Welcome to ARN-Announce
Dennis Wagner, editor

Number Fifty-Three, March 30, 2006

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INTERVIEW: How Should We Teach the Controversy?

With ARN Executive Director, Dennis Wagner

I was interviewed this month by Lindsay Hamilton, a graduate student at Columbia's School of International and Public Affairs. We liked her questions and we know that many of you are wondering about these same issues, so we asked Lindsay for permission to post the interview here at ARN.  Here are a few of her questions I address in the interview:

  • Can you briefly describe intelligent design theory and summarize your organization’s goals in regard to intelligent design and education?
  • What should be taught in science classrooms regarding the origin of man? Intelligent Design? Evolution? Creationism? All of the above? None of the above?
  • At what level do you think the curriculum decision regarding education on the origins of man should be dictated? Local, state, federal, classroom by classroom, etc?
  • Why does intelligent design theory belong in a science class verses a philosophy or religion class?
  • What do you see as the future for the education of the origins of man in science class? How do you think the current controversy will evolve?
  • What is the most effective response your group gives to critics who say that ID is masked creationism?

Traipsing into Evolution: Intelligent Design and the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Decision

David K. DeWolf, Dr. John G. West, Casey Luskin
Discovery Institute (March 2006, Paperback), 124 pg., 2006

Traipsing Into Evolution: Intelligent Design and the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Decision is the first published critique of federal Judge John E. Jones's decision in the Kitzmiller v. Dover case, the foremost trial to attempt to address the constitutionality of teaching intelligent design. In this concise yet comprehensive response, Discovery Institute scholars and attorneys expose how Judge Jones's Kitzmiller decision was based upon faulty reasoning, non-existent evidence, and an elementary misunderstanding of intelligent design theory.

“The Dover trial was hardly the final word in the debate over evolution,” says attorney Casey Luskin, a co-author of the new book Traipsing into Evolution: Intelligent Design and the Kitzmiller vs. Dover Decision (DI Press 2006). “Mark Twain once allegedly refuted his own obituary proclaiming that ‘reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.’ Traipsing into Evolution disproves similar exaggerated reports from Darwinists about intelligent design in the wake of the Kitzmiller v. Dover decision.”

The authors conclude that the Judge’s ruling will have “teachers seeking to ‘teach the controversy’ over Darwinian evolution in today’s climate will likely be met with false warnings that it is unconstitutional to say anything negative about Darwinian evolution.”

“The impact of this ruling is that even students who ask critical questions about Darwinism, or about intelligent design theory will scare administrators’ about whether that puts the school in constitutional jeopardy,” said Luskin. “There’s already been a negative chilling effect on open inquiry in places such as Ohio and South Carolina. Judge Jones’ message is clear: give Darwin only praise, or else face the wrath of the judiciary.”

The retail price for this book is $14.95, but we will be offering the first 50 copies for only $12 including shipping.  Order your copy today of Traipsing Into Evolution

Why is A Fly Not A Horse?
Dimenticare Darwin

Giuseppe Sermonti
Discovery Institute (Paperback), 176 pp., 2005

This book's Italian title, Dimenticare Darwin, means "Forget Darwin," and its prologue bears the title "Evolution is dead!" The author, Dr. Giuseppe Sermonti, is a respected Italian biologist who boldly shatters the myth that all critics of Darwinian evolution are American religious fundamentalists. This delightful little book is loaded with scientific facts that aren't taught in standard biology classes, but it is also full of history and poetry. Why Is a Fly Not a Horse? does not have all the answers, but it asks many of the right questions–in a style that is both entertaining and inspiring.

About the Author
Giuseppe Sermonti is retired Professor of Genetics at the University of Perugia. He discovered genetic recombination in antibiotic-producing Penecillium and Streptomyces and was Vice President at the XIV Internation Congress of Genetics (Moscow, 1980). Sermonti is Chief Editor of Rivista di Biologia/Biology Forum, one of the oldest still-published biology journals in the world, and he has published seven other books, including Dopo Darwin ("After Darwin"), with R. Fondi (1980-1984).

Order your copy of Why is A Fly Not A Horse? 

Are We Spiritual Machines? Ray Kurzweil vs. the Critics of Strong A.I.

