Forum on "Intelligent Design" held at the American Museum of Natural History (April 23, 2002)

Forum on "Intelligent Design" held at the American Museum of Natural History (April 23, 2002)

This is a transcript of a forum held at the American Museum of Natural History on the idea of "Intelligent Design". The featured speakers were Dr. William Dembski and Dr. Michael Behe as proponents of the idea of "Intelligent Design" and Dr. Robert Pennock and Dr. Kenneth Miller as critics of the idea. The program was moderated by Dr. Eugenie Scott. Throughout the transcript each speaker is identified by their initials.

Part 1 - Introduction by Richard Milner and Dr. Eugenie C. Scott

Transcript: American Museum of Natural History April 23, 2002

Part 1: Introductions by Richard Milner and Dr. Eugenie C. Scott

Richard Milner:
Welcome to what promises to be an interesting evening - our forum on the Intelligent Design or ID controversy. This program has been organized jointly by Nat Johnson of the education department of the museum and by Natural History magazine, which has published a printed version in our April issue. I wish to acknowledge my fellow senior editor, Vittorio Maestro, and our editor-in-chief, Ellen Goldensohn, for their considerable efforts in producing this special ID section in Natural History magazine. For those who have not seen it, I believe that we have some copies here tonight available without charge, courtesy of the magazine. Ms. Goldensohn deserves special thanks for giving us the green light to go ahead with this venture, which was a courageous editorial decision and a controversial one. Rarely at Natural History magazine have we received so many impassioned letters and comments on a single feature. The sole exception, I believe, was when the astrophysicist Neil Tyson wrote a column decrying mathematical illiteracy and inadvertently made a minor math mistake, [laughter] which an inordinate number of our readers took great delight in pointing out.

Now, before I introduce Dr. Eugenie Scott, our moderator for tonight's forum, I want to give you just a little bit of behind-the-scenes background. Several prominent scientists emphatically disagreed with our plan to sponsor this forum. We should ignore Intelligent Design proponents, they urged, and offer them no credibility by giving them a platform in the magazine or at the museum. This institution, after all, is a bastion of evolutionary biology, and has been so for almost a century and a half. In their published articles and books, some ID proponents have characterized Darwinian evolutionists as status quo ideologues, defenders of hide-bound orthodoxy, parroters of the dominant paradigm, and dogmatic priests of Darwinism, which some of them view as a secular religion, bolstered by uncritical faith and demonstrably bogus icons. [to Dembski] Did I get that right? [laughter] On the other hand, in the view of the vast majority of life scientists, geologists, and paleontologists, Intelligent Design is sometimes characterized as stealth creationism, anti-evolutionism, even anti-science, and neo-Paleyism. The Reverend William Paley, you may recall, was the eighteenth-century cleric who said if he found a watch in a field, he would have to conclude that somewhere there was a watchmaker who designed it. There. Now we've got that all out in the open. Whether or not Intelligent Design poses a serious threat or challenge to Darwinian biology, it cannot be ignored as a socio-political phenomenon at least, and I know this from firsthand experience. In my travels around the country giving my own Darwin program, I've often been asked about Intelligent Design. So, Natural History has decided not to ignore the dissidents, but instead to turn a spotlight upon the controversy. We welcome you, and we welcome this panel to "Evolutionville". We have tried, and we'll try tonight to keep the focus on scholarly issue, keep the ad hominem arguments to a minimum, and attempt to proceed in an atmosphere of mutual respect and truth-seeking.

An announcement:
You have all been given evaluation forms by the education department who would be grateful if you'd please take a moment to give us your reactions to tonight's program. It'll be most helpful in planning and improving future programs here at the museum.

And now let me introduce our distinguished moderator, Dr. Eugenie Scott. Dr. Scott is director of the National Center for Science Education with offices in Oakland, California. As a crusader for quality science education, she has worked to counter creationist strategies aimed at removing evolutionary biology from the nation's public schools. With a doctorate in physical anthropology from the University of Missouri, she has taught for fifteen years at the university level and currently is president of the American Association of Physical Anthropologists. Among Genie's numerous awards are those from the American Humanist Association, American Society of Cell Biologists, National Science Board Public Service Award, American Association of Biological Sciences, Geological Society, and the National Science Board Public Service Awards, and on and on. In other words, she is a full-time professional anti-creationist who has battled intelligent design in many fora. However, tonight, Dr. Scott wears the panel moderator's hat and is pledged to be a fair and impartial facilitator of the evening's discussion. I trust that she will do an excellent job of that, as she does on everything. Dr. Eugenie Scott. [applause]

Eugenie Scott:
Richard was right when he said, "shine the spotlight". I hope I can see well enough to read these introductory comments. Intelligent design may be said to have begun with the 1984 book, the "Mystery of Life's Origin" by Thaxton, Bradley, and Olsen, which though limited to the topic of chemical evolution included the kernel of modern ID and its claim that certain scientific problems are inherently unexplainable through natural causes and require explanation by an outside intelligence. Soon afterwards the same publishers, the Foundation for Thought and Ethics, published a high school biology supplemental textbook, "Of Pandas and People" in 1989. "Pandas" presented and I quote, "interpretations of the data proposed by those who hold two alternative concepts: those today with a Darwinian frame of reference as well as those who adhere to intelligent design". Proponents of intelligent design thus juxtapose it with evolution as a competing scientific explanation of the natural world. Throughout the 1990s several books and conferences refined the intelligent design perspective. In 1996, the Discovery Institute in Seattle announced the establishment of the Center for Renewal of Science and Culture. The ID - intelligent design - movement developed two major components. One was "cultural renewal", the goals of which were social and religious. As described by Bruce Chapman, the Center for Renewal of Science and Culture, quote, "seeks nothing less than the overthrow of materialism and its damning cultural legacies. New developments in biology, physics, and cognitive science raise serious doubts about scientific materialism and have reopened the case for the supernatural." end quote.

The second component of intelligent design claims to be a religiously neutral attempt to identify a particular kind of design that produced by an intelligence. Let me define "design" in this context. In reference to living things, design expresses the idea that many structures are composed of parts that work together and function to get something done. The leg of a deer has many components - a scapula, a humerus, a fused tibia-fibula, an elongated metatarsal, fused phalanges, etc. - that allow the deer to run swiftly. The vertebrate eye has many individual parts that combined together allow light collection, focusing, and transmission of the visual signal to the brain. In modern biology, structural design is explained through Darwin's principle of natural selection, as the result of adaptive accumulation of genetically based variations. Intelligent design theorists do not deny that natural selection can produce design such as seen in the deer forelimb or the fit of finch beaks to different sizes of seeds, but claim certain other phenomena require design by an intelligence. This class of phenomena includes "irreducibly complex" molecular or biochemical structures, plus macro-phenomena like the body plans of plants and animals. ID theorists further claim that their methods can distinguish between design that could result from natural processes such as natural selection and design requiring intelligence.

The distinction is made largely through the application of concepts developed by Drs. Behe and Dembski: the concepts of "irreducible complexity" and the "design inference". We cannot, of course, examine all aspects of the ID movement in one evening, so we will focus on the second, scholarly component of ID rather than the cultural renewal aspect. We are not here to evaluate either natural selection or evolution as scientific ideas. This is not an evening of "evolution on trial". Evolution is considered mainstream science and this fine museum is a virtual monument to the evolutionary sciences. Instead, we will hear the two most prominent ID theorists explain their positions and two of the most prominent critics of ID question them. And in fact, both proponents of ID have held repeatedly that ID is not merely a form of anti-evolutionism, but has an independent positive research agenda of its own. It is intelligent design's distinctive positive claims that we are assembled here to consider.

Now a word on format. We will begin with William Dembski, who will have 20 minutes to explain his ideas, concentrating on his concept of the design inference and how it makes a positive contribution to the understanding of the natural world. His critic, Robert Pennock, a fellow philosopher, will have 15 minutes to question Dr. Dembski. The expectation is for a give-and-take analysis and response exchange that will be conversational and which will help us, the audience, understand strengths and weaknesses of Dr. Dembski's position. After Pennock's 15 minutes, Kenneth Miller, a biologist, will question and converse with Dr. Dembski for 5 minutes. During the remainder of the hour, Dr. Dembski will entertain questions from the audience. You may fill out the cards that you were given or you may raise your hand and be called upon. If appropriate, Dr. Miller or Dr. Pennock may have one minute to comment on Dr. Dembski's answer.

At the end of one hour's time, I will call upon Michael Behe to take the podium, where he will have 20 minutes to instruct us on his contribution to intelligent design theory, the concept of irreducible complexity, focusing on irreducible complexity as a positive research agenda. Fellow biologist Kenneth Miller will question and converse with Dr. Behe for 15 minutes, with a follow-up of five minutes of additional questioning by Dr. Pennock. As before, the remainder of the hour will be devoted to questions from the audience, which I ask you to submit on note cards or raise your hand. During these conversations, all participants are directed to keep both questions and answers as brief as possible, as difficult as that is. The introductions that I will be reading have been provided by the participants.

I will now introduce our first speaker, Dr. William A. Dembski, and Bill, if you would like to get started while I introduce you. Dr. Dembski is associate research professor in the conceptual foundations of science at Baylor University. Dr. Dembski previously 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. He holds a Ph.D. in philosophy from the University of Illinois at Chicago, a second Ph.D. in mathematics from the University of Chicago, and a master of divinity degree from Princeton University. Excuse me, Princeton Theological Seminary. Dr. Dembski has published articles in mathematics, philosophy, and theology journals, and is the author or editor of seven books. His most recent book critiques Darwinian and other naturalistic accounts of evolution and is titled, "No Free Lunch: Why Specified Complexity Cannot be Purchased Without Intelligence." Would you please welcome Dr. Dembski? (applause)

Part 2 — Dr. William Dembski

Dr. William Dembski:
Thank you Genie, and thank you American Museum for inviting me to this event.

ES:
Can't hear. Can't hear.

WD:
I said, thank you Eugenie, is that better?

ES:
Try the other mike. The mike that is sort of bent over there. Oh, that's a light. [laughter]

WD:
Is it working? Is that better? That better?

ES:
Would you just be a couple of inches shorter? [pause] Now I'm starting your time.

WD:
Good. Evolutionary biology teaches that all biological complexity is the result of material mechanisms. These include principally the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection and random variation but also include other mechanisms. Symbiosis, gene transfer, genetic drift, the action of regulatory genes in development, self-organizational processes, etc., these mechanisms are just that, mindless material mechanisms that do what they do irrespective of intelligence. To be sure, mechanisms can be programmed by an intelligence but any such intelligent programming of evolutionary mechanisms is not properly part of evolutionary biology. Intelligent design, by contrast, teaches that biological complexity is not exclusively the result of material mechanisms but also requires intelligence, where the intelligence in question is not reducible to such mechanisms. The central issue therefore is not the relatedness of all organisms, what is commonly called common descent. Indeed, intelligent design is perfectly compatible with common descent. Rather the central issue is how biological complexity emerged and whether intelligence played a pivotal role in its emergence.

Suppose therefore for the sake of argument that intelligence, one irreducible to material mechanisms actually did play a decisive role in the emergence of life's complexity and diversity. How could we know it? To answer this question, let's run a thought experiment. Imagine that Alice is sending Bob encrypted messages over a communication channel and that Eve is listening in. For simplicity let's assume that the signals are bit strings. How could Eve know that Alice is not merely sending Bob random coin flips, but meaningful messages?

To answer this question, Eve will require two things. First, the bit strings sent across the communication channel need to be reasonably long. In other words, they need to be complex. If not, chance can readily account for them. Just as there is no way to reconstruct a piece of music given just one note, there is no way to preclude chance for a bit string that consists of only a few bits. For instance, there are only eight strings consisting of three bits, and chance readily accounts for any of them.

There's a second requirement for Eve to know that Alice is not sending Bob random gibberish. Eve needs to observe a suitable pattern in the signal Alice sends Bob. Even if the signal is complex, it may exhibit no pattern characteristic of intelligence. Flip a coin enough times and you'll observe a complex sequence of coin flips but that sequence will exhibit no pattern characteristic of intelligence. For cryptanalysts like Eve, observing a pattern suitable for identifying intelligence amounts to finding a cryptographic key that deciphers the message. Patterns suitable for identifying intelligence I call specifications.

In sum, Eve requires both complexity and specification to infer intelligence in the signals Alice is sending Bob. This combination of complexity and specification, or specified complexity as I call it, is the basis for design inferences across numerous special sciences, including archaeology, cryptography, forensics, and SETI, the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. I detail this in my book, The Design Inference, a peer-reviewed statistical monograph that appeared with Cambridge University Press in 1998.

So, what's all the fuss about specified complexity? The actual term specified complexity did not originate with me. It first occurs in the origin of life literature where Leslie Orgel used it to describe what he regards as the essence of life. And that was thirty years ago. More recently, in 1999, surveying the state of origin of life research, Paul Davies remarked, quote "Living organisms are mysterious not for their complexity per se but for their tightly specified complexity." Close quote. Orgel and Davies used specified complexity loosely. I, in my own research I formalized it as a statistical criterion for identifying the effects of intelligence. For identifying the effects of animal, human, and extraterrestrial intelligence, the criterion works just fine. Yet, when anyone attempts to apply the criterion to biological systems, all hell breaks loose. Let's consider why. Evolutionary biologists claim to have demonstrated that design is superfluous for understanding biological complexity. The only way to actually demonstrate this, however, is to exhibit material mechanisms that account for the various forms of biological complexity out there. Now, if for every instance of biological complexity, some mechanism could be readily produced that accounts for it, intelligent design would drop out of scientific discussion. Occam's razor, by proscribing superfluous causes, would, in this instance, finish off intelligent design quite nicely. But that hasn't happened. Why not?

