Thursday, December 20, 2007

POLL: Allow Skeptics of Evolution in the Lab and Classroom

A new poll from One News Now shows that American believe skepticism in evolutionary theory is not a reason to remove a scientist from a lab or a teacher from the classroom. Triggered by the article on Nathaniel Abraham, a creationist biologist who was fired from the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, One News Now asked America whether skepticism in evolution should disqualify an individual from scientific research or teaching a biology class. The answer was an overwhelming no. Over 95% of voters said that those who question Darwin should not be banned from scientific research or teaching biology. Less that 4% said they should. See the results for yourself here.

Judging PBS

A new site was launched today responding to the PBS documentary Judgment Day, which was a very biased and somewhat inaccurate depiction of Darwinian evolution and the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial in Pennsylvania in 2005. It site is most definitely worth visiting and can be found at:

www.judgingpbs.com

Saturday, December 08, 2007

Creationist Biologist Fired for Views

Nathaniel Abraham is now a professor at Liberty University in Virginia, where he teaches biology. He was once a research scientist for the prestigious Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution in Massachusetts. Abraham was hired at the WHOI for his expertise on the zebrafish and for his experience in oceanography. He was fired because he wasn't a scientist...according to the "rules" of science today.

Abraham is a Bible-believing, creationist, Christian. While he agreed to conduct his research at the WHOI with evolutionary concepts, he would not personally accept Darwinian evolution as scientific fact. That, as we all know, is the greatest sin one can commit today. Like many other scientists, professors, administrators, students, etc. before him, Abraham was expelled with the rest.

Abraham is now suing for $500,000 of compensation. Whether or not his suit goes through is yet to be seen. Abraham's story was first published by the Boston Globe and can be found here.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

THE DESIGN OF LIFE RELEASED!


The much-anticipated book The Design of Life by Drs. William A. Dembski and Jonathan Wells has been released!! The book should be an excellent read and is worth buying. It can be found here:

www.thedesignoflife.net

Here's what people are saying about it:

"When future intellectual historians list the books that toppled Darwin's theory, The Design of Life will be at the top."
-Dr. Michael J. Behe (author, Darwin's Black Box and The Edge of Evolution)

"I disagree strongly with the position taken by William Dembski. But I do think that he argues strongly and that those of us who do not accept his conclusions should read his book and form our own opinions and counter-arguments. He should not be ignored."
– Michael Ruse (in response to Dembski's No Free Lunch)

"[Jonathan] Wells is one of the leading lights of the emerging movement which is attempting scientifically to study evidence of intelligent design in the physical and biological realms."
– Arthur Jones

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Louisana Governor Supports Intelligent Design

The New York Times reports that the newly elected Governor of Louisana is a supporter of intelligent design. Bobby Jindal (R-La) is the first Indian-American governor in the United States. He brings a very impressive resume to the table, having been a Rhodes Scholar and educated at both Oxford and Brown Universities and only being 36 years of age.

Born in Baton Rouge, Lousiana to Hindu parents, Jindal converted to Roman Catholicism during his years at Brown University. After losing the previous gubernatorial election in 2003 to Kathleen Babineaux Blanco, Jindal ran successfully for Congress from the New Orleans suburbs in 2004. He sought the governor's seat again in 2007 and was successful.

Jindal, as aformentioned, is a proponent of intelligent design and has said that it may be appropriate for school science classes. Critics will, no doubt, neglect Jindal's education at Brown and Oxford and all his other accomplishments in light of this one fact. Perhaps it is time for change, however, and perhaps Jindal is the right person for Louisana at this time.

Kenyan Monkeys Make "Lewd" Signs

A recent article (found here) discusses how monkeys in Kenya are "monkeying" around and making lewd gestures towards women. What's interesting is what the spokesperson for Kenya's Wildlife Service, Gichuki Kabukuru, said concerning this matter:

"That is quite true. I will not be able to give you a scientific explanation but it has been observed in the past," he said. "Even in our camps, when men are out on patrol and the monkeys see women and children, they will become very naughty and make lewd signs at them."

Supposedly, something can be "quite true" while no one can give a scientific explanation for it. Why aren't scientists shouting about this? Shouldn't they be all over these Kenyans for saying this? Why are we allowing these Kenyans to draw such conclusions a mere observations? This is a travesty.

Or...maybe we always rely on observations and inferences and it's something deeper than science that makes scientists protest intelligent design. Just a thought.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

St. Petersburg Times on Thomas Woodward

The St. Petersburg Times ran an article about Dr. Thomas Woodward of Trinity College and author of Doubts About Darwin and Darwin Strikes Back. Dr. Woodward is considered the historian of the intelligent design movement and his work has been most valuable for those in the ongoing debate between intelligent design and evolution and for the public.

The article can be found here.

Friday, October 12, 2007

NOVA to Carry Documentary on Kitzmiller Proceedings

NOVA, the popular science show on PBS, will be featuring a two-hour documentary on the Kitzmiller v. Dover trial held in Pennsylvania in 2005. The film, entitled "Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial," will be featured on November 13, 2007 at 8 PM EST on PBS.

Though the film tries to be objective, given the title of the documentary and this quote from NOVA Senior Executive Producer Paula S. Apsell, I find that highly unlikely. Apsell says:

Judgment Day captures on film a landmark court case with a powerful scientific message at its core. Evolution is one of the most essential and least understood of all scientific theories, the foundation of biological science. We felt it was important for NOVA to do this program to heighten the public understanding of what constitutes science and what does not, and therefore, what is acceptable for inclusion in the science curriculum in our public schools.

For more information, see the article "Is Intelligent Design Science or Religion?"

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

In Memory of Dr. D. James Kennedy


Dr. D. James Kennedy
of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church in Fort Lauderdale, Florida passed away this morning from complications from a heart attack he suffered on December 28, 2006. He was 76 years old.

Dr. Kennedy will forever be remembered as one of the most renowned ministers in America. In addition to serving as the senior pastor of Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, Kennedy also founded Coral Ridge Ministries, Evangelism Explosion International, the Center for Reclaiming America, the Creation Studies Institute, the Center for Christian Statesmanship, Knox Theological Seminary, and Westminster Academy. In addition, Kennedy was a founding member of the Alliance Defense Fund and the Moral Majority.

Each week, nearly 3 million listeners tuned in to hear Dr. Kennedy's preaching either through television, radio or the internet. He had written more than 65 books as well and was the most listened to Presbyterian minister today. In addition, Kennedy dedicated each August to discussing Darwinism on his television program The Coral Ridge Hour.

On a personal note, Dr. Kennedy had been a great source of support and encouragement to me during my high school years when I worked on the "Evolution: Truth or Myth?" lecture with Dr. Michael J. Behe. Dr. Kennedy lent me support and his friendship was cherished. I, as well as many others, are forever indebted to him and his service to America and to the world.

Dr. Dennis James Kennedy: Thank you and may you rest in peace.


For the Associated Press story on this, go here.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

Michael Behe on the Colbert Report

Dr. Michael J. Behe, Professor of Biological Sciences at Lehigh University and author of the best-selling Darwin's Black Box appeared on the Colbert Report on Comedy Central on Thursday, August 2, 2007.

Stephen Colbert hosted Behe in the portion of his show when he interviews the author of a recent book. He was discussing Behe's newest book, The Edge of Evolution.

