Intelligent Design

Daily Californian on ID

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Backing Intelligent Design, Some Try to Oust Darwin
Debate on Campus Mirrors National Controversy Over How to Explain the Origin of Life on Earth

BY Cristina Bautista
Contribution Writer
Monday, October 10, 2005

As the debate surrounding evolution and intelligent design in public schools reaches a fever pitch, UC Berkeley faculty and students is at the center of the action.

A minority of UC Berkeley students and faculty are activists within the intelligent design movement, which argues, contrary to Darwinist theories of natural selection, that the development of living things was guided by an intelligent agent.

“When you look at the evidence, was it a natural, unintelligent and purposeless process that brought everything into existence or does it point to some intelligence that was at work to bring into existence?” said Phillip Johnson, an emeritus law professor at UC Berkeley’s Boalt Hall School of Law. “The evidence points to some intelligent force behind it all.”

Since before his retirement from Boalt Hall in 2000, Johnson has been a prominent activist in the intelligent design movement.

In 1991, Johnson published “Darwin on Trial,” the first of his many books critiquing evolution. He is program advisor for the Center of Science and Culture in the Discovery Institute, a national conservative Christian think tank that lobbies for the inclusion of intelligent design in science curriculums.

Johnson is not alone in his views. According to a Pew Research Center report released in August, 83 percent of Americans believe that a higher power created life on earth, 64 percent support teaching creationism along with evolution in public schools and 38 percent of Americans believe that creationism should replace the teaching of evolution in public schools.

At UC Berkeley, however, public opinion does not reflect the views of the scientific community.

“Intelligent design is not science. The way the world looks right now is the result of natural selection and other processes operating,” said Carole Hickman, integrative biology professor and curator of the UC Museum of Paleontology. “There is no supernatural being or force behind this process.”

Some professors are even actively working to stop intelligent design activists from successfully enacting educational policy within public schools.

UC Berkeley integrative biology professor Kevin Padian is currently working as an expert witness in Kitzmiller et al. v. Dover Area School District, where he is assisting 11 parents from Dover, Penn. who argue that the school district is violating their First Amendment rights by imposing religious beliefs through the inclusion of intelligent design in their children’s science curriculum.

Still, despite the views held by his colleagues, Johnson said he did not feel ostracized for his belief in intelligent design during his 35-year teaching career at UC Berkeley.

While both his colleagues and students were receptive to his views, students at all levels of education need to be exposed to the controversy to a greater degree, he said.

“The evidence is not as one-sided as people like to claim. Be candid about the controversy. I don’t think universities should be afraid of minority viewpoints that challenge status quo,” said Johnson, whose belief in intelligent design stems from his own investigations into evidence used to support evolution.

Student advocates of intelligent design, however, say that the UC Berkeley community has not been as welcoming of their ideas.

As a part of a philosophical minority on campus, senior Tom Kim started up the UC Berkeley chapter of Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness this fall to provide a forum for like-minded students on campus to openly discuss their views without fear of insult.

Rather than researching the merits of intelligent design on their own, opponents of the movement often go along with political arguments against it and are easily swayed by media influence, Kim said.

“I think before people reject intelligent design, it should be examined by careful study where they consider the primary resources themselves rather than listen to what they are told by others. It should be considered with a fully informed mind that has thoroughly considered both sides,” Kim said.

Contact Cristina Bautista at cbautista@dailycal.org.

(c) 2003 The Daily Californian
Berkeley, CA
dailycal@dailycal.org
Printable URL: http://www.dailycal.org/particle.asp?id=19891
Original URL: http://www.daiylcal.org/article.asp?=19891

13 Replies to “Daily Californian on ID

  1. 1
    Benjii says:

    “Intelligent design is not science. The way the world looks right now is the result of natural selection and other processes operating,” said Carole Hickman, integrative biology professor and curator of the UC Museum of Paleontology. “There is no supernatural being or force behind this process.”

    Get Eugenie in here. It looks like her fellow scientists are making metaphysical claims about evolution again! Guys you weren’t suppose to do that. Remember, I may be an atheist but undirected, random evolution is wonderfully compatible with theistic belief.

  2. 2
    Charliecrs says:

    Eugenie huh ? well hope she doesnt come on to say something else
    like

    Look @ those certian trees that bloom every season. BAM
    there is the evolutionary evidence and lo it has happened , case closed the end.

    Charlie

  3. 3
    dougmoran says:

    Eugenie: “Evolution not a FACT? Oh, I just can’t believe we’re still having THAT discussion.”

    Wake up and smell the roses, Eugie.

