Objection To William Dembski's Intelligent Design A Critical Evaluation(評價對德布斯基的智慧設計論的批評) /關啟文


德布斯基(William Dembski)的智慧設計論在九十年代後崛起,既重新挑起有關生命起源和進化論的爭論,亦引來不少批評。德布斯基認為智慧設計論是一種合理甚至是合乎科學的選擇,因為我們可以在經驗層面察覺到智慧的設計,曰常生活的例子亦俯拾即是。透過歸納這些例子,我們可以探索智慧設計的推論過程和方法論,所以設計推論(Design Inference)是完全合法的。而這種推論也可應用於生物學上,成為複雜而有特定性資訊的合理解釋。

很多人提出反對設計推論的理由,認為我們永遠不能確定智慧設計的前提,因為我們不能絕對排除定律(未來會發現的)和機遇的可能性。他們認為智慧設計論不能導引豐富的科學研究項目,甚至會掘殺科學;另外,亦指出智慧設計論提倡填隙的神(God of the gaps) ,是違反方法論的自然主義,最終只會摧毀科學。




William Dembski’s theory of Intelligent Design (ID) has rekindled the debate between creation and evolution. It has also attracted a lot of criticisms. Dembski argues that the explanation with reference to design is scientifically acceptable, and is even applicable to instances of biological design. He argues that empirical detection of design is possible, and the methodological exploration of this process (Design Inference) is entirely legitimate. By applying Dembski’s theory to the biological data, he argues that intelligent design constitutes the best explanation for the origin of specified complexity and irreducible complexity in biological systems.

There are several methodological objections to Dembski’s Design Inference. Critics allege that we can never be sure of the premises of ID because we can never completely eliminate both regularity and chance. They also argue that ID is not empirically fruitful, and is indeed a science-stopper. Moreover, ID is promoting the God of the gaps, and therefore violates methodological naturalism.

I look at these criticisms and point out many underlying misunderstandings. I also argue that methodological naturalism has limitations. In fact, ID is more falsifiable than Darwinism. My conclusion is that, Dembski’s methodology of Design Inference seems to be promising. The objections are not decisive. Of course, much more hard work needs to be done to tie up the loose ends, and to show that the ID is a fertile research program.