Over an eight day period last January, Physicians and Surgeons for Scientific Integrity (aka DoctorsDoubtingDarwin.com, a rapidly growing, 277-member, physician group from 17 countries) sponsored a lecture tour in Barcelona, Malaga, Madrid, Leon and Vigo. It was titled “Lo Que Darwin No Sabia,” or “What Darwin Didn’t Know.” Tom Woodward, Ph.D. (author of Doubts About Darwin and Darwin Strikes Back) and myself (author of What Darwin Didn’t Know and Billions of Missing Links) lectured on eight occasions to exceptionally large audiences. Santiago Escuain was our translator extraordinaire. Rich Akin, the CEO of PSSI, put in enormous hours into making this trip a huge success.
We were originally scheduled to give ten lectures (two per city), but the University of Leon and the University of Vigo canceled us at the last moment under pressure from certain professors. Fortunately, there was an alternate evening talk. Isaac Lorencez, a Ph.D. from Switzerland, was part of the panel discussions and Antonio Martinez, M.D., an eye doctor from Vigo, was the moderator, sponsor and panel member. Nearly 1300 DVDs of the Spanish translation of Unlocking the Mystery of Life were handed out and hundreds of our books were sold. The talks led to a national debate for Dr. Martinez and numerous interviews with Martinez and Escuain. Media coverage involved at least eight newspapers and even reached TV audiences in New York City. PSSI will have the Madrid lecture DVD available soon.
During those eight days we learned that there is a vacuum in Spain when it comes to challenging Neo-Darwinism on a factual basis.
The stated reasons are varied, but among them are a rebellious nature since the collapse of the Church-Franco connection years ago and a general acceptance of the rising atheism across Europe. This was readily apparent in Barcelona when a local newspaper printed a picture of a single person sitting in an empty auditorium. That purposefully-misleading photo was taken forty-five minutes before the talk, which actually had 200 people in attendance, began.
We got a particularly good taste of some irrational academic opposition in Vigo. The professor who led the charge to cancel the lecture at his school attended the talk at the other site, instantly came out of his seat when it was time for questions, denounced us as believers in the supernatural, and carried out an obviously hostile speech until the mike literally had to be pulled away. Afterwards, several of his students seemed to turn on him, demanding to know why a school would not allow our talk.
Also, there were threatened boycotts and commercial pressures brought, before we ever arrived in Spain, to cancel our venues. Although some newspapers referred to us as Creationists, religion and Intelligent Design were only discussed from a historical perspective.
Our talks were relatively straightforward and designed for the nonscientist and/or non-MD to understand. Dr. Woodward laid out the groundwork, definitions, players and controversies. My talk addressed the incredible and inexplicable complexities within the human body and other biological systems. The discussion was about facts and designs that can readily be found in any biology textbook.
This was a very memorable trip, handled by very hospitable residents and, on all counts, it has to be considered successful. The audiences let it be known how appreciative they were that we had come overseas, in contrast to the newspapers who called it an unsuccessful American invasion. Every audience asked cogent questions and many individuals continue to be engaged in this dialogue.
PSSI has plans to take this type of physicians doubting Darwin lecture tour to Central and South America, as there are over a dozen countries around the world requesting that we speak there.
For additional information, go to www.pssiinternational.com.