Fun facts on Creation Scien--er, Intelligent Design

Over on the DI’s new Declaring-Victory-in-Superficial-Public-Debates-Where-No-Federal-Judges-are- -Present-to-Enforce-Actual-Rules-of-Evidence-and-Keep-You-Honest blog, Bruce Chapman highlights a news story on a recent debate at North Carolina State University. Describing the four-person panel, Chapman writes,

North Carolina State University has shown, however, that the topic can be debated with the fairness and civility that ought to characterize academic discussions. On Thursday, April 20, before a crowd of some 200 people, a biologist and philosopher defended intelligent design, and a biologist and philosopher defended Darwinism.

The articles says that the two ID defenders were “Gerald Van Dyke, an NCSU botany professor, and Robert Hambourger, an NCSU associate professor of philosophy.” I was pretty sure I had heard of pretty much all publicly speaking ID supporters who had something resembling a biology PhD – it is easy to remember them, because it is a very short list. So who was this Gerald Van Dyke guy? It turns out he is indeed an honest-to-goodness Professor of Mycology at NCSU. He works on pathogenic fungi that attack agricultural crops.

Even though I didn’t remember him specifically, he seemed familiar for some reason.

A little googling turned up something on a draft page for the McLean vs. Arkansas Documentation Project, which is a website Wes Elsberry runs that accumulates the dispersed and hard-to-find records from the famous 1981 case that debunked “creation science”, McLean v. Arkansas. Google hit a PDF called “Defendants’ Second List of Witnesses”. This was a document declaring prospective expert witnesses for the creation scientists:


Pursuant to the Court’s instruction, Defendants submit the balance of witnesses whom they presently contemplate calling at trial. A brief description of the subject matter of each person’s testimony is also provided. In addition, each of the defendant’s scientific witnesses will testify as to what is and what is not science. In the event that additional subject areas are to be discussed by a witness at trial, defendants will notify plaintiffs’ counsel so as to ensure that counsel may adequately prepare for such testimony. Further, defendants reserve the right to supplement this list, and, if necessary, to delete one or more witnesses altogether.

The list is a who’s-who of creation science – for example, it includes ICR and CRS stalwarts such as John Moore (proposed witness #2), Larry Vardiman (#6), Wayne Frair (#12), and an old-earth creationist theologian, Norman Geisler (#16), who went on to fame in the case when he testified under oath that UFO’s were real, but they were sent by Satan. It also includes Edward Boudreaux (#3), a Louisiana chemist who testified in favor of the Louisiana bill mandating Equal Time for Creation-Science and Evolution-Science, and who was cited multiple times in the Supreme Court’s Edwards v. Aguillard decision to show that this “creation science” stuff really was fundamentally a specific religious view.

And guess who happens to be witness #10:

10. Dr. Gerald Van Dyke.

Dr. Van Dyke has studied extensively in the area of mycology fungi. He will discuss the results of his studies which show a lack of evidence for the evolution-science model in this area. Dr. Van Dyke received his Ph.D. in Plant Pathology from the University of Illinois. He is currently an Associated Professor of Botany and Plant Pathology at North Carolina State University. He has written extensively in the field of mycology fungi.

For a bit more, see here and here. It’s funny where these “intelligent design” proponents come from, no?

PS: Also make sure you see Ed Brayton’s post on the University of Oklahoma IDEA club, which between August 18, 2003 and October 5, 2003 changed from being the Creation Science Society into the Intelligent Design & Evolution Awareness Club. As they cheerfully explained on this archived homepage:

IDEA Club - Welcome to the University of Oklahoma IDEA Club website! We are no longer the Creation Science Society. Our new name is Intelligent Design & Evolution Awareness Club. That's IDEA Club for short!

Aw, isn’t that cute? It’s like the birth of intelligent design in miniature!