DARWIN, DESIGN, AND DYSTELEOLOGY: A CRITICAL EVALUATION OF WILLIAM DEMBSKI AND FRANCISCO AYALA ON THE PROBLEM OF SUBOPTIMAL DESIGN
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This dissertation is a critical evaluation of two modern thinkers debating the idea of intelligent design (ID), William Dembski and Francisco Ayala. Specifically, it focuses on Ayala's major theological critique of intelligent design, namely, the problem of dysteleology. Chapter 1 provides an introduction to the problem of dysteleology as it relates to biology and offers a methodology for evaluating each thinker’s resolution to this problem. Chapter 2 examines Ayala's scientific critique of ID, and chapter 3 looks at Ayala's theological critique of ID. Chapter 4 summarizes Dembski's method for detecting design, and chapter 5 outlines Dembski's critiques of naturalism and materialism as well as his information-theoretic account of reality. Finally, chapter 6 analyzes the strengths and weaknesses of Ayala’s proposal that Darwin is a gift to theology in light of Dembski’s information-theoretic account of reality.