Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

UDers, Pandas, and others bring their case before Cornell’s students

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Here is an exchange between Hannah Maxson (a rising senior with a triple major in the sciences at Cornell) and professor Allen MacNeill along with the various members of Uncommon Descent (UDers), Pandas Thumb (Pandas), ISCID, BSG, IDEA, NCSE, and other Cornell students and alumni.

I applaud MacNeill’s public civility toward his pupil, and I even more applaud what Maxson had to say. The exchange is a window into how the next generation of researchers are reacting to the ID controversy. Her views and that of her fellow students should be informative to everyone. I welcome hearing your reactions! [please try to be civil in your comments toward Allen. He has been respectful and supportive toward Hannah and the embattled IDEA club there. Thus, a little reciprocity is in order, IMHO. If you all wish to bash him, how about another thread, ok (and it won’t be by me)]

Hannah’s Comments

My “confidence level” in intelligent design has been based more on the complete illogicity, irrationality and utter vacuity of most of the criticisms of ID that I hear than from any sort of reliance on Behe or Dembski’s work. In a way, I rely on you people to help me see the flaws in intelligent design theory– and I agree with Allen that critics can be your best friends. But if the critics do such a poor job coming up with any argument of interest, you begin to wonder if the theory being attacked is stronger than you thought.

Back when I was a sophomore I remember Michael Behe coming to Cornell, by invitation of the Biology Department and ACH. He gave a careful and fully scientific presentation, followed by an extensive Q&A or “public discussion” in which large contingent of the Cornell biology department participated. I hadn’t studied much about ID yet then, and knew nothing about the debate. What I remember most from that evening is that he gave a reasoned, scientific presentation and an even-toned response to all his critics, and they –many of whom had lost their cool before the evening was half over– had primarily arguments from emotion. Maybe only arguments from emotion; as far as a remember, no sound logical or scientific critique was presented that night.