This was not be the first time someone in the intelligent design and evolution debate has been on Comedy Central. Dr. Kenneth Miller of Brown University was on the Colbert Report in 2005 and Dr. Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, was on the show this past spring. In addition, Dr. William A. Dembski, author of numerous books on the topic, was on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart in 2006 as well.

To watch Behe's appearance on the Colbert Report, go here.

Friday, August 17, 2007

David Bolinsky on the Cell

Medical animator David Bolinsky presents a stunning animation that show the bustling life inside a cell. Built by his company, XVIVO, to teach Harvard medical students, the clip features sweeping cinematic values and even a little drama. It communicates not only the facts of life, but life's truth and beauty.

This clip is avaliable from TED from a talk Bolinksy gave in March 2007. It can be found here.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Behe's Amazon Blog

Dr. Michael J. Behe, author of the best-selling book Darwin's Black Box and the recently released The Edge of Evolution, has an author's blog at Amazon.com. He is responding to critics of his latest book and the blog is worth reading.

Check out his blog here.

Monday, July 02, 2007

IDURC Announces 2007 Casey Luskin Graduate Award

The Intelligent Design Undergraduate Research Center (IDURC) is proud to present the 2007 Casey Luskin Graduate Award, presented annually to a deserving college graduate for excellence in student advocacy of intelligent design.

The recipient of the 2007 Casey Luskin Graduate Award will remain anonymous for the protection of the recipient. The many students, professors, and scientists who have been denied degrees or tenure, and removed from positions and jobs for no other reason than acceptance of—or even sympathy to—intelligent design theory is very telling of the importance of keeping these bright young minds out of the crosshairs of those opposed to open-minded investigation and critical thought.

The recipient of this year’s award is a graduate earning degrees in chemistry and chemical biology and mathematics. This student has demonstrated excellence and courage in research and promotion of intelligent design. The recipient will receive a certificate of achievement, a $100 award, and an autographed copy of Dr. Michael J. Behe’s newest book, The Edge of Evolution: the Search for the Limits of Darwinism.

In addition, the IDURC is proud to name Mr. Casey Luskin, a graduate of the University of California at San Diego, an honorary recipient of the Casey Luskin Graduate Award. Luskin, for whom the award is named, was the first student truly to step out of his comfort zone as an undergrad and take a stand for intelligent design—a stand that would be seen across the nation. His founding of the Intelligent Design Evolution Awareness (IDEA) Center has been a great step forward for the intelligent design movement and, more importantly, for academic freedom everywhere. Today, Luskin continues his work with the ID movement as a lawyer and legal analyst for the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture in Seattle, Washington. Students everywhere today are indebted to the work that Luskin has done.

We are proud to name the IDURC’s graduate award after Mr. Casey Luskin and delighted to name him an honorary recipient. Casey will receive a certificate of achievement and be listed as a recipient of the award which now bears his name.

Each July, the IDURC will present the Casey Luskin Graduate Award to an outstanding student who has just completed his or her undergraduate degree and has demonstrated exemplary dedication to both the rigorous investigation and the widespread promotion of intelligent design. This year’s recipient joins the recipients from past years, since the award was initiated in 2005, in demonstrating such excellence.

Much thanks needs to be given to the board of directors at the IDURC for their work in preparing this year’s award and for their efforts year round. A very heartfelt thank you also goes to Dr. Michael J. Behe of Lehigh University for his support of the work we do at the IDURC and for his autographing and inscribing The Edge of Evolution for this award.

As always, I must thank Mr. Dennis Wagner and Access Research Network for the donation of the $100 prize money and for their continuous and generous financial support of the IDURC.

Most sincerely,

Samuel S. Chen
Director,
Intelligent Design Undergraduate Research Center

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Iowa State President Gregory Geoffroy: Tenure Machine?

In light of the recent debacle at Iowa State University over the denial of tenure to acclaimed astronomer Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez, a number of very interesting facts concerning the one who denied Gonzalez tenure—Iowa State President Gregory Geoffroy—have been revealed.

In a public statement on the issue, Geoffroy stated:

I know extremely well how to assess the qualifications of a candidate seeking tenure. Over the past two decades -- as dean of Penn State's College of Science, provost at the University of Maryland and as president of Iowa State -- I have reviewed and passed judgment on close to 1,000 faculty promotion and tenure cases. And while I have not worked in Dr. Gonzalez's field of astronomy, I have a significant understanding of the field and far greater experience than most university presidents.

One thousand faculty promotion and tenure cases? And only over the past two decades? Let’s look at the math. President Geoffroy has been reviewing tenure cases for two decades, which is 20 years. In these 20 years he has supposedly reviewed 1,000 cases. This means he reviews on average 50 cases a year. At that rate, he reviews one case a week, taking only two weeks off every year for summer vacation, winter vacation, Thanksgiving, spring break, national holidays, personal days, and sick days. This is not to mention the other duties he had at Penn State, the University of Maryland, and now has at Iowa State. Quite impressive, if you ask me. It seems that President Geoffroy is a tenure machine.

Given Geoffroy’s expertise in this area, let’s look at his assessment of Gonzalez’s tenure. Geoffroy writes:

I specifically considered refereed publications, his level of success in attracting research funding and grants, the amount of telescope observing time he had been granted, the number of graduate students he had supervised, and most importantly, the overall evidence of future career promise in the field of astronomy.

As has been mentioned on this blog before, Gonzalez has a very impressive referred publication record. While ISU’s Department of Physics and Astronomy (which Geoffroy calls “one of our strongest academic programs”) requires “the publication of approximately fifteen paper of good quality in refereed journals,” Gonzalez has nearly 70 such papers, exceeding his department’s requirements by over 350%.

And concerning the “most important” factor—the future promise of Gonzalez in the field of astronomy—the facts are overwhelming. Gonzalez is the author of Observational Astronomy, a textbook published by Cambridge University Press and used in Iowa State University astronomy classes. His work had been cited nearly 1,500 times by the year 2005 and, besides the nearly 70 peer-reviewed papers, he has served as a referee for a number of the world’s leading astronomy journals, such as Astronomical Journal, Astronomy and Astrophysics, Astrophysical Journal, Icarus, Monthly Notices of the Royal Astronomical Society, Nature, Naturwissenschaften, Publications of the Astronomical Society of Japan, Publications of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific, Origins of Life and Evolution Biospheres, and Science.

In addition, Gonzalez has produced research which has led to the discovery of two planets and he is currently building technology to discover extrasolar planets. He has also served on the NASA Astrobiology Institute Review Panel (2003) and on the National Science Foundation Advanced Technologies and Instruments review panel (2005).

All of this was accomplished before the age of 45. To ISU, however, only one thing mattered: Gonzalez book The Privileged Planet, in which he advocates that our universe is the product of intelligent design. This was made more than clear by the quotes of a number of faculty in the department where Gonzalez has his appointment. Other faculty at ISU (including one in the Department of Physics and Astronomy and one whose spouse teaches in the department) have signed onto “Project Steve,” an anti-ID list of people named “Steve” produced by the National Center for Selling Evolution Science Education. As if all this wasn’t enough evidence of the antagonism against Gonzalez, John Hauptman, a physics professor at ISU who voted to deny Gonzalez tenure, wrote concerning Gonzalez’s case:

a physics department is not obligated to support notions that do not even begin to meet scientific standards.

