DDD V: Presenting Opposing Views ?

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As far as I can tell Rebecca Keller’s position on the teachings of evolution and intelligent design seems quite reasonable. As someone who testified in front of the committee responsible for educational standards in New Mexico, she contributed by having unnecessarily ideologic language removed from the standards. As a Christian and a scientist I fully support the position that science should remain free of religious or anti-religious overtones. This posting was meant to share my surprise about the use of an intelligent design proponent as ‘opposing views’. Within the context of the issue, Keller’s position may indeed qualify as ‘an opposing view’.

We read from the announcement of DDD V

Consistent with objectivity, we will also hear the other side of the argument - why some think that science education should exclude critical analysis of evolution and limit its offering to ideas and theories embraced by recognized institutions of science.

So who is presenting the opposing view?

The Opposing View:

Science in the classroom - What do we teach the children? (Biophysical Chemist and Author of Real Science 4-Kids, Rebecca Keller, PhD)

Is that the Rebecca Keller whose curriculum was developed in partnership with ARN?

Access Research Network (ARN) announced the RealScience-4-Kids curriculum developed by ARN in partnership with author Rebecca Keller. It is a hands-on science curriculum covering chemistry, biology, and physics for elementary and junior high students. Although the curriculum is particularly targeted at the home-school market, it was also designed to be used in public and private schools.

Is this the Rebecca Keller, Research Prof., Dept. of Chem., U. of New Mexico who signed the “a scientific dissent from Darwinism by New Mexico Scientists”?

Public TV programs, educational policy statements, and science textbooks have asserted that Darwin’s theory of evolution fully explains the complexity of living things. The public has been assured, most recently by spokespersons for PBS’s Evolution series, that “all known scientific evidence supports [Darwinian] evolution” as does “virtually every reputable scientist in the world.”

The following scientists dispute the first claim and stand as living testimony in contradiction to the second. There is scientific dissent to Darwinism. It deserves to be heard.

I have heard of playing the devil’s advocate but this seems a bit weird. Is the ‘opposing view’ presented by a ID proponent?

What’s going on here?


References

Link

Schools’ Science Standards Will Serve Students Well By Rebecca Keller and Michael Kent Proponents of Intelligent Design (emphasis added)

Evolution Science Staying in Schools

Before the vote, Rebecca Keller endorsed the standards as a scientist, a parent and a Christian who believes the world is the result of intelligent design. The University of New Mexico research assistant professor in chemistry also served on the team that wrote the standards.

Students should understand what science can and cannot answer, she said.

“A student’s belief in God remains intact,” she said. “These are a good set of standards for Christian students and for all students regardless of their backgrounds.”

PvM Wrote:

I support the effort to remove ideology from scientific standards. I am not convinced that the issue of ‘teaching the controversy’ is a correct approach unless a case can be made that ID actually represents an actual scientific controversy. That there is a debate about the relevance of the various mechanisms of evolution is undoubtably true but that should not be interpreted as scientific evidence of ID nor should it be blown out of proportion. Scientific disagreements exist in all areas of science.

8 Comments

What’s DDD V?

DDD5 is Design, Darwin, and Democracy V, the fifth more-or-less annual design conference sponsored by the Intelligent Design network (IDnet). IDnet originated in Kansas, and the first three DDD conferences were in Kansas City. There are also IDnet branches in Minnesota, where DDD4 was held, and in New Mexico, where DDD5 will be held next month.

I was the “opposing view” at DDD2. I gave a speech during a breakout session on “Why ID Is Not Science” - I calculated that I was about 2% of the total person-minutes of presentation. At DDD3, they had an evening plenary panel discussion. The pro-science side was ably represented by Denis Lamoureux, Steven Gey, Mano Singham, and John Staver. DDD4 had no “opposing view” as far as I know.

The DDD conferences are publicity shows. Very little real science is presented - rather, standard ID arguments are presented to lay audiences with the intention of rallying the troops. According to the website here, the plenary sessions at DDD5 are:

Cosmology converges on design - The Privileged Planet - Watch the Movie and learn about the Book (Astronomer Guillermo Gonzalez, PhD and philosopher Jay Richards, PhD)

From goo to you via the zoo - why origin of life analyses converge on design (biochemist William S. Harris, PhD.)

Convergence and common descent. (Philosopher of Science, Paul Nelson, PhD)

A new curriculum module for the Cambrian Explosion. (Professor of Natural Science, Michael Keas, PhD)

Why convergence is not consistent with natural selection (Chemist Fazale Rana, PhD)

Evolution claims that design is an illusion. Why teaching the scientific disagreement is legal (Law Professor, David DeWolf, JD) and why officially suppressing it is illegal (Practicing lawyer, John H. Calvert, Esq.)

The State of the Science:  Is ID Making a Genuine Contribution to Science?  (Mathematician and Philosopher William Dembski, PhD and Biochemist, Michael Behe, PhD)

I will be very interested too hear what Dembski and Behe have to say. I heard Behe at DDD1 and listened to a tap of him at DDD4 - nothing had changed - same arguments as presented in Darwin’s Black Box. Michael Keas has presented on the “new curriculum module for the Cambrian Explosion” for at least three years, and Calvert on the legal issues at all five conferences.

