Sahotra Sarkar wrote a largely negative review of my book for NDPR. Since I’m so involved it’s hard for me to tell how fair-minded it is. Trent Dougherty has written an impressive defense of my book in response to Sarkar’s review.
Regarding Sarkar’s review, there is just one point that I want to respond to. Sarkar writes:
These probabilities are not based on a specification of the reference class against which all probability estimates should be founded. Critics of ID have routinely argued this rather elementary point (Fitelson et al. 1999; Shallit and Ellsbury 2004; Sober 2004; Sarkar 2007) and it is intellectually irresponsible for Monton not to have addressed these criticisms.
The problem with Sarkar’s criticism of me here is that the points those critics make aren’t relevant for the main line of thought I was trying to develop, which was that the universe potentially being spatially infinite has an impact on these biology-based arguments. (In other words, it doesn’t matter whether the critics are right or not, for the point I was trying to make. (For more on the point I was trying to make, see my paper “Design Inferences in an Infinite Universe”, which is published in Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion Volume I; a preprint is here.))
And that’s all I have to say about Sarkar’s review. I wish he had made more philosophically substantive points, because then I would have more to say. It’s worth contrasting Sarkar’s review with an NDPR review Rebecca Chan and I recently wrote of J. Alberto Corlett’s book The Errors of Atheism. Even though we weren’t particularly impressed with the book, we didn’t insult it or him; instead we presented a number of philosophical objections in response to his philosophical arguments.