Seeking God in Science


A nice online review of my book has been posted by  Dick Cleary. Here is Part I of the review, and here is Part II.

Here’s a preview:

The book is a delight to read, as much for Monton’s relentless devotion to the truth and the clarity of his argumentation as it is for the interesting perspectives brought to the topic by an atheist defending intelligent design. I recommend it to anyone interested in the controversy surrounding the debate between IDers and those who oppose them.

The second part of the recent podcast interview I did with Casey Luskin is now available here.

The first part of a three-part podcast interview I did with Casey Luskin of the Discovery Institute is now available here.

An interesting interview with Michael Behe was recently posted on bloggingheads.tv, by atheist John McWhorter, who expressed some sympathies with Behe’s positions. A summary of the interview is available in comment 9 here, and the interview can be watched here. If bloggingheads.tv had their way though, we wouldn’t be able to watch the interview, because it was pulled a few hours after it was posted. One obviously wonders what sort of pressure was put on bloggingheads.tv and/or McWhorter. Here is the bloggingheads.tv explanation of why the video was pulled:

John McWhorter feels, with regret, that this interview represents neither himself, Professor Behe, nor Bloggingheads usefully, takes full responsibility for same, and has asked that it be taken down from the site. He apologizes to all who found its airing objectionable.

Behe’s take on all this is here.

Sadly, this seems to be another example of open intellectual debate and discussion being suppressed because of the worry that such open debate and discussion could end up supporting intelligent design. As I argue in my book, it’s a mistake for intelligent design opponents to behave this way. What they should do instead is engage in the debate openly and honestly. Engaging in suppression tactics is just going to make it look like they have something to hide, and that they’re trying to win the battle for public opinion in ways that don’t depend on the merits of their arguments.

A nice blog post reviewing my book, by Sean McDowell, is here. A highlight:

It is certainly refreshing to read someone who desires to transcend the culture wars and to communicate his ideas in a respectful and generous tone. Supporters of ID can learn much from his style and substance, even if they ultimately disagree with his conclusions (as I do!). This is a watershed book in the history of ID, and is hopefully a sign of more to come.

This post by Edward Feser about my book is worth reading.

The first review of my book is now out. It’s a nice review by Tom Gilson, of Thinking Christian. This is my favorite part:

The other important question is what this book will contribute to the ID controversy. Is an atheist’s defense an unconditional blessing for intelligent design? Not necessarily. Ironically, it could end up being the most dangerous force ID has ever encountered. And that’s a good thing.

That last paragraph was confusing, I’ll wager. (It’s probably no worse than finding out about an atheist who supports intelligent design.) I’ll try to clarify what I mean.

More than once in my blogging I have offered ID antagonists a bit of tongue-in-cheek “strategy advice.” I tell them, “I’m going against my own best interests with this, but if you want to attack intelligent design, you really ought to quit aiming at the wrong targets. You attack it as creationism, but it isn’t that. You attack it as being an anti-science campaign, but it isn’t that, either. You attack it as a theocratic political ploy, and that’s not what it is, either. Here’s my advice: If you want to defeat ID for what it really is, maybe you should to attack it for what it really is: a scientific and philosophical approach to exploring origins.”

Bradley Monton is not attacking intelligent design. He does ID proponents an obvious service by defining from a neutral perspective what ID really is, or at least what really matters about ID in the long run: not the cultural baggage that has been attached to it from various sources, but its genuine scientific and philosophical approach to exploring origins.

If ID’s opponents pay attention to his book, he might do them even more of a service than what he is providing for proponents. He might actually help them to get on the right topic, to aim at the right target. The real question is not whether ID is a pseudo-science, whether it is a cultural subterfuge, or whether it is “The New Stealth Creationism,” as it has been called. Monton shows that none of these are what matters. They may have some passing rhetorical or political interest, but the real question, the one that counts, is this: Is intelligent design true?

My book, Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design, is now out! You can purchase it here.

book cover

{I’ll keep this post at the top; see below for new blog entries.}

The details regarding my forthcoming book are now available on Broadview’s website.

book cover

 

Here’s the description:

The doctrine of intelligent design is often the subject of acrimonious debate. Many people who oppose the teaching of intelligent design in school insist that it is not science and deserves to be dismissed. Bradley Monton, a philosopher of science and an atheist, carefully considers the arguments for intelligent design and suggests that they are stronger than often thought. Indeed, while he does not claim that the theory is correct, he does argue that intelligent design deserves serious consideration as a scientific theory.

Monton also gives a lucid account of the debate surrounding the inclusion of intelligent design in public school curricula and explains why students’ science education could benefit from a careful consideration of the arguments for and against it.

Bradley Monton is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Colorado, Boulder.

I discussed Tom Nagel’s interestingly nuanced piece on intelligent design previously here. In this post, I want to point out a key passage from the paper, the passage where Nagel suggests how intelligent design should be taught in public high school. He writes:

What would a biology course teach if it wanted to remain neutral on the question whether divine intervention in the process of life’s development was a possibility, while acknowledging that people disagree about whether it should be regarded as a possibility at all, or what probability should be assigned to it, and that there is at present no way to settle that disagreement scientifically? So far as I can see, the only way to make no assumptions of a religious nature would be to admit that the empirical evidence may suggest different conclusions depending on what religious belief one starts with, and that the evidence does not by itself settle which of those beliefs is correct, even though there are other religious beliefs, such as the literal truth of Genesis, that are easily refuted by the evidence. I do not see much hope that such an approach could be adopted, but it would combine intellectual responsibility with respect for the Establishment Clause.

In my forthcoming book, Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design, I argue that it could be helpful for many students to have intelligent design discussed in biology classes. I don’t go as far as Nagel does in specifying how it should be taught, but Nagel’s line of thought is compatible with what I do say. Telling the students that the empirical evidence may suggest different conclusions depending on what religious beliefs one starts with seems to me like a perfectly reasonable approach to take. What I emphasize in my book, though, is that it’s important to also explain to the students why most all scientists reject intelligent design.

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