim that such failure to get articles published is due to an alleged pro-evolution bias or conspiracy, Dembski himself has said that he prefers to disseminate his ideas in non-peer-reviewed media: "I've just gotten kind of blase about submitting things to journals where you often wait two years to get things into print. And I find I can actually get the turnaround faster by writing a book and getting the ideas expressed there. My books sell well. I get a royalty. And the material gets read more." [80]

In December 2007, Dembski told Focus on the Family that "The Designer of intelligent design is, ultimately, the Christian God."[81]

Specified complexity

Specified complexity is an argument proposed by Dembski and used by him in his works promoting intelligent design. According to Dembski, the concept is intended to formalize a property that singles out patterns that are both specified and complex. Dembski states that specified complexity is a reliable marker of design by an intelligent agent, a central tenet to intelligent design and which Dembski argues for in opposition to modern evolutionary theory. The concept of specified complexity is widely regarded as mathematically unsound and has not been the basis for further independent work in information theory, complexity theory, or biology.[82][83][84] Specified complexity is one of the two main arguments used by intelligent design proponents, the other being irreducible complexity.

Intelligent design and Christianity

Dembski's position on intelligent design's relationship with Christianity has been inconsistent. He has suggested that the "intelligent designer" was not necessarily synonymous with God: "It could be space aliens. There are many possibilities"[85] but has on several occasions been explicit in labelling the designer the Christian God and linking ID with a Christian revival through which Christianity can be restored to its formerly pre-eminent place in society, supplanting "materialist" science. In his book Intelligent Design; the Bridge Between Science and Theology he states "The conceptual soundings of the [intelligent design] theory can in the end only be located in Christ".[86] On the pro-intelligent design website designinference.com Dembski said that intelligent design enables materialism to be replaced with Christianity.[87]

Dembski has also spoken of his motivation for supporting intelligent design in a series of Sunday lectures in the Fellowship Baptist Church in Waco, Texas, the last of which took place on Sunday, March 7, 2004. Answering a question, Dembski said it was to enable God to receive credit for creation.[88]

Intelligent design movement

Dembski sees intelligent design as being a popular movement as well as a scientific hypothesis and claims that it is in the process of dislodging evolution from the public imagination. At the Fourth World Skeptics Conference, held on June 20–June 23, 2002 in Burbank, California, he told the audience that "over the next twenty-five years ID will provide the greatest challenge to skepticism". He asserted that "ID is threatening to be mainstream", and that polls show 90 percent support for the hypothesis, indicating that it has "already becom[e] mainstream within the public themselves". "The usual skeptical retorts are not going to work against ID" and ID "turns the tables on skepticism". Evolution, in his view, "is the ultimate status quo" and "squelches dissent". Young people, who "love rebellion" see that and are attracted to ID as a result. "The public supports intelligent design. The public is tired of being bullied by an intellectual elite". He contends that skeptics resort to rhetoric and "artificially define ID out of science," allowing in only material matters. ID "paints the more appealing world picture", whereas skepticism works by being negative, which "doesn't set well with the public... To most people evolution doesn't provide a compelling view".[89]

Bible code

Dembski has also indicated an interest in the Bible code. In a favorable book review of Jeffrey Satinover's Cracking the Bible Code, Dembski wrote that "The philosopher Bertrand Russell was once asked why he didn’t believe in God. He replied, 'Not enough evidence.' Satinover’s fascination with the Bible Code is that it may provide evidence for God’s existence that would have convinced even a Bertrand Russell."

