La Mirada, CA
Moats Auditorium, Biola University

Setting the Record Straight: From Copernicus to Orphan Genes

A science and faith doubleheader featuring Dr. Michael Keas and Dr. Paul Nelson

Scientists love to tell stories about the quest to understand the universe — stories that often have profound implications for belief or disbelief in God. But more often than not, the stories are nothing but myths. Join us as Michael Keas, a historian of science and Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, explodes some of the most popular and pernicious myths about science and religion. Based on arguments from his new book, Unbelievable: 7 Myths About the History and Future of Science and Religion, Keas lays out the facts to show how far the conventional wisdom departs from reality. He also shows how these myths have proliferated over the past four centuries and exert so much influence today. In debunking these myths, Keas shows that the real history is far more interesting than the common account of religion at war with science.

But wait, there’s more!

Paul Nelson, philosopher of biology and Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science, will follow up with a presentation on “How the Orphan Genes Revolution is Shaking Up Biology.” Prior to the introduction of automated DNA sequencing technology in the mid-1990s, few biologists realized just how many genes were species-unique within Earth’s biota. Today, however, these genes (and their protein and functional RNA products), known as “orphan” or “taxonomically restricted” genes, have been found in every species thus far sequenced. Their significance is beginning to overturn previously established certainties in evolutionary theory, and to provide paths for understanding novel traits and functions, in groups as diverse as beetles, salamanders, mollusks, and even well-studied model systems such as yeast or nematodes. Paul Nelson will review the history of the discovery of orphans and explain how these genomic findings may be explained best by intelligent design, not undirected evolution.


June 13, 6:30-8:30 PM


Biola University
Business Building
Moats Auditorium
13800 Biola Ave
La Mirada, California 90639


Michael Newton Keas

Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
After earning a Ph.D. in the history of science from the University of Oklahoma, Mike Keas won research grants from such organizations as the National Science Foundation and the American Council of Learned Societies. He experienced some of the last historic moments behind the Berlin Wall as a Fulbright scholar in East Germany. Keas serves as lecturer in the history and philosophy of science at Biola University and on the board of directors of Ratio Christi, an alliance of apologetics clubs on college campuses. He has written numerous articles, including “Systematizing the Theoretical Virtues” in the top-tier philosophy journal Synthese. This essay analyzes twelve traits of reputable theories, and has generated dialogue across many fields. With a quarter-century of experience teaching science and its history to college students, Keas is qualified to lay out the facts to show how far the conventional wisdom about science and religion departs from reality. He has done so in the ISI book Unbelievable: 7 Myths about the History and Future of Science and Religion.

Paul Nelson

Senior Fellow, Center for Science and Culture
Paul A. Nelson is currently a Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture and Adjunct Professor in the Master of Arts Program in Science & Religion at Biola University. He is a philosopher of biology who has been involved in the intelligent design debate internationally for three decades. His grandfather, Byron C. Nelson (1893-1972), a theologian and author, was an influential mid-20th century dissenter from Darwinian evolution. After Paul received his B.A. in philosophy with a minor in evolutionary biology from the University of Pittsburgh, he entered the University of Chicago, where he received his Ph.D. (1998) in the philosophy of biology and evolutionary theory.