This blurb from the website will give you a flavor of the perspective:

What causes this convergence? Is it actual intelligence, some yet unexplained law of nature or a vast number of extraordinary evolutionary coincidences?

This is the central question that 19 experts will explore at DDD V.

The other is whether this fascinating subject is one that should be hidden from the view of rising young naturalists that are attending public schools. Should those institutions seek to inform students about this intellectually stimulating scientific controversy, or should they be provided only with a bland diet of information which supports a naturalistic world view that happens to support non-theistic religions and belief systems. A number of educators will discuss education models that will bring students into the discussion so that they will truly be informed rather than indoctrinated and two lawyers will address the legal issues. Consistent with objectivity, we will also hear the other side of the argument - why some think that science education should exclude critical analysis of evolution and limit its offering to ideas and theories embraced by recognized institutions of science.[My emphasis]

should they be provided only with a bland diet of information which supports a naturalistic world view that happens to support non-theistic religions and belief systems

What is bland about Ploink Ploink, a giant space bat at the edge of the known universe, pooping out the earth (including fossil) exactly 1,000,000 years and 42 days ago, and then killing God and Jesus shortly after the 2000 elections?

Because if the goal is to start teaching “stimulating” theistic (i.e., supernatural) explanations for life on earth, that is what I’m going to teach. Unless someone proves my theory wrong, of course.

Maybe I’ll throw in the Popol Vuh, too. But Genesis? Please. That is easily the most boring creation myth ever written.

Oh, and when it rains, I’ll be sure to teach my students that the rain is Ploink Ploink crying because dirty little children are going to church on Sundays.

I was at DDD1. My wife and I were both very impressed.

My two favorite speakers were Drs. Michael Behe and Walter Bradley (but I liked all of them, of course).

However, I was most impressed by the way Dr. Bradley, the origin-of-life guy, handled his question and answer period. By the time it was over, I actually wound up feeling embarrassed for the pro-evolution guys (apparently from Kansas University?) who were trying to challenge him. He was totally prepared for them, and simply mopped up the floor seven ways to Sunday. That was something to watch.

Anyway, I think that it is both simplistic and unfair to merely label the DDDs as a “publicity show.”

The fact is, I believe they make for a very good layperson’s introduction to what ID advocates are trying to say, even if you don’t agree with them.

Both ID advocates and their evolutionist critics seem to often engage a common issue: how to make their respective messages more accessible to a rather busy lay public.

Most lay people simply don’t have time for deep technical jargon and math, no matter which side it’s coming from. They are interested in the subject matter, but they want it kept simple and understandable.

DDD is one answer from one side of the fence, and from what I saw with the first one, a very good one.

FL

FL Wrote:

However, I was most impressed by the way Dr. Bradley, the origin-of-life guy, handled his question and answer period. By the time it was over, I actually wound up feeling embarrassed for the pro-evolution guys (apparently from Kansas University?) who were trying to challenge him. He was totally prepared for them, and simply mopped up the floor seven ways to Sunday. That was something to watch.

Interesting. Could you give an example of a question they asked or a comment put forward, and how Dr. Bradley responded?

I would love to hear more about Bradley since I have just read his contribution to ‘debating design’ and found his arguments interesting (he rejects the common abuse of the SLOT by creationists and suggests that configurational entropy is the issue. Of course as scientists have since long shown, configurational entropy is no problem to evolution.

The problem with these meetings is that they are not really meant to present the facts as much as the rhetoric. My worry is that the faithful, being misled (imho) to believe that science can and has found evidence of the Designer in nature, are in for a shock when they find out that it was all oversold. Opening up faith to scientific (dis)proof is bad science and bad religion.

Of course we Christians see the Hand of God in the world around us, because that’s what we accept by faith. Do we want to limit our Lord by putting him on trial? Bad choice… It was scientific evidence which cured me from my short love affair with YEC, do we want to run the risk of a crisis of faith just because we insist that our Lord should be empirically detectable?

Now the DDD V page has evolved to

The Opposing View: • Dave Thomas, An Opposing View: Top 10 Myths of the Intelligent Design Movement

“The Opposing View: Ten Top Reasons Why ID Should not be Taught in the Science Classroom”

In this talk, the Top 10 Myths behind the Intelligent Design movement will be discussed. Mr. Thomas will explain why these arguments haven’t convinced mainstream scientists, and why Intelligent Design is inappropriate for presentation in public school science classes.

Dave Thomas, MS is a physicist and mathematician, employed at a small high-tech testing firm in Albuquerque, NM. He received bachelor degrees in mathematics and in physics, and a master of science in mathematics, from the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, where he was awarded the Brown Medal. Dave is President of the science group New Mexicans for Science and Reason (http://www.nmsr.org), and also is a Fellow of CSICOP (Committee for Scientific Investigation of Claims of the Paranormal), the publishers of Skeptical Inquirer. He has published several articles in Skeptical Inquirer on the Roswell and Aztec UFO Incidents, as well as on the Bible Code. Dave has also published in Scientific American (Dec. 1980 cover article), and has several patents. He received the National Center for Science Education’s Friend of Darwin Award in 2000. Dave is married, and has two sons. He enjoys playing bluegrass, and and performs juggling and magic shows for elementary schools and other groups.

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by PvM published on August 19, 2004 11:28 PM.

Denis Lamoureux on intelligent design was the previous entry in this blog.

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