Re: Critique of ID & No Free Lunch

From: Howard J. Van Till (
Date: Mon Sep 09 2002 - 09:06:22 EDT

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    I'm not going to reply to Dembski's response to my essay point by point. We
    make numerous differing judgments and for the moment I'm willing to let
    readers decide their relative merits.

    However, there is one factual matter that I do wish to set straight.
    Dembski's point (8) states:

    > (8) Finally, Van Till attributes an argument to
    > me that I never made .... Thus, when
    > Van Till asks, "Does it not seem odd that the flagellar 2%
    > needed supplementary designer-action while the other 98% did not?" he
    > is certainly correct that it is odd. But the oddness here is of Van
    > Till's own doing, attributing to me a position that I don't hold and
    > for which I never argued.

    For the record, here's the statement in No Free Lunch on which my
    attribution was based.

    "...we are now at a place where transforming a biological system that does
    not exhibit an instance of specified complexity (say a bacterium without a
    flagellum) into one that does (say a bacterium with a flagellum) cannot be
    accomplished by purely natural means but also requires intelligence." (No
    Free Lunch, pp. 331-332.)

    Now, it may be technically true that Dembski did not argue explicitly for
    the non-designed character of the bacterium-without-flagellum by giving a
    complete and detailed causally specific account for its natural formation
    (that seems to be the only kind of scientific account that Dembski would
    accept), but his judgment that the bacterium-without-flagellum does not
    exhibit an instance of specified complexity seems quite clearly stated here.
    Dembski is free to retract it (after all, we are all free to revise our
    judgments on such matters), but denying that he ever said it seems out of

    Howard Van Till

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