This is all very telling considering the fact that ISU grants tenure to 91% of its applicants. And so is Iowa State President Gregory Geoffroy against academic freedom? It doesn’t seem like it. Geoffroy hired as his vice-president and provost at ISU Elizabeth Hoffman, the former president of the University of Colorado. Why did Hoffman leave Colorado? Because her time there was marred with scandal among both students and professors. Most notably, Hoffman defended the academic freedom of Ward Churchill, the professor of ethinc studies at the University of Colorado who referred to many of those who died in the World Trade Centers on 9/11/2001 as “technocrats” and “little Eichmanns.” After Hoffman’s defense of Churchill, Geoffroy found her to be qualified in being the vice-president and provost of ISU.

In sum, the “tenure machine” Geoffroy seems to be nothing more than a tyrannical president and an embarrassment to Iowa State University, the Big XII, and academia everywhere.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins

This just appeared on First Things. It is an excellent assessment of Richard Dawkins and his newest book, The God Delusion, written by Dr. Francis J. Beckwith of Baylor University.

It can be found here and I have also posted the article, in its entirity, below:


The Irrationality of Richard Dawkins

By Francis J. Beckwith
Wednesday, June 20, 2007, 6:47 AM

In his 2006 book, The God Delusion, Richard Dawkins laments the career path of Kurt Wise, who has, since 2006, held the positions of professor of science and theology and director of the Center for Theology and Science at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. Prior to that, Wise had taught for many years at Bryan College, a small evangelical college in Dayton, Tennessee, named after William Jennings Bryan, three-time Democratic presidential candidate and associate counsel in the 1925 Scopes “Monkey Trial.”

According to Dawkins, Wise was at one time a promising young scholar who had earned a degree in geology (from the University of Chicago) and advanced degrees in geology and paleontology from Harvard University, where he studied under the highly acclaimed Stephen Jay Gould. Wise is also a young-earth creationist, which means that he accepts a literal interpretation of the first chapters of Genesis and maintains that the earth is less than ten thousand years old. It is not a position I hold, and for that reason I am sympathetic to Dawkins’ bewilderment at why Wise has embraced what appears to many Christians to be a false choice between one controversial interpretation of Scripture (young-earth creationism) and abandoning Christianity altogether.

At one point in his career, Wise began to understand that his reading of Scripture was inconsistent with the dominant scientific understanding of the age of the earth and the cosmos. Instead of abandoning what I believe is a false choice, he continued to embrace it, but this lead to a crisis of faith. Wise writes: “Either the Scripture was true and evolution was wrong or evolution was true and I must toss out the Bible. . . . It was there that night that I accepted the Word of God and rejected all that would ever counter it, including evolution. With that, in great sorrow, I tossed into the fire all my dreams and hopes in science.” So Wise abandoned the possibility of securing a professorship at a prestigious research university or institute.

Dawkins is disturbed by Wise’s judgment and its repercussions on his obvious promise as a scholar, researcher, and teacher. Writes Dawkins: “I find that terribly sad . . . the Kurt Wise story is just plain pathetic—pathetic and contemptible. The wound, to his career and his life’s happiness, was self-inflicted, so unnecessary, so easy to escape. . . . I am hostile to religion because of what it did to Kurt Wise. And if it did that to a Harvard educated geologist, just think what it can do to others less gifted and less well armed.”

Of course, some Christians may be just as troubled as Dawkins. So one need not be an atheist to raise legitimate questions about Professor’s Wise’s intellectual and spiritual journey. But, given Dawkins’ atheism, there is something odd about his lament, for it seems to require that Dawkins accept something about the nature of human beings and the natural moral law that his atheism seems to reject.

Let me explain what I mean. Dawkins harshly criticizes Wise for embracing a religious belief that results in Wise’s not treating himself and his talents, intelligence, and abilities in a way appropriate for their full flourishing. That is, given the opportunity to hone and nurture certain gifts—for example, intellectual skill—no one, including Wise, should waste them as a result of accepting a false belief. The person who violates, or helps violate, this norm, according to Dawkins, should be condemned, and we should all bemoan this tragic moral neglect on the part of our fellow(s). But the issuing of that judgment on Wise by Dawkins makes sense only in light of Wise’s particular talents and the sort of being Wise is by nature, a being who Dawkins seems to believe possesses certain intrinsic capacities and purposes, the premature disruption of which would be an injustice.

So the human being who wastes his talents is one who does not respect his natural gifts or the basic capacities whose maturation and proper employment make possible the flourishing of many goods. In other words, the notion of “proper function,” as Alvin Plantinga puts it, coupled with the observation that certain perfections grounded in basic capacities have been impermissibly obstructed from maturing, is assumed in the very judgment Dawkins makes about Wise and the way by which Wise should treat himself.

But Dawkins, in fact, does not actually believe that living beings, including human beings, have intrinsic purposes or are designed so that one may conclude that violating one’s proper function amounts to a violation of one’s moral duty to oneself. Dawkins has maintained for decades that the natural world only appears to be designed. He writes in The God Delusion: “Darwin and his successors have shown how living creatures, with their spectacular statistical improbability and appearance of design, have evolved by slow, gradual degrees from simple beginnings. We can now safely say that the illusion of design in living creatures is just that—an illusion.”

But this means that his lament for Wise is misguided, for Dawkins is lamenting what only appears to be Wise’s dereliction of his duty to nurture and employ his gifts in ways that result in his happiness and an acquisition of knowledge that contributes to the common good. Yet because there are no designed natures and no intrinsic purposes, and thus no natural duties that we are obligated to obey, the intuitions that inform Dawkins’ judgment of Wise are as illusory as the design he explicitly rejects. But that is precisely one of the grounds by which Dawkins suggests that theists are irrational and ought to abandon their belief in God.

So if the theist is irrational for believing in God based on what turns out to be pseudo-design, Dawkins is irrational in his judgment of Wise and other creationists whom he targets for reprimand and correction. For Dawkins’ judgment rests on a premise that—although uncompromisingly maintained throughout his career—only appears to be true.

Francis J. Beckwith is an associate professor of Philosophy & Church-State Studies at Baylor University. His most recent book is Defending Life: A Moral and Legal Case Against Abortion Choice. Cambridge University Press, 2007).

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Gonzalez's Tenure Appeal Denied

Iowa State University's President Gregory Geoffroy informed Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez, who was seeking tenure and a promotion in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, on Friday, June 1, 2007 that his appeal for tenure had been denied.

Gonzalez had been denied tenure despite having a very-impressive list of achievements. It didn't matter that Gonzalez had discovered two new planets and is currently building technology to discover extra-solar planets. It didn't matter that Gonzalez had written Observational Astronomy, a college-level textbook published by Cambridge University Press and used in Iowa State University classes. It didn't matter that Iowa State requires about 15 published peer-reviewed articles for their professors to receive tenure and that Gonzalez had published nearly 70 such peer-reviewed articles published. None of the other achievements or qualifications of Gonzalez made any difference to the tenure review committee at ISU.

The only thing that mattered to ISU was that Gonzalez accepted intelligent design theory. This became evident when 120 ISU professors signed a letter criticizing intelligent design as not scientific, when various professor in Gonzalez’s department were linked to a powerful anti-intelligent design organization (the National Center for Science Education), and finally, when Dr. John Hauptman (who is the the same departed as Gonzalez at ISU) published an op-ed in the Des Moines Register claiming that Gonzalez was rightly denied tenure because he didn’t understand what was and wasn’t science.

