Articles

The Whispers of Strangers

Today is my 76th birthday,” the letter began. “Unassisted and by my own free will, I have chosen to take my final passage.” Suicide. My friend Frances died in a cold, impersonal hotel room after taking an overdose of sleeping pills, with a plastic bag tied over her head suffocating the life out of her body. Frances was not a Read More ›

The Issaquah Miracle

In the spring of 1989 when Michael Bookey first visited the Middle School in Issaquah, Wash., to help the school system with its computers, he was reminded of his early ventures into Communist China. After 20 years of working with computer networks, to enter Issaquah seemed to me like encountering an exotic tribe of primitives untouched by the modern world. Read More ›

Seattle-from-Kerry-Park-1990s

Six Solutions for Seattle – Global City or Just Another Town?

METROPOLITAN Seattle - from Everett to Tacoma and from Puget Sound to the Cascade foothills - in the past decade has become a true international "Citistate," to use the term coined by syndicated columnist Neal R. Peirce. A Discovery Institute project, "International Seattle: Creating a Globally Competitive Community," is aimed at helping the region define a new strategy for increasing its international competitiveness. With the help of a 24-member advisory board and a host of volunteers, we have conducted interviews throughout the region and studied a dozen other cities' international programs. It was a breakthrough in 1990 when community-wide response to international concerns led to the creation of the Trade Development Alliance of Greater Seattle. The "TDA" pulled together resources from the city of Seattle, King County, the Port of Seattle, the Greater Seattle Chamber of Commerce and organized labor, with a stated goal of making this region "one of North America's premier international gateways and commercial centers." Read More ›

Homology:

Before Darwin, homology was defined morphologically and explained by reference to ideal archetypes -- that is, to intelligent design. Darwin reformulated biology in naturalistic* rather than teleological terms, and explained homology as the result of descent with modification from a common ancestor. Descent with modification, however, renders design unnecessary only if it is due entirely tonaturalistic mechanisms. Two such mechanisms have been proposed, genetic programs and developmental pathways, but neither one fits the evidence. Without an empirically demonstrated naturalistic mechanism to account for homology, design remains a possibility which can only be excluded on the basis of questionable philosophical assumptions. * In this article, "naturalism" and "naturalistic" refer to the philosophical doctrine that nature is the whole of reality, and that intelligent causation does not qualify as a scientific explanation. Read More ›

Let Schools Provide Full Disclosure

The recent news from Post Falls has an all too familiar ring. A group of religiously motivated parents is pressing for the teaching of creationism alongside Darwinian evolution. If they succeed, many fear the A.C.L.U. will sue the school district. On the surface, the Post Falls controversy appears to be yet another dreary and unproductive chapter in the American culture Read More ›

Intelligent Design is not Optimal Design

I was recently on an NPR program with skeptic Michael Shermer and paleontologist Donald Prothero to discuss intelligent design. As the discussion unfolded, it became clear that they were using the phrase “intelligent design” in a way quite different from how the emerging intelligent design community is using it. The confusion centered on what the adjective “intelligent” is doing in Read More ›

God … Sort Of

Paul Davies should need little introduction to readers of First Things. A theoretical physicist and prolific author, he won the 1995 Templeton Prize for Progress in Religion. As the title of the address he gave in receiving the award indicates (“Physics and the Mind of God” [First Things, August/September 1995]) he does not hesitate to think about the Deeper Meaning Read More ›