Faith healing

Dembski once took his family to a meeting conducted by Todd Bentley, a faith healer,[90] in hopes of receiving a "miraculous healing" for his son, who is autistic.[91] In an article for the Baptist Press he recalled disappointment with the nature of the meeting and with the prevention of his son and other attendees from joining those in wheelchairs who were selected to receive prayer. He then concluded, "Minimal time was given to healing, though plenty was devoted to assaulting our senses with blaring insipid music and even to Bentley promoting and selling his own products (books and CDs)." He wrote that he did not regret the trip and called it an "education," which showed "how easily religion can be abused, in this case to exploit our family."[91]

Responses to critics

Dembski previews material on the Internet in order to gain advance notice of objections and address them prior to publication, allowing him to get "the last word in the exchange".[92] Dembski's style in response to his critics (particularly of his mathematical papers) is polemical.[93] For instance, in reply to a critique of the "law of conservation of information" posted on talkreason.org,[94] Dembski states: "I'm not and never have been in the business of offering a strict mathematical proof for the inability of material mechanisms to generate specified complexity".[95]

Books by Dembski

Sole author


As editor or contributor

  • William A. Dembski and Michael Ruse (eds), Debating Design: From Darwin to DNA. ISBN 0-521-82949-6
  • William A. Dembski (ed). Mere Creation. (Downer's Grove, Illinois: InterVarsity Press, 1998.) ISBN 0-8308-1515-5
  • William A. Dembski and Bruce Gordon. The Nature of Nature: Examining the Role of Naturalism in Science (Wilmington, Del.: ISI Books, 2009).
  • William A. Dembski, Michael J. Behe and Stephen C. Meyer, Science and Evidence for Design in the Universe, Proceedings of the Wethersfield Institute, vol. 9 San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 2000. ISBN 0-89870-809-5
  • Geoffrey Simmons (Foreword by William Dembski), What Darwin Didn't Know: A Doctor Dissects the Theory of Evolution.(Harvest Publishers, January 1, 2004) ISBN 0-7369-1313-0
  • William A. Dembski, Wayne J. Downs, Fr. Justin B.A. Frederick, The Patristic Understanding of Creation: An Anthology of Writings from the Church Fathers on Creation and Design. (Erasmus Press, June 11, 2008) ISBN 0-9815204-0-5