What Iowa State University did here was eliminate a brilliant scientist because of his view on a very controversial issue. They—a public university funded by taxpayer money—participated in what the U.S. Supreme Court has referred to as “viewpoint discrimination. As a fellow member of the BIG XII Conference (Baylor University), I am thoroughly disappointed with Iowa State.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Released: The Edge of Evolution



Dr. Michael J. Behe, biochemist at Lehigh University and author of the best-selling Darwin's Black Box (Free Press, 1996) has authored a new book. The Edge of Evolution: The Search for the Limits of Darwinism was released today. This book should be an excellent read.

To order your own copy of The Edge of Evolution, go here.
To order your own copy of Darwin's Black Box, go here.
For a review on The Edge of Evolution, go here.

Thursday, May 31, 2007

Senator Brownback on Evolution

In the first Republican presidential debate, Senator Sam Brownback (R-Kansas) was one of three candidates who said that they did not accept Darwinian evolution. He elaborates on his views in an op-ed piece published today in the New York Times. The piece is very well written and can be found here. I am also posting it below:


What I Think About Evolution

By SAM BROWNBACK

Published: May 31, 2007

Washington

IN our sound-bite political culture, it is unrealistic to expect that every complicated issue will be addressed with the nuance or subtlety it deserves. So I suppose I should not have been surprised earlier this month when, during the first Republican presidential debate, the candidates on stage were asked to raise their hands if they did not “believe” in evolution. As one of those who raised his hand, I think it would be helpful to discuss the issue in a bit more detail and with the seriousness it demands.

The premise behind the question seems to be that if one does not unhesitatingly assert belief in evolution, then one must necessarily believe that God created the world and everything in it in six 24-hour days. But limiting this question to a stark choice between evolution and creationism does a disservice to the complexity of the interaction between science, faith and reason.

The heart of the issue is that we cannot drive a wedge between faith and reason. I believe wholeheartedly that there cannot be any contradiction between the two. The scientific method, based on reason, seeks to discover truths about the nature of the created order and how it operates, whereas faith deals with spiritual truths. The truths of science and faith are complementary: they deal with very different questions, but they do not contradict each other because the spiritual order and the material order were created by the same God.

People of faith should be rational, using the gift of reason that God has given us. At the same time, reason itself cannot answer every question. Faith seeks to purify reason so that we might be able to see more clearly, not less. Faith supplements the scientific method by providing an understanding of values, meaning and purpose. More than that, faith — not science — can help us understand the breadth of human suffering or the depth of human love. Faith and science should go together, not be driven apart.

The question of evolution goes to the heart of this issue. If belief in evolution means simply assenting to microevolution, small changes over time within a species, I am happy to say, as I have in the past, that I believe it to be true. If, on the other hand, it means assenting to an exclusively materialistic, deterministic vision of the world that holds no place for a guiding intelligence, then I reject it.

There is no one single theory of evolution, as proponents of punctuated equilibrium and classical Darwinism continue to feud today. Many questions raised by evolutionary theory — like whether man has a unique place in the world or is merely the chance product of random mutations — go beyond empirical science and are better addressed in the realm of philosophy or theology.

The most passionate advocates of evolutionary theory offer a vision of man as a kind of historical accident. That being the case, many believers — myself included — reject arguments for evolution that dismiss the possibility of divine causality.

Ultimately, on the question of the origins of the universe, I am happy to let the facts speak for themselves. There are aspects of evolutionary biology that reveal a great deal about the nature of the world, like the small changes that take place within a species. Yet I believe, as do many biologists and people of faith, that the process of creation — and indeed life today — is sustained by the hand of God in a manner known fully only to him. It does not strike me as anti-science or anti-reason to question the philosophical presuppositions behind theories offered by scientists who, in excluding the possibility of design or purpose, venture far beyond their realm of empirical science.

Biologists will have their debates about man’s origins, but people of faith can also bring a great deal to the table. For this reason, I oppose the exclusion of either faith or reason from the discussion. An attempt by either to seek a monopoly on these questions would be wrong-headed. As science continues to explore the details of man’s origin, faith can do its part as well. The fundamental question for me is how these theories affect our understanding of the human person.

The unique and special place of each and every person in creation is a fundamental truth that must be safeguarded. I am wary of any theory that seeks to undermine man’s essential dignity and unique and intended place in the cosmos. I firmly believe that each human person, regardless of circumstance, was willed into being and made for a purpose.

While no stone should be left unturned in seeking to discover the nature of man’s origins, we can say with conviction that we know with certainty at least part of the outcome. Man was not an accident and reflects an image and likeness unique in the created order. Those aspects of evolutionary theory compatible with this truth are a welcome addition to human knowledge. Aspects of these theories that undermine this truth, however, should be firmly rejected as an atheistic theology posing as science.

Without hesitation, I am happy to raise my hand to that.

Sam Brownback is a Republican senator from Kansas.

Chronicle of Higher Education on Gonzalez Tenure Case

The Chronicle of Higher Education has commented on the tenure case at Iowa State University involving Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez. The article is very well written and appropriated titled "Intelligent Design vs. Tenure." The article can be found here.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Marcus Ross in the Virginia Pilot

Dr. Marcus Ross of Liberty University, both a proponent of intelligent design and a young-Earth creationist, was recently featured in the Virginia Pilot. The article is decent, though it bears a lame title. It can be found here.

Creation Museum Opens

A young-Earth creationist museum opened on Monday, May 28, 2007 in Petersburg, Kentucky. The $27 million Creation Museum depicts dinosaurs eating with children playing nearby--supporting the young-Earth creationist view that dinosaurs and man lived together.

While I don't have a problem with a museum that rejects Darwinian evolution or even a museum that supports young-Earth creation, I do have a problem with the Creation Museum. The museum was founded by Answers in Genesis, a creationist group that is headed by Ken Ham and is both anti-evolution and anti-intelligent design. It was not enough for Mr. Ham to show his view that the earth is barely 6,000 years old and that dinosaurs were created on the 6th day--a literal 24 hour day. Ham decided to go forward and bash all those who support the idea that the earth is indeed old.

The museum depicts a giant wrecking ball labeled "millions of years" smashing into the ground at the foundation of a church. The cracks reach a home in which videos show moral corruptness. A young lad is seen sitting at his computer viewing, we are told, pornography. All this is the result of believing that the Earth is old.

By doing this, Ham has turned his focus from defeating the scientific materialism of evolution to attacking intelligent design. Intelligent design does not hold that the Earth is merely 6,000 years old. Some ID proponents are also young-Earth creationists (for example, Dr. Marcus Ross of Liberty University) but many are not (for example, Dr. Michael Behe of Lehigh University and Dr. William Dembski of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary).

When Ham turns and begins to bash old-Earth creationists and ID proponents, as he has before and as he does in his museum, he has made a grave mistake of forgetting his mission and attacking potential allies, instead.

I would have been interested in visiting the Creation Museum and I think it is good to have museums that are not entrenched in Darwinian evolution. However, after seeing Ham's vicious attack against intelligent design propnents and even creationists who do not accept a young Earth, I am greatly opposed to his museum.

For the New York Times article on the Creation Museum, go here.

Saturday, May 26, 2007

Dawkins in Time 100

Every year Time magazine come out with their 100 most influential people of the year. Thinking it would spice up this year's, they asked Dr. Michael J. Behe, author of Darwin's Black Box and the forthcoming The Edge of Evolution, to write the blurb about Dr. Richard Dawkins, author of the recent The God Delusion, among other books.

