The creation-evolution controversy and U.S. science education. Biblical literalist Ken Ham. Students at Wheaton College struggle with their faith. A school board denies a petition to teach special creation alongside evolution.
"The majesty of our Earth, the beauty of life," the narrator begins. "Are they the result of a natural process called evolution, or the work of a divine creator? This question is at the heart of a struggle that has threatened to tear our nation apart."
High school students file into a science classroom. A newspaper headline--"Collision in the classroom"--fills the screen. Answers in Genesis Executive Director Ken Ham gestures with a Bible. "For fundamentalist Christians like Ken Ham," the narrator continues, "evolution is an evil that must be fought." Ham says: "Oh, I think it's a war. It's a real battle between worldviews." We look in on a crowded school board hearing, and the narrator tells us: "For embattled teachers in Lafayette, Indiana, evolution is a truth that must be defended." One of those teachers says she doesn't think one side or the other will come out a victor. Then we join a round-table discussion among Christian students at Wheaton College in Illinois. According to the narrator, these students find evolution "an idea that is hard to accept." One student asks: "Where is God's place, if everything does have a natural cause?"
"For all of us," the narrator continues, "the future of religion, science, and science education are at stake in the creation-evolution debate. Today, even as science continues to provide evidence supporting the theory of evolution, for millions of Americans the most important question remains, What about God?"
Parents and children fill a church in Canton, Ohio, to hear Ken Ham--but only after a guitar player leads them in song. "I don't believe in evolution, I know creation's true," they sing, clapping their hands. "Today," the narrator says, "biblical literalism has no more forceful an advocate than Ken Ham." Millions of listeners, we are told, heed "his message that we need to look no further than the Bible to find the truth about who we are." Ham tells his audience: "I believe God created in six literal days, and I believe it's important."
This scene makes an interesting contrast with the scene in Episode One showing Kenneth Miller in a Roman Catholic church. Evolution clearly approves of Miller's endorsement of Darwinism, and disapproves of Ham's rejection of it. This also leaves the impression that only fundamentalist Christians reject Darwinism. In fact, some of the strongest critics of Darwin's theory are scientists who happen to be non-fundamentalist Protestants, Catholics, or Jews (as well as agnostics).
We listen to Ham for a few more minutes before the narrator says: "Ken Ham is not the first defender of the faith who is challenging accepted views of science to justify a literal reading of Genesis. Back in 1925, William Jennings Bryan capped his long career as a crusader for Christian values by upholding the State of Tennessee's law banning the teaching of evolution at the famous Scopes monkey trial. Despite a scathing attack on his creationist views, Bryan prevailed."
But this portrayal of William Jennings Bryan is completely false. Bryan did not take biblical chronology literally; instead, he accepted the prevailing scientific view of the age of the Earth. This distortion of history is simply one more attempt to promote the same scientist-vs.-fundamentalist stereotype with which the Evolution series began.
The narrator says that anti-evolution efforts following the Scopes trial "had a chilling effect on the teaching of evolution and the publishers of science textbooks. For decades, Darwin seemed to be locked out of America's public schools. But then evolution received an unexpected boost from a very unlikely source--the Soviet Union." When the Soviets launched the first man-made satellite, Sputnik, in 1957, Americans were goaded into action. The narrator continues: "As long-neglected science programs were revived in America's classrooms, evolution was, too. Biblical literalists have been doing their best to discredit Darwin's theory ever since."
This takes the distortion of history one giant step further. It is blatantly false that U.S. science education was "neglected" after the Scopes trial because Darwinism was "locked out of America's public schools." During those supposedly benighted decades, American schools produced more Nobel Prize-winners than the rest of the world put together. And in physiology and medicine--the fields that should have been most stunted by a neglect of Darwinism--the U.S. produced fully twice as many Nobel laureates as all other countries combined.See . For more information about Ken Ham's views, go to:
How about the U.S. space program? Was it harmed by the supposed neglect of Darwinism in public schools? Contrary to what Evolution implies, the U.S. space program in 1957 was in good shape. The Soviet Union won the race to launch the first satellite because it had made that one of its highest national priorities. The U.S., on the other hand, had other priorities--such as caring for its citizens and rebuilding a war-torn world. When Sputnik prodded Americans to put more emphasis on space exploration, the U.S. quickly surpassed the Soviet Union and landed men on the Moon. The necessary resources and personnel were already in place; the U.S. didn't have to wait for a new generation of rocket scientists trained in evolution.
