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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 ›

The Whole Question of Metaphysics

On February 11-16, 1993, the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) met in Boston for its 159th National Meeting. While several sessions addressed topics of great interest, one in particular — “The New Anti-evolutionism” — focused on issues which have long been featured in OR publications and correspondence.1 This report concentrates on that section.

Transcript of Michael Ruse’s 1993 Speech to the AAAS
(transcript added 5.98)


The Case of the Missing Speaker

Michael Ruse, a philosopher and biology historian at the University of Guelph in Ontario, was probably the best-known speaker featured at the session, “The New Anti-evolutionism.” As session organizer Eugenie Scott remarked before Ruse spoke, “He is almost a person who needs no introduction in this context.” Yet a recent article describing the session in the London Times Higher Education Supplement omits Ruse entirely.2 Although the Times provides the identities and views of all the other speakers in some detail, they make no mention — even in passing — of Ruse nor his talk.

Why the glaring omission? Was Ruse’s talk so commonplace or forgettable that it warranted no mention? Hardly: indeed, the opposite is the case. Ruse is often controversial, but he is rarely boring, and his talk entitled “Nonliteralist anti-evolution as in the case of Phillip Johnson” was true to form; it was (for this correspondent) easily the most memorable and surprising of the meeting. Thus I speculate that Ruse’s conspicuous absence from the Times article may be due to a certain uneasiness about his main point, which, Ruse argued (and I agree) “is an important one.”

This eyewitness report may help to repair the Times complete neglect of Professor Ruse. Let’s begin by reviewing the other speakers’ remarks.

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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 ›
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 ›

The New Rule of Wireless

At first glance, Vahak Hovnanian, a homebuilding tycoon in New Jersey, would seem an unlikely sort to be chasing rainbows. Yet in the converging realms of computers and communications that we call the telecosm, rainbows are less a matter of hue and weather than they are a metaphor for electromagnetism: the spectrum of wavelengths and frequencies used to build businesses Read More ›

Into the Fibersphere

In a world of dumb terminals and telephones, networks had to be smart. But in a world of smart terminals, networks have to be dumb. Philip Hope, divisional vice president for engineering systems of EDS, has an IQ problem. His chief client and owner, General Motors, wants to interconnect thousands of 3-D graphics and computer aided engineering (CAE) workstations with Read More ›

What Is Darwinism?

The debate between creationism and Darwinism is often depicted as a dispute between naive biblical literalists, who ignore the overwhelming evidence for evolution, and scientifically enlightened intellectuals. But this is a caricature that serves the purpose of helping to perpetuate a world view hostile to Christian faith: atheistic naturalism. The debate hinges on five key terms: creationism, evolution, science, religion, and truth. Instead of trying to Christianize evolution we ought instead to challenge the assumption that atheistic naturalism is true. Read More ›
schools-out

School’s Out: Hyperlearning, the New Technology, and the End of Education

A radical formula for cutting through the bureaucracy of the traditional education system proposes the implementation of technologically innovative media as learning tools and privatization of schools to introduce competitiveness. 35,000 first printng. $25,000 ad/promo. Editorial Reviews From Publishers Weekly Are school systems, classrooms and teachers obsolete? No less so than the horse was with the coming of the automobile Read More ›

stephen-c-meyer-1992-still

Darwinism: Scientific Inference or Philosophical Preference

A session from a 1992 symposium called Darwinism: Scientific Inference or Philosophical Preference, recorded by the Foundation for Thought and Ethics, featuring Michael Ruse and Stephen Meyer.