Day Two of Hearings On Evolution

Robert L. Crowther, II

Topeka, KS – As I’m writing it’s 8:30am of day two of the three most contentious days for science in Kansas, ever. After yesterday’s three-ring circus, complete with highwire acts like William Harris and the antics of sideshow barker Pedro Irigonegaray, today is downright decaffeinated, starting out as if Starbucks had run out of coffee. (Of course if I could find a Starbucks here, I’d know for sure.)
The hearing room is about 1/3 full, a decided difference from yesterday. Amateur videographers are all that remain to tape the proceedings. Several of the key local reporters are in attendance but the national media are largely absent now.
First up is an oceanographer, Dr. Edward Peltzer. Pelzer ( is a Senior Research Specialist at Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute.
His testimony is slow, but interesting. He spends his first 30 minutes on straight science, and less than two minutes on religion or philosophy. Naturally Irigonegaray’s questions are about anything but the science he testified about, such as the age of the earth which Pelzer said was probably 4.569 billion years.
Throughout Pelzer’s testimony people trickle in, but not out thanks to the metal detectors installed at the front doors to the auditorium.
It seems that Irigonegaray’s questions are just smoke and mirrors. He grandstands with the best of them. A recent profile reported:

“I had a delicious fantasy,” the Cuban-born Irigonegaray said with a smile, recalling the offer to defend evolutionary theory. “I saw myself in a large courtroom, the fan moving slowly over my head, perhaps a skull in my hand, while I’m cross-examining a key witness.”

If anything has turned this into a kangaroo court it is Irigonegaray’s insistence on talking about things that don’t matter. ID isn’t in the standards, no one is proposing to teach it. It’s an interesting and robust scientific theory, but it isn’t the subject of the hearings, nor does it have anything to do with the science standards. The Darwinists think that by bringing it up they can somehow make this about ID. It’s not. Did Mr. Igrigonegaray read the standards? One wonders.
The parade of PhDs is continuing. Up next is Russ Carlson, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology and Executive Technical Director – Plant and Microbial Complex Carbohydrates at University of Georgia. I wish that John Calvert would expand on the research and credentials of the scientists. They mention them, but often just skim over that, and much of that is what is really interesting. After all, scientists skeptical of Darwin aren’t supposed to exist, so you’d think it would be a good idea to note who they are. Carlson for instance does work on anthrax and other bioterrorism viruses, and wants to find therapeutic treatments for things that might be used against us in a bioterrorism attack. Now that’s interesting stuff, and totally scientific. Why is it that it doesn’t ever get mentioned in the media in regards to Carlson’s appearance here?
It’s unfortunate too that many of the media left before hearing some of the best testimony — namely Dr. Daniel Ely of University of Akron, and Bryan Leonard from Ohio — and so lack the information that would be interesting to so many in the general public.

“But as the day proceeded, a number of people left as the testimony focused on DNA, nucleotides, primordial soup and the pre-Cambrian explosion.” Writes Scott Rothschild in the Lawrence Journal World.

It’s going to be a long day and my laptop batteries are already lagging. If only I had the resources of several university biology departments I could probably keep a running commentary of the entire hearings. But, alas, non-profits are what they are, and I have limited resources.
Stay tuned for more on the other speakers of the day.

Robert Crowther, II

Robert Crowther holds a BA in Journalism with an emphasis in public affairs and 20 years experience as a journalist, publisher, and brand marketing and media relations specialist. From 1994-2000 he was the Director of Public and Media Relations for Discovery Institute overseeing most aspects of communications for each of the Institute's major programs. In addition to handling public and media relations he managed the Institute's first three books to press, Justice Matters by Roberta Katz, Speaking of George Gilder edited by Frank Gregorsky, and The End of Money by Richard Rahn.