The Ã¢â‚¬ËœPOINT OF VIEWÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ article on p. B20 of the 19Jan07 issue of The Chronicle of Higher Education is entitled, Ã¢â‚¬Å“Why CanÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t We Discuss Intelligent Design?Ã¢â‚¬Â The author is J. Scott Turner, Associate Professor of Biology at SUNYÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s College of Environmental Science and Forestry. The by-line states, Ã¢â‚¬Å“His latest book, The TinkererÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Accomplice: How Design Emerges From Life Itself, was published by Harvard University Press this month.Ã¢â‚¬Â (Go here for the Amazon.com listing.)
TurnerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s thesis is that academics should stop trying to silence those who broach the subject of intelligent design, but rather be willing to discuss what Turner feels is Ã¢â‚¬Å“a wrongheaded idea.Ã¢â‚¬Â His reasoning is straightforward: calling intelligent design Ã¢â‚¬Å“the latest eruption of a longstanding strain of anti-Darwinist thought,Ã¢â‚¬Â he warns his colleagues: Ã¢â‚¬Å“In our readiness to proscribe intelligent design, we Darwinists are telling the world not only that we are unwilling to ask such questions ourselves, but that we donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t want others to ask them either. No wonder the war on Darwin wonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t go away.Ã¢â‚¬Â
Like many secular thinkers who make a show of being broad-minded and willing to Ã¢â‚¬Å“give the devil his due,Ã¢â‚¬Â Turner tips his hat in our direction: Ã¢â‚¬Å“Here is where I have to give the proponents of intelligent design their (limited) due. Their intellectual pedigree might be suspect, their thinking might be wrong, but at least they are asking an interesting question: What is the meaning of design of the living world?Ã¢â‚¬Â
Do I hear the sound of a gauntlet being thrown down?