EVOLUTION - INTELLIGENT DESIGN
The "Darwin's Legacy" discussion, convened in conjunction with the American Museum of Natural History's exhibit on the naturalist who developed the theory of evolution, came as legal battles played out over the teaching of evolution and "intelligent design" in US schools.
Intelligent design holds that some aspects of nature are so
complex they must be the work of an unnamed designer or higher power, as
opposed to the result of random natural selection as argued by
James Moore of
Florida State University Michael Ruse, author of The
Evolution-Creation Struggle, echoed that; calling
"How can it be such?" he asked.
Mr. Ruse suggested the answer lay partly in history, not least being the Civil War after which Southerners turned to the Bible, and evolution "was taken to represent everything about the North that they disliked".
The result, he said, was the "red state-blue state clash
-it's not science versus religion as such - but very much a cultural clash that
we've got in
But the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Ronald Numbers
viewed the phenomenon as a growing global issue, saying intelligent design had
made significant inroads in
"And it's not just a Christian phenomenon," he added, citing a Turkish education minister who pushed for intelligent design in schools, as well as inroads made within both Judaism and Islam.
Mr Numbers said that at heart, the proponents of intelligent design “want to change the definition of science” to include God.
In the only remark to draw applause from the large audience, Edward Larson, who won the Pulitzer Prize for his 1998 book on the Scopes monkey trials, said the "problem is partisan officials trying to tell science teachers how to do their jobs".