Science & Faith

CP Blogs do not necessarily reflect the views of The Christian Post. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author(s).

Posted 6/26/13 at 8:31 PM | Mike Keas

Ball State University: Academic Freedom in Science?

As I reported earlier, Ball State's Dr. Hedin is being investigated by a panel of professors at his university in regard to his honors course that covers intelligent design and its critics. Hedin's most vocal persecutor has been University of Chicago biologist Jerry Coyne. Coyne recently got word that Ball State University has hired ID advocate, astrophysicist Guillermo Gonzalez, who was previously the victim of discrimination for his book The Privileged Planet by his former employer, Iowa State University.
John West wrote regarding this situation:

New evidence suggests that faculty members selected by Ball State University to review Professor Eric Hedin's "Boundaries of Science" honors course may be far from impartial on the topic of intelligent design (ID). Indeed, three of the four appointed panelists are publicly connected to groups explicitly opposed to ID:

Read more.

West dug deeper in this other article, comparing an earlier case at BSU and the current affair.
It was September 2004. A conservative group calling itself Students for Academic Freedom sent a letter to President Jo Ann Gora of Ball State University (BSU) demanding an investigation into the university's peace studies program led by Professor George Wolfe. The group alleged that Wolfe had violated student rights in class by excluding contrary views from his course readings, by offering extra credit to students who agreed to take part in a protest against the Iraq war (but not offering credit for students who might want to demonstrate in support of the war), by coercing students to volunteer for various ideologically driven peace programs or attend "Interfaith Fellowship" meetings, and by "creat[ing] the impression that he would lower students' grades on papers when he disagreed with their views." (See "Letter to the President of Ball State University," September 13, 2004, in Indoctrination or Education?, pp. 20-23.)
Read more of this second article.

Posted 6/20/13 at 10:57 AM | Mike Keas

Stephen Meyer's Book Just Published: Darwin's Doubt

Stephen Meyer's long expected book, Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design, is out now. Here is an endorsement from Dr. Scott Turner who teaches biology at the State University of New York. He is the author of The Tinkerer’s Accomplice: How Design Emerges from Life Itself (Harvard University Press):

Darwin’s Doubt is an intriguing exploration of one of the most remarkable periods in the evolutionary history of life -- the rapid efflorescence of complex body plans written in the fossils of the Burgess Shale. In laying out his case for intelligent design (ID) based on this evidence, Meyer has emerged from the “ID wars” of the past decade as perhaps the most thoughtful and engaging advocate of this controversial perspective. No matter what convictions or beliefs one holds about evolution, Darwinism or intelligent design, Darwin’s Doubt is a book that should be read, engaged and discussed.

How about more praise for Meyer's book? Dr. Russell Carlson, professor of biochemistry and molecular biology, director of the Complex Carbohydrate Research Center, at the University of Georgia:

Stephen Meyer elegantly explains why the sudden appearance of animal forms in the Cambrian period gave Darwin pause. He also demonstrates, based on cutting-edge molecular biology, why explaining the origin of animals is now not just a problem of missing fossils, but an even greater engineering problem at the molecular level. With mathematical precision, he shows why the neo-Darwinian mechanism cannot produce the genetic information and novel proteins -- or systems for regulating their expression -- that are required to build new animals. An excellent book and a must read for anyone who wants to gain understanding of the very real -- though often unreported -- scientific challenges facing neo-Darwinism.

Here is some background on Meyer's new book: FULL POST

Posted 6/13/13 at 8:36 PM | Mike Keas

Darwin's Doubt and Junk DNA

Two important ID The Future podcasts have just been released. The first one (which is actually a 1-minute video) is of more than historical interest, despite what you might think from the title and description. Watch this to motivate yourself to get Meyer's new book next week when it first appears. The second podcast is ironic given all the hype in 2005 about a certain court case having to do with intelligent design and public schools (Kitzmiller v. Dover).

What Was Darwin's Doubt?

What was the biggest doubt Charles Darwin had about his own theory of evolution? Stephen Meyer explains the basis for his new book Darwin's Doubt: The Explosive Origin of Animal Life and the Case for Intelligent Design available in bookstores everywhere June 18. For more information on the book and to order your copy visit www.darwinsdoubt.com.

Another Icon of the "Junk DNA" Argument Bites the Dust

On this episode of ID The Future CSC Research Director Casey Luskin examines a recent paper in Genome Biology and Evolution which argues that the famous beta-globin pseudogene is functional. Why is this pseudogene famous? Well, it's been Exhibit A -- literally, offered as evidence in a court case -- for critics of intelligent design who argue that our genome is full of useless, functionless junk, and therefore can't be a product of design. In light of this new evidence for the functionality of the beta-globin pseudogene, it seems that this so-called Exhibit A, collapses.

