Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Darwinist withdraws offer

NOTE: Since I moved my blog from MSN to Blogspot, I moved some popular blogs from my old site to this one. Here is a blog from February 2, 2006:

If you've been reading my blog, you know that on January 16 a proponent of Darwinism named Ray Wood issued a public challenge to adherents of Intelligent Design (ID) in a letter to the editor to the Savannah Morning News, a challenge I accepted in the a letter published in the same paper on January 28. He offered five hours of public school biology class for the teaching of ID, in return for his instruction of five Sunday School classes in Darwin's theory. I told him to give me a call and we'd see what we could work out, if he really had authority to offer a public school for an open debate.

Now that my acceptance letter has been published, he has withdrawn his offer! Below is the email I received from Mr. Wood yesterday. It is reproduced below, except that in the text of the letter I have provided links to some of the organizations and events that he names, so you can check them out:

Dear Brother Bob
Thank you for responding to my Letter to the Editor in the Savannah Morning News. Your mention of possibly bringing in an ID scientist caused me to spend two full days searching on Google about ID and Creation Science.
In the course of my research, I came across
The Discovery Institute. Their political emphasis is on "Teach the Controversy" in order to persuade people that there really are two sides to the issue.
There aren't. My offer to initiate a local debate was actually playing into the hands of the antievolution crowd. Thus I must withdraw my offer.
American Association for the Advancement of Science and the National Center for Science Education both denounce ID and Creation science as religion masquerading as pseudoscience. This was also the view of the Judge in the infamous Dover, PA. School Board.attempt to offer Intelligent Design as a rational alternative to Evolution, despite lengthy testimony from leading advocates of Intelligent Design.
I am a
Unitarian , an engineer (Georgia Tech 1954) and a retired IBM executive. My father was a Lutheran minister..As Americans, we need to put the emphasis on issues that unite us rather than divide us. But in thanking God for our religious freedom, we must also respect scientific freedom.
Best wishes to you and your congregation.

So there you have it! Mr. Wood has withdrawn his offer.
He says that Darwinism is real science and ID is not, so he won't debate. But if Darwinism has scientific evidence to back it up, and ID doesn't, then couldn't he show that in a debate? Why is he afraid to debate?
He says the Discovery Institute is biased with a political agenda, yet he himself cites the National Center for Science Education (NCSE), as if they have no bias. The NCSE website proclaims their purpose: "Defending the Teaching of Evolution in the Public Schools." Let's be fair about this. If the viewpoints of the Discovery Institute should be set aside because they have a political agenda to promote the teaching of Intelligent Design alongside Evolutionary theory, then likewise the viewpoint of the NCSE should be set aside because they have a political agenda to keep Intelligent Design teaching out of the public schools.
Personally, I don't see what the problem is with the agenda of the Discovery Institute. They have never asked that the teaching of Evolution be set aside. They have only encouraged the teaching of all the scientific facts, including those that do not support Darwinism, especially since a growing number of scientists are questioning many of the components of Darwinian theory.
Basically, Mr. Wood is saying that Evolution is true because he and those in control of science education SAY it's true, so any dissenters should shut up.
Can't we move beyond all of this name-calling and simply let students study the scientific evidence, following it wherever it leads? Isn't that the great heritage of freedom of thought and scientific inquiry? What benefit is there to science to block out any scientific theory or evidence simply because it does not seem to support the Established Religion of Darwinism?
Mr. Wood closes his letter by saying we must respect scientific freedom. In that case, he should not be opposed to a high school student reading works like Michael Behe's book, Darwin's Black Box. Behe is a biochemist at Lehigh University, who says that Charles Darwin's theory of life's evolution through natural selection and random mutation fails to account for the origin of astonishingly complex biomolecular systems. The only problem for Mr. Wood is that Darwin's Black Box would be on the NCSE's black list. (Pardon the pun!) So who will he listen to? The scientist Michael Behe or the "political agenda" of the NCSE?


Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Dear Rev. Rogers -

You offered to bring an "ID scientist" to Savannah. This seems a generous offer, but, in fact, there is no such thing as an "intelligent design scientist" because there is no such thing as the science of intelligent design.
There are scientists - biologists, chemists, mathematicians, medical doctors - who support intelligent design, but the "science" of intelligent design" simply does not exist.
I'll counter your offer - Find a proponent of intelligent design who has published an hypothesis in a standard, peer-reviewed scientific journal as to how the existence of a creator/designer can be proved OR disproved using standard scientific means, and I'll host the discussion at Saint Boniface Catholic Church in Springfield.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh
Saint Boniface Catholic Church
Springfield, Georgia

Brother Bob said...

Father Kavanaugh,
The idea that the theory of Intelligent Design is not science is usually predicated upon the idea that it must be observable and testable. Yet many sciences are charged with the task of drawing inferences from things that are not observable, such as atoms, quarks, past events, mental states, and subsurface geological features. Indeed, Darwin's theory itself is not subject to testable and observable evidence, but must instead depend upon present clues to postulate theories about unobservable past events. Thus by your own strict definition of "science," Darwinism itself is not science.
Regarding anybody publishing a peer-reviewed article as an ID scientist, on August 4th, 2004 an extensive review essay by Dr. Stephen C. Meyer, Director of Discovery Institute's Center for Science & Culture appeared in the Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington (volume 117, no. 2, pp. 213-239). The Proceedings is a peer-reviewed biology journal published at the National Museum of Natural History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C.
Here is the link:
I am seeking to contact Dr. Meyer and see if he is available to speak.
Meanwhile, you may be interested in the Apologetics Conference on April 21-22 at Grace Community Church in Rincon, which includes a session on the Philosophy of Science. The link to learn more is