The reason is that there are plenty of complex biological systems for which no biologist has a clue how they emerged. I'm not talking about hand waving just-so stories. Biologists have plenty of those. I'm talking about detailed, testable accounts of how such systems could have emerged. To see what's at stake, consider how biologists propose to explain the emergence of the bacterial flagellum, a molecular machine that has become the mascot of the intelligent design movement. Howard Berg at Harvard called the bacterial flagellum the most efficient machine in the universe. The flagellum is a nano-engineered outboard rotary motor on the backs of certain bacteria. It spins at tens of thousands of RPM, can change direction in a quarter turn, and propels the bacterium through its watery environment. According to evolutionary biology, it had to emerge via some material mechanism. Fine. But how? The usual story is that the flagellum is composed of parts that previously were targeted for different uses and that natural selection then co-opted to form a flagellum. This seems reasonable until we try to fill in the details. The only well-documented examples that we have of successful co-optation come from human engineering. For instance, an electrical engineer might co-opt components from a microwave oven, a radio, and the screen from a computer to form a working television. But in that case, we have an intelligent agent who knows all about electrical gadgets and about televisions in particular. But natural selection doesn't know a thing about bacterial flagella. So how is natural selection going to take extant protein parts and co-opt them to form a flagellum?

The problem is that natural selection can only select for pre-existing function. It can, for instance, select for larger finch beaks when the available nuts are harder to open. Here the finch beak is already in place and natural selection merely enhances its present functionality. Natural selection might even adapt a pre-existing structure to a new function. For example, it might start with finch beaks adapted to opening nuts and end with beaks adapted to eating insects. But for co-optation to result in a structure like the bacterial flagellum, we are not talking about enhancing the function of an existing structure or re-assigning an existing structure to a different function, but re-assigning multiple structures previously targeted for different functions to a novel structure exhibiting a novel function. The bacterial flagellum requires about 50 proteins for its assembly and structure. All these proteins are necessary in the sense that lacking any of them a working flagellum does not result.

The only way for natural selection to form such a structure by co-optation then is for natural selection gradually to enfold existing protein parts into evolving structures whose functions co-evolved with the structures. We might, for instance, imagine a five-part mousetrap consisting of a platform, spring, hammer, holding bar, and catch evolving as follows. It starts off as a doorstop, thus merely consisting of the platform. Then it evolves into a tie clip by attaching the spring and hammer to the platform, and finally becomes a full mousetrap by also including the holding bar and catch. Ken Miller finds such scenarios not only completely plausible, but also deeply relevant to biology. In fact, he regularly sports a modified mousetrap cum tie clip.

Intelligent design proponents by contrast, regard such scenarios as rubbish. Here's why. First, in such scenarios the aim of human design and intention meddles everywhere. Evolutionary biologists assure us that eventually they will discover just how evolutionary processes can take the right and needed steps without the meddling hand of design. But all such assurances presuppose that intelligence is dispensable in explaining biological complexity. The only evidence we have of successful co-optation, however, comes from engineering, and confirms that intelligence is indispensable in explaining complex structures like the mousetrap and by implication the bacterial flagellum. Intelligence is known to have the causal power to produce such structures; we're still waiting for the promised material mechanisms.

The other reason design theorists are less than impressed with co-optation concerns an inherent limitation of the Darwinian mechanism. The whole point of the Darwinian selection mechanism is that you get from anywhere in configuration space to anywhere else provided you can take small steps. How small? Small enough that they are reasonably probable. But what guarantees do you have that a sequence of baby steps connects any two points in configuration space?

Richard Dawkins compares the emergence of biological complexity to climbing a mountain, Mount Improbable, as he calls it. According to him, Mount Improbable always has a gradual serpentine path leading to the top that can be traversed in baby steps. But that's hardly an empirical claim. Indeed, the claim is entirely gratuitous. It might be a fact that nature, about nature, that, that Mount Improbable is sheer on all sides and getting to the top from the bottom via baby steps is effectively impossible. A gap like that would reside in nature herself and not and not in our knowledge of nature. It would not, in other words, constitute a god of the gaps. The problem is worse yet, for the Darwinian selection mechanism to connect point A to point B in configuration space, it is not enough that there merely exists a sequence of baby steps connecting the two. In addition, each baby step needs in some sense to be successful. In biological terms, each step requires an increase in fitness as measured in terms of survival and reproduction. Natural selection, after all, is the motive force behind each baby step, and selection only selects what is advantageous to the organism. Thus, for the Darwinian mechanism to connect two organisms there must be a sequence of successful baby steps connecting the two.

Again, it is not enough merely to presuppose this - this, it must be demonstrated. For instance, it is not enough to point out that some genes for the bacterial flagellum are the same as those for a Type III secretory system, a type of pump, and then hand wave that one was co-opted from the other. Anybody can arrange complex systems in a series. But such series do nothing to establish whether the end evolved in Darwinian fashion from the beginning unless the probability of each step can be quantified, the probability of each step turns out to be reasonably large, and each step constitutes an advantage to the organism. Convinced that the Darwinian mechanism must be capable of doing such evolutionary design work, evolutionary biologists rarely ask whether such a sequence of successful baby steps even exists. Much less do they attempt to quantify the probabilities involved?

I attempt, in chapter 5 of my most recent book, "No Free Lunch", to do that, to lay out the probabilities, there I lay out techniques for assessing the probabilistic hurdles that the Darwinian mechanism faces in trying to account for complex biological structures like the bacterial flagellum. The probabilities that I calculate, and I try to be conservative, are horrendous, and render the natural selection entirely implausible as a mechanism for generating the flagellum and structures like it. If I'm right, and the probabilities really are horrendous, then the bacterial flagellum exhibits specified complexity. Furthermore, specified complexity is a reliable empirical marker of intelligent agency, then systems like the bacterial flagellum bespeak intelligent design, and they're not solely the effects of material mechanisms.

It's here that critics of intelligent design raise the "argument from ignorance" objection. For something to exhibit specified complexity entails that no known material mechanism operating in known ways is able to account for it. That leaves unknown material mechanisms; it also leaves no material mechanisms operating in unknown ways. Isn't arguing for design on the basis of specified complexity therefore merely an argument from ignorance?

Two comments to this objection. First, the great promise of the Darwinian and other naturalistic accounts of evolution was precisely to show how known material mechanisms operating in known ways could produce all of biological complexity. So, at the very least, specified complexity is showing that problems claimed to be solved by naturalistic means have not been solved. Second, the argument from ignorance could in principle be raised for any design inference that employs specified complexity including those where humans are implicated in constructing artifacts. An unknown material mechanism might explain the origin of the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, or the Louvre itself, or Stonehenge, or how two students wrote exactly the same essay. But no one is looking for such mechanisms. It would be madness even to try. Intelligent design caused these objects to exist and we know that because of their specified complexity. Specified complexity by being defined relative to known material mechanisms operating in known ways might always be defeated by showing that some relevant mechanism was omitted. That's always a possibility, though, as with the plagiarism example and with many other cases, we don't take it seriously. As William James put it, "there are live possibilities and there are bare possibilities". There are many design inferences which to doubt require invoking a bare possibility. Such bare possibilities if realized would defeat specified complexity in what way? Not by rendering the concept incoherent, but by dissolving it.

In fact, that is how Darwinists, complexity theorists, and anyone intent on defeating specified complexity as a marker of intelligence usually attempts it, namely by showing that it dissolves once we have a better understanding of the underlying material mechanisms that render the object in question reasonably probable. By contrast, design theorists argue that specified complexity in biology is real, that any attempt to palliate - [pause] palliate the complexities or improbabilities by invoking as yet unknown mechanisms, or known mechanisms operating in unknown ways is destined to fail. This can, in some cases, be argued convincingly, as with Michael Behe's irreducibly complex biochemical machines, and with biological structures whose geometry allows complete freedom in possible arrangements of parts.

Consider, for instance, a configuration space comprising all possible character sequences from a fixed alphabet. Such spaces model not only written text, but also polymers like DNA, RNA, and proteins. Configuration spaces like this are perfectly homogeneous, with one character string geometrically interchangeable with the next. Geometry, therefore, precludes any underlying mechanisms from distinguishing or preferring some character strings over others. Not material mechanisms, but external, semantic information in the case of written texts, or functional information, in the case of polymers, is needed to generate specified complexity [pause] in these instances. To argue that this semantic or functional information reduces to material mechanisms is like arguing that scrabble pieces have inherent in them preferential ways they like to be sequenced. They don't. Michael Polanyi offered such arguments for biological design in the 1960s.

In summary, evolutionary biology contends that material mechanisms are capable of accounting for all of biological complexity, yet for biological systems that exhibit specified complexity, these mechanisms provide no explanation of how they were produced. Moreover, in contexts with a causal history that is independently verifiable, specified complexity is reliably correlated with intelligence. At a minimum, biology should therefore allow the possibility of design in cases of biological specified complexity. But that's not the case. Evolutionary biology allows for only one line of criticism: namely, to show that a complex specified biological structure could not have evolved via any material mechanism. In other words, so long as some unknown material mechanism might have evolved the structure in question, intelligent design is proscribed. This renders evolutionary theory immune to disconfirmation in principle, because the universe of unknown material mechanisms can never be exhausted. Furthermore, the evolutionist has no burden of evidence. Instead, the burden of evidence is shifted entirely to the evolution skeptic, and what is required of the evolution skeptic? The skeptic must prove nothing less than a universal negative.

That is not how science is supposed to work. Science is supposed to pursue the full range of possible explanations. Evolutionary biology, by limiting itself to material mechanisms, has settled in advance which biological explanations are true apart from any consideration of empirical evidence. This is armchair philosophy. Intelligent design may not be correct, but the only way we could discover that is by admitting design as a real possibility, not ruling it out a priori. Darwin himself would have agreed. In the Origin of Species he wrote, a fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts the facts and arguments on both sides of each question. Thank you. [applause]

Part 3 — Dr. William Dembski, Dr. Robert Pennock Q&A

ES:
We will have an exchange of podia and I will introduce Dr. Robert Pennock, and then Dr. Dembski will speak from this podium. Dr. Robert Pennock is an associate Professor of Science and Technology studies at the Lyman Briggs School and associate Professor of Philosophy both at Michigan State University. He is also on the faculty of Michigan State's Ecology, Evolutionary Biology and Behavior Program. He graduated with honors in biology and philosophy at Earlham College and received his PhD. in the History and Philosophy of Science from the University of Pittsburgh. His research interests are in philosophy of biology and the relationship of epistemic and ethical values in science and has published numerous articles in these areas. He is the author of Tower of Babel: The Evidence Against the New Creationism and editor of the recently published Intelligent Design, Creationism, and it's Critics: Philosophical, Theological, and Scientific Perspectives. He has received many research and teaching awards and was named a distinguished lecturer by Sigma Xi, the scientific research society. And, uh, now Dr. Pennock will question Dr. Dembski.

Dr. Robert Pennock:
Thanks. What we're going to look at here is the question, "What is Intelligent Design?" The pamphlet that is put out by Intelligent Design activists tells us that it is "a new science for a new century". We see here a graphic that indicates, uh, who's standing, we think, behind this.

Slide 1:
Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture pamphlet with its logo
banner showing Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel image of God touching
the double helix

But I'm not going to talk about what's standing behind us. My criticisms in the past have involved in part whether this is a form of creationism, and Professor Dembski has told us that that is not a fair criticism to do, that this is something where, um, Scientific Creationism is different from Intelligent Design, and that Scientific Creationism has prior religious commitments whereas Intelligent Design does not.

Slide 2: Not ID Creationism?:
"Intelligent design needs to be distinguished from what is known as
creation science or scientific creationism. The most obvious difference
between the two is that scientific creationism has prior religious
commitments whereas intelligent design does not."
(Quotation from Dembski.)

I think that there is more to the definition than that, but tonight I'm not going to deal with that issue directly. I'm going to [pause] try to become an Intelligent Design creationist. Excuse me, I said the word there, I do it all the time, I apologize for that. I want to become an Intelligent Design Theorist [laughter]. Today I will say IDT instead of IDC... and what I want to do here is, I hope, learn how to do it. My work is as an evolutionary design theorist, but tonight I'm not going to defend that, I'm going to adopt this position and ask...

ES:
There's a question in here?

RP:
What should I do? How should I teach this? There's the question.

Slide 3: The SETI Analogy.
Image of Jody Foster as SETI researcher in the movie Contact.

Um, you didn't bring this up today, so I'm going to skip this. This was in your article. I would say that the question about the SETI analogy is a red herring. We'll skip that since you didn't bring it up.

Slide 4a: 'Design' is Ambiguous.
- Design as pattern ...

