COLUMN: Columnist shares observations from intelligent design events
Columnist Jon Malone wrote an article Tuesday titled, “Students should keep an open mind about evolution debate.”
This advice is applicable and profitable to people throughout their lives, but Malone urged this open-mindedness specifically in the context of the intelligent design events held Monday and Tuesday evenings.
After attending both events, I want to comment on key features of the presentations that serve to exemplify or fail to meet the standard set by the grad-student columnist, as well as mention my perspective concerning the events.
The first of these took place Monday evening in Meacham auditorium. Dr. Stephen Meyer, who earned his doctorate in the History and Philosophy of Science at Cambridge University, lectured on the arguments for intelligent design that he asserts in his recent book “Signature in the Cell.”
Dr. Meyer took questions from the audience after presenting. (You might check out a Tuesday article in The Daily if you are interested in learning more about the lecture.)
The Tuesday event consisted of a screening of the recently released “Darwin’s Dilemma,” followed by a Q & A session with Dr. Meyer and Dr. Jonathan Wells. Dr. Wells is the author of “Icons of Evolution,” in which he details that it is no longer intellectually honest to cite traditional evidences of Darwinian evolution (peppered moths, Darwin’s finches, Haeckel’s embryo drawings, the Miller-Urey experiment, etc.) as being representative of reality.
The documentary, produced by the Discovery Institute, argues that a period of time called “the Cambrian explosion” provides strong evidence for the existence of an intelligence active in natural history.
One of the most spectacular features of these events was the broad spectrum of people who attended. As secretary of the IDEA Club, the student organization that hosted the lecture and film screening, I am thrilled that so many people with different viewpoints could converge to join a discussion about intelligent design – that may be the first step in attaining the open-mindedness advocated by Malone.
Compared to similar events in the past, the behavior of the audiences was also largely commendable. When intelligent design proponent William Dembski spoke in Meacham Auditorium in 2007, many audience members proved to be disreputable in their hostility. Thankfully, that fire was not lit at the recent events.
As audience members exited the auditoriums, I was glad to hear many people comment on the quality of the presentations and speakers. Some left persuaded, while others considered the events to be well orchestrated but disagreed with the conclusions drawn by the intelligent design theorists. Still others believed that the events were “slick” – convincing to the uneducated but either mistakenly incorrect or dishonest.
Journalism students at OU learn that there are more than two sides to every story, and the diversity of attendees at these two proceedings provides empirical support for that lesson.
This diversity also provided excellent opportunities to interact with others in an open-minded fashion. Although some attendees chose to discuss the events in small groups of people with whom they already agreed, others engaged in conversations with those of varying viewpoints.
For the purposes of the IDEA Club, “Promoting Discussion on the Problem of Design,” the events were successes.