  1. ^ Dembski, William A. (1996). "The Explanatory Filter: A three-part filter for understanding how to separate and identify cause from intelligent design". http://www.arn.org/docs/dembski/wd_explfilter.htm. Retrieved 2009-09-27. 
  2. ^ Dembski, William (2002). Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science & Theology. InterVarsity Press. pp. 10, 107. ISBN 083082314X, 9780830823147. http://books.google.com/?id=Sd8I7U3ryKAC&dq=Irreducible+complexity+dembski. 
  3. ^ Edis T; Young M (eds.) (2004). Why intelligent design fails: a scientific critique of the new creationism. New Brunswick, N.J: Rutgers University Press. pp. 1–19; 107–138; 185–196. ISBN 081353433x. 
  4. ^ Dembski, WA. "Intelligent Design Coming Clean". Access Research Network. http://www.arn.org/docs/dembski/wd_idcomingclean.htm. Retrieved 2010-08-11. 
  5. ^ a b c Kern, L (2004-12-14). "In God’s Country". Houston Press. http://www.houstonpress.com/2000-12-14/news/in-god-s-country/. Retrieved 2010-08-11. 
  6. ^ "William Dembski Curriculum Vitae" (PDF). 2010-05-01. http://www.designinference.com/documents/PDF_Current_CV_Dembski.pdf. Retrieved 2010-08-11. 
  7. ^ Dembski WA (2009). The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World. B&H Academic. pp. xviii. ISBN 0-8054-2743-0. 
  8. ^ Richards JW; Dembski WA (2001). "Reclaiming theological education". Unapologetic Apologetics: Meeting the Challenges of Theological Studies. Downers Grove, Ill: InterVarsity Press. pp. 11–30. ISBN 0-8308-1563-5. 
  9. ^ ""Finding a Good God in an Evil World" Bill Dembski & Norman Hansen debate the problem of Evil. (41:00)". Premier Christian Radio. Jan 9, 2010. http://www.premierradio.org.uk/listen/ondemand.aspx?mediaid={B937E7AD-5935-47FE-AF63-E57DF56F5B01}. Retrieved Jan 10, 2010. 
  10. ^ Dembski, WA (1991). "Randomness by Design" (PDF). Noûs 25 (1): 75–108. http://www.designinference.com/documents/2002.09.rndmnsbydes.pdf. Retrieved 2010-08-11. 
  11. ^ Forrest & Gross, 2004, p. 18.
  12. ^ Barbara Forrest, The Wedge at Work. Talk Reason, Chapter 1 of the book "Intelligent Design Creationism and Its Critics" (MIT Press, 2001). Retrieved 2007-05-28.
  13. ^ Understanding the Intelligent Design Creationist Movement: Its True Nature and Goals. (pdf) A Position Paper from the Center for Inquiry, Office of Public Policy Barbara Forrest. May, 2007.
    Design on Trial in Dover, Pennsylvania by Nicholas J Matzke, NCSE Public Information Project Specialist
  14. ^ Politicized Scholars Put Evolution on the Defensive, Jodi Wolgoren, New York Times, August 21, 2005
  15. ^ "William A. Dembski, Senior Fellow - CSC". Discovery Institute. n.d.. http://www.discovery.org/p/32. Retrieved 2010-08-24. 
  16. ^ a b Lauren Kern (January 11, 2001). "Monkey Business". Dallas Observer. http://www.arn.org/docs/dembski/wd_dallasobserver0101.htm. Retrieved 2008-03-14. 
  17. ^ The Michael Polanyi Center Peer Review Committee report
  18. ^ http://www.arn.org/docs/dembski/wd_upicommentary1200.htm
  19. ^ Email from William A. Dembski, Oct 19, 2000
  20. ^ Email from William Grassie, October 19, 2000
  21. ^ http://pandasthumb.org/archives/2005/10/the-pseudo-scie.html
  22. ^ Creationist to will lead seminary science center Peter Smith. The Courier-Journal, April 17, 2006 (article available for a fee at The Courier-Journal archive)
  23. ^ Dembski to head seminary's new science & theology center Jeff Robinson. Baptist Press, September 16, 2004
  24. ^ "School of Theology: William Dembski". Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. 2009. http://www.swbts.edu/index.cfm?pageid=800&enc=495E4B4A5433392C23442550435120415379. Retrieved 2009-04-01. 
  25. ^ Theology Department Faculty, Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary
  26. ^ a b 'Teaching' page, Dembski's personal website
  27. ^ See "What's new" http://www.religionlink.com/tip_071008.php
  28. ^ Eric Pianka: The Department of Homeland Security needs to interview you, William Dembski
  29. ^ Professor's population speeches unnerve some at the Wayback Machine (archived April 27, 2006)
