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Paul Nelson: “Take What Darwin Got Right and Build That into Your Theory of Design”


Something I’ve said for a long time is that the theory of intelligent design is a theory of evolution — that is, a theory that explains the origins of biological novelties over the course of the long history of life. It differs from Darwinian evolution in keys aspects, but not in all ways. To call ID “anti-evolution” is just not accurate. I find some support for that in comments from philosopher of biology Paul Nelson on a new episode of ID the Future. 

Dr. Nelson is back from a pilgrimage to the Galápagos Islands, where a young Charles Darwin drew some conclusions that would shape his mature thinking. As Paul explains to host Andrew McDiarmid, he rejects the idea that the agenda for intelligent design should be to “punch Darwin in the nose.” Not at all. “Darwin got a lot of things right,” including about the role of history in shaping species. The task for ID is to “take what Darwin got right and build that into your theory of design.” In other words, while discarding the weaknesses of the competing evolutionary theory, the job is to integrate the strengths of the old with the strengths of the new. 

Download the podcast or listen to it here. And don’t miss the first and second episodes of this terrific interview series with Paul:

Photo: Female Galápagos sea lion (Zalophus wollebaeki), nursing a pup (just out of frame) on the dock at Puerto Ayora, Santa Cruz Island, Galápagos, Ecuador, by Paul Nelson. 

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.



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