What do I hear for matchwood?
This Saturday in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, Center for Science & Culture Fellow Paul Nelson will debate Texas Tech philosopher of biology Joel Velasco on the question of universal common ancestry — sometimes referred to as Darwin’s Tree of Life (TOL). If you don’t happen to be in the area, you can also watch online. That’s March 29, at 3 pm in the auditorium of Penn Highlands Community College.
Several aspects of this debate make it unique. Both Velasco and Nelson wrote their PhD dissertations on the topic of the TOL and common ancestry: Velasco at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and Nelson at the University of Chicago. Velasco was mentored at UW-Madison by leading philosopher of biology Elliott Sober, who has cited Nelson’s work in his scholarly publications (see here for instance). Both Nelson and Velasco will argue that intelligent design does NOT require endorsing separate ancestry — the Forest of Life. In fact, some ID advocates stand on Velasco’s side of the aisle on this. With the usual debate categories thus scrambled, the interchange promises to be very interesting.
Have they all taken to calling that “kumbayah” circle a “forest of life” now, as in “These results support the concept of the Tree of Life (TOL) as a central evolutionary trend in the FOL as opposed to the traditional view of the TOL as a ‘species tree.’”? That’s one for the Dictionary of Euphemisms (mostly a work in progress, we suspect, with Darwinism deserving its own large section).
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