The history of 20th-century American science and technology is one of the greatest success stories of all time. Evolution's claim that American science education was "neglected" because of the Scopes trial is completely unjustified. In fact, the claim is so preposterous that it raises serious questions about the integrity of the entire series.
Re-enter Ken Ham, who tells his audience that the biblical flood really happened, and that the fossils we now see were creatures who drowned in the flood and were then buried in rock layers all over the Earth. The scene ends with another rousing song.
We drive through a narrow crevice in a mountain as the narrator says: "If you'd been told all your life that the billions of dead things in the Earth got there because of a worldwide flood, the evidence for an ancient Earth comes as a shock."
The driver of a van full of students says: "So we do see evidence of change. But how that change has occurred--whether it has occurred through some sort of a (as Darwin would have said)--some sort of a natural selection, or if it's taken place through some sort of a design--if God has been directly involved in what we see as evolution--that's a bigger question. I think it's a more troubling question for an awful lot of Christians, as well."
The students watch a fossil being excavated as a guide explains that it's about 33 million years old. "At the Wheaton College science station in the Black Hills of South Dakota," the narrator continues, "the shock of the new has started more than one student on his or her way to an understanding of evolutionary history."
Nathan, a geology student, explains how he has struggled to reconcile his belief in the Bible with the scientific evidence: "That's a struggle I've gone through this year. Where is God?" According to the narrator, we are in the eye of a storm: "Wheaton, one of the top fifty schools in America, is committed to exposing its students to the discoveries of science. But as a Christian college, it is also committed to preserving their faith in the God of the Bible."
Nathan describes how as a child he had been indoctrinated in a literal interpretation of Genesis and taught that evolution is evil. We hear from his mother; we attend his local church; and we join his family for a barbecue, where he and his father discuss evolution and the Bible. The son believes Darwinian evolution is true, but his father disagrees.
Back on the Wheaton campus, the narrator continues: "Some of the most troubling questions come, not from science, but from the Bible itself." We meet Emmy, a student of veterinary medicine, who is wrestling with the origin of sin, and the fact that family trees in the Bible all go back to Adam. A group of students sits around a table, trying to reconcile evolution with Christian beliefs about Adam and Eve. The narrator tells us that Wheaton students are free to do this, "but for the professors, open debate on this subject is impossible, thanks to the controversy stirred up by one man's remarks almost forty years ago."
At a Wheaton symposium in 1961, Iowa State University biochemist Walter Hearn said that the same chemical processes that bring each of us into existence today could have produced Adam and Eve. A conservative Christian newspaper spread the word that Wheaton had swallowed evolution wholesale. This was not true, since Hearn had been only one speaker on a diverse panel addressing all aspects of the evolution-creation controversy, but concerned parents and alumni flooded the campus with letters of protest. Wheaton reacted by requiring every faculty member to sign a statement of faith (still in effect today), affirming that all mankind is descended from Adam and Eve, who were created by God.
"Forty years after Walter Hearn shook the campus with his shocking remarks," continues the narrator, "Wheaton is ready to try again." We see Kansas State University geologist Keith B. Miller lecturing to Wheaton students about evolution. Miller explains that he wants to present himself "as a strong advocate for the teaching of evolution and for the centrality of evolution as a unifying scientific theory, and at the same time make very clear my evangelical Christian position."
According to the narrator, "Keith Miller's message to these Christian students is that all the evidence, from the ancient fossil record to the latest DNA analysis, compels us to accept the evolutionary theory in full. But for some Wheaton students, the implications of our descent from a common ancestor are still troubling." A student asks Miller how he reconciles evolution with the biblical teaching that we are made in the image of God. He responds: "I personally do not believe that the image of God is connected to our physical appearance, or our origin, as far as how we were brought into being."