Though the piece has been edited, it is still a good piece:

Of Richard Dawkins' nine books, none caused as much controversy or sold as well as last year's The God Delusion. The central idea—popular among readers and deeply unsettling among proponents of intelligent design like myself—is that religion is a so-called virus of the mind, a simple artifact of cultural evolution, no more or less meaningful than eye color or height.

It is a measure of the artful way Dawkins, 66, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford, tells a tale and the rigor he brings to his thinking that even those of us who profoundly disagree with what he has to say can tip our hats to the way he has invigorated the larger debate.

Dawkins had a mild Anglican youth but at 16 discovered Charles Darwin and believed he'd found a pearl of great price. I believe his new book follows much less from his data than from his premises, and yet I admire his determination. Concerning the big questions, the Bible advises us to be hot or cold but not lukewarm. Whatever the merit of his ideas, Richard Dawkins is not lukewarm.


The article and an accompanying drawing (not drawn by Behe) can be found here.

Friday, May 25, 2007

[Off Topic:] R.I.P. President Herbert H. Reynolds


I just received an email from Baylor University President John M. Lilley informing the Baylor family of the passing of our President Emeritus, Herbert H. Reynolds.

Dr. Reynolds served as an AFROTC instructor before becoming president of Baylor for 14 years (1981-1995). He then served as chancellor until the year 2000. He and his wife poured their lives into the university and brough about many positive changes--including academic and student life initiatives and the George W. Truett Theological Seminary. Reynolds was succeeded by President Robert B. Sloan, Jr.

Though I disagre with many of Reynolds' policies and ideas, he was a president of Baylor University and I pay my respects to him. I thank him for his service to Baylor, both as an instructor and as president, and for his love for the school and the Baylor community. I also send my condolences and well wishes to his family--who also poured much into Baylor.

Thank you Dr. Reynolds for all you have done for Baylor University.

More on the Iowa State Tenure Situation

Dr. William A. Dembski made a very insightful post at his blog Uncommon Descent concerning the recent denial of tenure to Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez by Iowa State University. In his post, Dembski points out that Dr. Hector Avalos, a tenured religion professor at ISU, conducted a witch hunt of Gonzalez in 2005 (see here) but it seems that, if anyone, Avalos is the one who doesn't deserve tenure and is the real witch.

Read Dembski's full post here. It is intriguing and worth reading.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Stanley Miller Dies at Age 77

Dr. Stanley Miller, the famed partner in the Miller-Urey experiment of 1953, died on Sunday, May 20, 2007 at a hospital near his National City, California home. Miller was 77 years old.

As a graduate student, Miller partnered with his doctoral advisor, Dr. Harold Urey, and was responsible for the famed Miller-Urey experiment of 1953. The experiment supposedly simulated the early earth's atmosphere and produced organic compounds by sending electricity through the atmosphere. Many, many problems, however, existed concerning the experiment and it has been discredited greatly in recent years.

Miller spent the majority of this scientific career at the University of California at San Diego (which is also where the Intelligent Design Evolution Awareness Center was first founded).

For the New York Times article on Miller, see here.

Acclaimed Astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez Denied Tenure

Iowa State University (www.iastate.edu) announced a few weeks ago that they have denied tenure to Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez, an assistant professor of astronomy at ISU. Gonzalez, who has been at ISU since 2001, was applying for tenure and a promotion to associate professor.

Similar to when Dr. Francis J. Beckwith was denied tenure at Baylor University, it seems that Gonzalez was more than qualified. For example, ISU's faculty handbook states that tenure is a tough process and hard to obtain. The faculty member applying for tenure must be highly qualified--for example, he or she should have published about 15 articles in peer-reviewed journals. Gonzalez, however, has nearly 70 such peer-reviewed articles--over 350% the requirements of ISU. Not only is Gonzalez well published in refereed journals, he serves as the referee for many of these journals.

In addition, Gonzalez is the author of Observational Astronomy, a college-level textbook published by Cambridge University Press and used in classes at Iowa State. Gonzalez's research has also led to the discovery of two new planets and he is currently building techonology to discover extrasolar planets. He has also served on advisory boards for both NASA and the National Science Foundation (NSF).

So why did Iowa State deny Dr. Gonzalez tenure? Because he accepts intelligent design theory. As World Magazine reported, professors at ISU admitted that Gonzalez's acceptance of intelligent design was a factor in his denial of tenure. This comes though Gonzalez does not teach ID in his classes. The reason for this is his book on ID called The Privileged Planet. This, in political science, is called "viewpoint discrimination" and because Iowa State University is a public school--they can be found guilty according to the U.S. Supreme Court.

This is greatly upseting, that though Gonzalez had exceeded ISU's own standards for tenure and is considered a leader in astronomical research, he has been denied tenure because of his view on a very controversial issue. As a student, I would think that academia--especially at a public university--would be more open and free than this.

If you would like to write to ISU president Dr. Gregory Geoffroy and express your disappointment with his decision, please write to geoffroy@iastate.edu.

For the World Magazine articlce on Gonzalez, see here.
For the Nature article on Gonzalez, see here.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

[Off Topic:] Baylor University Pays Tribute to Virginia Tech



As we continue to remember the those affected by the Virginia Tech tragedy, Baylor University has paid tribute to the victims, the friends and family, and the entire Virginia Tech community.

Flags flew half-staff until this past Monday and a moment of silence was held on the day set aside for rememberance. At the end of this moment, the hymn "Amazing Grace" was played from the carillon followed by 32 chimes. A moment of silence was given during the Brothers Under Christ (BYX) Island Party with Switchfoot--and the end of which "Amazing Grace" and the 32 chimes were again played. A Baylor University flag has also been signed by students and faculty and sent to Virginia Tech.

Finally, and most beautifully, the Baylor University's Pat Neff Hall was illuminated in the colors of Virginia Tech University. (See picture above). Pat Neff Hall, which is topped off with a 23-kart gold dome, is illuminated each night. On nights that Baylor wins in athletics the tower is illuminated with a green light.

Baylor University is more than an institute of higher learning--we are a community and a family. On this occasion--the Baylor family reaches out to the Virginia Tech family. Each Baylor Bear is bleeding maroon and orange. We are all Hokies.

Medical Professor Takes Heat for Questionning Darwin

John Marshall, a professor of internal medicine at the University of Missouri-Columbia made a case for the scientific acceptance of intelligent design and argued that scientists were trying to kick intelligent design "off the playing field of science."

Many colleagues of Marshall are upset and have been criticizing him for his comments but some are supportive. As chemist and colleague Tim Spurgeon said, "I think that if we simply say that we're going to only look at what's in the box of only what can be natural, and yet there's this big white elephant in the room that no one's willing to touch … I think we're fooling ourselves."

