Lecture Series
A Lecture Series Presented at the

The Dole Institute for Politics

Map to the Dole Institute
May 9th, 7:30 PM

Joseph A. Heppert, Steven B. Case, April French, Danielle Barker and Joan Huber


KU Center for Science Education
University of Kansas

Understanding 'alternatives' to Evolution

Abstract

Intelligent design, which has recently been touted as an alternative to evolutionary theory for explaining the origin and diversity of life, has become a source of major public controversy. Intelligent design's proponents claim that it represents a mainstream scientific theory1, although a key formative document touts the marketing of intelligent design as a strategy to undermine key modern scientific principles and promote a philosophy that inculcates a specified set of religious perspectives into scientific theories2. The theory itself, which can be summarized in the claim that living systems are too complicated to have arisen solely through evolutionary mechanisms, has been proposed without the publication of extensive scientific studies tested and validated through the peer review process in the scientific literature, and appears to lack the predictive and explanatory power possessed by mainstream scientific theories. A thorough examination of intelligent design would help to define both the scope of the scientific evidence offered in its support, and the scientific context in which it is placed by its supporters. This talk will examine how these issues were addressed in May 2005 during testimony presented before a subcommittee of the Kansas State Board of Education in hearings on the Kansas Science Standards3. Witnesses in these hearings represented both supporters of intelligent design and individuals who expressed more general disagreements with evolutionary theory.
    1. William A. Dembski (1999) Intelligent design: the bridge between science & theology. Inter-Varsity Press, Downers Grove, IL.
    2. Discovery Institute (1999) The wedge strategy. Link
    3. Kansas State Board of Education (2005) Science standards expert testimony. Link
To see the presentation slides, click here
To see the presentation as a movie, click here