Hello,

We noticed you're browsing in private or incognito mode.

To continue reading this article, please exit incognito mode or log in.

Not an Insider? Subscribe now for unlimited access to online articles.

Jason Pontin

A View from Jason Pontin

Math is hard!

The New Yorker has a damning piece by Allen Orr on Intelligent Design. It’s also extraordinarily late, of course: Wired devoted a cover to the subject in October of 2004. Orr’s most interesting insight is that the mathematical critique…

  • May 26, 2005

The New Yorker has a damning piece by Allen Orr on Intelligent Design. It’s also extraordinarily late, of course: Wired devoted a cover to the subject in October of 2004. Orr’s most interesting insight is that the mathematical critique of evolutionary biology by William A. Dembski (pictured) is really very shaky. This matters because Dembski (who is probably the most famous proponent of I.D) represents himself as a hard mathematician correcting the soft science of biologists. Orr writes,

Despite all the attention, Dembski’s mathematical claims about design and Darwin are almost entirely beside the point.

By contrast, modern evolutionary biology has a very robust mathematical foundation. Why isn’t this better known to the general public? Again, from Orr:

Evolutionary biology actually features an extraordinarily sophisticated body of mathematical theory, a fact not widely known because neither of evolution’s great popularizers—Richard Dawkins and the late Stephen Jay Gould—did much math.

Technorati tag:

Couldn't make it to EmTech Next to meet experts in AI, Robotics and the Economy?

Go behind the scenes and check out our video
Want more award-winning journalism? Subscribe to Insider Online Only.
  • Insider Online Only {! insider.prices.online !}*

    {! insider.display.menuOptionsLabel !}

    Unlimited online access including articles and video, plus The Download with the top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox.

    See details+

    Unlimited online access including all articles, multimedia, and more

    The Download newsletter with top tech stories delivered daily to your inbox

/3
You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for unlimited online access. This is your last free article this month. for unlimited online access. You've read all your free articles this month. for unlimited online access. You've read of three free articles this month. for more, or for unlimited online access. for two more free articles, or for unlimited online access.