For more information about David Berlinski – his new books, video clips from interviews, and upcoming events – please visit his website at www.davidberlinski.org. The God Hypothesis Discovering Design in our “Just Right” Goldilocks Universe by Michael A. Corey Rowman & Littlefield, 256 pp., $27 GOD’S EXISTENCE is not required by the premises of quantum mechanics or general relativity, the great Read More ›
The Genesis of This Lecture
I first began teaching freshman chemistry at Berkeley in the spring of 1983. Typically we lectured in halls that held about 550. On the first day of class you could fit in 680, which we had that particular morning. It was a full auditorium. Those of you who have had freshman chemistry at a large university will know that many have mixed feelings about that course.
I had never addressed a group of 680 people before and was a bit concerned about it. But I had a fantastic demonstration prepared for them. At Berkeley in the physical science lecture hall, the stage is in three parts. It rotated around, so you could go to your part of the stage and work for several hours before your lecture, getting everything ready. My assistant, Lonny Martin who did all the chemistry demonstrations at Berkley, was in the process of setting up 10 moles of a large number of quantities—10 moles of benzene, iron, mercury, ethyl alcohol, water, etc. At just the right time, at the grand crescendo of this lecture, I was going to press the button and Lonny would come turning around and show them the ten moles of various items. The student would have great insight as they realized that all these had in common was about the same number of molecules of each one.
It was going to be wonderful. We got to that point in the lecture and I said, “Lonny, come around and show us the moles.” I pressed the button to rotate the stage but nothing happened. I didn’t realize that he was overriding my button press because he wasn’t ready with the moles. This was very embarrassing. I went out in front of the 680 students and was really at a complete loss of what to say, so I made some unprepared remarks. I said, “While we’re waiting for the moles, let me tell you what happened to me in church yesterday morning.”
I was desperate. There was great silence among those 680 students. They had come with all manner of anticipations about freshman chemistry, but stories about church were not among them!Read More ›
Eugenie Scott is a physical anthropologist who as director of the National Center for Science Education travels the United States warning audiences about the threat of creationism and unmasking its various guises. Intelligent design, according to her, is currently the most sinister of these guises. Scott has developed a standard shtick, which includes not only some well-worn arguments against creationism Read More ›
Both Charles Darwin himself and contemporary neo-Darwinists such as Francisco Ayala, Richard Dawkins, and Richard Lewontin acknowledge that biological organisms appear to have been designed by an intelligence. Yet classical Darwinists and contemporary Darwinists alike have argued that what Francisco Ayala calls the “obvious design” of living things is only apparent. As Ayala, a former president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, has explained: “The functional design of organisms and their features would therefore seem to argue for the existence of a designer. It was Darwin’s greatest accomplishment to show that the directive organization of living beings can be explained as the result of a natural process, natural selection, without any need to resort to a Creator or other external agent.”
According to Darwin and his contemporary followers, the mechanism of natural selection acting on random variation is sufficient to explain the origin of those features of life that once seemed to require explanation by reference to an intelligent or purposeful designer. Thus, according to Darwinists, the design hypothesis now represents an unnecessary and un-parsimonious explanation for the complexity and apparent design of living organisms. On these as well as methodological grounds contemporary biologists have generally excluded the design hypothesis from consideration as an explanation for the origin of biological form.Read More ›
Should Pennsylvania’s science standards be changed? Draft language for the standards is expected to go before the state legislature early in 2001. According to standards adopted in 1998, students are expected to “know” that “organisms arose from materials and life forms of the past” because of “evidence of evolution in the form of fossils . . . embryological studies and Read More ›
PERKASIE, Pennsylvania (CNN) — It’s a debate that just won’t go away. The latest battleground over the teaching of evolution in public schools is in the town of Perkasie, Pennsylvania. But what makes this particular debate unique is that the campaign against teaching evolution is being led not by parents or politicians, but a high school student. Joe Baker, 19, Read More ›