For the entire article, click here.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Institute for the Study of Nature: Summer Institute and Conference

Mark Ryland, the president of the Institute for the Study of Nature, recently sent an email concerning ISNature's Summer Institute and Summer Conference. This is something worth considering for those interested in the question of nature and what it is. Here is his letter:

Dear friends and colleagues:
I wanted to let you know that the Institute for the Study of Nature ( www.isnature.org) is holding a Summer Institute the week of June 11th, as well as a small conference at the end of that week (Friday and Saturday, June 15-16). The Summer Institute is designed for about 25 graduate (or advanced undergraduate) science students (or students in related fields, or young scientists) who would like to learn more about non-reductionist approaches to modern science, and in particular to neo-Aristotelian natural philosophy and its relation to modern science. You can find all the details on our website here:
I'm writing you because you may (a) know students who would be interested, and could pass along this announcement, and/or (b) may be such a person yourself, and/or (c) may be a scholar interested in giving a paper at the weekend Conference, and/or (d) may be a scholar other intererested party who would like to attend the weekend Conference (all are welcome).
Please look this over and either write back to me and Henry Teichert, Program Director of the ISN (on the cc line), or pass it along, as appropriate.
Thank you very much!
-- Mark
Mark Ryland
President
Institute for the Study of Nature

[Off Topic:] Today we are all Hokies

VIRGINIA POLYTECHNIC INSTITUTE AND STATE UNIVERSITY

MONDAY, APRIL 16, 2007

TODAY, WE ARE ALL HOKIES



“We are Virginia Tech.

We are sad today and we will be sad for quite awhile. WE are not moving on, we are embracing our mourning.

We are Virginia Tech.

We are strong enough to know when to cry and sad enough to know we must laugh again.

We are Virginia Tech.

We do not understand this tragedy. We know we did not deserve it but neither does a child in Africa dying of AIDS, but neither do the invisible children walking the night to avoid being captured by a rogue army. Neither does the baby elephant watching his community be devastated for ivory; neither does the Appalachian infant killed in the middle of the night in his crib in the home his father built with his own hands being run over by a boulder because the land was destabilized. No one deserves a tragedy.

We are Virginia Tech.

The Hokier Nation embraces our own with open heart and hands to those who offer their hearts and minds. We are strong and brave and innocent and unafraid. We are better than we think, not quite what we want to be. We are alive to the imagination and the possibility we will continue to invent the future through our blood and tears, through all this sadness.

We are the Hokies.

We will prevail, we will prevail.

We are Virginia Tech."

--Nikki Giovanni


http://www.vt.edu/

Monday, April 09, 2007

[Off Topic:] R.I.P. Johnny "B.C." Hart


Johnny Hart, the creator and author of the popular comic strip "B.C.," died on Saturday from a stroke. He was apparently at his drawing board doing what he loved to do the most when he died.

I find it ironic that it is right around this season of Easter that Hart died, as he was an unapologetic Christian and often wove his faith into his work. Appropriately, the above B.C. comic strip is a tribute to Johnny Hart.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

"The Way I See It" Seattle Becoming ID City?

First it was Discovery Institute, then it was Bill Gates and Microsoft, and now it's Starbucks. Has Seattle become the intelligent design capital of the world? I don't think so, but for now, here's "the way I see it:"

Starbucks Coffee recently released their newest cup in their line of "The Way I see It" cups. They are coffee cups with quotes from various people on various topics. The newest cup reads:

The Way I See It #224

Darwinism's impact on traidtional social values has not been as benign as its advocates would like us to believe. Despite the efforts of its modern defenders to distance themselves from its baleful social consequences, Darwinism's connection with eugenics, abortion and racisim is a matter of historical record. And the record is not pretty.

Dr. Jonathan Wells
Biologist and author of The Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and Intelligent Design

When it was discovered that Bill Gates supported Discover Institute there were cries from the evolutionary camps to boycott Microsoft (even though Gates' support mainly came to the Arcadia Project, not the Center for Science and Culture). Are the same evolutionary camps now going to call for the boycott of Starbucks? Be my guest...that means more coffee for me.

On another note, congratulations to my friend Jon Wells and a thank you to him for his constant insight.

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Marcus Ross on the Frank Pastore Show

Dr. Marcus Ross will be on the Frank Pastore Show tonight on KKLA at 6:00 PM Pacific Time (9 PM Eastern, 8 PM Central, 7 PM Mountain). He will be discussing what happens to a culture when only one view of origins science is permitted in schools.

The program will be on 99.5 FM in the Los Angeles, California area and can be audio-streamed at www.kkla.com.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

The Missing Link Desig--FOUND.


Just change "Engineering" to "Natural Mutations That Come About for No Purpose" and we have evolution proven!!

Saturday, February 24, 2007

ID and the Arts

The organization for which I work, the Access Research Network, has released a new website called "ID Arts." Here is an exert from the website:

Our worldview impacts all areas of life including the arts. The arts also reflect philosophical and cultural trends in human societies. If philosophical and scientific concepts of intelligent design (ID) are valid, we believe they will both inspire, and be reflected in, our art, music, literature and film. Much of the focus of the ID movement to date has been on left-brain activities (logical, sequential, rational, analytical, objective, focused on parts). We believe there is also a right-brain approach to the issues (more intuitive, focused on the creative process, standing back looking at the whole and not just the parts) that may speak to an even wider audience through the arts. Some people, who might never crack a science book, will grasp ID concepts through image, lyric, or prose.

Francis Schaeffer summarizes the connection between our thought life and creativity as follows:

“There is a flow to history and culture. This flow is rooted and has its wellspring in the thoughts of people. People are unique in the inner life of the mind—what they are in their thought world determines how they act. This is true of their value systems and it is true of their creativity ….The results of their thought world flow through their fingers or from their tongues into the external world. This is true of Michelangelo’s chisel, and it is true of a dictator’s sword.”

How Should We Then Live? Francis Schaeffer

We’ve been talking with artists, musicians, authors, poets, and filmmakers about these ideas and we’ve discovered several who are already producing creative works that fit into the ID Arts category. This website features the work of some of these artists and we hope will inspire others. Our desire is that the ID Arts initiative will open up a whole new dialogue in our culture about whether we live in a world of chance or a world of design.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

The Father of the ID Movement on the Current Situation

Dr. Phillip Johnson, often considered the father of the ID movement and also the author of numerous books on the intelligent design and evolution controversy, including the famed Darwin on Trial, recently wrote a piece for the Think (The Royal Institute of Philosophy) on the current state of intelligent design. This article is definitely worth reading and is entitled "Intelligent Design in Biology: The Current Situation and Future Prospects."

Saturday, February 17, 2007

So Help Us Darwin

William F. Buckley had a good article today in the National Review Online and it can be found here. In his article, Buckley gives an accurate description of the evolutionary position:

It is, essentially, that not only is naturalism established as verified science, but any interposition into the picture—of inquisitiveness, let alone conviction that there might have been design in the evolution of our world—is excluded.
The article with worth reading its entirety.

Just Say No!

The proponents of Darwinian evolution have consistently informed us that those who question Darwin's claims are not scientists. Some of them used to be scientists (example: Michael Behe and Jonthan Wells) because they accepted Darwinian evolution and some of them even authored popular textbooks in support of evolutionary theory (Dean Kenyon). But now, none of them are scientists anymore. They lost all their credentials when they questioned Darwin's claims because, as we all know, Charles Darwin is the father of science and nothing in science could ever make sense without his solid theory. If you reject Darwin, well, you might as well be a monkey.

In 2006, another great scientist fell from the ranks. Dr. Richard Sternberg of the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C. was considered to be a great scientist. In 2004, however, he decided to publish a paper entitled "The Origin of Biological Information and the Higher Taxonomic Categories." The problem here was that the author of the paper was Dr. Stephen C. Meyer. Nevermind that Meyer has a Ph.D. in the philosophy of science from Cambridge University and also holds degrees in geology. What matters is that Meyer is the Director of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute in Seattle, Washington. This means that nothing Meyer ever says, writes, or does will be true because he is one of those who question Darwin.

