Review: Darwinism, Design, and Public Education
By: Dr. Robert Rogland, Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation
December 1, 2004
Good News from Ohio: Teaching the Controversy
By: Charles Colson, BreakPoint with Charles Colson, March 13, 2004
Review: Darwinism, Design, and Public Education
By: Ian Wishart, Investigate Magazine, April 12, 2004
An outstanding collection of articles by the leaders and critics of a movement that is changing our understanding of science and culture.
Phillip Johnson, Jefferson E. Peyser Professor of Law, Emeritus
Boalt School of Law, U.C. Berkeley
Author of Darwin on Trial, Reason in the Balance
"This new book is an absolute groundbreaker, and essential reading for
students and teachers alike. ... One thing you certainly couldn't do, after
reading this peer-reviewed work, is continue denying that any controversy exists."
Ian Wishart, Investigate Magazine, April 2004
For over 30 years now an increasing number of thinkers in biology have questioned the major tenets of evolutionary theory. Into this scientific debate have entered the 'design theorists' who insist that the central issue is biological information, and whether this information can be generated by undirected material processes. The essays by various design theorists in Darwin, Design, and Public Education impress upon the reader that no amount of evasion or redefinition will make this problem go away. Though one may be disturbed by the implications of design theory, the papers in this book will educate the reader concerning the scientific assumptions at stake, and the reasoning behind the positions taken on the design issue.
Dr. Richard von Sternberg, a biologist at the Smithsonian Institution
National Institutes of Health's National Center for Biotechnology Information
Richard Dawkins asserts in his book "The Blind Watchmaker," that all of Nature has the appearance of design. Indeed, the book was written to make a case for a natural Darwinistic explanation for biological diversity solely due to mutation and natural selection; the appearance of design is just that, apparent but not real. We are a project of chance and necessity. Darwinism teaches that from the simple the complex can arise by the simple acquisition of mutations followed by selection over the weave and warp of time.
As a scientist that has had the privilege to work in the biological sciences over the past 25 years, I have witnessed one revolution after another in our understanding of biological systems. My mentors considered the cell a 'bag of enzymes' that operated on 2nd order kinetics. Now we see even the simplest of cells as a collection of macromolecular machines, machines that rival our greatest engineering achievements in their elegance and function. Machines that are run by algorithms of code, equated to a computer. Even some of the most ardent committed materialist colleagues admit that at times they pause and wonder if random mutation and selection is sufficient to account for this new biology.
Over the past 10 years a small number of scientists, philosophers, lawyers, and engineers have proffered that life is the product of design. Due to the stakes in this game, the opposition has been acute. Some fear that acceptance of Design theory is tantamount to succumbing to a fundamentalist conspiracy to take over science. Nothing is farther from the truth. In "Darwinism, Design, and Public Education," Steve Meyer and John Angus Campbell cover what intelligent design theory is and what it isn't. Further, the scientific problems with our present understanding of origins of life, origins of information, and the fossil record are clearly presented. Importantly, the authors show how these essential questions can be addressed in the classroom legally. This is a great resource for educators that want to address the controversy in a meaningful way regardless of where they stand on the central issues.
Assoc. Professor. of Microbiology
University of Idaho
Darwinism, Design, and Public Education should be read by everyone seeking a fair and comprehensive debate about the teaching of evolution in American public schools . this book's careful yet passionate dialogue actually provides the tools needed by a democratic public to make sense of this difficult controversy.
James Arnt Aune
Texas A&M University,
author of Rhetoric and Marxism and Selling the Free Market
To say that John Angus Campbell is the foremost Darwin scholar in rhetorical studies is only to say the obvious. He is also a leading rhetorical critic who for three decades has been producing essays that have broadened and deepened our understanding of texts as rhetorical objects working within social and political contexts. His interest in the political and pedagogical implications of Darwin and Darwinism is also deep and long-standing.
Professor of Rhetoric
University of Minnesota-Twin Cities
Darwinism, Design and Public Education, co-edited by Campbell and Meyer, plays an important role in restoring reasoned arguments about evolution to public scrutiny and discussion. It exemplifies principled ways in which scientific controversy can return to arenas of public controversy. ... John Campbell is the premiere contributor to the rhetorical scholarship on Darwin. His body of work has helped reveal how Darwin's emergent understanding of evolution coordinated closely with his efforts to make the theory a matter of public acceptance. Campbell has been able to show in this respect the deep connection, in Darwin's day, between inventing and adapting science. In our day, these connections have dangerously loosened. Scientific invention and debate remain sealed within enclaves of expert insiders, leaving the public on the outside to wait for "notification" about the truth emerging from these discussions.
Head and Professor of English
Department of English
Carnegie Mellon University
Few public controversies are more susceptible to simplistic polarization than that of teaching alternatives to evolution in public school biology classrooms. This book equips readers to break through superficial impasses and approach the controversy more critically by exhibiting the central philosophical, scientific, legal, and educational issues at stake, the major arguments giving rise to those issues, and a proposed resolution (with critical responses) based on the value of bringing the controversy into the science classroom. The book's emphasis on public controversy as unfolding and ongoing argumentation sets a model for other scholars intent on offering nuanced, comprehensive, and engaged examinations of other areas of science and public conflict.
Lawrence J. Prelli
Associate Professor and Chair
Department of Communication
Horton Social Science Center
University of New Hampshire