Ruse, Berlinski, Miller, Lynn, and Others in New Free Think University Course on Intelligent Design
'Is There a Case for Intelligent Design?' features various arguments from leading debaters Ruse, Berlinski, Miller, Lynn, and Johnson
Washington D.C. (PRUnderground) April 14th, 2014
The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection. But does this theory hold water academically, and does it solve the issues it addresses satisfactorily?
This Free Think University course experience guides students through a series of debates beginning in 1997, when eight men came together to explore this issue, four on the side of Intelligent Design and four defending the traditional Darwinian viewpoint.
Philosopher of Science Michael Ruse’s opening statement is featured in the debate. He says, “I accept the fact of evolution…I am myself a Darwinian…I recognize there is significant debate among evolutionists as to how far natural selection goes.”
Divid Berlinski, Senior Fellow at Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, contends that the “Darwinian theory of evolution is the last of the great 19th century mystery religions. And as we speak it is now following Freudian and Marxist theories into the nether regions and I’m quite sure that Freud, Marx, and Darwin are commiserating with one another in the dark dungeon where discarded gods gather. The problem facing us at the end of the 20th century…is to come to an understanding that when it comes to the large global issues that Darwin’s theory is intended to address, we simply do not have a clue.”
In referring to anti-evolutionists, Kenneth Miller, cell biologist and professor at Brown University, says, “They have no explanation for natural history and to me, as an experimental biologist, I am frustrated if I do not see a theoretical framework into which the past can be explained.”
Barry W. Lynn, author of Piety & Politics: The Right-Wing Assault on Religious Freedom, says “The truth is that one can be a theistic believer in evolution as I am and have absolutely no embarrassment about either side of the equation… I certainly find it thrilling that my concept of God permits a God who could choose to start a process called evolution.”
Michael Ruse and Michael Behe, professor of biological sciences at Lehigh University and author of Darwin’s Black Box, discuss intelligent design in high school. Philip Johnson, author of Darwin on Trial and Reason in the Balance, says, “I have said on many occasions and have urged persons of the conservative Christian community to put aside the whole Bible issue and let us ask the questions of what is actually known from science as opposed to materialist philosophy about the things of evolution.”
Eugenie C. Scott, chair of the National Center for Science Education’s Advisory council, claims that intelligent design “is indeed a religiously based alternative to evolution completely outside of science.”
Words from The Incorrigible Dr. Berlinski offers a retort. He challenges us to “…appraise Darwinian theory in a context that realistically portrays it for what it is: a kind of amusing 19th century collection of anecdotes that is utterly unlike anything you see in the serious sciences….”
“Understanding our origins and its connection with purpose and intention, or just chance chaos, is a big question for every thoughtful person to ponder,” notes Free Think University co-founder Jim Van Eerden. “We should be intelligent in our thinking about intelligent design, and that requires hearing both sides of the argument.”
About Free Think University
Free Think University is where more than 30,000 free-thinking students have joined what Mortimer Adler called “The Great Conversation” – the dialogue of the ages about The Big Questions of our day, and where they participate in one of the fastest-growing independent scholarship funds in America. Submit questions for future courses to firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information go to www.freethinku.com or follow @freethinku.