William Dembski Addresses Forthcoming Intelligent Design Research that Advances ID and Answers Critics (updated)

Our recent podcast interview with Robert Marks, Distinguished Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at Baylor University, discusses his new Evolutionary Informatics lab at Baylor University. Additionally, Mario Lopez recently has posted an interview with William Dembski at the IDEA Center’s website discussing Dembski’s research with Robert Marks’s Evolutionary Informatics lab at Baylor University. Dembski thinks the lab’s research puts ID “in a position to challenge certain fundamental assumptions in the natural sciences about the nature and origin of information.” Dembski’s work has long-been a lightning rod for ID-critics who take a science-stopping approach to ID by alleging that areas of Dembski’s continued ID-research actually represent unsolvable problems for the science of ID. In essence, some of Dembski’s critics have Read More ›

Neanderthals: Are They Us, or Are We Them (or Both)? Overcoming the Icons of Evolution

Who were the Neanderthals? Were they ape-like primitives with low intelligence, or were they more like us–perhaps nearly identical to modern humans in both body and mind? Biology textbooks often portray Neanderthals as unintelligent versions of modern humans. For example, this graphic from Biology: The Dynamics of Life (pg. 483, 2000 ed.) portrays Neanderthals as stooped primitives struggling kill a giant bear using clubs, spears, and incompetently, a burning stick: But according to a recent article in the Washington Post, Neanderthals may have been virtually indistinguishable from modern humans in terms of both their appearance and intelligence. A lead author on the study declared that “we would understand both to be human. There’s good reason to think that they did Read More ›

Time Aping over Human-Chimp Genetic Similarities

The current issue of Time features a cover story preaching evolution to the skeptical public and editorializing that humans and chimps are related. Though the cover graphic (below) shows half-human, half-chimp iconography, University of North Carolina, Charlotte anthropologist Jonathan Marks warns us against “exhibit[ing] the same old fallacies: … humanizing apes and ape-ifying humans” (What It Means to be 98% Chimpanzee, pg. xv [2002]). The cover-graphic commits both fallacies: The article also claims that it’s easy to see “how closely the great apes–gorillas, chimpanzees, bonobos and orangutans–resemble us,” but then observes in a contradictory fashion that “agriculture, language, art, music, technology and philosophy” are “achievements that make us profoundly different from chimpanzees.” Perhaps Michael Ruse was wise to ask “[w]here Read More ›

Media Goes Ga-Ga Over Baby Australopithecine Fossil

An exciting find was recently reported as scientists discovered what may be the most complete australopithecine fossil specimen ever found. It is reported to be a toddler. Unfortunately, the media is misrepresenting this fossil as if it closely mimics humans. Consider the diagram below which comes from the Seattle Times (“Scientists Find Fossil Child from 3.3 Million Years Ago,” Thursday Sept. 21, 2006, pg. A2): Does Australopithecus afarensis really look so similar to humans? This diagram is extremely misleading. Consider a diagram from an actual scientific paper which reveals the stark differences between Australopithecus (right) and the earliest members of our genus, Homo (left): (From http://www.umich.edu/~newsinfo/Releases/2000/Jan00/r011000b.html covering the Hawks et al. paper) The media is calling this baby fossil “a Read More ›

Evidence for Human Evolution Still Scant and Controversial After 25 Years

A post made 2 weeks ago highlighted how in 1981, Constance Holden wrote in Science that emotions, rather than abundant evidence, often rule the field of paleoanthropology and its claims about human evolution. Yesterday, an article by Charles Matthews in the San Jose Mercury News reiterates that same point. Reviewing a book by Ann Gibbons, Matthews notes: “Gibbons, who reports on human evolution for Science magazine, gives a lucid account of the science involved in finding fossils, establishing how old they are, and ascertaining whether they in fact belong to the ancestors of humankind. She also shows how difficult and sometimes dangerous the work of hunting for 7 million-year-old fossils can be. And that, like most humans, anthropologists are subject Read More ›