As for Sternberg? He lost his job at the Smithsonian Institute in what turned out to be a multi-party scandal. He should have seen this coming, however, because everyone knows that publishing a paper for the dark side is an unforgivable offense.

The United States Congress didn't think so, however. Late in December 2006, the U.S. House Committee on Government Reform issued a report entitled "Intolerance and the Politicization of Science at the Smithsonian" condemning what happened to Sternberg. But of course, that was passed under a Republican-controlled Congress and therefore only reinforces the idea that intelligent design is supported by the same nut-jobs who put us in Iraq.

Moral of the story? Just say no to intelligent design. If anyone approaches you and asks you what you think about evolution, tell them you have to walk your goldfish and get out of that situation. The evil forces are out there and they want you to be able to think. But what they don't tell you is that when you think on your own--you won't be spoonfed that delightful Darwinian dogma anymore (which is now in multiple flavors!).


For the entire story on what has become known as the "Sternberg Affair," please go here.

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Kansas Science Standards Reserved

The revolving door in Kansas has turned again. After ousting members of the state school board who supported teaching critical analysis of Darwin's theory of evolution (in the 2006 elections), the new board reversed the science standards earlier today. For the complete article, go here.

Monday, February 12, 2007

"He Does Good Science, Great Science."

"He does good science, great science."

Given the claims of evolutionists today that those who doubt Darwin's claims cannot produce science--let alone "good science, great science," it is safe to assume that the above quote describes an evolutionist--perhaps one on the edge of a major breakthrough in evolutionary thought.

That quote, however, is from Dr. Jon C. Boothroyd, a professor of geological sciences at the University of Rhode Island. The quote is describing the research of Dr. Marcus Ross, a professor at Liberty University who just received his Ph.D. geosciences at Rhode Island. Ross, for those who don't know, is a well-known intelligent design proponent and also a young earth creationist. The full article in today's New York Times can be found here.

I'm happy to hear of Ross's success--both because he is a friend and a great scholar. Others, however, aren't too thrilled (because higher education in the hands of non-Darwinists is just too dangerous). Dr. Eugenie Scott of the National Center for Selling Evolution Science Education (NCSE) claims that people like Ross will "miseducate the public." Dr. Michael Dini of Texas Tech University refuses to write letters of recommendation for graduate programs for any student who doesn't subscribe to Darwinian evolution. These people would like nothing more than for people like Ross to fail miserably.

But such is not the case and a very warm and heartfelt congratulations is in order for Dr. Marcus Ross.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

The Dawkins Delusion

Richard Dawkins says that God doesn't exist, but does Richard Dawkins exist?

Dr. Terry Tommyrot on The Dawkins Delusion.
David Anderson on Does Richard Dawkins Exist? A Parable.

(Many readers of my blog have a seemingly difficult time deciphering between when I'm serious and when I'm in a satirical mood. This is a satire, but it does raise a good point.)

Monday, January 22, 2007

"Flat Earth" Myth

I recently discovered that some Baylor biology professors were having their students read papers and articles where evolutionists put forth the analogy between the flat earth theory and intelligent design. The idea is that flat earth theory is not scientific--even though Christians once believed it for theological reasons, just like intelligent design is not scientific--even though Christians believe it for theological reasons. (Wait...I thought evolutionists didn't like analogies!)

Bill Dembski blogged about this at Uncommon Descent a while back and I posted on this at Overwhelming Evidence previously as well. But because this issue keeps coming back, I will post on it again. Here is the truth about the "Flat Earth" story:

THE FLAT EARTH MYTH

“The earth isn’t flat - end of story.” So says Case Western Reserve University physicist Lawrence Krauss, according to the Cleveland Plain Dealer. “We don’t have to have classes or be sensitive to the issues of those who believe that, because they’re wrong.”

Defenders of Darwinian evolution sometimes compare their critics to believers in a flat earth. According to the standard story, Christians used to believe for theological reasons that the earth is flat. When modern science demonstrated that the earth is actually a sphere, most Christians acknowledged their mistake, but a few continue to persist in their outmoded belief. Since modern science has likewise demonstrated the truth of Darwinian evolution (so the story goes), its critics are like people who still believe in a flat earth.

But the story is false. It began as fiction, and it was elevated to a historical claim by late-19th century Darwinists who used it as a weapon to ridicule Christians.

The spherical shape of the earth was known to the ancient Greeks, who even made some decent estimates of its circumference. Christian theologians likewise knew that the earth was a sphere. The only two who are known to have advocated a flat earth were a 4th-century heretic, Lactantius, and an obscure 6th-century writer, Cosmas Indicopleustes. [These were really second stringers. The leading theological lights of that period were Origen, Athanasius, the Cappadocian Fathers, and Augustine — none of these thought the earth was flat.]

A major promulgator of the flat earth myth was the 19th-century American writer Washington Irving. In his fictional History of the Life and Voyages of Christopher Columbus (1828), Irving wrote that flat-earth churchmen had opposed Columbus on the grounds that he would fall off the edge of the earth if he tried to sail across the Atlantic. In actuality, Columbus had been opposed by people who not only knew the earth was a sphere, but also had a pretty good idea of how big it was - but who knew nothing of the Americas and thus thought a voyage to the Far East would take too long and cost too much.

The flat earth remained clearly in the realm of fiction until after Darwin published his Origin of Species in 1859. Two of Darwin’s followers then elevated it to a historical claim in books defending Darwinism and attacking Christianity: John Draper’s The History of the Conflict Between Religion and Science (1874), and Andrew Dickson White’s A History of the Warfare of Science with Theology in Christendom (1896).

So defenders of Darwinism who ridicule their critics for being like believers in a flat earth are being misled by a myth that Darwinists themselves helped to create.

************

For an objective and very readable account of the flat earth myth, see Jeffrey Burton Russell (Professor of History, University of California at Santa Barbara), Inventing the Flat Earth (New York: Praeger, 1991).

Saturday, January 20, 2007

[Off Topic] My Apology

Dear friends,

In 2004, as predictions for the 2008 presidential election were being made and the name "Hillary Rodham Clinton" was being thrown around, I predicted that she would not run for president. As 2005 and then 2006 rolled by, I made the same prediction for the up and rising star of the Democrat Party: Senator Barack Obama.

For Senator Obama, the landscape of America was not enough to support him into the White House. By 2008, he would have been a senator for a mere 4 years (less than Senator John Edwards served when he ran in 2004). In addition, I didn't feel that the South was ready to elect a minority president. This was not to say that America wouldn't or shouldn't elect a minority as president (I, myself, am a minority), but rather, the South wasn't ready to do so (something that could be counted as a fault).

For Senator Clinton, the landscape in America was also not fitting for her presidential bid. Many voters still recall (not fondly) the days when it appeared as if she ran her husband's presidency. In addition, the South also didn't seem ready to elect a woman president. For that matter, women didn't seem ready to elect a woman president.

Running for president does not mean one will win and my analysis of the landscape of America may still hold true. However, I felt that Senators Obama and Clinton (and I still feel this way) were brilliant and understood the nation's voters well. I felt that for their own political good, they would choose not to run for office.

Given, the 2006 mid-term elections were good for the Democrats (winning both houses of Congress) and can often give a "high" to the party that wins. I didn't think, however, that those elections would change their mind about running for president. From the beginning, I promised to be the first to apologize and admit my error if Clinton and Obama decided to run for president.