Afterwards, Emmy praises Miller for having the courage to discuss his evolutionary beliefs openly. But not everyone on campus is comfortable with Darwin's theory. Peter, an anthropology student, says simply that if he had to choose, he would choose young-earth creationism "just because that's what I grew up with, that's what I'm comfortable with." Beth, a pre-med student, complains of feeling threatened by people who think a "six-day creation is the only way to go." But she still wonders "how God works in us. Where is God's place, if everything does have a natural cause?" Emmy says that she came to Wheaton to "be in a Christian environment where I could think ."
These are poignant scenes. Children raised in homes where they were taught a literal interpretation of Genesis go off to college, where they are confronted with evidence for an old earth and Darwin's theory of evolution. The ensuing conflicts are very real.
Yet again, however, Evolution reinforces the scientist-vs.-fundamentalist stereotype by emphasizing the conflict over biblical literalism, and by leaving us with the impression that once students begin to think they invariably embrace Darwinism. In reality, the conflicts we have witnessed here are only a small part of a much bigger picture. We got a glimpse of the bigger picture from the van driver, who said it has to do with design .
From the time of Darwin, the most significant religious objection to his theory focused not on the age of the earth or a literal reading of the Bible, but on his claim that living things are undesigned results of an undirected natural process. It is Darwin's rejection of design and direction--not his challenge to biblical literalism--which has provoked the most controversy among religious believers. By systematically ignoring the bigger picture, Evolution distorts the issues and misleads its viewers. We will return to this below.
As we leave Wheaton, the narrator notes that the faith of some of its students is no longer defined by biblical literalism. "But for Ken Ham," the narrator says, "the frequently repeated fundamentalist expression still holds true: `God said it; I believe it; that settles it.'" We see Ham conferring in front of a display of toy animals boarding Noah's ark. "Ham and millions of other conservative Christians," the narrator continues, "are convinced that it is the biblical story, not the evolutionary story, that America's children need to hear--not just in Sunday school, but in every school."
According to Ham, "we are concerned about what's happening in high schools. We're concerned about what's happening in the culture. We're concerned that whole generations of children are coming through an educational system basically devoid of the knowledge of God." The scene shifts to a high school corridor crowded with students. Ham continues: "Ultimately, if you're just a mixture of chemicals, what is life all about? Why this sense of hopelessness, this sense of purposelessness? And the reason is because they're given no purpose and meaning in life."
A science teacher gives her students instructions about a computer tutorial. The narrator tells us that this teacher at Jefferson High School in Lafayette, Indiana, is both a scientist and a Christian. She is also "one of thousands of high school science teachers across the country caught in the ongoing struggle between biblical literalism and evolution. The stakes are high--for teachers and students alike." The teacher explains that as a child she accepted the Bible as the word of God, but as a teenager she found that it conflicted with what she was learning about science. She knew that some of her students were now facing the same conflict, but she was taken aback when over half of the school's students--and 35 members of the faculty--signed a petition demanding the inclusion of "special creation" in the science curriculum.
Her fellow science teacher says he thought the students understood the difference between science and non-science, "and it's fairly obvious to me that if they did at one time, they don't right now." A student then says that her teachers claim not to be accepting or rejecting the existence of God, but when they treat evolution as "the only way" they are indirectly denying God's existence.
A group of students discusses the problem, then the teacher says: "I don't know if this is an isolated incidence of kids just becoming passionate about the situation, or if this is actually the new creationist game-plan: If you can't attack evolution in the Supreme Court, then maybe you can go around and pull one evolution weed at a time to get rid of it. That's what I'm afraid of."
We move to the National Center for Science Education (NCSE) in Oakland, California, an organization that describes itself as "working to defend the teaching of evolution against sectarian attack." According to NCSE's Executive Director Eugenie C. Scott: "People actually don't understand the issues. People are being told, first, you have to choose between faith and science, you have to choose between especially Christianity and evolution. They're being told, Well it's only fair to give both points of view. It's only fair to teach evolution and balance it with creation science or intelligent design theory, or something like that."
