Thursday, June 18, 2009

Advances in Explaining Life's Origins?

The New York Times ran an piece on Tuesday (June 16th) about new advances in explaining the origin of life. They discuss four such advances that scientists are just now beginning to discover, from the how cell-like structures may have naturally formed from fatty acids to the handedness of molecules. The article can be found here.

Dr. Stephen Meyer, Director of the Center for Science and Culture at the Discovery Institute and the author of the forthcoming book Signature in the Cell, responded to the article by addressing the problem of the origin of biological information. Meyer's response can be found here.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Comprehensive Law Review on Darwinism and the Constitution

Casey Luskin, an attorney with a science background, has written a comprehensive law review on the issue of Darwinism and the U.S. Constitution. He addresses the full gamut of court cases on the issue of evolution and law. Luskin's abstract is as follows:

The teaching of biological origins in public schools remains a contentious scientific, cultural, and legal debate. With the increase of public interest in this topic, it is essential for attorneys, legal scholars, and educational authorities to have an awareness of the full breadth of case law on this issue. Yet at present, a comprehensive collation and summary of the relevant cases is absent from the literature. Moreover, few have bothered to engage in a careful review of the case law to determine if evolution actually is beyond scrutiny in public schools. This article attempts to exhaustively survey the case law relevant to the teaching of biological origins, dividing the cases into three major categories: (1) Cases upholding the right to teach about evolution; (2) Cases rejecting the teaching of alternatives to evolution; and (3) Cases rejecting disclaimers regarding the teaching of evolution. The range of constitutionally permissible policies for teaching evolution can also be understood by studying policies that have not engendered lawsuits. Twenty-one cases will be reviewed, as well as various policies that have not faced legal challenges, revealing that while courts have firmly upheld the rights of educators to teach evolution and have rejected attempts to teach creationism, none of these cases stands for the proposition that a curriculum that teaches scientific critiques of evolution would necessarily place a school board in constitutional jeopardy. Indeed, case law and the public policy history of this issue suggest precisely the opposite: curricular policies in public schools need not unilaterally support evolution. Rather, as the U.S. Supreme Court has stated, “scientific critiques of prevailing scientific theories [may] be taught” provided that such curricula are enacted with the “clear secular intent of enhancing the effectiveness of science instruction.” Educators that choose to improve science education by teaching both the scientific evidence supporting modern Darwinian theory, as well as the scientific evidence that challenges this view, can rest assured that they are on firm legal ground and that Darwin himself may even be smiling approvingly from whichever realm of the afterlife he resides today.

The review was published by Hamline University Law Review and is avaliable to the public here.

Monday, June 15, 2009

Stephen Meyer's New Book to be Released June 23rd

Dr. Stephen Meyer's new book, Signature in the Cell, is set for release on June 23, 2009. The book discusses a fundamental component of the universe that is known in specific scientific fields but not often discussed in the public: information. Meyer, a philosopher and historian of science from Cambridge University, brings together the relevant data "into a powerful demonstration of the intelligence that stands outside nature and directs the path life has taken."

Here are what some others are saying about Meyer's book:

"A decisive case based upon breathtaking and cutting-edge science."
-Dr. Philip S. Skell
National Academy of Sciences
Evan Pugh Professor at Penn State University, emeritus

"Whether you believe intelligent design is true or false, Signature in the Cell is a must-read book."
-Dr. Scott Turner
Associate Professor, State University of New York of Environmental Science and Forestry

"He deals fairly and thoroughly with even the most controversial aspects and has made a compelling case for his conclusion. The book is a delightful read which will bring enlightenment and enjoyment to every open minded reader."
-Dr. John C. Walton
Professor of Reactive Chemistry, University of St. Andrews

"This timely and important book is a landmark in the intelligent design debate and one which draws together all relevant research and information. It is elegantly written in a style that is accessible and laced with interesting historical and personal anecdotes. ‘Signature in the Cell’ will pay rich dividends to everyone who turns its pages."
-Dr. Norman C. Nevin
Emeritus Professor of Medical Genetics, Queens University (Belfast)

For more on Meyer's groundbreaking book, please visit
To pre-order Meyer's book, go here.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Faith and Science

Francis Collins, the former head of the Human Genome Project, has launched a new website to discuss the matters of faith and science. The site is called "BioLogos" and comes from "biological" and "logos," the Greek term for "word," which is often used to describe the Word of God. According to their website, the BioLogos Foundation "believes that faith and science both lead to truth about God and creation."

The Center for Science and Culture also launched a site discussing faith and science. The site is called "Faith and Evolution" and their purpose, as explained on the website, is as follows:

"According to noted biologist Richard Dawkins, Darwinian evolution makes it possible to become an intellectually fulfilled atheist. According to Francis Collins, former head of the Human Genome Project, evolution is perfectly compatible with his Christian faith. Who is right? And why does it matter? This website is designed to help you find out. Here you will find articles, debates, video and audio, discussion questions, and other free resources as you explore the issues surrounding faith and evolution."

BioLogos's website is:
Faith and Evolution's website is:

Francis Collins tapped to lead NIH

Geneticists Francis Collins, the former head of the Human Genome Project, has apparently been tapped to lead the National Institutes of Health and is in the final stages of screening. Collins stepped down as the head of the National Human Genome Research Institute, which is a member of the NIH, in May of 2008.

For the Scientific American article on Collins' selection, see here.