Allen teaches biology at Cornell, one of the world’s finest academic institutions. He accepts and defends evolutionary biology, but he has also defended the rights, reputation and treatment of ID-sympathetic students. He has done so even at peril to his own standing and reputation. In 2005 the president of Cornell Condemned the Teaching of ID as science. In 2006, Allen dared to at least raise the question and at least attempt to properly argue ID is not science by putting together a class devoted to exploring the question fairly in his infamous “Evolution and Design” class, perhaps the only class of its kind to ever be hosted on an Ivy League campus.
Students confided to me that they felt Allen really stuck his neck out for them, and I myself could see that as ID-haters came out in swarms because of Allen’s fair treatment of his students. Even though Allen’s goal was to simply raise the question and invite arguments from both sides, many anti-IDists objected vigorously that Allen would even grant the question a fair hearing.
Seeing all of Allen’s courageous and gentlemanly behavior often put me to shame for my often combative and uncivil style, but more importantly, Allen’s class of 2006 inspired me to go back to school part-time and study more science. The process of studying science has led me to reconsider and even retract ideas even if it meant I lost face in the process. What Allen inspired me to do was to explore and study science more, and in one case it led me to publicly admit significant errors in my understanding of physics and make a retraction regarding an idea I had once vigorously defended.
Allen is one of the few evolutionary biologists to receive such praises as this one at UD: MacNeill is on a Roll.
Many of my science professors disbelieve ID and actively campaigned against it, but they were instrumental to inspiring me to love science. I view Allen as a mentor and example of how scientific questions should be examined by considering both sides fairly.
I wish to point all this out especially now because Allen informed us here
I am now working on a monograph with the title On purpose: The evolution of design by means of natural selection, or the proliferation of intentional agents in the struggle for existence and another entitled The metaphysical foundations of biological science. I thought last year that I would be unable to finish them, as I had been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. However, it turned out to be sclerosing autoimmune pancreatitis (a treatable condition),
We are blessed you are still with us, Allen, and you are in my thoughts and prayers.