Intelligent design theory? Although Evolution does its best to portray all critics of Darwin's theory as young-earth biblical literalists--"creation-science" advocates--intelligent design theory is quite different from biblical literalism. Intelligent design theory is based on the hypothesis that some features of living things may be designed. Whether or not a particular feature is designed must be determined on the basis of biological evidence. But the theory says nothing about the Bible. Instead, it includes a critique of the reigning Darwinism--a scientific critique the NCSE does not want students to hear.
Of course, if something is designed it must have a designer. In this sense, intelligent design theory opens the door to the religious realm--a door that Darwinism tries to keep tightly closed. But intelligent design theory by itself makes no claims about the nature of the designer, and scientists currently working within an intelligent design framework include Protestants, Catholics, Jews, agnostics, and others.
Since courts have ruled that creation science cannot be taught in public school science classes, Eugenie Scott and the NCSE lump intelligent design theory with creation science in order to keep it out of science classrooms where it might otherwise be included in discussions of Darwinian evolution. But the differences between intelligent design and creation science are public knowledge; both The Los Angeles Times and The New York Times reported on them in 2001. Although Evolution claims to be committed to "solid science journalism," it completely ignores these reports. When the Evolution series was being made, the producers invited some intelligent design theorists to be interviewed for this last episode. When it became clear that their views would be stereotyped as a form of religious fundamentalism, however, the intelligent design theorists refused to take part.See . For more information about the NCSE, go to:
Scott continues: "Evolution--or science in general--can't say anything about whether God did or did not have anything to do with it. All evolution as a science can tell us is what happens. Can't tell us whodunit. And as [for] what happened, the evidence is extremely strong that the galaxies evolved, the planets evolved, the sun evolved, and living things on Earth shared common ancestors."
But this last statement mixes apples and oranges. To say that galaxies, planets and the sun evolved is merely to say that they changed over time. To say that all living things evolved from common ancestors makes a much more specific claim. The evidence for the former may be "extremely strong," but where is the evidence for the latter? Despite Evolution's promise to show us the "underlying evidence" for evolutionary theory, it has presented almost no evidence for the common ancestry claim. One key piece of evidence--the supposed universality of the genetic code--even turned out to be false.
Furthermore, if this series is any indication, evolution has a lot to say about "whether God did or did not have anything to do with it." In Episode One, Stephen Jay Gould pooh-poohed the idea that "God had several independent lineages and they were all moving in certain pre-ordained directions which pleased His sense of how a uniform and harmonious world ought to be put together." In the same episode, Kenneth Miller argued that the vertebrate eye was not designed by God, but produced by evolution. And in Episode Five, Geoffrey Miller assured us that "it wasn't God, it was our ancestors" that produced the modern human brain by "choosing their sexual partners."
The camera focuses on colored pins stuck into a large wall map of the United States. "Calls come in from across America," says the narrator, "from teachers who continue to be accused of locking God out of their classrooms." Among the teachers who contact the NCSE are the ones in Lafayette, Indiana.
Jefferson High School students carry their petition to the Lafayette School Board, which listens politely to their statements. One student emphasizes that "those of us supporting this petition do not advocate the banning of teaching of the theory of evolution; however, we believe that the theory of evolution should be taught alongside the alternative theory of special creation. Let us be taught the facts, so that we can decide on our own."
According to the narrator: "For these students, the argument isn't about science versus the Bible; it's about which views of science will be taught. It is a tactic pioneered in 1961, when a revolutionary book by Henry Morris and John Whitcomb used carefully selected scientific evidence to support the creationist cause." Scott adds: "The Genesis Flood is the foundational document for creation science. Everything else has been built upon this book."
The narrator describes a 1981 Louisiana law requiring that creation science be taught alongside evolution science, and how the U.S. Supreme Court overturned the law in 1987 on the grounds that it "violated the First Amendment separation of church and state"--though the Supreme Court also ruled that "alternatives to evolutionary theory can be taught if they have a scientific basis."