  4. 4
    jboze3131 says:

    what are the “other processes” that hickman speaks of? id sure like to know what they are, how invisible they are, how undetectable to science they are, and how they can magically transform mud to man. if we could harness these processes we could change the world! end hunger, wipe out disease, allow people to live forever!

    seriously tho, if these processes are so powerful they can, over time, change mud to man…and we supposedly know all about these mechanisms, shouldnt we be able to harness them and use them in the ways i mentioned? is it possible these supposed mechanisms arent the powerful forces many claim?

  5. 5
    scordova says:

    What is significant is:

    1. A minority of faculty and students at a prestigious school are publicly supporting ID. The Berkeley Dean, Robert Holub, was horrified at what’s happening on his campus:
    http://ls.berkeley.edu/new/deanscorner/0503bh.html

    2. The faculty and students are working in an organized and methodical fashion, and can find research support via the internet or other high speed means when challenged. Searches that used to take months can now be done in a matter of minutes! Creationists of the past had to retreat from the intense scrutiny of academia because they were isolated and could not coordinate the best information when challenged. In contrast, the IDists at an adequately supported IDEA chapter have no reason to keep their heads downs, even when challenged by the best minds in the country. They will be equal to any one in the country in a protracted debate, and that is because the facts are on their side.

    3. The press is giving these students notice, and rightly so because this is symptomatic of intellectual unrest on the campuses, as well as excitement over intelligent design. I don’t recall any similar development in the history of the US regarding the design hypothesis. These developments are tiny and small, but should not be underestimated. I would have never thought the 40 fellows of the DI could so radically influence the entire nation’s future. Now, there will be a steady stream of first rate, relentless, ID talent to topple Darwin’s empire.

    4. The fact the students and faculty organized under a hostile climate (they are fighting a hostile Dean!) indicates resolve which I expect will remain with them for a lifetime! I salute their determination and courage! May this be an indication of even greater things to come on other campuses!

    Salvador Cordova

  6. 6
    jboze3131 says:

    thanks for the link and comments sal!

    the dean horrifies me! he says that no reputable biologist accepts ID. yet that cant be true. there are many biologists out there who have the education, credentials, and have done important work that support ID- heck, many of these same folks support creation science.

    the problem is- his use of the term “reputable”. a reputable scientist, in his eyes, is the one who accepts darwinism and closes his mind to ideas like ID (which the dean himself has done by attacking it like this and claiming that there isnt a shred of data or work to back any of the ID ideas up! of course, thats nonsense and he knows it.)

    one has to wonder why the dean and others like him do desperately want to stop discussion on the issue and why they have such an elitist attitude- they think that a consensus means something in science, when it truly means nothing. the scientific consensus has been wrong more times than one could count. its clowns like the dean here that stop free thought and open discussion which could very well lead to major scientific breakthroughs. instead of that, theyd rather sit there and claim anyone who discusses this issue is an anti-science fool and nowhere near “reputable”. complete arrogance once again.

  7. 7
    higgity says:

    holub@berkeley.edu

    There’s his e-mail address. What would your letter to Holub say?

  8. 8
    DaveScot says:

    What my letter would say:

    Holub,

    You know why no reputable biologists support ID? Because clueless assholes like you work together to destroy the reputations of any biologists who dare buck the status quo.

    Best regards,
    Dave

  9. 9
    anteater says:

    Probably that email would be filtered out by Holub’s secretary.

  10. 10
    2perfection says:

    “how they can magically transform mud to man”

    You are mixing you theistic mindset for evolutionary theory.

    God saying ‘make it so’ and it happening is MAGIC. Evolution os natural processes, not magic.

    Why cant you people use language as it is meant?

  11. 11
    jboze3131 says:

    im afraid youre mixing your atheist mindset with incredibly improbable events. events so improbably, theyre just absurd. god creating is magic, and its nonsense (as you imply) by a trillion happy accidents transforming mud to man isnt magic at all, and its the only choice of a sane, reasonable person.

    yep. ive got ya. we cant we people get things right?! why i’s so dumb and you’s so smart?

  12. 12
    PjB says:

    I believe the Berkeley Houlob is a GERMAN professor. Besides being arrogant, he’s out of his field…and his league.

  13. 13
    scordova says:

    I should note the Berkeley Radicals who are sympathetic to the Design Hypotheses and who have or will influence the intellecutal landscape pertaining to origins:

    2005: The Berkely IDEA Club
    2001 (or so): Jed Macosko post doc
    1994: Jonathan Wells graduated
    1993: Phil Johnson, Darwin on Trial published

    and of course, the guy who is not even an IDist but went around the country keeping the design embers alive, who worked for 2 Nobel Laureates, and graduated from Berkeley with a PhD in bio-chemistry in 1953, the venerable:

    Duane Gish

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