Here's a question about Design. If I'm going to become a design theorist, what do I mean by "Design"? I'm not quite sure what that means. Is it fair to say that Design means patterns? Is that one example of design? At this point I just want a yes or no. Is that an example of, um...

WD:
Well...as, uh, John Searle has pointed out, usually what we do when we form a science, we start with certain common sense notions and then you try to formalize them. I think we have some pretty common sense notions about, about design as a sort of intelligent cause, intelligent agency. We start off with, human agency is clearly the most, the most obvious example we have, so let me try to make sense of it, how do we, how do we get a formal grasp on it? How do we get a formal grasp on energy? Energy is the notion of how to do work.

RP:
So we look at specific examples.

WD:
Well we look at examples but then we try to extract what is, what is the underlying, what, what, is there some sort of way to get a handle on it in a way that is rigorous.

RP:
And the thing we want are exemplars...

WD:
Well, the, uh...

RP:
...exemplars of Design.

Slide 4b: 'Design' is ambiguous.
- Design as teleology.
- "We systematically eschew teleological notions from our scientific theorizing."
(Quotation from Dembski)

WD:
...the exemplars are what starts you off, and then you try to extract, and you know, this is what I do with specified complexity. I argue that...

RP:
So the answer there is yes, pattern would be one notion, teleology is another.

WD:
No, now wait. Don't put words in my mouth. I said...

RP:
I just asked a question, yes or no.

Slide 4c: 'Design' is ambiguous.
- Design as intelligent agency.
- "Naturalistic explanations by definition exclude appeals to intelligent agency."
(Quotation from Dembski)

WD:
You look at examples there's common sense and then you try to extract something that's, that you can get a formal handle on. That's why complexity is a statistical and complexity theoretic notion tries to get a handle on intelligent causation. These are circumstantial...

RP:
I'm gonna ask you about that in a moment. At this point, I just want to know, when I infer design in the way you've used design in your book, it seems to me as though you've used it in a variety of ways. I'm pointing out here a list of some of the different ways that you've done it. You've used it as pattern, you've used it as teleology, you've specifically charged that science excludes this. I have a couple quotes here where you say we exclude design as teleology, that we exclude it because of our naturalistic prejudices, as intelligent agency. I would say that in fact we have a very ordinary notion of design that we do not at all exclude. All of these things I think are perfectly natural in science, we don't exclude these things. [crosstalk] Here's the ones that we, we allow.

WD:
Hang on a second hang on a second. In terms of excluding it within science you know the special sciences, which have no problem with design.

RP:
That's--I'm agreeing with you

WD:
Okay so the issue, the issue is, is it relevant to biology, and the knub there is that in biology, if there is a design there, a design-er there, then that designer would in all likelihood not be an evolved intelligence. And so it comes smack against where evolutionary biology is these days.

RP:
And where I'm inclined to agree with you is to say, "Design is fine in science up to a point" Here are some ways in which I think they are perfectly acceptable.

Slide 4d: 'Design' is ambiguous.
- Design as Design as choice or selection.
- Design as mind.

The key one we are interested in though is the one that we just now mentioned, conscious intention. That's the one that we're going to be after. And the question's going to be whether your complex specificity criterion allows you to do that, specifically, in your sense of "transcending natural causes".

Slide 4e: 'Design' is ambiguous.
- Design as conscious intention.
- Design as "transcending natural causes"
- Design as "the set-theoretic complement of necessity and/or chance"
(Quotations from Dembski)

If I'm going to be in ID here I need to know what all of these things mean. Specifically, in your definition of design in the explanatory filter, you describe it as the complement of necessity and chance. In the filter, that's going to be the key feature.

Slide 5: The Design Inference:
- The Explanatory Filter
A or B or C Necessity or Chance or Design
Not A Not necessity
Not B Not chance
Therefore C Therefore Design
- Negative argument by elimination.
- "Specified Complexity" is the magic word.
- To be valid, A,B & C, must be mutually exclusive and jointly exhaustive.
- Dembski defines C as "not A or B".
- Only outputs "Design" as a mode!


WD:
Okay, can I stop here because, I think I need to speak to that but I will need more than just one second to, to address that. In the design inference, I was trying to get a handle on a certain pattern of structure of influence that I saw over and over again across many special sciences. What was common to that structure of influence was a small probability and some sort of pattern of specification, those came together to see that people were reliably referring to intelligence. So, I laid out a taxonomy of types of causes but I was not very clear in that book, I referred to design in both, and I did, I did say it explicitly at one point, that design is a causal notion, but it's also, as I'm using it, subtheoretic complement to chance and necessity and that's, that was an unfortunate usage. What you get in the explanatory filter is specified complexity, the what the design there is, but you still have to go from that complexity and statistical notion and map that onto a causal structure an this is what we do when we have criteria, there is the reality out there, and then we try it with medical tests, and say now there's something making me sick or not sick, and then there's a medical test that tells you the person is sick or not sick. Well, it doesn't do that with perfect reliability usually. That is, you know, so we've got the test and then the reality, and so in my case the test is specified complexity, the reality is trying to get a handle on is design or intelligence.

RP:
And what comes out then is attribution of, of design, of, of intention. There's an intentional notion here. Design is a subset of intention.

WD:
And, I, I, I claim that there could be...

RP:
Is that correct?

WD:
...be a connection...well...

RP:
I just want to know, is that correct that, that design is a subset of intention?

WD:
Well, where I think you're going with this is that...

RP:
I just want to know if that is correct or not, so I can be an ID Theorist. [Laughter]

WD:
It's...why when you talk about intention you are often talking about purpose, and my contention would be that we can detect design without knowing the purposes of the designer. So there's a room, for instance, inside the Smithsonian Institute which has obviously designed artifacts for which we do not know what the intention or purpose there is. So I tend to shy away from the language of intentionality because it gives you this whole, puts you in a whole sphere of purpose where we,...

RP:
So we shouldn't be talking about purpose?

WD:
You should...

RP:
I thought as an ID theorist that was my job, to look at purpose.

WD:
Purpose is downstream; you can detect design without necessarily knowing the purpose.

RP:
Okay. So what comes out of this as we've done the filter is attribution of design, and the way that you've put this there are three modes of explanation, and by eliminating necessity and chance you output design. How is it that in this output that's the only thing that we're able to say? I agree that in science we're able to have all sorts of design inferences, but we're rather specific about them, and what I'm just asking is, why can't you be specific about what comes out besides just the mode design?

WD:
Well, your, your obviously focusing on the explanatory filter, and if you'll notice in my paper today, I didn't mention it at all because the issue is really specified complexity and whether it reliably maps onto this notion of design as, as a causal property. Ah, I was in the explanatory filter, trying to make sense of, as philosophers, as philosophers would say, rationally reconstruct how we do these design inferences. When an archaeologist finds an arrowhead, um, is this just a random chunk of rock, is it perhaps a chunk of rock that would emerge out of some sort of, uh, repeated process where the thing would...chunks like that, of that form, would keep occurring. Where is, is there an intention is there an intelligence behind that. That's how we taxo-...[crosstalk] that's how we, [crosstalk] that's how we taxonomize it.

RP:
There's an intelligence, who intended something.

Slide 6: Design as production ex nihilo:
"[N]atural causes cannot generate CSI. To deny that natural causes can generate CSI is not the same as denying that natural causes can produce events that exhibit CSI. As has been stressed repeatedly, natural causes are ideally suited as conduits for CSI. It is in this sense, then, that natural causes can be said to 'produce CSI'. But natural causes never produce things de novo or ex nihilo."
(Quotation from Dembski)
- Design does production ex nihilo

WD:
Well, intelligence is to intend something. But I, but, I, I but we, we, we... This is not the first time...

RP:
I just want to know, as an ID theorist, what I can say.

WD:
...this is not the first time we're, we're meeting, at least in terms of print at it. And...

RP:
I'm just trying to understand your position; I want to be an ID theorist [laughter]

WD:
No, because...

RP:
...and, and I haven't heard...

WD:
...if you want to be an ID theorist, if you are I don't...

RP:
I don't even know if I'm allowed to say, you're saying I can't use purpose? I can't use intention?..

WD:
No I I'm just saying that... purpose, that purpose is, is not, you know, as I was saying we can detect design without knowing the purpose. If I'm hesitating here it's because I know that you take a certain view of probability, you know where, you know...

GS:
Ten Minutes

WD:
Go ahead.

RP:
I'm trying to learn what your position is, because, because, I'm not quite sure what it is. Here let me just ... just say yes or no at this point. [laughter] If I want to teach this we'll go through the list.

WD:
Just say yes or no, have you stopped beating your wife lately?

RP:
Just, we'll go through the list very quickly. If I'm teaching this, I want to teach this in the school as an alternative to evolution, okay. Now, as an evolutionist, say, here's something that we think is the case: the Darwinian Mechanism is the explanation for biological complexity. You say no. Is that correct?

Slide 7: Darwin's Mechanism: "It is a separate and prior question whether the fitness functions upon which the Darwinian mechanism operates exercises sufficient control over the evolutionary process to account for all of biological complexity.... [T]he irreducible complexity of certain biochemical systems argues decisively against the gradients of these fitness functions (or fitness landscapes) being smooth enough to make the Darwinian mechanism the driving force behind evolution. Note that in offering such an argument I do not challenge evolution as such but the sufficiency of the Darwinian mechanism to account for it."
(Quotation from Dembski. Emphasis added)

WD:
Depends on the system.

RP:
So, maybe it is. Maybe it...

WD:
Well, you know, if it's the bacterial flagellum, I would say yeah, that's that, there's, there's actual design there.

RP:
Okay so we're saying we're going to reject it. How about common descent? If I'm teaching this as an ID theorist...

Slide 8: Common Descent.
"Design theorists themselves are divided on this question. Dean Kenyon and Percival Davis, for instance, argue against common descent... Michael Behe provisionally accepts common descent."
(Quotation from Dembski. Emphasis added.)

as a... I'm saying specifically what I would say as an evolutionist: yes, we accept common descent. But as an ID theorist, what can I teach? I teach that it is compatible, sure, but do I teach that it might not be true?

WD:
[pause] I...[sigh] I don't...

RP:
Design Theorists are divided on this question.

WD:
No, DDDDdesign theorists are divided on this...

RP:
So that means I can teach both. [laughter]

WD:
I, I think that... No... I'm saying that you would teach evidence for and against, I mean it seems to me that there's some ...

RP:
Okay,

WD:
...some good evidence I, ...

RP:
...That's fine, that's a good answer. I just want to know what I can teach.

WD:
... there's some good evidence there's some good evidence for common descent. You know there are molecular phylogenies...

RP:
Microevolution, Can I teach that? [pause] Or do I have to reject that?

Slide 9a: Micro & Macroevolution:
"What evidence there is supports limited variation within fixed boundaries, or what typically is called microevolution." (Quotation from Dembski. Emphasis added.)
{NOTE: Biological def. does not say "fixed boundaries"}

WD:
We're a, you know...

RP:
I just want to find out what I believe.

WD:
we're a profession that, that...

RP:
If this is an alternative theory, I just want to find out...I'm just asking: what can I say as an ID theorist? What do I accept and what do I reject. Science lays its cards out on the table and says, here's what we accept, here's what we reject.

WD:
okay

RP:
All I'm asking is, do you accept this or not?

WD:
Well, let's back, back up just a moment. The great tree of life, Darwin's great tree of life, common descent. The mechanism that was supposed to drive this was the Darwinian mechanism of natural selection and random variation. If that mechanism is called into question then it seems that a lot of things that...

RP:
You're speaking of mic-, of macroevolution.

Slide 9b: Micro & Macroevolution:
"Macroevolution - the unlimited plasticity of organisms to diversify across all boundaries - even if true, cannot legitimately be attributed to the mutation-selection mechanism." (Quotation from Dembski. Emphasis added.)
{NOTE: Biological def. does not say "unlimited plasticity"}

WD:
Well, the full, the full ball of wax, alright. So you, if that's, if the mechanism that's supposed to underwrite the great tree of life is called into question then the... then there is, I think, place to reexamine that as well. So you get science, everything is open for reexamination. It seems that the evidence for common descent is actually pretty good.

RP:
So, so ID doesn't make a specific claim but, but it, but I can teach that, but some ID theorists do think that that's wrong.

WD:
Well, you know, when your putting it this way it's as though ID is this really ossified position.

RP:
I don't know, some people, you said yourself, it's...

WD:
We are very early, we are very early

RP:
I've got it quoted, some say yes some say no.

WD:
We are very early in the game. I think that, you know, as I've put it in my book, No Free Lunch, you want to be as conservative as possible in what you're, what you're teaching. You know, and how much you're changing the uh, the curriculum.

RP:
How about the age of the Earth, can I say how old that is?

Slide 10a: Other theses: Age of the earth
- Billions of years or Thousands of years

As a scientist I say it's billions, what can I say as an ID theorist?

WD:
Well, you've read the literature. It's entirely compatible Intelligent Design makes no claim about the age of the Earth.

RP:
So, so I may say-as some ID theorists do-that the Earth is thousands of years old. I'm allowed to say that as an ID theorist. I can teach that.

WD:
Allowed? [laughter]

RP:
I want to know what I'm able to do.

WD:
The theory, the theory makes no claims about the age of the earth. You get that from an independent source. So if you're going to go geo, geological evidence...