"Of course teachers have a right to teach any and all scientific views about the origin of humans or any other scientific theory," Scott says, emphasizing the word "scientific." But "one reason why the creationists have worked so hard to try to present their ideas as being scientific is so they can duck under the First Amendment."
So Scott is opposed to presenting views in science classrooms that are not scientific. As we saw in Episode Five, however, even many evolutionary biologists consider evolutionary psychology to be unscientific. And as we saw in Episode Six, even many evolutionary biologists consider memetic evolution to be unscientific. Why doesn't Scott oppose the teaching of these views? Why does she support using this series, for example, as a teaching instrument in public schools?
We return to Lafayette, Indiana. The students want to learn the facts so they can decide for themselves. One of the science teachers feels the students don't understand the nature of science, because "creation and any Supreme Being can't be addressed in a science classroom." Another science teacher says: "In science, ideas are supported by evidence, and that evidence has to be peer-reviewed, and it has to be repeatable, and it has to be testable. And creationism is not that." The first teacher lays the blame partly on the students' parents, who (she says) don't want them even to hear about evolution.
The Lafayette School Board hears the students out, but decides to deny their petition on the grounds that biological science is clearly defined, and special creation does not fall within that definition. "The decision preserved the integrity of Jefferson High's science curriculum," the narrator says, "but the teachers know this is not the end of the debate."
The teacher we first met at Jefferson High remarks: "I have yet to hear of a case where they've given equal time in a science classroom; however, I have heard of cases where they've removed evolution from the curriculum. And I don't think the three of us would have continued teaching here had that been the case. I can't speak for them, but I really don't think as an educator I could teach biology and do it well, if I couldn't talk about the natural processes that make it work. To take that element out would be removing one of the--well the major pillar that supports that whole field of science."
But the students petitioned their school board to include "the facts, so that we can decide on our own." They specifically said they did not want evolution taken out. Why, then, does this scene conclude with a teacher expressing concern over the danger of removing evolution from the curriculum? That happened in Tennessee in 1925. The Scopes trial and Walter Hearn's experience show us that Christians have sometimes censored evolution. What just happened in Lafayette, however, was the exact opposite: Darwinian evolution was granted exclusive dominion over the science classroom, and all discussions of special creation--including any facts that might support it--were banned.
Whatever one may think of special creation, there is no doubt that Evolution is spinning this story to make the victim look like the bad guy. In Lafayette, special creation was the censored, not the censor. And the censorship continues: On August 14, 2001, the Lafayette Journal and Courier reported that a Jefferson High School science teacher had been officially reprimanded by the district superintendent just for mentioning creation in his classroom.
Darwinian censorship is frequently used not only to ban discussions of creation, but also to block all criticism of Darwin's theory. In 2000 and 2001 Roger DeHart, a high school biology teacher in Burlington, Washington, was prohibited by his superintendent from giving students an article by evolutionist Stephen Jay Gould, which pointed out that some of the evidence for evolution in their textbook had been faked! And when William Dembski, director of a research institute at Baylor University in Texas, organized an international conference in 2000 that brought together critics as well as defenders of Darwin's theory, he encountered a storm of opposition and was eventually removed from his position.
By including the Lafayette School Board story with its misleading spin, Evolution may be trying to influence the political decisions of local school boards. In an internal memo dated June 15, 2001, Evolution's producers announced their plan to "co-opt existing local dialogue about teaching evolution in schools." The "goal of Evolution," they wrote, is to "promote participation," and one way to do that is "getting involved in local school boards." It seems that this story about the Lafayette School Board is part of a strategy to use public television to influence elected officials.See . For more information on the censorship of Roger DeHart, go to:
We return to Wheaton. A college spokesman says: "Are we placing students' faith at risk by examining these hard questions? Absolutely. But I would add, additionally, that there is no such thing as a safe place from which to hide from these issues. If we engage in the most rigid biblical literalism, the fact that our students live in a real world indicates that their faith is always at risk. Christians believe that our faith is rooted in real happenings in a real world, and so to try and structure a place or a way of conceptualizing our faith that insulates us and isolates us from risk is to rob Christianity of its very essence."
