Jed Macosko and I for the last two years have been working on a Festschrift volume for Phillip Johnson (he is 65 this June). The volume, titled A Man for This Season, is now in production with InterVarsity and should be published early 2006. For the introductory material to this volume, including our preface and Sen. Rick Santorum’s foreword, go here. For initial critical response, go here.
The Kansas State Board of Education will hear from scientists and scholars next week about how best to present evolution in the classroom. If you are not testifying to the board, there is still a significant role for you to play in the wider debate. Namely, write supportive letters to the editor to appear during the hearings next week, and the week following, in regional and national newspapers.
From a colleague:
A 3-member Committee of The Kansas State School Board will conduct hearings in Topeka next week, and possibly the week after, to evaluate proposed changes to the state science standards. Thursday through Saturday next week, May 5-7, the Committee will hear testimony from scientists, philosophers and educators who think the standards should incorporate language about the problems with Darwinian evolution — a group knownofficially as “the Minority.” Witnesses will include William Harris, Jonathan Wells, Charles Thaxton, Giuseppe Sermonti, Ralph Seelke, Russell Carlson, Bruce Simat, Bryan Leonard, Daniel Ely, Edward Peltzer, Jill Gonzalez-Bravo, John Sanford, Robert DiSilvestro, Roger DeHart, Michael Behe, Stephen Meyer, Angus Menuge, James Barham, John Millam, Mustafa Akyol, Nancy Bryson, and John Calvert.
One of my favorite over-the-top quotes about the power of natural selection comes from novelist Barbara Kingsolver. According to her, natural selection is Ã¢â‚¬Å“the greatest, simplest, most elegant logical construct ever to dawn across our curiosity about the workings of natural life. It is inarguable, and it explains everything.Ã¢â‚¬Â (Small Wonder, 2002). Another Kingsolver, however, is not so sanguine about the power of natural selection. According to J. G. Kingsolver et al. in a meta-analytic statistical study titled “The Strength of Phenotypic Selection in Natural Populations,” published in the March 2001 issue of The American Naturalist, Ã¢â‚¬Å“important issues about selection remain unresolved,” which ends up being a euphemistic way of saying that natural selection was found to have virtually no Read More ›
What follows is a story from Science on the controversy in Kansas over the teaching of evolution. Notice how the story is framed in terms of “Science” versus “Intelligent Design.” One thing it might interest you to know is that the meeting in question took place at a church (it was held at the Plymouth Congregational Church — Diane Carroll writes about it here in the Kansas City Star). I’m presently an expert witness in an ID case where one of the charges made by the opposing expert witnesses is that ID is religion-based because its proponents have been seen to speak about ID in churches. The other side is just as happy to press their cause in churches. By the way, check out the staff directory of the National Center for Selling Evolution (NCSE): http://www.ncseweb.org/ourstaff.asp. The first photo you’ll see is of Josephine Bergson in a white clerical collar. In the caption we are told that “audiences appreciate her ability to demonstrate the compatibility of neo-Darwinism and Christianity.” The point to appreciate is that this debate is anything but religion-neutral for the other side.
Interesting paper on randomness and information theory:
Using Information Theory Approach to Randomness Testing
B. Ya. Ryabko and V.A. Monarev
Hubert Yockey attended the 1996 Mere Creation conference at Biola University. At that conference he and I discussed his role in the ID movement. He described himself as an outsider who could do more good for ID by maintaining his intellectual independence and directing his energies at refuting the evolutionary reductionists than by explicitly making common cause with us. He has a new book with Cambridge University Press scheduled for release this summer that will need to be on the reading list of everyone with an interest in ID: Information Theory, Evolution, and the Origin of Life. Of especial interest will be chapter 12, titled “Does Evolution Need an Intelligent Designer?” Although I expect Yockey will be critical of ID in this chapter, I expect his objections will be answerable and help move our program forward.
YesterdayÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Nature has, on page 24 of the advertisement section, an announcement requesting grant proposals for the John Templeton FoundationÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s “Purpose in the living world” research programme, titled “The Emergence of Biological Complexity” (for more go here and here). Purpose? Biological complexity? Evidence of fine-tuning in biological complexity? All in one breath? This may not be full-fledged ID, but it certainly isn’t “the literal interpretation of Darwin.”