Nature, Design, and Science

The Status of Design in Natural Science

By Del Ratzsch

Subjects: Science And Society
Series: SUNY series in Philosophy and Biology
Paperback : 9780791448946, 230 pages, March 2001
Hardcover : 9780791448939, 230 pages, March 2001

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Table of contents

Preface

Introduction

I DESIGN BASICS

 

1. Design Preliminaries
2. Science and Finite Design

 

II SUPERNATURAL DESIGN

 

3. Supernatural Design: Preliminary Basics
4. Identifying Supernatural Design: Primary Marks
5. Identifying Supernatural Design: Secondary Marks
6. Designs in Nature

 

III BOUNDARIES OF SCIENTIFIC LEGITIMACY

 

7. Beyond the Empirical
8. The Legitimacy Criterion

 

IV THE PERMISSIBILITY QUESTION

 

9. Cases for Impermissibility
10. Legitimacy
11. Are There Any Payoffs?
12. Conclusion

 

Appendix

Dembski's Design Inference

Notes

Bibliography

Index

Explores the question of whether or not concepts and principles involving supernatural intelligent design can occupy any legitimate place within science.

Description

Although the scientific illegitimacy of supernatural design is typically asserted with enormous confidence and vigor, there has been surprisingly little actual work on such key foundational issues as even what design is and on specific criteria for assessing its legitimacy, or lack, as a scientific concept. However, intelligent supernatural design is again surfacing in discussions both of anthropic principles and of certain types of biological complexity. This book develops a definition of design, explicates the more specific concept of supernatural design, defends a general criterion for scientific legitimacy, and argues that in some cases the concept of intelligent supernatural design can meet the relevant requirements for scientific legitimacy.

Del Ratzsch is Professor of Philosophy at Calvin College. He is the author of Philosophy of Science: The Natural Sciences in Christian Perspective; The Battle of Beginnings: Why Neither Side Is Winning the Creation-Evolution Debate; and Science & its Limits: The Natural Sciences in Christian Perspective.

Reviews

"I found it remarkable—as a skeptic of both design arguments and their relevance to science—that I have come away from this book less of a skeptic than I was. I like the fact that Ratzsch's modern philosophical exploration of the full potential range of design arguments provides a firm and convincing taxonomy of the logical possibilities. This exercise clears the waters of many naive treatments pro and con, and provides a basis for raising substantially the intellectual level of the inevitable debate. " — John Suppe, Princeton University

"It is a bold, innovative venture into a cutting-edge field of philosophy of science—design theory. It makes an original contribution to this nascent field. " — William L Craig, Biola University