Eighty Years of Scopes Monkey Business

Eighty years ago Thursday the famous Scopes Monkey Trial ended in Dayton, Tennessee. Time for a quiz: History tells us that two great lawyers faced off. On the one side was (A) a progressive and a pacifist, an educated man who rejected the idea of a young earth and worried about efforts to peddle racism and eugenics in the South. On the other side was (B) a master orator who defended some flagrantly racist ideas long since discredited by science. Lawyer A sought a full and fair debate over the evidence. Lawyer B used a procedural tactic to shut down the debate so that only his position was heard. Surely Mr. A would be the darling of any contemporary liberal Read More ›

Newsweek Letter: ID Arguments are Testable

My letter responding to George Will’s “A Debate That Does Not End” appears in the July 18 print edition of Newsweek. George Will says the theory of intelligent design isn’t falsifiable—isn’t “a testable hypothesis.” Actually, particular design arguments are falsifiable. Design theorist Michael Behe, for instance, argues that we can detect design in the bacterial flagellum because the tiny motor needs all of its parts to function at all. That’s a problem for Darwinian evolution, which builds novel form one tiny functional mutation at a time. How to falsify Behe’s argument? Provide a detailed evolutionary pathway from simple ancestor to present motor. The flagellum might still be designed, but Behe’s argument that such design is detectable would have been falsified. Read More ›

Doctors Diagnose an Ailing Theory

Discovery Institute advocates teaching students the controversy over Neo-Darwinism. The rebuttal is simplicity itself: “Medievalists! Naughty Luddites! Are you going teach the strengths and weaknesses of gravity? Heliocentrism? Evolution is … A … FACT!”

Biology Teacher Neglects to Airbrush Darwin

Public high school biology teacher and Seattle area resident Doug Cowan has a fine piece in today’s Christian Science Monitor discussing how he encourages his students to think critically by exposing them to both the strengths and weaknesses of modern evolutionary theory. He begins: I am a public high school biology teacher, and I do an unusual thing. I teach my students more than they have to know about evolution. I push them to behave like competent jurors – not just to swallow what some authority figure tells them to believe – not even me – but rather to critically analyze, with an open mind, the evidence set before them. The full essay is here. And there’s more on how Read More ›

… big hair, big gut, fat butt, holy-rolling …

In the new issue of The American Spectator, Dan Peterson provides this sober analysis of the media’s handling of intelligent design: Among certain sectors of the media, for example, it is an article of faith that those who believe in God, or advocate principles supporting that belief, are just a mob of Bible-thumping, knuckle-dragging, Scripture-spouting, hellfire and brimstone-preaching, rightwing, gun-toting, bigoted, homophobic, moralistic, paternalistic, polyester-wearing, mascara-smeared, false-eyelashed, SUV-driving, Wal-Mart shopping, big hair, big gut, fat butt, holy-rolling, snake-handling, Limbaugh-listening, Bambi-shooting, trailer-park-dwelling, uneducated, ignorant, backwater, hayseed, hick, inbred, pinhead rubes, mostly from the South, or places no better than the South, who voted for Bush. So, many of the news stories refer to intelligent design theory as “creationism” and ignore the Read More ›