George F. Gilder, Ray Kurzweil, Jay Richards (Editor)
Discovery Institute (June 2002), 228 pg., 2002

In the closing session of the 1998 Telecosm conference, hosted annually by Gilder Publishing and Forbes at Lake Tahoe, inventor and author Ray Kurzweil engaged a number of critics. He advocated "Strong Artificial Intelligence" (AI), the claim that a computational process sufficiently capable of altering or organizing itself can produce "consciousness." The session had an unexpectedly profound impact, not least because a number of important issues from technology to philosophy converge on this one issue. In this volume, the Discovery Institute, with the help of the contributors, has reproduced and expanded on the initial discussion.

Jay Richards (editor), a philosopher and theologian, is a Senior Fellow and former Program Director for Discovery Institute's Center for the Renewal of Science and Culture, Seattle, WA.

George Gilder is a Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute, best-selling author of Telecosm and President, Gilder Technology Group, Inc., Housatonik, MA.

Ray Kurzweil is Founder and CEO, Kurzweil Educational Systems, Inc., Waltham, MA, and award-winning author of The Age of Spiritual Machines.

John Searle is Mills Professor of the Philosophy of Mind at the University of California at Berkeley and author of many books including Rationality in Action.

William Dembski is Associate Professor of the Conceptual Foundations of Science at Baylor University, Senior Fellow of Discovery Institute, and author of The Design Inference.

Michael Denton is the Senior Research Fellow in Human Molecular Genetics at the University of Otago in New Zealand, Senior Fellow of the Discovery Institute, and author of Nature's Destiny.

Thomas Ray is a tropical biologist and Professor of Zoology, University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, and developer of the digital evolution software, Tierra.

Order your copy of Are We Spiritual Machines? 

Darwinian Fairytales: Selfish Genes, Errors of Heredity and Other Fables of Evolution

David Stove
(hardcover), Encounter Books, 320 p., 2005

"A Ridiculous Slander on Human Beings."

That is what the philosopher David Stove concludes in his hilarious and razor-sharp inquiry into Charles Darwin's theory of evolution.

But wait! Stove is no "creationist." He is not a proponent of "intelligent design." He is a man of "no religion," a theological skeptic who admits Darwin's "great genius" and acknowledges that the theory of natural selection is the most successful biological theory in history.

But Stove also thinks that Darwinism is one of the most overblown of contemporary scientific dogmas. In Darwinian Fairytales, he provides a penetrating inventory of what the "unbelievable claims" of Darwinism, from its classic formulation in the nineteenth century through contemporary variations of neo-Darwinians such as E.O. Wilson and Richard Dawkins.

Every organism has as many descendants as it can. That's what Darwinian Theory holds. But do you know anyone who has as many descendants as he could?

In every species, child mortality—that is, the proportion of live births which die before reproductive age—is extremely high. How many friends do you know who have children? How many have died?

The more privileged people are the more prolific: if one class in a society is less exposed than another to the misery due to food-shortage, disease, and war, then the members of the more fortunate class will have (on average) more children than the members of the other class. Which comes closer to the truth, this Darwinian chestnut or the old song "The rich get richer and the poor get children"?

Any variations in the least degree injurious to their possessors in the struggle for life will be rigidly destroyed by the process of natural selection. Start with the letter "A": Abortion, fondness for Alcohol, Altruism. Are any of these "variations" being "rigidly destroyed"?

Darwinian Fairytales is a must-read book for people who want to get behind the doctrinaire cant that characterizes both sides in the debate over Darwinism. It is the one book to read if you want to understand the issues behind the most hotly debated scientific controversy of our time.

For a quick taste of some of the treats to be found in Stove’s book visit Denyse O’Leary’s ARN blog column where she provides a summary of the topics covered in each chapter.

About the Author
David Stove was born in 1927 in Moree, New South Wales, Australia, and taught philosophy at the University of New South Wales and the University of Sydney. He was an expert on the philosophy of David Hume and a widely published polemical journalist. He completed Darwinian Fairytales shortly before his death in 1994.

Order your copy of Darwinian Fairytales

New Podcast: War of the Worldviews

with Art Battson

Long time ARNie, Art Battson, has launched the War of the Worldviews podcast.  If you own an iPod, or run the free iTunes or QuickTime 7 software on your Mac or PC you can subscribe and download regular updates to listen to (or you can listen to any of the first 6 installments that are available online).  If you click on the Veritas Forum link at the top of the home page you will also find podcasts featuring sound clips from some of the ARN video products.  These short broadcasts are intended to keep you up to date on current events and worldview issues.  We would like to hear your feedback on this.  We are formulating plans for more podcast products in the future.  Do you like them?  Will you use them? What kind of information would you like to see featured in the podcasts?  Email your thoughts to our podcast project manager, Kevin Wirth.


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