Watch the trailer with Doctors Stephen Meyer, Jonathan Wells, Michael Behe, Dean Kenyon, Scott Minnich, and more as they state that the scientific evidence points to the world stemming form an intelligent source.
Watch the process of DNA synthesis and learn why the founder of the theory of chemical evolution ended up rejecting his own idea. For more information or to order a copy of Unlocking the Mystery of Life.
Several newspapers covering today’s Kitzmiller vs. Dover ruling against intelligent design are highlighting Judge John Jones’ spurious determination that intelligent design is creationism in disguise. They’re accurately reporting the judge’s opinion here, for his decision reads like a condensation of atheist-activist Barbara Forrest’s mythological history of intelligent design. The Christian Science Monitor reports that the judge decided that “‘Intelligent design’ is just Read More ›
If a deeply entrenched academic truth is challenged by new scientific insights and discoveries, should authorities allow classroom discussion of such challenges? That was the question many people believe was placed on the national stage by the famous Scopes Trial in Dayton, Tennessee in 1925. This week is the 75th anniversary of the famous trial over the freedom of a Read More ›
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 ›
On Sunday, July 23, 1995, at its annual meeting, the American Scientific Affiliation (ASA), an organization of Christians in the sciences, sponsored a debate on the supplemental biology textbook Of Pandas and People: The Central Question of Biological Origins, 2nd ed. (Dallas, TX: Haughton, 1993). This 170 page book, written by the biologists Dean Kenyon and Percival Davis, has engendered controversy since it was first published in 1989. Intended for use in public school classrooms as a constitutionally unobjectionable presentation of the notion of “intelligent design,” Pandas has found opposition wherever it is considered by state textbook adoption panels or school boards.
Pandas raises many issues, among them the scientific soundness of “intelligent design,” the empirical adequacy of neo-Darwinism, and the proper content of science education. Thus, members of the ASA resolved to air these differences in a debate, and invited Michael Behe, an associate professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University, and Kenneth R. Miller, a professor of biology at Brown University, to take opposing sides, with Behe defending Pandas, and Miller critiquing it.
Paul Nelson attended this meeting. What follows are his observations.
This is my report on the recent (July 23) ASA Behe/Miller debate about the book Of Pandas and People. Actually, I’ll have much more to say about my conversations with Ken Miller than about the debate itself. Like Mike Behe, I’d judge the debate a draw, or, perhaps more accurately, a stalemate. Ken wanted to hear how we (the design guys) explained the fossil record and earth history, and we wanted Ken to explain how complex biological systems evolved. Because neither Mike nor I had much to say about the fossil record, and because Ken pled ignorance about the actual mechanisms of evolution, I think the audience was left in some frustration (or confusion). Pandas took some genuine hits from Ken, but none, I think, that would sink the book. Certainly (as Mike pointed out), Ken’s own textbook Biology (Prentice-Hall) has problems – some of which Ken very honorably offered to fix in the next edition – and I think nearly all the problems Ken mentioned with Pandas are reparable, without affecting the book’s distinctive intelligent design thesis.
That thesis, of course, can’t be “fixed” (removed to accomodate methdological naturalism) without destroying Panda’s very raison d’etre. But I’ll come to that issue later. When Steve Meyer originally approached me about taking his place as “resident philosopher” at the debate, he mentioned that Ken was going to be Mike’s opponent. When I heard that, I couldn’t say no. Ever since I began reading his essays on the creation/evolution debate, in the early 1980s, Ken has struck me as the opponent I’d least like to face in a debate – in other words, as the most effective and articulate spokesman for the received view of evolution. When I heard him speak at the 1993 AAAS meeting in Boston, on intelligent design (and why organisms showed evidence of unintelligent design), I thought, now here’s someone I’d like to talk to, one-on-one, about evolution, because unlike the agnostics I usually talk to at the University of Chicago, who find problems with every evolutionary idea, he sure seems to know how the process works.Read More ›
Can scientists change their minds about controversial ideas? Can they reject theories if evidence requires? That may depend upon what theories are at stake. Consider a disturbing case in California involving a distinguished biology professor, Dean Kenyon. A year ago, Kenyon was removed from his biology classroom at San Francisco State University after a few students complained to administrators about Read More ›
In her Dec. 15 letter responding to my December 6th editorial-page piece “A Scopes Trial for the ’90s” Eugenie Scott claims that Prof. Kenyon and I misunderstand the nature of science. What she means, of course, is that we understand it — and its current arbitrary prohibitions — all too well. The Kenyon case underscores a fact that Dr. Scott Read More ›
When most of us think of the controversy over evolution in the public schools, we are likely to think of fundamentalists pulling teachers from their classrooms and placing them in the dock. Images from the infamous Scopes “monkey” trial of 1925 come to mind. Unfortunately, intolerance of this sort has shown itself in California in the 1990s as a result of students complaining about a biology instructor. Unlike the original Scopes case, however, this case involves a distinguished biology professor at a major university — indeed, an acknowledged expert on evolutionary theory. Also unlike Scopes, the teacher was forbidden to teach his course not because he taught evolutionary theory (which he did) but because he offered a critical assessment of Read More ›