I think we are all weary of talking about Denton, especially since almost no one has read the particular Denton books I’ve referred to and arguments about “phantom texts” – texts whose content is unknown to most of the participants – are a bit frustrating. So I suggest a shift to the thought of another scientist who, as far as I know, is not a member of the Discovery Institute, and whose text we can look at together.
Here is an interesting passage from physicist and Nobel Prize winner, Charles H. Townes:
"Intelligent design, as one sees it from a scientific point of view, seems to be quite real. This is a very special universe: it’s remarkable that it came out just this way. If the laws of physics weren’t just the way they are, we couldn’t be here at all. The sun couldn’t be there, the laws of gravity and nuclear laws and magnetic theory, quantum mechanics, and so on have to be just the way they are for us to be here.
“Some scientists argue that “well, there’s an enormous number of universes and each one is a little different. This one just happened to turn out right.” Well, that’s a postulate, and it’s a pretty fantastic postulate - it assumes there really are an enormous number of universes and that the laws could be different for each of them. The other possibility is that ours was planned, and that’s why it has come out so specially. Now, that design could include evolution perfectly well. It’s very clear that there is evolution, and it’s important. Evolution is here, and intelligent design is here, and they’re both consistent.”
For the whole interview with Townes, see Nobel Prize winner Charles Townes on evolution and "intelligent design"
I note that Townes, who describes himself as a “progressive” Protestant (which based on his remarks appears to be very different from a fundamentalist or literalist), sees no conflict between “evolution” and “design”. This is useful, because it is what I have been arguing, based on the definition and description of ID maintained by Discovery, and I had never seen these words of Townes before tonight.
Of course, people are free to take up Townes’s remarks and object to them (if they have objections), but I thought it was interesting (a) that an apparent non-partisan in the culture wars agreed with me about the compatibility of evolution and design and (b) that a physicist whose scientific achievement is probably regarded much more highly by the people here than Denton’s would take the same line of argument that Denton does.