Reflections on the University of Chicago Darwin 2009 Fest

Thanks to various live-bloggers, you can read summaries of all of the University of Chicago Darwin 2009 conference presentations. The conference organizers have also promised to make video podcasts available of all the lectures shortly. By contrast, what follows below is — as they say in sports television — color commentary. This will be a longer post, because much was said that calls for comment. Bottom line: this was an outstanding conference, where any ID theorist would have enjoyed himself, and learned a lot, if he didn’t mind a bit of mocking laughter along the way.

Lewontin and Numbers: Day One of Darwin 2009 at the University of Chicago

“Go to hell!” said Ron Numbers cheerfully to me, as we greeted each other at the front of Rockefeller Chapel last night. “Hey, did I say that loud enough?” he asked, looking around at the various evolutionary biology and history and philosophy of science worthies — Lewontin, Kitcher, Sober, Ruse, Dennett, Richards, and so on — milling about. Ron’s smiling insult was a mocking attempt to redress the widespread criticism that he had let me off easy in our notorious Bloggingheads conversation. A spirit of raillery was in the air, given a vigorous kick at the beginning of the evening by Harvard geneticist Richard Lewontin. Little of the secular sanctimony of the 1959 Darwin centennial (see below) was in evidence. Read More ›

Upcoming Event: Grill the ID Scientist, 9 June 2009, University of Pittsburgh

An announcement from Professor David Snoke: “Grill the ID Scientist” Tuesday, June 9 7 PM, University of Pittsburgh Campus (room TBA) A network of scientists known as the Intelligent Design (ID) community continues to question basic tenets of Darwinism and origin-of-life scenarios. Not only are their views controversial in scientific circles — many in the evangelical world, who might be expected to embrace ID, are also not sold on the value of the ID program. This event brings together a panel of scientists associated with the ID movement. After a short presentation, the bulk of the evening will be given to questions from the audience. This event is aimed primarily at researchers, graduate students and advanced undergrad students in the Read More ›

When Theology Becomes Invisible: A Reply to Joshua Rosenau (ID at the AAAS Annual Meeting)

Last month, NCSE staffer Joshua Rosenau complained on his blog that I failed to report on his talk, “Why We Need to Apply Dobzhansky’s Maxim Today,” which opened the February 15, 2009 AAAS session, Evolution Makes Sense of Biology. Instead, he says, my blog post focused on issues of my own manufacture, and missed the point, not only of his talk, but of the entire session — evolution, not intelligent design. Did I miss the point? Here’s the evidence:

ID at the AAAS Annual Meeting, Part 2: David Deamer on the origin of life

This post is the second in a series reviewing the February 15, 2009 session at the AAAS annual meeting, Why Evolution Makes Sense of Biology. The first post is here. David Deamer: Why Evolution Makes Sense of Biochemistry …so-called prebiotic chemistry, which is of course falsely named, because we have no reason to believe that what they’re doing would ever lead to life — I just call it ‘investigator influenced abiotic organic chemistry’… — Robert Shapiro, Chemistry (NYU), at the roundtable “Life, What A Concept!” (p. 92), August 2007 First to the podium following Joshua Rosenau of the NCSE was David Deamer, a biochemist and leading origin of life researcher from UC-Santa Cruz. After outlining the Darwinian historical context — Read More ›