Hubert Yockey and Intelligent Design

Brian D Harper (
Tue, 20 Apr 1999 16:10:08 -0700

A few days ago I was using Alta Vista to search for discussions
or reviews of Dembski's book <The Design Inference>
and ran across an article by Phil containing the following

=======begin quote====================================
That's enough for now. I don't need to make the entire
case for intelligent design, but merely to make the
argument that there is something here worth examining
on a fair basis. I emphasize that, although I am talking
about a minority viewpoint I am not relying on anything
that can be dismissed as fringe science. Behe is a
research biochemist with impeccable qualifications. His
scientific descriptions are echoed by his materialist
colleagues; it is only the philosophy that causes
disagreements. The more theoretical aspects of intelligent
design are discussed in (among many other places) two
books from Cambridge University Press from scientific
scholars with appropriate pedigrees. [Hubert Yockey,
Information Theory and Molecular Biology (Cambridge
University Press 1992); William Dembski, The Design
Inference (Cambridge University Press, 1998).
-- Phillip Johnson, "How Can We Tell Science from Religion?"
========end quote=======================================

This quote reminded me of a question that has kept popping
into my head over the past several years. What is Hubert's
reaction to what seems to be an increasing number of appeals
to his work from creationists, especially those belonging to
the Intelligent Design "movement"?

Since it had been some time since I corresponded with Hubert,
I decided to use this as an excuse to get back in touch with
him. So, I sent him the above quote and asked for his reaction.
I must say that Hubert is one of the most interesting people
I've ever had the pleasure of knowing and he certainly didn't
disapoint by giving a very interesting reply in his usual
"style". Those who've read Yockey will know what I mean by
style :).

Hubert kindly gave me permission to quote from his private
response to me. For now, I will avoid the temptation to
quote his response in its entirety since there are a number
of things which I'm sure people will react to and I really
don't want to detract from the main issue which I want to
address here, namely his reaction to creationists' appeal
to his work.

=======begin quote of Hubert Yockey======================
Subject: My views on Intelligent Design
Dear Brian:
Thank you for your e-mail this morning. I am well thank
you and I hope the same for you.
I have been aware for some time that creationists have
cited my work to support their views. This may be because
I have shown in my publications and in my book that
materialist-reductionist scenarios of formation of life
by chance, self-organization or epitaxy on clay particles
can not form a genome in a prebiotic soup. There is no
geological evidence that a primeval soup ever existed.
I quote the Bible, especially Hebrews 11:1, when I think it
appropriate but I also quote other literature as well.


Both Dawkins' Climbing Mount Improbable [W. W. Norton & Co.
1996] and Dembski's book distort the theory of probability.
There is nothing in my publications that indicates I support
Intelligent Design.
============end quote====================================

Hubert also mentioned that he has a new paper coming out
soon in which he includes some remarks about ID. I'll
try to let people know when this is published.

My question now to ID'ers is whether they can justify
their appeal to Hubert Yockey's work and, if they
cannot, if such appeals will end? IMHO, this is very
unfair to Hubert.

Brian Harper
Associate Professor
Applied Mechanics
The Ohio State University

"All kinds of private metaphysics and theology have
grown like weeds in the garden of thermodynamics"
-- E. H. Hiebert