  30. ^ $1000 reward and $1000 bet — Pianka again William Dembski. Uncommon Descent.
  31. ^ [1] William A. Dembski, "FIRST-PERSON: Vindication for I.D. at Baylor?," Baptist Press, May 6, 2010
  32. ^ [2] Mark Bergin, "Baylor’s treatment of an ID-advancing research lab has shifted from friendly to fire," September 14, 2007.
  33. ^ William Dembski Addresses Forthcoming Intelligent Design Research that Advances ID and Answers Critics, Evolution News & Views, Discovery Institute
  34. ^ Crisis averted, Mark Bergin, World Magazine
  35. ^ Baylor U. Removes a Web Page Associated With Intelligent Design From Its Site by Elizabeth F. Farrell. Chronicle of Higher Education, Sept. 4, 2007. onlinesubscription access
  36. ^ [3] The Evolutionary Informatics Lab.
  37. ^ Lifeworks Foundation 990 form for the year 2006
  38. ^ "The young earth-solution to reconciling the order of creation with natural history makes good exegetical and theological sense. Indeed, the overwhelming consensus of theologians up through the Reformation held to this view. I myself would adopt it in a heartbeat except that nature seems to present such strong evidence against it." in William Dembski, The End of Christianity (B&H Academic, 2009)
  39. ^ a b c d David Roach, "How Old? Age of Earth debated among SBC scholars," Florida Baptist Witness Oct 20, 2010
  40. ^ Tom Nettles, "Book Reviews," Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 13.4 (2009): 80–85
  41. ^ David L. Allen, A Reply to Tom Nettles Review of William A. Dembski's The End of Christianity: Finding a Good God in an Evil World (The Center for Theological Research, February 2010)(Preamble by Dr. Paige Patterson) Link
  42. ^ PCID
  43. ^ Gross PR; Forrest BC (2004). Creationism's Trojan horse: the wedge of intelligent design. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. pp. 293. ISBN 0-19-515742-7. 
  44. ^ "A Victory over "Intelligent Design" in Oklahoma". National Center for Science Education. 2008. http://ncse.com/rncse/27/5-6/victory-over-intelligent-design-oklahoma. Retrieved 2007-02-19. 
  45. ^ Ann Coulter: The Wedge for the Masses Dembski. Uncommondescent.com, June 12, 2006
  46. ^ "Baptist professors featured in new film". Southern Baptist Texan. January 28, 2008. http://www.texanonline.net/default.asp?action=article&aid=5527&issue=1/28/2008. Retrieved 2008-02-17. 
  47. ^ "Evolution, Schmevolution - Panel". The Daily Show. September 14, 2005. http://www.thedailyshow.com/video/index.jhtml?videoId=124491&title=Evolution,-Schmevolution---Panel:-Edward-J.-Larson,-William-A.-Dembski,-Ellie-Crystal. Retrieved 2007-02-19. 
  48. ^ William Dembski's treatment of the No Free Lunch theorems is written in jello, David H. Wolpert, Talk Reason
  49. ^ Gross PR; Forrest BC (2004). Creationism's Trojan horse: the wedge of intelligent design. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. pp. 118. ISBN 0-19-515742-7. 
  50. ^ Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District, p87
  51. ^ Intelligent Design and Peer Review, American Association for the Advancement of Science
  52. ^ Peer-Reviewed & Peer-Edited Scientific Publications Supporting the Theory of Intelligent Design (Annotated), Discovery Institute
  53. ^ William A. Dembski, Senior Fellow - CSC
  54. ^ Intelligent Design Might Be Meeting Its Maker? Ignorance on Display in the New York Times
  55. ^ a b Shallit expert report in Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District
  56. ^ William A. Dembski and Robert J. Marks II, "Conservation of Information in Search: Measuring the Cost of Success," IEEE Transactions on Systems, Man and Cybernetics A, Systems and Humans, vol.39, #5, September 2009, pp.1051-1061 [4]
  57. ^ Winston Ewert, William A. Dembski and Robert J. Marks II, "Evolutionary Synthesis of Nand Logic: Dissecting a Digital Organism," Proceedings of the 2009 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics. San Antonio, TX, USA - October 2009, pp. 3047-3053. [5]
