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“In China We Can Criticize Darwin,” Continued

David Klinghoffer

With our attention to the launch of a new research center on intelligent design, Discovery Institute-Mackenzie, at Brazil’s Mackenzie Presbyterian University, we don’t mean to slight other big countries or important parts of the world where ID is rising in prominence.

Recently I had a conversation with a new Chinese acquaintance, who disclosed a thoughtful interest in questions about biological and cosmic origins. I quoted the remark from Chinese paleontologist Jun-Yuan Chen, “In China we can criticize Darwin, but not the government; in America, you can criticize the government, but not Darwin.”

I thought this would get a knowing laugh – Yes, you silly Americans with your strange reverence for a long-dead Victorian Englishman. Instead, it drew a small and what I took to be a…careful, circumspect smile. That surprised me.

I wondered if, for the sake of his comparison between the situation in his country and ours, Dr. Chen indulged in a bit of simplification or exaggeration. Or maybe things have changed since he said that, on a 1999 visit to the University of Washington. Perhaps, like Americans in sensitive career fields, the Chinese now need to think twice about who might be overhearing a frank discussion of evolution.

In any event, I followed up by suggesting a partial list of resources for the Chinese speaker interested in learning more about intelligent design, and the case against the orthodox Darwinism. Assuming that some readers will find it useful themselves or will pass it along, I’ll share it here too.

Some major ID books in Chinese translation.

Great video documentaries on intelligent design from our friends at Illustra Media, including:

Jonathan Wells wrote here about his experience at the 1999 Chinese Academy of Sciences conference. He attended at the invitation of Dr. Chen and our Discovery Institute colleague Paul Chien, a biologist at the University of San Francisco.

Of course this is not a complete list, just what I was able to pull together on the fly for my new acquaintance.

And let’s not forget about the rest of Asia.

Naturally, many readers in China, Korea, and elsewhere in Asia read or watch our material in English, as, for instance, distinguished South Korean biomimetic scientist Seung-Yop Lee did. Dr. Lee teaches in the Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering at Seoul’s Sogang University. He offered some wonderful comments in praise of Zombie Science: More Icons of Evolution, the latest from Dr. Wells. Jonathan Witt noted his remarks here.

Photo credit: Silentpilot via Pixabay.

David Klinghoffer

Senior Fellow and Editor, Evolution News
David Klinghoffer is a Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute and the editor of Evolution News & Science Today, the daily voice of Discovery Institute’s Center for Science & Culture, reporting on intelligent design, evolution, and the intersection of science and culture. Klinghoffer is also the author of six books, a former senior editor and literary editor at National Review magazine, and has written for the Los Angeles Times, New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Seattle Times, Commentary, and other publications. Born in Santa Monica, California, he graduated from Brown University in 1987 with an A.B. magna cum laude in comparative literature and religious studies. David lives near Seattle, Washington, with his wife and children.



ChinaDarwin's Doubtintelligent designJonathan WellsJonathan WittJun-Yuan ChenSignature in the CellStephen MeyerZombie Science