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From Brazil, a Debate on Intelligent Design with Professor Marcos Eberlin

David Klinghoffer

Brazil

For your enjoyment, our friends in Brazil send along a delightful YouTube link (click on the image above to see it). Professor Marcos Eberlin of Campinas University and the Sociedade Brasileira do Design Inteligente participated in a radio debate that you can also watch in video format. The occasion was the launch of the new ID research center at Mackenzie Presbyterian University in São Paulo.

Of course it’s in Portuguese. However, Dr. Eberlin, who is a distinguished chemist and member of the Brazilian National Academy of Sciences, offers some highlights:

The Jovem Pan Morning Show is a very popular radio program heard by around 200,000 people in Brazil. It is now on YouTube and many more will watch it!

After the launch of Discovery Institute-Mackenzie, Fábio Raposo do Amaral, professor of biology at a public university in Brazil, Federal University of São Paulo, wrote a public letter critiquing Mackenzie for creating a center to study the “pseudoscience” of intelligent design. As president of TDI Brasil, I was therefore invited to debate ID with him.

Professor Fabio first said that evolution is obvious and seen for instance in the selection of males by females, when boys “go hunting for girls on Saturday nights.” He mentioned that when a girl selects a boy, this would be a clear case of sexual selection.

I explained how wrong this concept is, by talking about Darwin and peacocks and the intricate mechanism of light dispersion that gives color to a peacock’s wings. I mentioned a paper that reports research done with hundreds of female peacocks and how they showed no preference at all for more colorful tails. The females actually select males with better acoustic signaling. This was devastating.

Then we talked about what science is, how naturalistic science is wrong in dismissing ID, how ID proposes a better science in considering the two possible causes for life and the universe, and about the philosophical and theological implications of both evolution and ID. If ID points to a designer, evolution points to no designer and then to atheism, making atheists feel “intellectually fulfilled,” as Richard Dawkins once said.

I was also given the opportunity to correctly define ID as the science that develops a methodology to detect the action of either natural processes or of an intelligent cause. I talked about the design filters we use, the three pillars of ID (irreducible complexity, biological information, and foresight), and so on.

Comments on YouTube show that the outcome was devastating for evolution. It was clear that a biologist, a professor from a major public university, working in a department of genetics and evolution, had no clear arguments to defend evolution and was defeated by an “IDiot.” ID was also clearly presented as a fully scientific theory that wants simply to do science the way science should be done – as an unbiased search for the truth.

We also talked about the lack of evidence for evolution, even after 150 years of intense search, and how modern science is providing growing evidence in favor of ID. It was a historical debate for ID in Brazil.

Even if you don’t understand Portuguese, watching the video gives you a sense of the mood of the conversation. The pleasure in debate, in soundly responding to a challenger, doesn’t need to be translated. Congratulations to Professor Eberlin and his colleagues for their wonderful work!