Emmy, the veterinary medicine student, says she doesn't want to come across as a religious fanatic. "I want to be educated, I want to be intelligent, I want to have answers." Beth, the pre-med student, says: "Because we look for natural causes in things doesn't mean we think that that's all there is. It doesn't mean that we're throwing out the meaning of life. We're just studying what God has made, however He made it." And now that Nathan has accepted evolutionary theory, he finds that he has the "freedom to say, `Wow, God is bigger than the box that I may have put Him in.'"
Except for Peter, the anthropology student who remains a biblical literalist mainly because he grew up with it, all the Wheaton students we have met think that biblical literalism is for the ignorant and narrow-minded, while evolution is for the educated and broad-minded. Presumably, we are expected to conclude that skepticism about evolution naturally disappears as people grow up and get educated. One would never guess that a growing number of highly educated scientists--as we saw above--are becoming increasingly skeptical of evolutionary theory. "Keith Miller's message to these Christian students," we are told, "is that all the evidence, from the ancient fossil record to the latest DNA analysis, compels us to accept the evolutionary theory in full." That's a very strong claim--a claim that many scientists would question. Are we supposed to believe that the only people at Wheaton who had a problem with it were the biblical literalists?
Actually, biblical literalists are not the only people who disbelieve in Darwinian evolution. Over the past decades, Gallup polls have consistently shown that roughly 45% of the American people believe that God created the world in its present form only a few thousand years ago. These are the biblical literalists that this series portrays as the only critics of Darwinian evolution. Another 45% or so believe that things have changed over a long period of time, but that God guided the process. This might be called "evolution" in the broad sense of "change over time," but it is certainly not Darwinian evolution. Only about 10% of Americans subscribe to Darwin's theory that all living things--including us--are undesigned results of undirected natural processes. So Darwinian evolution is actually embraced by only a small minority of the American people.
Why didn't Evolution interview Huston Smith, who is probably the most highly regarded living authority on the world's religions? According to Smith, Darwinism has been a major factor in "the modern loss of faith in transcendence, basic to the traditional/religious worldview." Nothing here about biblical literalism--or even Christianity. Smith is talking about all of the world's major religions. Like Daniel Dennett, Huston Smith sees Darwinism as corrosive to the faith in transcendence that lies at the root of all religion. But while Dennett considers Darwinism to be true, Smith is a vocal critic of it. Among other things, Smith maintains that Darwinism is "supported more by atheistic philosophical assumptions than by scientific evidence."See . The quotations from Huston Smith are from "Huston Smith Replies to Barbour, Goodenough, and Peterson," Zygon 36, No. 2 (June, 2001), 223-231. See also Huston Smith, Why Religion Matters: The Fate of the Human Spirit in an Age of Disbelief (New York: Harper Collins, 2001). Huston Smith is the author of The World's Religions (New York: Harper, 1992).
So out of the vast spectrum of the world's religious beliefs, Evolution gives voice only to biblical literalists--whom it dismisses as uneducated and doctrinaire--and to the small minority of Christians who subscribe to Darwin's theory. The series completely ignores the hundreds of millions of other Christians--not to mention Muslims, Hindus, and orthodox Jews--who reject the Darwinian doctrine that all living things--including us--are undesigned results of undirected natural processes. We have seen how shallow and lopsided Evolution can be in its presentation of controversies among evolutionary biologists. But its presentation of the evolution-creation controversy is even worse.
As the sun sets over the Pacific, the narrator brings the eight-hour series to a fitting close, quoting from the conclusion of Darwin's The Origin of Species: "There is grandeur in this view of life, with its several powers, having been originally breathed by the Creator into a few forms or into one; . . . from so simple a beginning endless forms most beautiful . . . have been, and are being, evolved."
Evolution began with the Bible, and now it ends with the Creator. Despite the producers' assurance that they would avoid "the religious realm," Evolution has had a great deal to say about it. The first episode dealt with religion extensively, Episodes Two and Six touched on it briefly, Episode Five mentioned it repeatedly, and this final episode was devoted to it entirely. Far from avoiding it, Evolution has spoken to the religious realm from start to finish.