  58. ^ William A. Dembski and Robert J. Marks II, "Bernoulli's Principle of Insufficient Reason and Conservation of Information in Computer Search, Proceedings of the 2009 IEEE International Conference on Systems, Man, and Cybernetics. San Antonio, TX, USA - October 2009, pp. 2647-2652. [6]
  59. ^ [7] Winston Ewert, George Montañez, William A. Dembski, Robert J. Marks II, "Efficient Per Query Information Extraction from a Hamming Oracle," Proceedings of the 42nd Meeting of the Southeastern Symposium on System Theory, IEEE, University of Texas at Tyler, March 7–9, 2010, pp.290-297.
  60. ^ Peer Review -- Response to Eugenie Scott and the NCSE, William Dembski, October 10, 2003
  61. ^ Index to Creationist Claims: Claim CI001.4 TalkOrigins.org
  62. ^ 'Expelled' ripped off Harvard's 'Inner Life of the Cell' animation by David Bolinsky April 11, 2008
  63. ^ News Release: Harvard's XVIVO Video
  64. ^ Smith, S.A. 2007. Dembski, Copyright, and 'Design of Life'
  65. ^ a b Smith, S.A. 2007. Discovery Institute, Dembski, Copyright, and 'Design of Life'
  66. ^ Letter from David Bolinsky, Partner and Medical Director, XVIVO LLC to Logan Craft, April 9, 2008
  67. ^ "EXPELLED/XVIVO Agreement: No Infringement," press release, Jul 24, 2008 Link
  68. ^ An Interview with Dr. William A. Dembski (Updated)
  69. ^ Bill Dembski and the case of the unsupported assertion, Matt Inlay
  70. ^ Why Do Scientists Get So Angry When Dealing With ID Proponents, Jason Rosenhouse
  71. ^ ID theorist blunders on Bible, Jonathan Sarfati, Creation Ministries International
  72. ^ Divining design, Royal Truman, Answers in Genesis
  73. ^ Designer science, Royal Truman, Creation Ministries International
  74. ^ Baptist school afraid of creation, Answers in Genesis, October 28, 2000
  75. ^ Pike, D (2005-02-24). "Evolution Revolution". Las Vegas City Life. http://www.lasvegascitylife.com/articles/2005/02/24/cover_story/cover.txt. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  76. ^ Robinson, J (2004-09-16). "Dembski to head seminary's new science & theology center". Baptist Press. http://www.sbcbaptistpress.org/bpnews.asp?ID=19115. Retrieved 2010-08-10. 
  77. ^ Dembski, WA (2007-11-01). "What every theologian should know about creation, evolution and design". Origins.org. http://www.origins.org/articles/dembski_theologn.html. Retrieved 2010-08-09. 
  78. ^ Ruling, Kitzmiller v. Dover page 63-139
  79. ^ Gross PR; Forrest BC (2004). Creationism's Trojan horse: the wedge of intelligent design. Oxford [Oxfordshire]: Oxford University Press. pp. 301. ISBN 0-19-515742-7. 
  80. ^ The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 21, 2001
  81. ^ "Friday Five: William A. Dembski". Focus on the Family. December 14, 2007. http://www.citizenlink.org/content/A000006139.cfm. Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  82. ^ Rich Baldwin, (2005). Information Theory and Creationism
  83. ^ Mark Perakh, (2005). Dembski "displaces Darwinism" mathematically -- or does he?
  84. ^ Jason Rosenhouse, (2001). How Anti-Evolutionists Abuse Mathematics The Mathematical Intelligencer, Vol. 23, No. 4, Fall 2001, pp. 3-8.
  85. ^ San Francisco Chronicle, March 17, 2002
  86. ^ Intelligent Design; the Bridge Between Science and Theology, p. 210, William Dembski
  87. ^ Intelligent Design's Contribution to the Debate Over Evolution, William Dembski, Designinference.com website, February 2005
  88. ^ The design revolution?, Mark Perakh, TalkReason.org 2004
  89. ^ Skeptical Inquirer, September 1, 2002
  90. ^ "Thousands Flock to Revival in Search of Miracles". ABC News. 2008-06-09. http://abcnews.go.com/Nightline/FaithMatters/story?id=5338963&page=1. Retrieved 2008-06-09. 
  91. ^ a b Dembski, William (July 11, 2008). "FIRST-PERSON: Faith & healing -- Where's the evidence?". Baptist Press. http://www.bpnews.net/BPnews.asp?ID=28460. Retrieved 2008-05-17. 
  92. ^ Dealing with the Backlash, William Dembski
  93. ^ Unapologetic Apologetics, William Dembski, Jay Richards
  94. ^ On Dembski’s Law of Conservation of Information, TalkReason
  95. ^ If Only Darwinists Scrutinized Their Own Work as Closely: A Response to "Erik", William Dembski

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