William A. Dembski

William A. Dembski bigraphy, stories - American intelligent design advocate

William A. Dembski : biography

July 18, 1960 –

William Albert "Bill" Dembski (born July 18, 1960) is an American philosopher and theologian. He is a proponent of intelligent design, specifically the concept of specified complexity. He is currently the Philip E. Johnson Research Professor in Culture & Science at the Southern Evangelical Seminary at Matthews, North Carolina, and a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. He is the author of a number of books about intelligent design, including The Design Inference (1998), Intelligent Design: The Bridge between Science and Theology (1999), The Design Revolution (2004), The End of Christianity (2009), and Intelligent Design Uncensored (2010).

The concept of intelligent design involves the argument that an intelligent cause is responsible for the complexity of life and that it can be detected empirically.

  • Dembski postulates that probability theory can be used to prove irreducible complexity, or what he calls specified complexity. Intelligent design—and Dembski’s concept of specified complexity—are seen by the scientific community as a form of conservative Christian creationism, attempting to portray itself as science.


Dembski was born in Chicago, Illinois, the only child of Catholic parents, his mother an art dealer and his father a college professor and lecturer. His father held a D.Sc in biology from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg and taught evolutionary biology; while growing up Dembski was neither particularly religious nor did he question the theory of evolution. He attended an all-male Catholic preparatory school in Chicago. Dembski finished high school a year early, excelling in math and finishing a calculus course in one summer. After high school he attended the University of Chicago. There, Dembski experienced educational and personal difficulties, struggling with the advanced courses and finding the unfamiliar social milieu of college challenging. Dembski dropped out of school and worked at his mother’s art business while reading works on creationism and the Bible. Finding the creationist works interesting in their challenge of evolution but their literal interpretations lacking, Dembski returned to school at the University of Illinois at Chicago, studying statistics.

It was in 1988 at a conference on randomness that Dembski began to believe that there was purpose, order, and design in the universe by the intervention of a god. Remaining in academia, Dembski ultimately completed an undergraduate degree in psychology (1981, University of Illinois at Chicago) and masters degrees in statistics, mathematics, and philosophy (1983, University of Illinois at Chicago; 1985, University of Chicago; 1993, University of Illinois at Chicago respectively), two PhDs, one in mathematics and one in philosophy (1988, University of Chicago; 1996, University of Illinois at Chicago respectively), and a Master of Divinity in theology at the Princeton Theological Seminary (1996).

At the Princeton Theological Seminary, Dembski met his future wife Jana. Dissatisfied with what he called the "free-swinging academic style" of the school, Dembski also was involved a group known as the "Charles Hodge Society". Based on the works of the 19th century thinker Charles Hodge, the group was devoted to strengthening the faith of students faced with what members believed to be the "theological disarray" of the times, and to providing an example of how to oppose "false and destructive ideas." It published a journal (a recreation of the Princeton Theological Review) and met with considerable opposition on the campus, facing two lawsuits, threats of violence, accusations of racism and sexism; being denied funding; and hearing that membership "jeopardized their academic advancement".

Dembski and Jana have one daughter and two sons. One of his sons is autistic and Dembski has attributed some of his son’s problems to vaccines.{ |title="Finding a Good God in an Evil World" Bill Dembski & Norman Hansen debate the problem of Evil. (41:00) |publisher=Premier Christian Radio|date=Jan 9, 2010|accessdate=Jan 10, 2010}}