Coppedge Meets Kafka

When I first read the complaint filed in the David Coppedge case against NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, I had a sense of déjà vu.

Why David Coppedge’s Story Isn’t Being Told

“We tell ourselves stories in order to live.” That’s the memorable opening line in Joan Didion’s essay “The White Album” and, in following the Darwin debate, I often think of it. Making sense of disparate personal experiences and bits of information gleaned from the news or other sources, we are powerfully moved to weave a narrative that makes sense of it all. Darwinians and creationists alike have complained precisely that intelligent design refuses to offer a tidy historical narrative of how a designer might have exercised “his” creative influence. This refusal annoys and confuses people beyond belief. Of course, some stories are true. Others are fabrications, maintained only by steadfastly turning your face away from contrary evidence. Either way, human Read More ›

At University of Arizona, a “Face Off”on Intelligent Design?

We were delighted to discover that students at the University of Arizona are getting a well-rounded education. “Evolution, Intelligent Design Face Off at Humanities Panel,” reports the Arizona Daily Wildcat. Hey great, finally a serious academic institution is taking the time to make sure kids hear both sides of the evolution debate! Reading down the article we noticed only a couple of things they might have been done differently and better. The panel at UA included an evolutionary biologist and two religious studies profs, but no one actually representing the ID side. Only ID critics were allowed to participate. Well, that is disappointing. It’s like staging a “debate” between the Democratic and Republican contenders for a particular public office but Read More ›

The View From Planet Ayala

Francisco J. Ayala, a biologist at U.C. Irvine who has won the 2010 Templeton Prize, is known for his attacks on intelligent design. He even tars it as a kind of “blasphemy” because ID would allow the attribution of intent and purpose to a designer guiding the development of life. What an odd thing to say. That would make most mainstream theology in Christianity and Judaism “blasphemous” too. You would expect that before using such a hyper-charged word, a distinguished guy like Dr. Ayala would take the time to think a little more carefully. With Ayala, that expectation is often doomed to be disappointed. Thus as readers may recall, when he accepted an invitation to critique Stephen Meyer’s recent book, Read More ›

“Smooth Words” from Francisco Ayala

Francisco J. Ayala, biologist and former Dominican priest, has won this year’s Templeton Prize. Valued at $1.53 million, the prize has sought to reward serious thought, writing and research pointing the way to a reconciliation of science and faith. In Ayala’s case, for “science” read “Darwinism.” So a word or two is in order about the faith of Dr. Ayala. Advocates of a supposedly religion-friendly Darwinism have seized on the idea of God’s acting through secondary causes. In his book Darwin’s Gift to Science and Religion, Ayala argues that since God acts through intermediate causation to create geological features (mountains, rivers), why may the same analysis not be applied to the evolution of life? In the latter context, he insists Read More ›