And what did it say about religion? The message is unmistakable. As far as Evolution is concerned, it's OK for people to believe in God, as long as their beliefs don't conflict with Darwinian evolution. A religion that fully accepts Darwin's theory is good. All others are bad.
The usual stereotype of the Scopes trial comes, not from the 1925 trial itself, but from the 1960 motion picture, "Inherit the Wind." The differences between the two are described in Edward J. Larson's Pulitzer Prize-winning book, Summer for the Gods: The Scopes Trial and America's Continuing Debate over Science and Religion (New York: Basic Books, 1997).
The years during which Evolution claims U.S. public science education was "neglected" due to censorship of Darwinian evolution extended from 1925 (the year of the Scopes trial) to 1957 (the year of Sputnik). There would have been a slight delay in the effect of the Scopes trial on high school students--the first graduating class after the trial was Spring 1926, and the claimed effect would presumably have increased thereafter; so the thirty years from 1927 to 1957 are the crucial ones. A sampling of twentieth-century U.S. Nobel science laureates shows ages ranging from 30s to 70s, with an average age in the mid-50s. A 55-year-old would have gone through high school about four decades years earlier; so high school students from the period 1927-1957 would, on average, have won Nobel Prizes from 1967-1997.
Note that in physiology and medicine, the fields (according to Evolution) most likely to be adversely affected by neglecting Darwin's theory, U.S. scientists won twice as many Nobel Prizes during this period as all other countries put together.
Some prominent intelligent design theorists are Baylor University mathematician William A. Dembski, author of The Design Inference (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998) and Intelligent Design (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1999); Lehigh University biochemist Michael J. Behe, author of Darwin's Black Box: The Biochemical Challenge to Evolution (New York: The Free Press, 1996); and University of Otago molecular biologist Michael Denton, author of Evolution: A Theory in Crisis (Bethesda, MD: Adler & Adler, 1986) and Nature's Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe (New York: The Free Press, 1998). A good recent anthology of writings on intelligent design for lay people is William A. Dembski and James M. Kushiner (editors), Signs of Intelligence: Understanding Intelligent Design (Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2001). For more information on intelligent design theory, go to:
For a recent journalistic report on intelligent design theory, see Teresa Watanabe, "Enlisting Science to Find the Fingerprints of a Creator," The Los Angeles Times (March 25, 2001), 1. Watanabe wrote: "Unlike biblical literalists who believe God created the world in six days, most theorists of intelligent design are reputable university scholars who accept evolution to a point. But they question whether Darwinist mechanisms of random mutation and natural selection can fully account for life's astonishing complexity. Instead, using arguments ranging from biochemistry to probability theory, they posit that some sort of intelligence prompted the unfolding of life--say, by producing the information code in the DNA."
See also James Glanz, "Darwin vs. Design: Evolutionists' New Battle," The New York Times (April 8, 2001), 1. Glanz wrote: "Evolutionists find themselves arrayed not against traditional creationism, with its roots in biblical literalism, but against a more sophisticated idea: the intelligent design theory. Proponents of this theory, led by a group of academics and intellectuals and including some biblical creationists, accept that the earth is billions of years old, not the thousands of years suggested by a literal reading of the Bible. But they dispute the idea that natural selection, the force Darwin suggested drove evolution, is enough to explain the complexity of the earth's plants and animals. That complexity, they say, must be the work of an intelligent designer."
On June 15, 2001, the producers of Evolution distributed an internal memo to PBS affiliates entitled "The Evolution Controversy: Use It Or Lose It." Among other things, the memo listed under "Key Evolution Marketing" several Project Outreach goals, one of which was to "co-opt existing local dialogue about teaching evolution in schools." Under "Project Messaging," the memo listed "the six most important messages we can convey." One of these was: "The goal of Evolution is to create a dialogue and promote participation. . . . Participation can occur in many ways: watching the TV series, logging on the Web site, helping with kids' science homework, getting involved in school board meetings, cleaning up your local environment, and countless other activities that further science literacy and our understanding of the natural world."