Tuesday, March 19, 2002
Debate Issue: Resolved: Intelligent Design Theory Should be Introduced When Evolutionary Theory is Presented in Public Schools
8 pm, March 19th, 100 E. Vet. Med. Bldg., MSU
These notes are keyed to the accompanying PowerPoint slides.
PPT 1 If God is the Intelligent Designer, I hope that He has a lot of insurance, because I am going to sue Him for putting out a defective product. Take me, for example:
If there is an Intelligent Designer, He has to be somebody who could not pass Engineering 101.
If you really want to see what good design would look like, Ive run 250 copies of If Humans Were Built To Last from the March 2001, SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN. Please share and cooperate. SCIENTIFIC AMERICAN charged me $3 per copy for the right to print these copies myself, and then only in black-and white.
In an amusing but very solid way, the article details what human design changes would be needed so that all of us could live to be 100 in good health. 
PPT 2 From an evolutionary point of view, our present bodies resulted from a continuous series of compromises between the genetics of our ancestors and the environments in which they lived. All of my physical problems ... and yours make perfectly good sense. We have lousy backs because our ancestors were quadrupeds, not bipeds, and so on.
From a religious point of view, I believe in a God who created an orderly, lawful universe in which evolution occurred. I cannot believe in a fumbling, bumbling god or Intelligent Designer who did such an obviously inept job.
Tonights topic is, Intelligent Design Theory Should be Introduced When Evolutionary Theory is Presented in Public Schools. Fine. I love conflict in teaching because it gets students absorbed in the real issues. I used to jump off a ladder to prove that the Earth is at rest, not going around the Sun. [Yes, my students thought I was crazy.] But to have controversy about scientific theories, we all have to be doing science.
PPT 3 Representative Gosselins House Bill 4382, introduced February 28. 2001, contains the following wording:
In the science standards, all references to "evolution" And "how species change through time" shall be modified to indicate that this is an unproven theory by adding the phrase "all students will explain the competing theories of evolution and Natural selection based on random mutation and the theory that Life is the result of the purposeful, intelligent design of a Creator.".
7. PPT 20 Intelligent Design implies a once-and-forever perfection. After all, an Intelligent Designer who cannot make up His mind just wont do. David Humes comments from 1776 ring as true today as they did then. Read them when you have a moment.
Lets skip Slide 21 for a second.
8. PPT 22 But science is not about once-and-forever perfection: it is in constant flux. There is a book that lab scientists all over the world refer to as the bible, with a small b.
This is the 81st annual edition Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. It is chock full of atomic weights and important measurements. Each edition adds new data and corrects previous data shown to be erroneous. This is science at its best.
And speaking of the two bibles, the heart of tonights debate is religion.
FIRST, I have been studying the Hebrew Scriptures, the Talmud, later commentaries and modern texts in the original Hebrew and in English for more than a half-century. My wife and I were among the founders of Kehillat Israel at Forest and Aurelius in Lansing. We also belong to Shaarey Zedek on Coolidge in East Lansing. We have lead services and given what you would call sermons innumerable times at both synagogues. We currently participate in three study groups, and we are always in synagogue on the Sabbath, Festivals and Holydays. I am also the Webmaster at Shaarey Zedek, www.shaareyzedek.com
I not telling you this to play holier than thou. I am telling you this so that you will understand one simple statement: Michigan State University is where I have worked hard for the last 35 years, teaching general science and computer science to tens of thousands of Freshmen, but my Judaism is where I live.
PPT 22 SECOND, lurking in the background of all of the Creationist and Intelligent Design writing is the implicit statement that you have to CHOOSE between Science and GOD. This is just a new spin on Creationism, with which I have been dealing since 1972.
Unfortunately, their site does not post the original article. Try to find it: the color drawings are excellent. Furthermore, since the article was reproduced with copyright permission from the magazine for one-time use only, I cannot further distribute copies.
 David and Roger Johnson wrote a great book in 1992 called Creative Controversy: Intellectual Challenge in the Classroom
 We all are morally and professionally obligated to teach our students the very best, very latest facts and theories about science.
 [By the way, they may well publish in their own special fields, but this does not make them authorities in the unrelated Intelligent Design area. For example, I know a fair amount about Computer Science and still remember some things about Biochemistry, but I could not talk for five minutes about how a bill gets through the Michigan House. For that, you would have to ask an expert, Representative Gosselin.]
 What the I.D. folks do do is a sort of religious philosophy of science. They write books about how they think science is or should be done. So let me tell you a story. When I finished my M.S. work at the University of Wisconsin, I desperately wanted to study history and philosophy of science with Professor Aaron Ihde, once of the best known people in this area. Ultimately, I did some market research and concluded -- incorrectly -- that I would be unemployable with a Ph.D. in this area, so I went into Biochemistry. However, I remember Professor Ihde saying to me, Don, you need to understand something. We are like the guys who clean up after the elephants in the circus. We arent the elephants: those are the scientists. We are the folks to try to figure out where the elephants have been and where they are going.
 Photos taken about 25 years ago of skull casts in the Field Museum, Chicago and used by tens of thousands of students in the old Natural Science Department.
 Common sense is the sort of picture we form of the world without any sophisticated investigation. It is a world of bicycles and bowling balls, trees and cows -- the regular and ordinary stuff we encounter every day.
 The very large . etc
 "For every complex problem, there is a simple, easy to understand, incorrect answer." - Szent-Gyorgyi
 That year, Michael Ruse of Guelph University and I debated Drs. Morris and Gish of the Creation research society on a bitterly cold night under the old Northwestern University Dyke Stadium. Michael went home and wrote DARWINISM DEFENDED. I thought the whole thing would blow over and went on to other issues.
 This is a parody of modern evolution. Just refer back to the: We Were Not Alone: Our species had at least 15 cousins article.
 Just do a GOOGLE search on the words Intelligent Design God to see what I mean.
 Yeshayahu Leibowitz (1903-1994) Scientist, Philosopher, and Man of Letters .He authored many books and articles, lectured publicly, and was an editor of several volumes of the Encyclopedia Hebraica. The decision in 1992 to award him the Israel Prize sparked much controversy, and Leibowitz declined to receive it. He died in Jerusalem in 1994.
The first 30 slides were distributed at the lecture. Some of the remaining ones were used during the ensuing question-and-answer period.
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