NPR Hosts Live Debate on Intelligent Design vs. Darwinism

PHILADELPHIA – National Public Radio program Justice Talking will host a debate on intelligent design and how to teach evolution in front of a live audience Tuesday, April 19, 2005 7:30 PM at The National Constitution Center, featuring Discovery Institute senior fellow Dr. Paul Nelson, a proponent of the theory of intelligent design, and philosopher Dr. Niall Shanks, a defender of Darwinian evolution. The debate is free and open to the public.

“The debate over how to teach evolution is in fact science vs. science, not religion vs. science,” said Dr. Paul Nelson, a philosopher of biology and fellow at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. “There is a serious debate among scientists over the adequacy of the evidence for Darwinian evolution, and this is what students need to be hearing about.”

Dr. Nelson and his colleagues at the Center for Science and Culture are advocates of the “teach the controversy” approach to teaching evolution. Rather than require the teaching of alternative theories, the CSC proposes that Darwinian evolution be fully and completely taught in public schools, including such issues as the sufficiency of natural selection, frequently changing meanings of key terms (such as homology), the Cambrian Explosion of animal forms, and the origins of molecular complexity.

“We want to teach more about evolution, not less,” said Dr. Nelson. “Biology teachers should present the evidence supporting Darwin’s theory, of course, but they should also present the scientific challenges to Darwinian evolution, as well.”

Dr. Nelson pointed out that the states of Ohio, Minnesota and New Mexico have science standards that require students to learn about the scientific evidence both for and against Darwinian evolution, and how scientists continue to research and analyze the theory in light of new scientific discoveries. The state of Ohio has even gone so far as to adopt a model lesson plan entitled “Critical Analysis of Evolution” which gives teachers a framework for how to teach the controversy. And, the state of Kansas, as a part of its review of science standards is currently hearing testimony from scientists on both sides of the debate about how to best present scientific criticisms of Darwinian evolution.

For more information on the debate April 19th or to reserve your free tickets, please visit the Justice Talking website at:

Paul A. Nelson received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Philosophy (1998). He is a philosopher of biology, specializing in evo-devo and developmental biology. He is also a fellow of the International Society for Complexity, Information and Design and a member of the Society for Developmental Biology.

Discovery Institute

Discovery Institute promotes thoughtful analysis and effective action on local, regional, national and international issues. The Institute is home to an inter-disciplinary community of scholars and policy advocates dedicated to the reinvigoration of traditional Western principles and institutions and the worldview from which they issued.