Posted 6/10/13 at 8:00 PM | Mike Keas

Answering "Dishonesty" Charges against "Discovering Intelligent Design"

Historian of biology Michael Barton offers this thought after reviewing bits of Discovery Institute's new curriculum Discovering Intelligent Design: "It’s no wonder that some have dubbed the Discovery Institute the Dishonesty Institute." Because a few commentators to my blog pull out the "dishonesty" card on me now and then, I thought it would be worth our while here to pursue what Barton thought was dishonest about Discovery Institute's critique of certain aspects of evolutionary biology (and promotion of intelligent design as a better alternative). My colleague at Discovery Institute, Casey Luskin, has provided a thorough response to Barton's dishonesty accusations. I agree with Casey's final sentence (ditto regarding the charges against me by some CP Blog readers): "I tell you, the things for which we get called 'dishonest' never cease to amaze me." FULL POST

Posted 6/7/13 at 8:57 AM | Mike Keas

Flight: The Genius of Birds (New Documentary)

A few weeks ago Illustra Media released its latest documentary, Flight: The Genius of Birds (trailer). I watched it last night with a friend who has seen hundreds of nature films (BBC, PBS, Discovery Channel, etc.). His response (and mine) to Flight: Breathtaking. Illustra truthfully reports:

Photographed in North America, Peru, England, Greenland and Antarctica, the film combines stunning images and computer animation with cutting-edge research and an original musical score to celebrate birds and their incomparable ability to live in the skies.

FLIGHT is a unique wildlife documentary. An exploration of the animal kingdom from a perspective ignored by television and the scientific establishment. For instead of presenting a worldview based upon the blind, undirected process of Darwinian evolution, FLIGHT offers a compelling look at the design and purpose woven throughout the fabric of life on Earth.

At Randolf Productions, where you can purchase the Blu-ray version of Flight cheaper than Amazon (they also have the DVD version), you can find additional comments: FULL POST

Posted 6/3/13 at 9:30 PM | Mike Keas

Psychiatry and Darwinism: Theories in Crisis

Wikimedia Commons

There are core theoretical components to both pyschiatry and evolutionary biology that are in deep trouble. To be sure, there are legitimate scientific theories in both fields, but the public has been lulled into a dogmatic sleep about many of the key claims of physchiatry and evolutionary biology. For example, the evidential failure of evolution #2 and evolution #3 (two meanings of the term "evolution" explained below) is not as nearly well known as it should be due to the strong evidence for evolution #1 (small-scale changes in populations of organisms), which many scientists point to as if this automatically legitimates the other two meanings of evolution (which it doesn't). Read this excerpt from the new curriculum Discovering Intelligent Design to understand this, and why I often use the term Darwinism (or neo-Darwinism) to refer to the failed parts of evolution (#2 and #3).

Let's examine the latest public controversy about psychiatry. We shall then consider the state of crisis that both Darwinism (evolution #2 and #3) and many aspects of pyschiatry (as described below) find themselves in today. FULL POST

Posted 5/30/13 at 4:50 PM | Mike Keas

Machine Traits in Organisms: Evidence for Intelligent Design

Recently I reported that over the past fifteen years, the term "molecular machine" has been used widely by biologists to refer to highly coordinated systems of moving parts that peform specific functions within a living cell. To better appreciate how it is that molecular machines in living organisms are best explained by intelligent design, watch this animation of DNA replication in bacteria (which is very similar to how it occurs in humans). DNA replication is part of a high tech information processesing system, one that is far more sophisticated than anything humans have constructed.

The new curriculum Discovering Intelligent Design explains how living organisms are full of machine traits that cry out "design." For example, read this excerpt: FULL POST

Posted 5/27/13 at 11:28 AM | Mike Keas

Sign a Petition to Defend Ball State University Science Professor's Academic Freedom

Sign the petition (academic freedom is at risk at Ball State University)

Hedin_Eric.jpg

Dr. Eric Hedin is an Assistant Professor of Physics at Ball State University in Indiana. Beyond his many courses in physical science, he also teaches an elective interdisciplinary seminar on "The Boundaries of Science." The syllabus describes this course as follows:

In this course, we will examine the nature of the physical and the living world with the goal of increasing our appreciation of the scope, wonder, and complexity of physical reality. We will also investigate physical reality and the boundaries of science for any hidden wisdom within this reality which may illuminate the central questions of the purpose of our existence and the meaning of life.

