As this issue was about to go to press, we learned of the death in Paris of Marcel-Paul Schützenberger, the distinguished French mathematician and information theorist, known to many in America primarily through his role in the historic Wistar Symposium of 1966. That meeting, held at what was arguably the height of neo-Darwinian synthesis, explored mathematical and information-theoretic objections to neo-Darwinism. Schützenberger's contributions were especially notable, in part for the opposition they aroused from the leading neo-Darwinists present. Thirty years later -- as the reader will see from the interview in this issue -- Schützenberger was, on the topic of Darwinism, as insightful and provocative as ever.
It would be appropriate to say something here about Schützenberger's career. Born in Paris in 1920, he trained first as a physician, receiving his doctorate in medicine in 1948. But his first love was mathematics, and it was to mathematics that he returned, earning his doctorate in that discipline in 1953. He then served as professor at the University of Poitiers (1957-63), as director of research at the CNRS (1963-64), and finally, until his death, as Professor in the Faculty of Sciences at the University of Paris. He also held foreign appointments, notably at MIT (1956) and Harvard Medical School (1961). His work with Noam Chomsky on formal languages, and with Samuel Ellenberger on automata theory, has become well-known.
But it is as an analyst of biological theory that Professor Schützenberger appears in O&D. We believe he would have relished the lively discussion that his views will stir. We deeply wish he were still able to join the debate.
Our second main feature in this issue, "Cosmos and Creator," comes from the noted philosopher of theology and science, William Lane Craig. In his article (a related version of which will appear in an anthology on design, edited by Stephen Meyer and John Mark Reynolds), Craig examines the bearing of theology on cosmological and physical theory--arguing that "the theistic scientists can...introduce theistic explanations which are as plausible as, if not superior to, naturalistic explanations." Naturalism, Craig contends, should hold no privileged claim on our philosophical allegiance. We are pleased to welcome Professor Craig (who, we note, will soon join our editorial board) to the pages of O&D.
We welcome, too, the philosopher and historian of science, James Hofmann, whose commentary on the "fact" of evolution raises challenging issues across the spectrum of opinion. Hofmann dissents from the widespread practice of designating evolution as a "fact." He suggests that scientific reality calls for far more nuanced terms.
Lastly--stay tuned. Forthcoming issues will feature critiques of methodological naturalism, tutorials on design theory, and an expanding range of book and literature reviews; and, of course, your letters.
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File Date: 11.14.96