RP:
So if I'm teaching...The nice thing about Science is that science is integrated. It's not just one thing; you can't just throw one piece out. So as an evolutionist, I say here are all of the pieces, here's what I take a stand on. I want you to take a stand and tell me can I teach this?

WD:
There're a lot of things that are...

RP:
because some...

WD:
...that end up being...

RP:
ID theorists say yes...

WD:
That end up being independent of uh, of Intelligent Design. Much as...uh...

RP:
so...

WD:
I mean is it going to matter to Darwinian evolution if the earth is you know, four billion years old? Forty billion years old? I mean, you know...

ES:
one minute remaining.

WD:
You know, it'll still be true, you know, it wouldn't matter...

RP:
How about the flood?

Slide 10b: Other theses: Global flood.

Can I talk about the flood? [laughter] Some say yes, some say no.

WD:
I, I take Genesis figuratively...

RP:
I'm not talking about Genesis.

WD:
OK

RP:
I haven't mentioned Genesis.

WD:
OK

RP:

Slide 10c: Other theses: Origin of the universe
- Fine-tuned universe CSI?

OK. Is the universe fine-tuned? Does it exhibit CSI? [pause] As a whole?

WD:
As a whole I, I think there're there are problems trying to apply these arguments to the universe as a whole because, uh, where's uh, where's the contingency?

RP:
So fine tuning arguments don't establish CSI as, as ...

WD:
There are people who, and I think there are always metaphysical assumptions that you have to make with, with, the universe as a whole, because the laws, in what sense are they contingent.

RP:
OK

WD:
That, that's always going to be a part of it.

RP:

Slide 10d: Other theses. Scientific Method: Methodological Naturalism vs. Metaphysical Naturalism. Graphic of Sydney Harris cartoon: Scientist's equation on blackboard interrupted with words 'Then a miracle occurs', about which second scientist comments 'I think you should be more explicit here in step two.'

As an ID theorist you've said that you definitely reject the naturalist view. So is that correct? I'm allowed as an ID theorist to say, um, I'll appeal to a miracle in this case. I'm allowed to do that.

WD:
Intelligent design makes no commitment to miracles, and I, I would...

RP:
I'm just saying whether I can, not whether you're committed to it. Whether I can do it, um in your view...

WD:
There's uh, I, I, I...

RP:
May I do it?

Slide 11: Frequently asked questions.
'ID Please' Be Specific. Who? (ET? God of Abraham? Vital Force? Et al ad infinitum) What? When? Where? How? Why?

WD:
I'll say...

ES:
Dr. Dembski has one minute to answer.

WD:
I, I, I don't think, it has, it has no place. You know, it's not relevant. [pause] There there's no, no commitment to miracles at least.

ES:
the time is up.

RP:
I'm not talking about commitment; I'm asking may I do it. Is it methodologically necessary?

ES:
Rob.
[laughter]

WD:
Wh-, wh, wh, what are talking about may I do it?
[laughter]

ES:
Guys!
[Laughter]

WD:
Is it a Christian school system ...?

ES:
Gentlemen! [pause] that worked, I'll have to remember that. [laughter]. First time. Thank you very much... You're Done. You have to sit down now. [laughter and applause]. Well, that was fun.

Part 4 — Dr. William Dembski, Dr. Kenneth Miller

ES:
Gentlemen! [pause] that worked, I'll have to remember that. [laughter]. First time. Thank you very much...You're Done. You have to sit down now. [laughter and applause]. Well, that was fun. Um, Bill will stay at his podium, we're going to have a, a change of questioners for the moment, and I'll take this opportunity to introduce from here, our next speaker, Dr. Kenneth Miller. Dr. Kenneth R. Miller is a cell biologist at Brown University studying the relationships of structure and function in biological membranes. He is the recipient of numerous awards for outstanding teaching. He has written many articles that have been published in numerous scientific journals including Nature, Cell, the Journal of Cell Biology, the Journal of Molecular Biology and popular science magazines such as Scientific American and Discover. He is the Co-author of several high school and college biology textbooks and the author of Finding Darwin's God: a Scientist's Search for Common Ground Between God and Evolution. You will have five minutes, the two of you will have five minutes to, uh, question and answer.

KM:
Bill, um, what I have up here is not terribly readable; it's a geological time scale. It's sort of the age of the Earth starting with, uh, the formation of the planet four and a half billion years ago and going right to the present time. And what I want to do is I want to take your ideas about design, I want to map them on this, which is an important scientific thing to do, so let's start with the origin of life. The evidence is that living things first appeared on this planet about, uh, three billion years ago, I put an arrow down there. It, it it's fair to say, isn't it, since you think life that was made complex specified uh, information, that there must have been a design event at which that information was put into some sort of living tissue about that time. Is that right?

WD:
uh, not necessarily at that time. You know I, I, I...In, In my [crosstalk]

KM:
CSI is necessary for life, there's life...

WD:
It is, it is necessary but at what point was it inserted? Okay, we, I mentioned right in my first paragraph of my talk that one of the things that's not studied by evolutionary biology is the programming of these mechanisms. So it's conceivable that all of this CSI could have been put in there right at, right at the Big Bang,

KM:
Fair enough. Okay.

WD:
And then it's gotten itself expressed at that point.

KM:
Good answer. Okay, so there's two possibilities. One is that it was put in where I put the arrow, and the other possibility is that it was programmed at the beginning of the Big Bang.

WD:
yeah.

KM:
Yeah okay, cool. Okay. So, the two possibilities, and, and you specifically use the bacterial flagellum as an example of design, I put an arrow up there when the first bacteria with flagella we presume originated and the eukaryotic cell, cells with nuclei, much more complicated, the eukaryotic cilium, example of, um, uh, uh, irreducible complexity, and the very famous Cambrian explosion, now I think I understand your answer to say either, that all of this was programmed at the Big Bang, or we have more examples of design events. Either of those is possible, is that right?

WD:
Um, all I spoke to was the bacterial flagellum. So...

KM:
I know.

WD:
So with the eukaryotic cell and the flagellum and I'm looking at individual systems it's going to take some analysis to figure out if CSI is in-...

KM:
Okay so it might be, might not.

WD:
Might, might be might not.

KM:
Okay. Now here's what I want to do. We biologists have to deal with a lot of appearances of new and novel systems throughout geological history. We have a whole bunch of them. Um, and the, what your, what you propose to do as part of the research program is to look at one after another and try to decide whether or not CSI applies, and whether or not we might have some sort of insertion of Design. Is that right? We're pretty sure we've got one for the bacterial flagellum, right?

WD:
[pause] yeah.

KM:
So I, I assume it's a case-by-case basis how often we'll have to invoke design, is that right?

WD:
When, When the, When this sort of information gets expressed, you know, there's the question of how far can you track it back.

KM:
Right.

WD:
You know, and so it may be to the Big Bang. The thing is, you know, it could conceivably go back further. Maybe there's some...

KM:
Okay.

WD:
I think Mike Behe talks about the...

KM:
Okay.

WD:
...super cell, in which...

KM:
fair enough.

WD:
...everything is programmed.

KM:
now...

WD:
you know there are lots of possibilities.

KM:
Okay. Very good. Thank you. So, this is something you said in No Free Lunch. Which is, " the way design works is the designer makes a plan. To accomplish it he forms a plan, executes the plan, specifies the building materials and finally implies and puts together the assembly structures in the building, in other words, all of these examples in life that are, specified complex, uh, specified complex information went through this process. Is it fair to say, that design theory is a series of progressive creative events? And what I mean by that is, to me, my wife is an artist, and she always emphasizes to me she has to think of something, she has to plan it, and then she has to execute it. And the execution of her design is a creative act. Same thing here?

WD:
Well I think, what I'd want to speak to is just this notion of these punctuated events where the design emerges. Was it that information was input? Is it just that it's becoming evident that, that there was some information that was already there...

KM:
Creative act or not?

WD:
I'm sorry?

KM:
Creative act - Bacterial flagellum, creative act?

WD:
There was a creative act there, yes. But ...

KM:
When, when was, when was that creative act?

KM:
I just asked if it was a creative act.

WD:
There was a creative act behind it, but whether it occurs right when the bac-, flagellum first appears in natural history or whether it was programmed in some way prior to that...

KM:
Okay, I'd like to get one more important question in because I'm an experimental biologist and it's an empirical one.

WD:
Okay.

KM:
You make the claim that undirected natural processes just can't generate specified complex information so what I would propose to do as a biologist is do a little test. Let's suppose we grow bacteria at thirty-seven degrees, then we rev up the temperature...

ES:
One minute.

KM:
...to forty-two degrees and then we see basically what happens; we test for increased fitness and we scan the genome to see if anything happens. Well the interesting thing, as you may know, a few months ago this experiment was actually done and reported, exactly as I've described on the previous page. And what these investigators found was that at two places in the E. coli bacterial chromosome, there were a series of gene duplications and modifications that dramatically increased the fitness of the bacteria; thirty five, uh, thirty three point five percent.

ES:
Finish the question please.

KM:
That's an enormous increase in fitness and here is the question. And that is, since we see this and gene duplication and amplification provides the raw material for the evolution of new and beneficial genes, don't these results, which very clearly show in the laboratory that an undirected increase in beneficial new genetic information occurs, don't they violate your so-called law of conservation of information?

ES:
Please answer in one minute.

WD:
...I don't know, I mean what, what do the numbers there mean. To say that you have a thirty-seven-fold increase in fitness, that's all fine and well...

KM:
Thirty-seven percent

WD:
oh, thir-, thirty sever percent. What's you know, it's gotta be mapped onto what I'm doing. You know, in terms of, of these complexities, which need to be evaluated, we're talking, you know, the, the universal complexity bound that I talk about. We're talking 500 bits of CSI. Uh, Is that the case here? You know, the analysis will need to be done. You haven't done it.

KM:
Okay, no, absolutely, but what I suggest

ES:
Ken you're done.

KM:
is that the production of information

ES:
Ken,

KM:
is

ES:
Ken! You're done. [laughter/applause]

Part 5 — Dr. William Dembski, Audience Q&A

ES:
Ken! You're done. [laughter/applause] [long pause] Okay, I will, we have a little bit of time for questions from the audience. Uh, not a whole lot of time because we do want to let you people go before midnight. Um. I don't, I guess I can probably see hands being raised. Um, not too bad, um, this man. Oh! Hello?

Audience Member 1:
Hi, uh, as I teach science and, and most people in the room do, Science involves gathering data, after a question has been asked and a hypothesis offered as an explanation. Philosophy on the other hand does involve offering answers based upon logical thinking as opposed to empirical evidence. What I'd like to know is how you could explain ID as science and not as Philosophy.

ES:
Do I need to repeat the question or did you all hear it? He has a good strong voice. I guess that's for, uh, Bill Dembski?

AM1:
Yes.

WD:
Um, [sigh]. You know, yes I'm trained as a philosopher and there are philosophical implications to what I do, but uh, these questions of Design detection, I mean they arose out of my mathematical work trying to understand the nature of randomness. I mean that's, that's where it came from, because I found that one can only really make sense out of randomness in relation to certain types of patterns. This was, this was a problem actually in understanding the nature of randomness that, uh, randomness, when people are writing for instance, random number generators, they would be good only so long as one did not find a pattern which these, uh, which these uh, random number generators matched. As long as the violated all of the set of statistical patterns, they were fine. And then, this was a constant pattern that, uh, sorry to overuse that word, but, that that random number generators would, would go by the board once a pattern was discovered in them. So, I was trying to make sense out of the types of patterns that we use to defeat randomness, and from there that connected with a certain structure of inference for detecting design that I found in a whole bunch of different, different areas. So I mean, my work in The Design Inference I mean it appeared in Cambridge Studies in Probability Induction and Decision Theory. Yes, Brian Skyrms is a philosopher who is the head of, uh, he edits that series, but he's also a member of the National Academy of Sciences. And so, you know, I don't there are any neat and clean distinctions between Philosophy and science, I mean, you know, uh, natural philosophy, that's what science used to be, you know, so the very use of the word science is only about a hundred fifty years old. Uh, so, you know I, I see the work as relevant, and if you go to my, um, there's a website, a scholarly society that deals with Intelligent Design, dub-dub-dub dot iscid dot org. ISCID; International Society for Complexity, Information and Design. We, uh, actually are doing some, uh, I think some interesting research there. One thing is in computer modeling to try to get a sense of, just how effective is uh, is the Darwinian mechanism when you try to represent it computationally with a program called MESA: Monotonic Evolutionary Simulation Algorithm which tries to make sense of what happens when you start coupling variables and how does that impede the, the progress of the natural selection mechanism, in, in finding its way through a search space. So, anyway, uh...

ES:
Thank you. Thank you. Is there an interest in a one-minute follow up from either of you, or are you happy. [pause] okay. Next question. Um. In the aisle.