As a college science professor for twenty years, I can affirm the appropriate nature of such a course. In fact, this courses is in line with The Liberal Art of Science: Agenda for Action, The Report of the Project on Liberal Education and the Sciences (American Association for the Advancement of Science, 1990). This AAAS study concludes that students can learn science effectively in historical and cultural context.

The long course bibliography at the end of the syllabus reflects a diversity of perspectives on science, both current and historical. Indeed, this bibliography includes books and essays by many distinguished scholars, including Oxford University mathematician John Lennox, Harvard University astronomer Owen Gingerich, Oxford mathematical physicist Sir Roger Penrose, and physicist and Anglican priest John Polkinghorne.

Some of the authors represented in the bibliography are supporters of intelligent design in biology: Biochemist Michael Behe and philosopher of science Stephen Meyer jump out in this regard. Others (like biologist Francis Collins and physicist Karl Giberson) are staunch critics of intelligent design and defenders of Darwinian evolution. In addition, the authors in the bibliography hold a wide diversity of religious views. Some are Christians. Lee Spetner and Gerard Schroeder are Jewish. Roger Penrose is an atheist. Antony Flew was a former-atheist-turned-deist. Paul Davies is perhaps best described as some form of pantheist. FULL POST

Posted 5/24/13 at 5:15 PM | Mike Keas

Discovering Intelligent Design: New Curriculum by Home School Educators & Scientist-Attorney

This week Discovery Institute launched Discovering Intelligent Design (DID), which is a comprehensive curriculum that presents the scientific evidence for intelligent design to both young people and adults. When I previewed the product recently, I immediately recognized its great worth. Although it will be very useful in educational (and personal use) settings beyond home schools, I predict that it will be the hottest selling science product among home school educators over the next few years. My son (who graduates from high school in two weeks) has experienced public, Christian, and home school education. DID is well suited for the last two of those environments. See the Table of Contents here.

DID is the first full curriculum to present the scientific evidence for intelligent design in both cosmology and biology in a broadly accessible format. The curriculum includes a textbook, a workbook, and a DVD with multimedia video clips that are integrated into the readings. Developed by home school educators Gary and Hallie Kemper, and Discovery Institute research coordinator (scientist-attorney) Casey Luskin, DID uniquely fills a specific niche in science education materials. As a science educator at the college level for over twenty years, I can assure you that the scientific content of this material is of the highest quality, and yet it communicates well to pre-college students. FULL POST

Posted 5/20/13 at 10:30 PM | Mike Keas

Will Darwinists Soon Ban the Term "Molecular Machines"?

This motor is one of countless "molecular machines" found in living cells. This one is literally an outboard rotary motor.

Over the past fifteen years, the term "molecular machine" has been used widely by biologists to refer to highly coordinated systems of moving parts that peform specific functions within a living cell. Because of the increasingly clear design imiplications of these tiny machines over the past decade, I would not be surprised if Darwinists soon try to ban this term from public education and popular communication about science (as Eugenie Scott attempted, but failed, to do with the term "Darwinism," as explained in my last two posts). Here is the classic molecular "machine" statement by evolutionary biologist Bruce Alberts:

The entire cell can be viewed as a factory that contains an elaborate network of interlocking assembly lines, each of which 
is composed of a set of 
large protein machines. Why do we call the large protein assemblies that underlie cell function protein machines? Precisely because, like 
machines invented by 
humans … these protein 
assemblies contain highly 
coordinated moving parts. [Bruce Alberts, “The Cell as a 
Collection of Protein Machines,” 
Cell, February 1998]

Today at ENV Casey Luskin wrote regarding "molecular machines":

Writing at ENV last month, I explained why proponents of intelligent design are justified in using the term "molecular machines." Jonathan M., meanwhile, recently published a tremendous article here about the ATP synthase molecular machine, noting that scientists have called it a "bona fide rotary dynamo machine" with "ingeniously designed interfaces" making it "one of the most beautiful" enzymes in biology. Or, as another paper he cited pointed out, "Although there are other similar manmade systems like hydroelectric generators, F0F1-ATP synthase operates on the nanometer scale and works with extremely high efficiency." Now I've just received a copy of a wonderful 2011 Cambridge University Press book, Molecular Machines in Biology: Workshop of the Cell, that contains additional insightful language about molecular machines. FULL POST

load more