Thursday, December 18, 2008

Bradley Monton's New Critique of Contemporary Design Arguments

I mentioned Bradley Monton in an earlier post. Well, he has a very nice chapter forthcoming in Oxford Studies in Philosophy of Religion (Vol. II). It's entitled, "Design Inferences in an Infinite Universe". It's an excellent critique of Behe's design argument from irreducible complexity, as well as design arguments based on Dembski's explanatory filter. He also offers a great critique of Dembski's explanatory filter itself, concluding with a better model. A draft of his paper can be found here.

One reason why I think this paper is important is that it brings the recent experimental evidence that the universe is spatially infinite[1] to bear on issues in philosophy of religion.

P.S. Recall that Monton is an atheist, and yet he's a defender of the in-principle legitimacy of intelligent design in the sciences (as I mentioned in the earlier post, he's coming out with a monograph defending ID, entitled, Seeking God in Science: An Atheist Defends Intelligent Design). So here is yet another critique of Dembski's account of detecting design from someone not antecedently against the legitimacy of ID.

[1] based on the measurments of the Wilkinson Microwave Anisotropy Probe (WMAP) of the cosmic background radiation. Its measurements provide strong prima facie evidence that the universe is spatially flat, thereby providing strong prima facie evidence that it's spatially infinite.

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