AM2:
[inaudible]

WD:
Well, let me answer you in two parts. One, if you throw enough money at researchers, you'll be getting research, right. So I think, uh, I think the, you know, the, the research you're citing, I don't mean to dismiss it, I think there's a lot of good stuff being done, but it's certainly, the moneys, the research funds are the evolutionary side, we don't have very much funding, we're not getting funding from NSF and NIH, so it's a mainly, mainly private at this point. And I would say yes, we have our work cut out for us. In 1997 we met at a conference, but there was a conference later that year that which was a private gathering, titled "A Consultation on Intelligent Design", Where the idea was to try to jump start this as a research program. We weren't there at the time. So, you know, I, I agree, we've got our work cut out for us, but, uh, we're making some slow, slow progress. You know I think uh, we're still at the point, I mean, I think that my, my work in No Free Lunch and um, Design Inference was trying to lay some theoretical foundations. And, Uh, you know. But I, I do see, there's, there's some good work being done, and, I can, I can list some for you. We are getting some stuff into the peer reviewed literature, it's not, it's not a whole lot, you know. So yeah, we've got our work cut out.

KM:
Genie?

ES:
Yes, one minute.

KM:
Do you want me to respond?

ES:
Yes, one-minute response.

KM:
Be shorter than that. Um, I, I, I, I have to say that I don't quite share Bill's optimism that the, the uh... I, I agree you got your work cut out for you, but I don't share your optimism that things are happening. And an example of that, actually, was when I pointed to the entire history of life, the fossil record, and I just asked you "When were the Design events?" and all I got was a shrug and the bacterial flagellum, and: "... the others we have to test!" Surely, no matter how much or how little funding you have, sooner or later you'd be able to put a few more arrows on that graph and say here's a design event, there's a design event.

WD:
I think we can, I think we can put some more arrows, in that I think there's some good work happening at the level of individual, uh, enzymes, looking at the design there, so, there's work being done, but, uh, it's not nearly as fast as I would like to see. You know.

RP:
Um...

WD:
Go ahead.

ES:
Okay.

RP:
Apropos of this sort of question, your explanatory filter and the, the CS criterion is supposed to be a reliable, uh, detector of design. You've admitted that it can come up with false, uh false negatives, uh-things will fall through the filter. Um, um, Is there something, though, where you've tested it to be reliable? Whenever we have an instrument, we usually go through and we, um, check it out, see how many times it works, how many times it fails. Uh, so a reliability claim is something that we would expect to be tested. And look in your No Free Lunch book; there isn't any indication that you've actually done, done tests on that. Can you tell us, um, how many times it works sort of on, on average. Is it ninety-five per cent of the time, a hundred percent of the time, twenty percent of the time? Have you done some tests on this?

WD:
Well, the fact is that I've got plenty of critics, you included, who

RP:
But this is something where you should test it.

WD:
WH, WH, What are the counterexamples? I mean you've, you've been following the design movement, give me a counter example.

RP:
But the question has to do with whether you've given us any. You... you state that it's an, an inductive generalization. That's part of the reason we should expect this. But I haven't seen even a single case that you've offered where we've seen just how well it works. It's not a matter of responding to counterexamples; it's a matter of testing the instrument.

WD:
We, we, we use these inferences across a whole range of special sciences. I would say that, in fact that's what makes a lot of these design inferences work.

RP:
So they work a hundred percent of the time, or ninety-five percent of the time?

WD:
Well, the, the, the accuracy depends on how well we've, we've grasped the relevant probability distributions, and also the level of improbability that we set to eliminate chance and infer design. And so, you know, I would say that we are, we are, perfectly reliable when we're at a universal probability bound. You know,

RP:
Perfect? So you've tested and you get perfect reliability, that's pretty amazing.

WD:
No, No No. What are you saying that that's pretty amazing? I mean, this isn't coming up in a vacuum, right; I mean Emile Borel, a very well known mathematician in the 1930's, was putting forward universal probability bound. Uh, cryptographers use these notions all the time to assess the reliability of cryptographic systems. They usually get improbabilities at the level of ten to the minus ninety, are as secure, you know, for cryptographic attacks across the whole universe. If you had the entire universe as a non-quantum computational system, then a system is reliable against cryptographic attacks. You know, so it's, it's not, you know...

RP:
This is an a priori argument, not an empirical argument.

WD: It's not, it's not a, it's not an a priori... well, it's uh, it certainly depends on how much, what are the limits in the case of cryptography, what are the limits of matter and the physics of matter, in terms of what's er, how much computation can you get out of it. Now, there's a law, Moore's Law, and we all know that uh, computational power has gone up dramati, dramatically, I mean, the, your desktop, or rather your, your notebook computer has more power than the super computer of fifteen years ago. But that's not going to, you know, Moore's law says that computational power increases, doubles every eighteen months, but it's not going to do that indefinitely. You're going to reach limits of matter, you know, of what computation can accomplish, and so, those limits tell us, in the case of cryptography, what, uh, what, what sort of degree of security a cryptographic system has when it's, when...

RP:
Sure, a priori argument, so at this point we don't have an empirical test for this.

WD:
But when you say a priori, that is not accurate. Th-, there is an a priori element in the mathematics, but there's also, it depends on what the physics is telling us about ...

RP:
So you have done an empirical test?

WD:
Can I finish the thought?

RP:
Sorry.

WD:
There's also a limit to what computation can, how fast computation can go based on physics. Now that's empirical, so you can't just say [inaudible]

RP:
So the answer is, you have not yet done the test. [laughter]

WD:
The... uh, th, th, the NSA has done the tests. I mean these arguments appear across the board in a lot of different areas. I don't, you know, don't try to put words in my mouth.

ES:
Okay, let's, let's end there. Um, I'm afraid we've run out of time for questions. Uh, Mike, could you come up and get, uh, get started. Thank you very much. [applause]

Part 6 — Dr. Michael Behe

ES:
Dr. Michael Behe is a professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University. He holds a PhD. in biochemistry from the University of Pennsylvania. He has done post-doctoral work on DNA structure at the National Institutes of Health, and formerly was assistant professor of chemistry at Queen's College in New York City. Local color here. He didn't write that part, I just put that in there. He has authored over forty technical papers and one book, Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution, which argues that living systems at the molecular level are best explained as being the result of deliberate Intelligent Design. Darwin's Black Box has been reviewed by the New York Times, Nature, Philosophy of Science, Christianity Today, and over one hundred other periodicals. He and his wife reside near Bethlehem, Pennsylvania with their eight children, Mike, would you, uh, like to begin? [Applause]

MB:
I'm a short guy. Um, Thanks very much Genie. As Genie mentioned, uh, um, I taught at Queen's college, and City University in the early eighties, it's really nice to be back in New York City. My wife grew up on [cambrilling Ave?] in the Bronx near 187th street, and our first daughter, Grace was born here, so New York has a lot of happy memories for the Behe family. My talk will be divided into four parts, I believe. Uh, well let me continue while somebody tries to, to fix things up here. Thanks Ken. First I'll talk a, give a sketch of the argument for design, second I'll talk about some common misconceptions about what I call the mode of design, third, misconceptions about biochemical design, and finally a discussion of the future prospects of design. Before I begin, however, I'd like to emphasize that the focus of my argument will not be descent with modification, with which I agree. Rather, the focus will be the mechanism of evolution. How did all this happen, by natural selection or intelligent design, my conclusion will not be that natural selection doesn't explain anything, rather the conclusion will be that natural selection doesn't explain everything. So, let's begin with a sketch of the Design argument.

In the Origin of Species, Darwin emphasized that his was a very gradual theory. Natural selection had to work by numerous, successive, slight modifications to pre-existing theori-, er, pre-existing structures, however, irreducibly complex systems seem quite difficult to explain in gradual terms. What is irreducible complexity? I've defined the term in various places, but it's easier to illustrate what I mean with the following example, the mousetrap. [Laughter] Close your eyes, and imagine it. [cheers]…alright, okay, thank you very much. I'm going to have to zing ahead here a little bit. Uh, this is a slow one. I'm going to have wait, I pressed it a couple times so I'm going to have to wait until it catches up with my pressing. [pause] So, this mousetrap here…mousetraps [clears throat]. Um, the common mousetrap, the common mechanical mousetrap has a number of interacting parts that all contribute to its function, and if any parts are taken away, the mousetrap doesn't work half as well as it used to, or a quarter as well as it used to, the mousetrap is broken. Thus it is irreducibly complex. Suppose we wanted to evolve a mouse trap as something like a Darwinian process. What would we start with? Would we start with a wooden platform and hope to catch mice inefficiently, perhaps tripping them [ laughter]. And then add say the holding bar, hoping to improve the efficiency. No, of course we can't do that, because irreducibly complex systems only acquire their function when the system is essentially completed. Thus, irreducibly complex systems are real headaches for natural selection, because it is very difficult to invision how they could be put together, that is put together without the help of a directing intelligence, by the numerous successive, slight modifications that Darwin insisted upon. Irreducibly complex biological systems would thus be real challenges to Darwinian evolution. Yet modern science has discovered irreducibly complex systems in the cell. An excellent example is the bacterial flagellum, which is literally an outboard motor that bacteria use to swim. The flagellum has a large number of parts that are necessary for its function, a propeller, hook, drive shaft and more. Thorough studies show it requires 30-40 protein parts, and in the absence of virtually any of those parts, the flagellum doesn't work, or doesn't even get built in the cell. It's gradual evolution by unguided natural selection, therefore, is a real headache for Darwinian theory. I like to show audiences this picture of the flagellum, because when they see it, they quickly grasp that this is a machine. It is a real molecular machine, it is not just like a machine, it is a real machine and perhaps that will help us think about its origin. I have written that, not only is the flagellum a problem for Darwinism, but that it is better explained as the result of design, deliberate design by an intelligent agent. Some of my critics have said that design is a religious conclusion. But I disagree. I think it is wholly empirical, that is, the conclusion of design is based on the physical evidence, along with an appreciation for how we come to a conclusion of design. Now Bill does it with statistics, I do it with a, a much more intuitive approach. Uh, to illustrate how we can come to a conclusion of design, let's look at the following. This is a Farside cartoon by Gary Larson showing a troop of jungle explorers, and the lead explorer has been strung up and skewered, and this fellow turns to him and says, that's why I never walk in front. Words to live by. Let me tell you. [laughter]. Now everyone in this room looks at this cartoon and you immediately realize that this trap was designed. It was not an accident. The humor of the cartoon depends on you recognizing the design. But how do you know that? How do you know the trap was designed? Is it a religious conclusion? Probably not. [laughter] You know it's designed because you see a number of very specific parts, interacting to produce a function that the parts themselves could not produce. You see something like irreducible complexity, or specified complexity. Now I will address the common misconceptions about what I call the mode of design, that is, how design may have happened.

My Book, Darwin's Black Box, in which I flesh out, uh, these ideas, has been pretty widely discussed in a number of publications. What have other scientists said about it? Well they've said many things, not all of them flattering. Uh... But the general reaction is well summarized in a recent book called the Way of the Cell, published last year by Oxford University Press, and authored by Colorado State University biochemist Franklin Harold. And he writes, "We should reject as a matter of principle the substitution of Intelligent Design for the dialogue of chance and necessity", and he cites my book. "But we must concede, that there are presently no detailed Darwinian accounts of the evolution of any biochemical system, only a variety of wishful speculations." Now let me take a moment to emphasize Harold's two points. First, he acknowledges that Darwinists have no real explanations for the enormous complexity of the cell, only hand waving speculations, more colloquially know as "just so stories". "How the Rhinoceros got its horn". "How the bacterium got its flagellum" [laughter]. I find this an astonishing admission for a theory that has dominated biology for so long. Second, apparently he thinks that there is some principle that forbids us from investigating the idea of Intelligent Design, even though Design is an obvious idea that quickly pops into your mind when you see a drawing of the flagellum or other complex biochemical systems. But what principle is that? I think the principle boils down to this. [pause-laughter] Design appears to point strongly beyond nature. It has philosophical and theological implications, and that makes many people uncomfortable. But any theory that purports to explain how life occurred will have philosophical and theological implications. For example, the Oxford biologist Richard Dawkins has famously said that "Darwin made it possible to be an intellectually fulfilled atheist". Disagreeing with him, Ken Miller wrote in his book that God used evolution as the tool to set us free. Stuart Kauffman, a leading complexity theorist who disagrees with Darwinism, here is the quote "Darwinism is not enough. Natural selection cannot be the sole source of order in the world." He thinks that his ideas have philosophical consequences and that would show us that we are at home in the universe. So all theories of origins carry philosophical and theological implications. But how could biochemical systems have been designed? Did they have to be created from scratch in a puff of smoke? No. The Design process may have been much more subtle. It may have involved no contravening of natural laws at all. Let's consider just one possibility, and I'm gonna borrow from Ken again. Suppose the designer is God, as most people would suspect. Well, that as Ken has pointed out in his book, Finding Darwin's God, a subtle God could cause mutations by influencing quantum events such as radioactive decay. Something that I would call guided evolution. Now I don't think Ken thinks of guided evolution, but that, uh, that could have occurred, and I agree with Ken on this. It seems perfectly possible to me. I would only add that the process would amount to Dar-, eh, to Intelligent Design, not Darwinian evolution. Now let's talk, eh, talk about common misperceptions about biochemical design.

