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The Challenge from Jason Rosenhouse

William A. Dembski
Photo credit: Robert Zunikoff, via Unsplash.

I am reviewing Jason Rosenhouse’s new book, The Failures of Mathematical Anti-Evolutionism (Cambridge University Press), serially. For the full series so far, go here.

To show readers that he means business and that he is a bold, brave thinker, Rosenhouse lays down the gauntlet: “Anti-evolutionists play well in front of friendly audiences because in that environment the speakers never pay the price of being wrong. The response would be a lot chillier if they tried the same arguments in front of audiences with the relevant expertise. Try telling a roomful of mathematicians that you can refute evolutionary theory with a few back-of-the-envelope probability calculations, and see how far you get.” (Epilogue, pp. 270-271)

I’m happy to take up Rosenhouse’s gauntlet. In fact, I already have. I’ve presented my ideas and arguments to roomfuls of not just mathematicians but also biologists and the whole range of scientists on whose disciplines my work impinges. A case in point is a 2014 talk I gave on conservation of information at the University of Chicago, a talk sponsored by my old physics advisor Leo Kadanoff. The entire talk, including Q&A, is available on YouTube:

In such talks, I present quite a bit more detail than a mere back-of-the-envelope probability calculation, though full details, in a single talk (as opposed to a multi-week seminar), require referring listeners to my work in the peer-reviewed literature (none of which Rosenhouse cites in his book). 

My Challenge to Jason Rosenhouse

If I receive a chilly reception in giving such talks, it’s not for any lack of merit in my ideas or work. Rather, it’s the prejudicial contempt evident in Rosenhouse’s challenge above, which is widely shared among Darwinists, who are widespread in the academy. For instance, Rosenhouse’s comrade in arms, evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, who is at the University of Chicago, tried to harass Leo into canceling my 2014 talk, but Leo was not a guy to be intimidated — the talk proceeded as planned (Leo sent me copies of the barrage of emails he received from Coyne to persuade him to uninvite me). For the record, I’m happy to debate Rosenhouse, or any mathematicians, engineers, biologists, or whatever, who think they can refute my work. 

Next, “Jason Rosenhouse, a Crude Darwinist.”

Editor’s note: This review is cross-posted with permission of the author from BillDembski.com.