Today, I am apologizing for my error in calling the candidates of this next presidential election. A few days ago, Senator Obama opened his exploratory committee and today, Senator Clinton declared her candidacy for president. This, no doubt, came as a surprise to me, but true to my word, I am issuing my admittance of error.

I have made many solid predictions of this sort in the past and I hope I will continue to do so. This simply wasn't one of them.

Thank you and God bless you all.

Sincerely,
Samuel Chen

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

"Incompetent Design"- All Hail the Church of Darwin!

Last April, while attending an intelligent design conference, a friend gave me a copy of this song, "Incompetent Design," which is sung to the "Battle Hymn of the Republic." Geologist Donald Wise (not to be confused with Kurt Wise) led some 300 professionals at the 2005 meeting of the Geological Society of America (GSA) in singing the song during his presentation.

A rendition of the song "Incompetent Design" (though not being sung at the GSA) can be found here.
An interview with Donald Wise about the song and the 2005 GSA conference can be found here.
The abstract Wise presented at the 2005 GSA conference can be found below:

INTELLIGENT (INCOMPETENT ?) DESIGN VERSUS EVOLUTION: NEW TACTICS FOR SCIENCE

WISE, Donald U., Geosciences, Univ of Massachusetts, Amherst, MA 01003, dwise@geo.umass.edu

Recognition is long overdue by the scientific community that creationism/ intelligent design is a well-organized, very effective political movement attempting to strike at the very heart of Science itself. Traditional methods of polite debate need to be replaced with rough and tumble political rules. (1) Don't waste time defending your position. (2) Focus on a few weak points of the opposition. (3) KISS (Keep it simple, stupid). (4) Stick to irrefutable facts with obvious relation to evolution and close relationship to individual voters. (Yes, voters are our real audience.) (5) Relentlessly repeat a few critical soundbites.

The courts have defined Creationism as religion so Science's past battles were commonly seen as attacks on sacred cows. Now ID has freed Science from these constraints by arguing very narrowly that intelligence exists in nature's designs but makes no mention of theological implications. Thus, Science need only show lack of intelligence in nature's designs, the human frame being a prime example.

One's frame is certainly close enough to the individual voter and contains obvious design defects easily explained by evolution but embarrassing for IDers. (1) Our pelvis slopes forward for knuckle dragging like all the great apes. Only by an extremely sharp bend of our spine can we stand erect: an evolutionary artifact or a design weakness obvious to any first-year engineering student? (2) Our mouths have too many teeth: either the result of an evolutionarily flattened mammalian muzzle or a design plan that couldn't count accurately above twenty? (3) Our facial bones are squashed by an expanded brain case to produce a sinus drainage system that would embarrass the local plumber: evolution or just plain stupid design?

Branding ID as Incompetent Design involves both humor and grit but avoids direct insult to the opposition, a mistake to be avoided in any political campaign. All the tools of political campaigns should be used: slogans, songs, bumper stickers ("Human skeletal errors: Incompetent Design or Evolution ?"), IDers will attempt to take us off-message with debates on origins of life, thermodynamics, etc., but instead we must continue to pound simple themes of obvious design failures. Science can win this battle only if we recognize this is not a Sunday school debating match but a deadly serious political contest.

From: Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs, Vol. 37, No. 7, p. 195


It is ironic, given the song and the tune to which it is sung, that both Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were born on February 12th. And it is more ironic that a newspaper column some time ago argued that Darwin should be celebrated more than Lincoln because Lincoln only freed a few slaves but Darwin has freed our minds. I'm not sure that even my southern friends would agree with that.

Monday, January 15, 2007

[Off Topic] Forget the ID Game...These are Funnier


This may just beat out the ID game mentioned in my last post (on the level of hilariousness). A good friend introduced me to the game "Mega Church" (on the left) where, as she said, I could beome the next Joel Osteen. In a bookstore the other day, I came across Mr. Osteen's response--his own game, based upon his best-selling book, Your Best Life Now. All this is just too amusing.

For "Mega Church," go here and for "Your Best Life Now" go here.

ID--the Board Game


Somebody get me this for my birthday or Christmas, this is just too funny. Go here for more information. (And yes, I was joking about the birthday/Christmas part).

Saturday, January 13, 2007

Plantinga Reviews Dawkins

The great Notre Dame philosopher Alvin Plantinga has recently released his review of Richard Dawkin's newest book, The God Delusion. Here is an exert from Plantinga's review:

Now despite the fact that this book is mainly philosophy, Dawkins is not a philosopher (he’s a biologist). Even taking this into account, however, much of the philosophy he purveys is at best jejune. You might say that some of his forays into philosophy are at best sophomoric, but that would be unfair to sophomores; the fact is (grade inflation aside) many of his arguments would receive a failing grade in a sophomore philosophy class. This, combined with the arrogant, smarter-than-thou (‘thou’ being believers in God) tone of the book can be annoying. I shall put irritation aside, however and do my best to take Dawkins’ main argument seriously.

Dawkins' book makes you wonder about all the times we've heard that science should be completely set apart from other disciplines. If we really took this advice and drew such lines dividing the disciplines, then why is Dawkins (a scientist) writing a philosophy book? That aside, the book made many poor arguments and, despite its best-selling status, is only worth reading to understand Dawkins' thought process.

As for Alvin Plantinga, he is highly regarded as one of the top philosophers history has even seen. His areas of focus are epistemology and philosophy of religion and it has been said of him that he is the greatest philosopher of religion since Gottfried Leibniz and possibly even since Thomas Aquinas.

Friday, January 12, 2007

Why Does Richard Dawkins Care About Souls?

A short while ago, the self-declared "Rational Response Squad" began a new campaign called the "Blasphemy Challenge." The Bible states that the only unforgivable sin is blasphemy of the Holy Spirit (Mark 3:29) and while what this really means is debated among Christian circles today, the "Rational Response Squad" has the answer for us (of course they do, they are rational, after all!). The Blasphemy Challenge is asking people to videotape themselves denying the existence of the Holy Spirit and upload the tapes to YouTube. Participants receive a free copy of the video The God Who Wasn't There.

While this is disturbing in its own right, it becomes more interesting with an apparent endorsement from prominent evolutionist Dr. Richard Dawkins. Dawkins, who posted news about the challenge on his website, is the author of many books, including his latest, The God Delusion. He is an outspoken atheist and evolutionist and join others such as Daniel Dennett and E.O. Wilson is arguing evolution as evidence against the existence of God.

This raises a few questions. First, if Dawkins, Dennett, and Wilson are correct, then what does that say about Eugenie Scott, Robert Pennock, Kenneth Miller, and all those evolutionists who have been arguing the co-existence of religion (especially Christianity) and evolution and also that evolution has no investment in religion? Second, as an academic, what is Dawkins' investment in the souls of humans and why is he so active in promoting their condemnation?

The Blasphemy Challenge's support from Richard Dawkins now seemingly establishes the tie (potentially strong tie) between evolution and religion.

Saturday, January 06, 2007

Cobb County Case Dropped

The case that was developing in Cobb County, Georgia over a sticker placed in biology textbooks (reminding students that evolution was not a fact and asking students to keep an open mind and critically analyze all information) has now ended.

The sticker in question was originally ruled unconstitutional by a district court, but that ruling was later thrown out by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals and the case was sent back to the lower court. (See my previous post here). However, the Cobb County School Board recently decided to drop the case. They did maintain, however, that the disclaimers were constitutional.