Some Darwinists have proposed that a way around the problem of irreducible complexity could be found if the individual components of a system first had other functions in the cell. For example, consider a hypothetical example such as pictured here, where all of the parts are supposed to be necessary for the function of the system. Might the system have been put together from individual components that originally worked on their own, but then got together. Unfortunately this picture greatly oversimplifies the difficulty as I discussed in Darwin's Black Box. Here analogies to mousetraps break down somewhat, because the parts of the system have to automatically find each other in the cell. They aren't arranged by an intelligent agent as a mousetrap is. To find each other in the cell, interacting parts have to have their surfaces shaped so that they are very closely matched to each other. Originally, however, the individually acting components would not have had complementary surfaces. So all of the interacting surfaces, of all of the components, would first have to be adjusted, before they could function together, and only then would the new function of the composite system appear. Thus the problem of irreducibility remains, even if individual components separately had their own functions. Another area where one has to be careful is in noticing that some systems with extra or redundant components may have an irreducibly complex core. For example, a care with four spark plugs might get by with three or two. But it certainly can't get by with none. Rattraps often have two springs to give them extra strength, they can still work if one spring is removed, but they can't work with both springs are removed. Thus in trying to imagine the origin of a rattrap by Darwinian means, we still have all the problems we had with a mousetrap. A cellular example of redundancy is the hugely complex eukaryotic cilium, shown here in cross section, which has multiple copies of a number of components, yet needs at least one copy of each to work, as I pictured in my book. Many other criticisms have been made against Intelligent Design, and I have responded to a number of them at the following locations. I will now discuss how I view the future prospects of the theory of Intelligent Design.

I see them as very bright indeed. Why? Because the idea of Intelligent Design has advanced not primarily because of anything I or any individual has done. Rather, it's been the very progress of science itself that has made Intelligent Design plausible. Fifty years ago, much less was known about the cell and it was much easier then to think that Darwinian evolution was true. But with the discovery of more and more complexity at the foundation of life, the idea of intelligent design has gained strength. That trend is continuing. As science pushes on, the complexity of the cell is not getting any less. On the contrary, it is getting much greater. For example, a recent issue of the journal Nature carried the most detailed analysis yet of the total protein complement of yeast, the so-called yeast "proteome". The authors point out that most proteins they investigated in the cell function as multi-protein complexes, not as solitary proteins as scientists had long thought. In fact, they showed that almost 50% of the proteins in the cell function as complexes of a half dozen or more, such as the polyadenelation machinery shown in this figure from the paper. To me, this implies that irreducible molecular machinery is very likely going to be the rule in the cell, not the exception. We will probably not have to wait too long to see. Another example comes from a paper published in the Journal of Molecular Biology two years ago, which showed that some enzymes have only a limited ability to undergo multiple changes in their amino acid sequence, even when the enzymes function alone, as single proteins, and even when the changes are very conservative ones. This lead the author to caution that, quote, "homologues sharing less than about two-thirds sequence identity should probably be deemed as distinctive designs with their own optimizing features." The author pictured such proteins as near islands of function, virtually isolated from neighboring protein sequences. This may mean that even individual proteins, uh, from separate species that are similar but not identical in their amino acid sequence, might not have been produced by a Darwinian process, as most scientists thought, and as even I was willing to concede. Perhaps even I give too much unearned credit to Darwinian theory. Finally, to show what specific research questions might be asked by a theory of Intelligent Design, I'd like to briefly describe a little bit of my own work. This is title slide of a seminar I gave six-weeks ago to the biotechnology group at Sandia National Laboratory. The title, "Modeling the Evolution of Protein Binding Sites: Probing the, the dividing line between Natural Selection and Intelligent Design", points to a question I'm very interested in exploring. If you are someone like myself who thinks that some things in biology are indeed purposely designed, but that not all things are designed, then a question, which quickly arises, is, "Where is the broad dividing line between Design and unintelligent processes?" I think that question has to be answered at the molecular level, specifically in terms of protein structure. Drawings of the bacterial flagellum picture proteins as bland spheres or ovals, but each protein in the cell is actually itself very complex. This ribbon drawing of bovine pancreatic trip?? inhibitor gives a little taste of that complexity. Now proteins are polymers of amino acid residues and some structural features of proteins require the participation of multiple residues. For example, up here, I know it's hard to see, but this yellow link is called a disulfide bond. A disulfide bond requires two cystaine?? residues. Just one ?? residue can't form such a bond. Thus in order for a protein that did not have a disulfide bond to evolve one, several changes in the same gene have to occur. Thus in a sense, the disulfide bond is irreducibly complex, although not really to the same degree of complexity as systems made of multiple proteins. The problem of irreducibility, irreducibility in proteins is a general one. Whenever a protein interacts with another molecule as all proteins do, it does so through a binding site whose shape and chemical properties closely match the other molecule. Binding sites however, are composed of perhaps a dozen amino acid residues, and binding is generally lost if any of the positions are changed. One can then ask the question, how long would it take for two proteins that originally interact to evolve the ability to bind each other by random mutation and natural selection, if binding only occurs when all positions have the correct residue in place. Although it would be difficult to experimentally investigate the question, the process can be simulated on a computer. Here is just a sample of the data I have generated over the past year or so, the filled circles are data points from a number of simulations, which were all fit, uh, by the following equation, the details of which I will not bother you with, with here. These results were presented last summer in Philadelphia at the meeting of the Protein Society. In the next slide, the log of the expected time to generate what I call irreducible complex, irreducibly complex protein features, is shown as the function of the log of the population size and the log of the probability of the feature. The yellow dot is the time expected to generate a new disulfide bond in a protein that did not have one if the population size is 100,000,000 organisms. The expected time is roughly a million generations. The red dot shows that the expected time needed to generate a new protein binding site would be 100 million generations. Using data from these simulations, as well as Bill Dembski's concept of probabilistic resources, we can come to several broad, tentative conclusions. First, that undirected, irreducibly complex mutations cannot have been regularly involved in the evolution of large animals; the time frame would just be too long. And second, that undirected, irreducibly complex systems of the complexity of two or more protein binding sites, cannot have been regularly involved in the evolution of vertebrates, for the same reason. This work assumed that all mutations were neutral. Future work could investigate such questions as, "what if intermediate mutations are selected against?" and "what happens if there is competition between irreducibly complex mutations and single site mutations." The broad motivation behind this work is to start getting some good numbers to plug into Bill Dembski's explanatory filter. To try to come to a reasoned conclusion about where in nature design leaves off. In summary, I want to leave you with four take home points. First, that the question is open; no other scientific theory has yet explained the data. Second, that intelligent design is an empirical hypothesis that flows easily from the data, as you can tell by looking at a drawing of the flagellum. Third, that there is no principle that forbids our considering design. And best of all, fourth, that there are exciting research questions that can be asked within a design framework. Thanks very much. [Applause]

Part 7 — Dr. Michael Behe, Dr. Kenneth Miller Q&A

ES:
Okay, now, now we will play musical podiums and I'll ask Mike to come over to this podium. Ken Miller will question, uh Mike for fifteen minutes, and, um [pause], Mike will retrieve his water glass. I'm a heavy drinker myself; I carry one of these around with me at all times. We shall also play musical power points here. [long pause]

KM:
Okay, Mike, you made a, a central claim. And the central claim was that the machinery of the cell, you mentioned the bacterial flagellum, the eukaryotic cilium, in your writings you've mentioned the blood clotting cascade, were intelligently designed. We know that because these are all by your definition irreducibly complex systems, and another example of an irreducibly complex system is a mousetrap. As I understand the reasoning behind intelligent design, I want to ask you if I've got it right here, um the evidence for design of course is at the bottom of this four step statement. We'll start at the top. The cell contains a biochemical machines in which if you can lose a single component it will abolish function, and that's your definition of irreducibly complex. I agree with you by the way that's correct. So I will stipulate number one is right. Number two, you said that any irreducibly complex structure that is missing a part is by definition non-functional, and that leaves natural selection with nothing to select for. Do you agree that that's an important part of the reasoning?

MB:
Uh, No, the underlying part is your words, not mine. Uh, um. We, we've done this before folks, Ken and I, a number of times. [laughter] And , uh , he's going to say that there are other, other functions that can, somebody turned off my microphone [laughter]. But that there are other functions that can be selected for, such as...well,

KM:
I, I just want to know if statement number two is a fair representation of your reasoning.

MB:
Uh, No. It's not.

KM:
Okay. Well can you explain that because that's pretty much what you said? Any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that is missing a part is by definition non-functional. You said it.

MB:
Okay. Uh, Here is what I meant, and I think it's clear from my book. It's that the system itself has a function. The mousetrap, you know, can catch mice. Okay, uh, if you take apart the mousetrap, you know, you can, you know, hammer the mousetrap to your door and use it as a doorknocker, or something like that. So, but the, the point is that the system itself is not functional. Yes, that's it.

KM:
Okay. Then you say, therefore, since there's no function, irreducibly complex structures cannot be produced by natural selection, and therefore, they must be the product of design, since natural selection is the only alternative. Have I got it right?

MB:
Well, uh, again, not quite. I don't really mean to quibble with you, but uh, I do not say that just because they can't be produced natural selection, they're uh, products of intelligent design. I try to go through the logic in my own non-philosopher way towards the end of the book, about how we come to a conclusion of design, and try to show that our, the systems meet that.

KM:
Okay, what you said of course is this, again your words again: "A biological system cannot be produced gradually; it has to arise in an integrated unit in one fell swoop, for the natural selection of anything to act on." That's on the basis of which I put those four together.

MB:
Yes and later, in a later chapter, if you remember I talked about Stuart Kauffman's work where he talks about complexity theory which he thinks can produce systems in one fell swoop, but not by intelligent design, Lynn Margulies' ideas of symbiosis which could produce, uh, new functions, but not by intelligent design, so I was just making the more limited point that you would have to get all the parts together for something to act on, and it's only later on, like in chapter 9 or so, that I argue for intelligent design.

KM:
Okay, my, my point is that statement number two is really the core of your argument and what I want to do is move ahead and examine that. Then again, this concept of irreducible complexity, here's your definition of it again, several closely matched parts in order to function, the removal of one of the components causes the system to stop functioning. It's very very clear. Now, um, the the the the poster child for irreducible complexity clearly is the bacterial flagellum, both of you mentioned it. Um, Bill has it on the cover of his books, um. My friend David Derosier has written that it almost resembles a machine designed by a human and about fifty genes are particular to the the flagellum and its chemosensory machinery. I think it is an extraordinary structure. I, I, I, I agree with you completely on that, and I think so do all biologists who have looked at it. However, Here's the point. Let's suppose we start, we test your idea of irreducible complexity. We start with a fifty part bacterium, fifty part bacterial flagellum, we take away forty of the parts, and what that does is it leaves just ten parts behind. And the ten are shown right there in this little structure. Those ten parts ought to be non-functional by your definition of irreducible complexity. But it turns out, as you know that they are not. Those ten parts turn out to form the type three secretory system. And here's, and again, here's your statement. "Any precursor to an IC system that is missing a part is by definition non-functional"...

ES:
There is a question here?

KM:
Here is, here is a point that is by definition non-functional. Doesn't that mean the idea of irreducible complexity is wrong?

MB:
Well, uh, No, um. For some reason that I was trying to say before, the function of the system is to be a rotary whip and to propel the bacterium or to, uh to uh push liquid over top of it. This does not have that function.

KM:
It has a different one.

MB:
That's correct, it does. Hold on a second though. Let me say a couple of things before we proceed. First of all, [clears throat], uh, it doesn't have the same protein. It has proteins which are homologous to the, some of the proteins...

KM:
Strongly homologous.

MB:
That's correct, okay. Well, it's homologous. And again, with the results from that paper that I cited, it's no longer something safe to say that we can be sure that we started from this homologue, went to this one via Darwinian process. And that's one thing...

KM:
I didn't raise the issue of process Mike, all I said was here is a subset of the parts, they work!

MB:
Well, yeah. The problem comes in when you say a subset of the parts, because the amino acid sequence of these things are different. And not only that, I mean...

KM:
Just different enough to tell them apart.

MB:
Not only that but it also has other proteins which work with a type three secretory system. Uh, so this does not form a complete, uh, complete system. A second thing, point which might be relevant for the audience to consider is that I, I think where Ken's going with this is, he's going to say well, maybe we could start out with something like this...

KM:
No that's not where I'm going. [laughter]

MB:
Okay, well, let me say it anyway. Let's start with something...

KM:
I didn't realize you got to make another statement. I, I just meant to question you. Please don't ask, answer a question I'm not going to ask.

MB:
Okay, Go ahead.

KM:
So the point stands that a subset of these proteins is functional in a different context. Now that's the bacterial flagellum, let's look a couple of the other guys. Let's look at the clotting pathway, this is the way in which blood clots, you call this the Rube Goldberg in the blood, great stuff, and the clotting pathway is extremely complex. It produces a clot around the red blood cell, and what you wrote is, in your book is that none of the cascade proteins, these proteins, are used for anything except controlling the formation of clots, that's very clear. Yet, in the absence of any of the components blood does not clot and the system fails. Now here's the, the hard part for me. Remember you said, in the absence of any of the components, blood does not clot and the system fails. One of those components that you've talked about is called factor 12 or Hagemann factor, and you'd think, if we take it away, the system should fail, so there shouldn't be any living organisms that are missing Hagemann factor, but it turns out, uh, lo and behold, that there are some organisms that are missing Hagemann factor, I've crossed them off up there, and those organisms turn out to be, dolphins and porpoises, they don't have, um, I assume that statement therefore is incorrect and has to be changed?

