Synopses & Reviews
How can we identify events due to intelligent causes and distinguish them from events due to undirected natural causes? If we lack a causal theory how can we determine whether an intelligent cause acted? This book presents a reliable method for detecting intelligent causes: the design inference. The design inference uncovers intelligent causes by isolating the key trademark of intelligent causes: specified events of small probability. Design inferences can be found in a range of scientific pursuits from forensic science to research into the origins of life to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. This challenging and provocative book will be read with particular interest by philosophers of science and religion, other philosophers concerned with epistemology and logic, probability and complexity theorists, and statisticians.
"...quite readable. Those who have no knowledge of the mathematics of probability may be put off, but in fact the level of mathematics and symbolic logic employed is not very difficult...The main arguments...are given in ordinary prose, then translated into symbols...Dembski has made a real advance in probability and information theory..." Books &Culture"...generally careful and precise, often persuasive, and at times surprisingly philosophically sensitive." Ethics"Dembski has produced an astonishing work. The Design InferenceR^ will no doubt become the cornerstone of the intelligent design movement. A marked and dog-eared copy of The Design InferenceR^ deserves a place on your shel not just for its clear historical significance, but also to allow yourself a place in the momentous discussion to come. Philosophia Christi
This book presents a reliable method for detecting intelligent causes: the design inference.
Breathes new life into classical design arguments, showing how incomplete undirected causes are for science.
The design inference uncovers intelligent causes by isolating their key trademark: specified events of small probability. Just about anything that happens is highly improbable, but when a highly improbable event is also specified (i.e. conforms to an independently given pattern) undirected natural causes lose their explanatory power. This provocative book shows how incomplete undirected causes are for science and breathes new life into classical design arguments. It will be of particular interest to philosophers of science and religion and to those concerned with epistemology, logic, probability, complexity theory, and statistics.
Table of Contents
Preface; Acknowledgments; 1. Introduction; 1.1. Historical overview; 1.2. The man with the golden arm; 1.3. Intellectual property protection; 1.4. Forensic science and detection; 1.5. Data falsification; 1.6. Cryptography (and SETI); 1.7. Randomness; 2. Overview of the design inference; 2.1. The explanatory filter; 2.2. The logic of the Inference; 2.3. Case study - the creation-evolution controversy; 2.4. From design to agency; 3. Probability theory; 3.1. The probability of an event; 3.2. Events; 3.3. Background information; 3.4. Likelihood; 3.5. The best available estimate; 3.6. Axiomatization of probability; 4. Complexity theory; 4.1. The complexity of a problem; 4.2. Problems and resources; 4.3. Difficulty and its estimation; 4.4. Axiomatization of complexity; 4.5. Calibration through complexity bounds; 4.6. Information measures; 4.7. RMS measures; 4.8. Technical supplement on RMS Measures; 5. Specification; 5.1. Patterns; 5.2. The requisite precondition; 5.3. Detachability; 5.4. Specification defined; 5.5. Pyramids and presidents; 5.6. Information tucked within information; 5.7. Prediction; 5.8. Increasing the power of a complexity measure; 5.9. Caputo revisited; 5.10. Randomness revisited; 6. Small probability; 6.1. Probabilistic resources; 6.2. The generic chance elimination argument; 6.3. The Magic Number 1/2; 6.4. Statistical significance testing; 6.5. Local and universal small probabilities; 6.6. The inflationary fallacy; 6.7. The Law of Small Probability; 7. Epilogue; Notes; References.