Thomas Vaughan has written a play that takes a critical look at both intelligent design and evolution. It opens this Thursday and extends for two weeks. It’s being produced by Mildred’s Umbrella Theater Company (go here).
The writer’s notes are as follows and include a generous remark about me. I’m grateful to Thomas Vaughan for allowing me to look over his shoulder and offer comment. I encourage everyone in the Houston area to go see this enlightening play.
The character Henry Darden’s views are based on the ideas of well-qualified scientists. These professionals are not creationists, and they do not believe in Intelligent Design. Their credentials and their motives are impeccable. As a dramatist, I am not qualified to have a worth-while opinion on who exactly is right in this scientific debate, but it was the blistering, often personal attacks on these individuals by their colleagues that inspired this play.
The hostility these men and women received, however, is nothing compared to the vitriol directed towards Dr. William Dembski, a leading advocate of Intelligent Design (ID). I want to personally thank Dr. Dembski here. Knowing full well that I did not agree with his views, Dr. Dembski still took the time to read the play to help assure the accuracy of how the ideas behind ID were portrayed. He even suggested a fine story note that I used and I think the play is better for it. I am very grateful for his trust, his generosity, and most of all his open-mindedness.
This stands as a stark contrast to some of those that I communicated with in the same capacity who hold the more mainstream view of evolution. They were openly hostile to not just the play but the very notion that these minority views should be given a voice at all. The interviews with the notable scientists these ideas are based on were attacked without being read. One individual even suggested that the interviews were probably just made up and not worth reading in the first place.
While this hostility came from only a few, and only from the academics, it was enough to assure me that the basic thrust of the play was essentially correct. It is worth noting that many more people have helped tirelessly with this production who still disagree with the arguments presented by Henry Darden. I thank each and every one of them.
I also want to express my gratitude to the cast and the crew. A brand new play is a scary endeavor and this group of people never flinched. Not once. They were game for every bit of it. I especially want to thank Jennifer Decker for her vision and leadership with Mildred’s Umbrella Theater Company. I am not sure that I would have dipped my toes back into the theatre without her support.
While the ideas in the play are certainly many, this night of the theatre is still meant as entertainment. Perhaps a bit more, but certainly nothing less. It is my sincerest hope that it has achieved that end.
Thank you all for coming and enjoy the show.