MB:
Well, first of all let me express my condolences for the dolphins. Umm...[laughter]

KM:
You don't have to have to do condolences they do fine. That's my point. It's the theory of irreducible complexity that needs condolences at this point, [laughter/ applause] because that's what's happening.

MB:
Well, if you read my book a little more closely, you'll see that I talk about both the intrinsic and extrinsic pathway, I say that they can use both of them. And, uh, you'll see that when I talk about irreducible complexity I say, the details of the pathway, beyond uh christmas factor and so on, are rather vague, so let's uh, so I said I'll, we'll confine my argument to those. But nonetheless...

KM:
Yeah but your own words are up here and you point out Hageman factor, factor 12 and so forth, so they're part of that system.

MB:
Well, um, nonetheless, let me point out that if you do delete prothrombin if you delete tissue factor, you end up with this.

KM:
I'm asking you about Hageman factor. I'm not deleting those. My question is straightforward. You said you couldn't delete them, nature's done the experiment, it deleted them, doesn't that disprove the hypothesis?... and you're talking about deleting other ones?

MB:
You're right there are redundant components in the blood clotting system...

KM:
So it's not irreducibly complex?

MB:
In the same sense that a rattrap is not, that's correct.

KM:
Okay, so, so again, your use of that as an irreducible complex system breaks down upon inspection. Now let's look at the cilium, because you've said how, indeed how beautiful this structure is and let's take away not one part, not two, not three, not four, let's take away five and the parts that I've just X'ed out here, and that would include the central doublet, the outer dynein arms, the cross bridges, and a whole series of other components. And that's what we'd be left with. And once again, nature has done the experiment. Your system, you called it irreducibly complex, any irreducibly complex system missing a part is by definition non-functional, we take away the parts, and does it work? Well, that's a cross section of the flagellum of an eel sperm, and whatever else one thinks about eels, and some people in the audience may have strong feelings about them, [laughter] eel sperm is fully functional, because it's job is to make baby eels and it's good at it. Um, we uh, what does one do when one is told a system is irreducibly complex, find systems missing parts, and their still working?

MB:
Well, one reads a little more closely and one sees that I said in my book that uh, it, it was required you have, uh, to have microtubules, linkers and motor proteins...

KM:
Indeed

MB:
And indeed, I pictured and as a matter of fact, I, I showed the picture from my book here, that in fact all of those structures have those, and the experiment has been done...

KM:
Okay, so, the actual irreducibly complex system is smaller than this. A smaller core, right?

MB:
And if you take away one of those components, then the uh, the system fails.

KM:
Okay, very good. Now, um, one of the things I like about your ideas is that they provided us a test, an empirical test for the idea of intelligent design. And, once again, I maintain, even though I think both you and Bill have self consciously tried to, to sort of misstate irreducible complexity to get out of it, and that is that the parts of these systems ought to be useless on their own, because as you put them, natural selection would have no way to make them and evolution basically predicts that the parts do other jobs.

MB:
Well, can I just stop you there a second? [clears throat] First of all I, I, you know, I wish you wouldn't say that we are intentionally trying to misrepresent something because we're not. Second is that, I never said that they are useless on their own. As a matter of fact, if you read closely in my book I talk about the microtubules being used in other things, dynein proteins being used in other things, and so on. And, I, I clearly say that, just as I said here tonight, even though they can be used for other things, the problem of irreducibility remains.

KM:
Yeah but you also said that natural selection has no way to make them. And the major components of the cilium include proteins like tubulin, dynein, and actin, and these have distinct functions in the cell that are unrelated to ciliary motion So what can one make of the main argument, which is that parts of an irreducibly complex structure have no function on their own? And remember, your statement, " any precursor that is missing a part is by definition non-functional", but it turns out that these individual parts are fully functional elsewhere in the cell, and there's a selectable function for each of them, and doesn't that mean the argument is wrong?

MB:
No, well, no. [laughter] Alright, I I think you know, perhaps, you know, something in my speech isn't getting through, but I'll, I'll just appeal to the audience. I did not say they have to have no function whatsoever...

KM:
Is the function non-functional?

MB:
I said, I said that the function of the system is missing. I'm happy to admit that similar proteins can have other functions in the cell, but the system loses its function.

KM:
Yeah, your words I think, speak for themselves.

MB:
I don't know...

KM:
Okay, the way I see it Mike is that the reasoning behind Intelligent Design is contained in this slide, which is the one that we talked about before. And point number two is the inference that we can really judge in an empirical basis, and what I've just showed in those three systems, which are your systems, is that that vanishes upon inspection, because those parts are useful and therefore the two conclusions vanish as well. But let me go to the mousetrap since we brought it up and I have a mousetrap here for anyone who doesn't remember what they look like. They've got five parts.

MB:
I've got some.

KM:
Good for you, Excellent. Excellent. The mousetrap... If you have stock in a mousetrap company Behe and I are responsible for your rise in stock [laughter]. Now some of you may have noticed that I am wearing a mousetrap tie clasp. Um, This is a mousetrap from which I have removed two parts, just as Mike said, doesn't work as a mousetrap, works fine as a tie clasp.

ES:
One minute

KM:
Hang on. Okay, Sorry. Sorry I didn't realize who I was talking to. Sorry Genie. [laughter]. Two parts of the mousetrap do very well as a key chain, I'll be selling these as souvenirs later on [laughter] and one part from the mousetrap is quite good as a toothpick. Um, and the point is that the parts of an irreducibly complex machine are fully functional for different purposes. And here's my closing question, Mike. You've brought us four systems as examples of irreducible complexity. And what we've seen as we've gone back and forth is that every one of those systems breaks down upon inspection. The type three secretory system still works although it's lost 75% of its proteins, the clotting cascade still functional despite losing a protein, smaller parts of the mousetrap still work, tubulin and dynein still function outside of the cilium. If ever any idea was subject to an empirical test as easily as the idea of irreducible complexity, this is it, and it looks to me and to any one of us who is looking that this idea has failed in every single test.

ES:
Mike would you like to take a minute to respond.

MB:
Yes, thank you. I appreciate your point of view, but I disagree with you. Uh, your use of the mousetrap is, is very interesting, I, I discussed that on the website, that I flashed up there. Ken has put posted some stuff on his website. Anybody who wants a full discussion that can go beyond the time limits we have, should look those things up. But I still said, in these mousetrap uh, things that that, uh, Ken does, you know, he's using his intelligence to rearrange parts. Um, furthermore, you know, I asked ...

KM:
What parts rearranged?

MB:
Uh, It's my turn. [laughter] I ask people, men in the audience who have tie clips, to take a look at them. Do they look anything like that? [laughter] If so I'm sure you're not here with your girlfriend or your wife [laughter]. That's because, because tie clips would be formed more practically. Ken is using that because he wants to go toward an end. Here is my key chain. It doesn't look like the mousetrap; he only selected the mousetrap key chain because he wants to think you can get to a mousetrap via a random process.

ES:
Thank you. Now there will be five minutes of questions by Rob Pennock for Michael Behe.

Part 8 — Dr. Michael Behe, Dr. Robert Pennock Q&A

ES:
Thank you. Now there will be five minutes of questions by Rob Pennock for Michael Behe.

RP:
Can I use one of your slides Ken? Do you have a definition of uh, irreducible complexity up there in one of them?

KM:
yeah. [long pause]

Slide: The reason why the evolution of biochemical complexity cannot be explained in principle is irreducible complexity. "An irreducibly complex system is one that requires several closely-matched parts in order to function and where the removal of one of the components effectively causes the system to cease functioning."
(Quotation from Behe)

RP:
I, I didn't have much success earlier on. I, I really want to be an ID theorist, and I wanted to know how to do it. [laughter] Um, and I couldn't quite get too many straight answers from Professor Dembski, but I'm going to try once again now, uh, with the question of irreducible complexity. This is actually relevant, let me just connect it to the previous point. For Professor Dembski's specified complexity and, um, his uh, his explanatory filter he cites irreducible complexity as a specific instance, a case of specified complexity. But this is important because it links the two talks. Um, if, um, the explanatory filter is as perfect as we've heard, um, we should be able to have a test case here to see if it works. If we can find a case where irreducible, irreducible complexity fails, then it seems as though we have immediately a case of specified complexity failing. So your judgment on whether irreducible complexity stood or failed actually pertains also as well to the previous talk.

ES:
The question please.

RP:
Here is the question then: How can we really tell? I mean the thing that's gone on here is a back and forth about is this something that counts or is this something that doesn't count? Um, does this specific system fit or does this specific system not fit? And you're both disagreeing about what does and what doesn't... Let me just ask, if this would count for you as, um, a sufficient identification of such a system. Okay? I'm going to try and give you your strongest position and let me just see if you agree with this. If we could find a case where, um, we perform a bunch of knock out experiments... we identify something, whether it's the flagellum or some protein system, and we're asking what are the parts that count? Okay? Does this part count or not? Would you be satisfied if we performed a series of knockout experiments and just said, here's... here are all the components such that if we knock these things out and every one of them gets knocked out, that we'll just call the irreducibly complex system? So, notice in the cheese, in the mousetrap case, you don't include the cheese. Right, someone might have thought, you need to have the cheese, but no, you don't include the cheese in yours. So there are a bunch of things... we'll call them redundancies, right?... So, would you be satisfied if we just left those out and said, "knockout experiments will tell us what counts as the system"?

MB:
Well, I would say it's a good place to start, but, uh, I would reserve judgment. I'd like to see exactly what the proteins are doing.

RP:
So if we have a case, I mean, 'cause I would have thought you would have been happy with this. I want, I want to get something you'll be happy with. Because I want to be happy with this too. I want to know because I've never been convinced that your examples are fulfilling your own definition, okay. So I wanna find out, if, I, I have all of these parts here, the ten parts, okay, and, I knock out two of them, they don't actually wind up losing function... function's still there. You'd say, "Well those really weren't part of the minimal system." Okay, you want to find a minimal system, okay. So if I knock this one out, uh, then it fails. I knock this one out, all the other ones, if I knock out, those fail, then we'd have to say, "that's a minimal system". That's an irreducibly complex system.

MB:
Well, uh, again...

RP:
Just by knockout experiments?

MB:
I know you're a philosophy professor so I'm, I'm sure you like distinctions. Um, I think that's a good place to start, but in order to understand the system, you have to know what's going on, what's working on what, what's doing what to whom. And without a further description of the system, I'm smelling a trap that you're, you're trying to get me into.

RP:
A mousetrap perhaps? [laughter]

MB:
A mousetrap, yes.

RP:
All, All I. This is, this is the problem then. It looked as though you had a definition here where all we had to do was see, right, "in order to function, removal of one of the components, effectively causes the system to stop functioning". I'm going to grant you a single function. I'm not even at this point going to talk about different functions. I just want to know, how do I know that I have one. Okay. It seems to me as though, if I perform a knockout experiment and say, "here, I'll just define it" I'm gonna give you your definition. Why wouldn't that satisfy you?

MB:
Well, it uh, because...

RP:
I've done everything you wanted.

MB:
If, if, if you read in, in my book I say that in order to uh, decide if something is irreducibly complex, you have to see what the parts of the system are. How they interact...

RP:
How do we tell?

MB:
... and see... well, we do it by chemical investigations.

RP:
Knockout experiments?

MB:
That's one way.

RP:
So that'll work? That's a sufficient way?

MB:
I keep saying, you, you keep not hearing. That's one way, but you have, you have to know more.

ES:
Well, we're not going to hear anymore because we've just sort of blown all of our time. [laughter]

RP:
I was really hoping I'd be able to become one tonight, but I'm afraid I'm, I'm not yet able to become...

MB:
Um, Somehow I don't believe you. [laughter/applause]

Part 9 — Dr. Michael Behe, Audience Q&A

ES:
We have a short amount of time for questions from the audience. Not a whole lot of time I'm afraid, but a little bit of time. Um, this gentleman over here in the corner. Speak very loudly please.

AM3:
You gentlemen have been discussing the details of, of intricate biology. I'm asking a question about the giant things in the universe. How does a believer in intelligent design explain the questionable intelligence behind a design which periodically [unintelligible] the Earth with apparent random [unintelligible] thereby destroying much of what has been created [unintelligible] [laughter].

MB:
Is that for me?

ES:
I, I think it's up for grabs.

MB:
Well, uh, that, that's an excellent question. I, I don't know. Uh, you know, it's certainly I think that in the Universe there is not only design, there is natural law and there is randomness and, and so on. And... uh, I, so perhaps, you know, this is part of the design and, and it doesn't looks so good to us, uh, but maybe it's just the, um, outplaying of natural or something. But what I, I don't think you can say is that, [clears throat] the earth has been struck in the past with meteors, therefore, the bacterial flagellum was produced by Darwinian evolution. [laughter] I do not, I do not think that follows.

ES:
Another question. Um, it is hard to see here. Um, this man in the front.

AM4:
Uh... You mentioned, ah, you mentioned the word, the big word, the big G word, "God" as the designer, you, you've enlightened [unintelligible]. Uh, as, as designing, a criteria of design. In contrast, um, to uh, to gravity, I find, ah, design, [unintelligible] clearly to be falsified, that is, while you have the [unintelligible] equipped, you'll find out whether you [unintelligible] or not. [unintelligible] I was wondering, [unintelligible] criteria aside, how would you falsify, uh, the, the [unintelligible] theory of designer [unintelligible]

ES:
And to whom are you addressing the question?

AM4:
Ah, Dr. Behe.

MB:
Thanks very much. Uh, actually I think a strong point of Int-, uh, design, kind of counter intuitively to many people, is that it's easily falsified. Ken has been trying to falsify it. He has a number of examples that he likes. He thinks that if his examples are correct, it would be falsified. A number of other scientists who are no fans of intelligent design have pointed to experiments in the literature and said that this falsifies some of the claims of irreducib-, well, irreducible complexity and so on. Uh, if a scientist went into the laboratory and grew a bacterial culture for a long time, say you know, tens of thousands of generations, and saw that some new irreducibly complex system was produced, then my claims would be gone. It's, it's straight forwardly falsifiable, uh, if we can show that, uh, irreducibly complex systems can be observed arising in the laboratory, uh, then there is no need to say that it required intelligence, to, to do, to do that. Kind of as a side thing, let's flip the tables and say how could we falsify the claim that Darwinian processes produced the bacterial flagellum. Suppose you went into the lab and grew a bug for a long time and, uh, asked yourself, did it produce something like a flagellum. And it turns out it didn't. Uh, would Darwinists think that their theory had been falsified? I doubt it. They would say that, there wasn't enough time, you started with the wrong bacterial species, and, and a lot of other, uh, reasons. Now those may or may not be valid, but the point is that Intelligent Design is pretty straightforwardly falsifiable in my view, but Darwinian evolution is not.

ES:
Ken?

KM:
I'll, I'll respond to that very quickly. The uh, first point is the idea of an intelligent designer is inherently non-falsifiable, since it's an agency acting outside of nature and we only falsify things by natural causes. When Mike says I've been trying to falsify Intelligent Design, here's what he really means. He says, that we know Intelligent design, eh, eh, there's evidence for design and that evidence is on the basis of the existence of irreducibly complex systems whose parts could not have been formed by Darwinian natural selection, because they are in themselves useless. That is the argument that I have attacked, and I think I have falsified it and other people have falsified as well. Dr. Behe for example quoted a retired biochemistry professor, a gentleman whom I actually know, Frank Harold, from the University of Colorado Medical Center, as saying we don't have any examples of the evolution of complex biochemical systems. And that was taken as authority. But Mike should know, that two years before Harold published his book, I listed a series of examples of, of papers showing the evolution of complex biochemical systems. I can cite two of them that describe the evolution of the components of the Krebs cycle which is complex biochemical and real, I can cite another one that talks about the evolution by quote, "a step by step Darwinian process" of the genetic code and the coding machinery of the cell, and lastly Shelly Copley in the year 2000 published a paper describing the evolution in the last 65 years of a new biochemical pathway, a biochemical pathway that detoxifies the pesticide pentachlorophenol which was first synthesized in 1935. So there are papers in the literature, despite what Dr. Behe said, and these papers falsify his claims.

MB:
...Can I just briefly mention, well, Ken and I disagree on this and please go to our web sites for, for details. The question I have is, it's not just me that says it, did you think, did you think that Dr. Harold didn't read these papers or didn't read your book or something? What does, what's, what's with him?

KM:
Well, I don't have, I don't have such a strong opinion of myself to say for sure that Frank Harold read my book. But I do think that he's making a generalization, which is that most complex biochemical systems have not been explained by Darwinian natural selection. That generalization is correct. Remember I said "most", but the point is to falsify your contention, you only need one. And I wouldn't be at all surprised, given the thousands of papers in the literat-, papers in the literature, and Frank Harold's own particular research interests, that he might have missed these four or five that I cited.

MB:
And Stewart Kauffman did too I guess.

KM:
No Stewart Kauffman has comer out very strongly as saying that when he talks about natural selection, he's talking about fully naturalistic mechanisms, that promote the development of the, of the uh, structures and the biochemical pathways that you folks attribute to design. And Kauffman has actually published a, I thought it was a rather pointed press release in response to the Discovery Institute's citing him as a scientist who cites non-Darwinian mechanisms, saying, "wait a minute you guys. The mechanisms I'm talking about are fully uh, containable within the Darwinian understanding". Then he says they don't relate directly to natural selection.

WD:
Just wanted to say something. With regard to Natural Selection, um... Natural Selection is a trial and error mechanism, and it turns out that there are different contexts in which we, we see evolution and where natural selection just doesn't do the job. Uh, where Intelligent Design really comes from is not looking at evolution in this mechanistic way, but thinking of it in terms of technological evolution. What you find within the technological context, it turns out that there was some Russian patent engineers that had nothing better to do with their time than to look at, this is in the former Soviet Union, look at columns of technological evolution, see how patents evolved. Now what they found is that there are two types of problems. There were routine problems, which you could solve by just tinkering with existing systems, and that's basically, from our perspective, Mike's and mine, that's what natural selection does. But there are also the invented problems where you need sudden insight, an intuitive leap, to try to make sense out of them, to solve the problem, to get a new fundamental structure, and that's what we're seeing with systems like the bacterial flagellum. They are types of systems that are intrinsic, inherently beyond the scope of mechanisms like Ken Miller points to. And we have the, there are past cases where you have theories of transformation where the resources you give yourself to try to account for the transformation are inadequate. Alchemy is a failed science. You cannot transform lead into gold given the limited resources that the alchemists had. And that's what I'm saying, that those resources that the Darwinists have given him or herself are inadequate. Now that's a legitimate question, you know, we may be wrong, but that's a question that should be put on the table, and there are, if you look at technological evolution, there different types of problems; some problems which are not amenable to, to trial and error and the sorts of natural selection mechanisms.

KM:
Um, just to try to connect these two things here, um could you tell, I mean, do you, is it true that you agree that, that the bacterial flagellum is a case of irreducible complexity is a case of specified complexity?

WD:
In chapter 5 of my newest book, No Free Lunch, I lay out some techniques for assessing probabilities for systems like that, and the sorts of probabilities I'm calculating are indicating that indeed the bacterial flagellum is a system that exhibits specified complexity.

KM:
Okay, so, yes for that one. [laughter] Is it the case now, you've made a distinction between, um, actual complex specified information, actual design, and apparent, can you tell the difference, looking at this, whether it is actual or apparent.

WD:
Well, the, the whole point with appearance, what I was talking about in my, in my paper today, is that specified complexity, what you're trying to do is get at, you're trying to figure out relevant mechanisms that we know, our best science, do they account for what we're, what we're seeing. And according to those mechanisms, the probabilities end up being extremely low. Now we may have missed some mechanism. There may be some mechanism that's operating in a way we don't know. Now this is where the design critic would say, "Well it's just an argument from ignorance." We on the other hand tend to want to say, "No, you've exhausted the resources of, of these, of these, material mechanisms." Now how can we do that if it's just, you know well, there's always a possible mechanism out there. Well I think one of the things which gives traction to design is when you start looking at systems like systems of polymers where you've got, where the geometry of these systems is telling us, look, as far as the physical laws are concerned, there's total interchangeability. So, what is it that's singling out certain, uh, collections of polymers that have a certain function. That, that's where I think we, we get, where it's not just an argument from ignorance. There's good reason to think that in fact these systems are beyond the limits of material mechanisms.

Part 10 — Concluding Remarks

ES:
Gentlemen, we have come to the end of our time. Would you like, we haven't talked about this previously, if you would like, you could each take one minute for a final comment. These are not questions for one another, but if you have any final profound thoughts to give to us, and I would like to start at the far end of the table from me with Ken and work our way up here so that the two proponents of Intelligent Design do indeed get the last word. Would you like to do that? You don't have to take your minute! These people are probably awfully sore,… are probably, um, it's too bad ischial callosities didn't stay in the, in the hominid line here, because you're probably really tired of sitting. [laughter] Would you each like to take a minute? [laughter] Anthropology, what can I say. [laughter] Okay Ken, will you...

KM:
Madame chairwoman, that was a very disruptive introduction. [laughter]

ES:
You have one minute.

KM:
We all need a moment to compose ourselves. I'll, I'll answer a-, I'll answer as quickly as I can. I think intelligent design theory as it has presently been put forward fails the empirical scientific test, and it fails it on every score. Every single prediction that has been made, by Mike for example, in regard to biochemical systems, break down, breaks down on inspection and requires a constant retreat from saying, "Oh, the system is smaller" and, "Oh, I meant it applied to the whole system not to individual functions", and so forth and so on. And that's one of the reasons why this idea is attracting very little if any scientific support. And I'd also like to point out, um, to Professor Dembski, that there is a way, um to test his ideas and it would be a very interesting test. And that is to take the very experiment from the PNAS paper that I cited, that talked about the increasing fitness and the number of gene duplications and the amplifications and deletions that produce that and put that into his calculations based on the explanatory filter to see if what he's predicted as being impossible, if his technique says that what happened under the eyes of the investigator is impossible, it means that his technique is wrong. But I'd be interested in trying to make that test.

ES:
Okay...

WD:
I'd be interested in collaborating with you on it.

ES:
...Uh, Rob, would you like to take one minute?

RP:
Sure, um, this is something where the, the test of a scientific theory, in part, is: Can you tell what it is? Can you be specific? Uh, this is, this is the heart of Professor Dembski's view, specified complexity, being precise, being specific. But try as I might, I can't get a specific answer to some specific things. And here's, here 's the, the issue though about uh, a test case: If specified complexity is um, the way to find this out, then we should be able to identify here is a case that has it. Right. If irreducible complexity is meant to be an instance of that, we should be able to find a case that has it. Until we can identify what does, what doesn't, we're not in any way able to test this. In Professor Dembski's own definition of how the explanatory filter works, um, the options that are "swept clean,"-he says we sweep the field clean, of uh, of probabilities-he said we do this relative to the set, I'll quote here, "relative to the set of all chance hypotheses in the light of our context of inquiry"-that is to say, the one's we've thought of.

ES:
Thank you. And uh Mike, would you like to have a comment?

MB:
Thanks. Well, um as you might guess I disagree with Ken. I think irreducible complexity and the tenets of intelligent design are, are doing well, uh, but here I want to say, you know, this is a lot of fun, I really enjoy trying to get these ideas out and, uh in the, in the, discussed in public. But it really matters little what we four here are saying because it's the progress of science that's going to settle this once and for all. And I said, fifty years ago, it was a lot easier to believe Darwinian evolution was true. In the next twenty years, we'll learn a lot more about the cell and, I'm, I'm really rather confident that uh, design will be vindicated.

ES:
Thank you, and thank you for being short. [laughter].

MB:
Hey! [laughter/applause]

ES:
Look, you know...

KM:
You, you

ES:
Let's move on.

KM:
You heightist you! [laughter]

ES:
For which I apologize. Thank you, please...

WD:
I'd just like to make a comment about the nature of science; no it says that the nature of science is not fixed in stone. Uh, Science has been around for over two thousand years. So science used to be called natural philosophy. And, uh, I think what we're seeing here is really we're coming to terms, with what happened, not even so much with Darwin, but what happened with the rise of modern science, the rise of modern science as a mechanistic science. You had Newton, Copernicus, Galileo; they were looking at a world of particles in motion, trying to describe the dynamics of motion for these systems. It was not a world in which you could easily grasp design, even though these originators of modern science were theists. And so, this mechanical universe lead to actually the dissolution of design because you couldn't really make sense out of the … particles in motion do their own moving, they can do their own designing. And I think that what we're now finding is that information theory design is coming in, in a new way. And it's, uh, there's uh,

ES:
That's you.

WD:
So there, uh, are new, new possibilities for science.

ES:
I have a request, a good request, from an audience member. Would each of you gentlemen, very-, get out your pens and pencils boys and girls if you want to take down the websites they will recite them for you. Um, Ken, slowly recite your website and work our way up the table.

KM:
Um, yeah, I, I I'm going to recite it in a real simple way. I teach at Brown University, so go to brown.edu. Brown.edu it's an educational institution. Then I'm in the department of biology so go to academic departments, look at biology, look through the list faculty, my name is Miller, you'll find my web site with my, my smiling face on it, and there's a little link that says evolution and that's where you can go to. So, just, I'm Miller, I'm in biology, I'm at brown.edu. [editor's note: Dr. Miller's website is http://bms.brown.edu/faculty/m/kmiller/]

ES:
Do you want to give your website?

RP:
For me, I'm at Michigan State University and the easiest thing to do actually is just to open up Google and type in a name, Robert T. Pennock, and homepage, or just Robert T. Pennock and no doubt you will almost immediately find my direct home page there. [editor's note: Dr. Miller's website is http://www.msu.edu/~pennock5/]

MB:
For me I really don't have a web page, so why don't you go to that, uh, address I put up on the screen, it's www.crsc.org.

WD:
Let me direct you to the International Society for Complexity Information and Design. So it's www.iscid.org

AM3:
How do you spell it?

WD:
www.iscid.org and, uh play with that [?] program, see if it doesn't undermine your confidence in the Darwinian mechanism. [laughter]

ES:
And uh, for more analyses of all of this, which, as moderator, I'm not going to mention tonight, you can go to my web page, which is ncseweb.org. Ladies and Gentlemen, you've been a wonderful audience; it's been a wonderful panel. [long applause]