Visiting Scientists Discuss Intelligent Design, Evolution
A pair of prominent scientists in the forefront of the debate
between intelligent design and evolutionary development will discuss
their theories during separate talks at Alma College.
Intelligent design advocate Michael Behe, professor of biochemistry at Lehigh University, speaks at 8 p.m. Monday, Feb. 5. Evolutionary advocate Sean B. Carroll, professor of molecular biology, genetics and medical evolutionary developmental biology at the University of Wisconsin in Madison, speaks at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 7.
Both talks take place in the Remick Heritage Center. Admission is free and open to the public.
“This is a chance for people to hear two first-rate thinkers and writers on the topics of intelligent design and evolutionary development,” said Brian Stratton, chair of religious studies at Alma College. “Michael Behe has become the preeminent spokesman on intelligent design in the scientific community, while Sean Carroll defends the theory of evolution. Both have written ground-breaking books on their subjects.”
Behe argues Charles Darwin’s theory of natural selection cannot account for biological structures that are “irreducibly complex.” Behe states that many molecular systems require many components, and that these systems could not function if any of the components were absent or different through the process of evolution. The presence of irreducibly complex systems reinforces the idea of an Intelligent Designer, which Behe says isn’t confined to a particular religion or religious belief.
In 1996, Behe published Darwin’s Black Box, a book that introduced his theory of irreducibly complex structures and problems with Darwinian evolution.
In addition to teaching biochemistry at Lehigh, Behe is a senior fellow of the Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture, which promotes intelligent design. He received his Ph.D. in biochemistry in 1978 from the University of Pennsylvania and worked for four years at the National Institute of Health on problems of DNA structure.
Carroll compares the developmental processes of different animals in an attempt to determine the ancestral relationship between organisms. Rather than relying only on fossil records and animal morphology to piece together how animals have evolved, Carroll’s research has centered on the genes that control animal body patterns and play major roles in the evolution of animal diversity.
He is the author of the 2006 book Endless Forms Most Beautiful: The New Science of Evo Devo and the Making of the Animal Kingdom. An investigator with the Howard Hughes Medical Institute at the University of Wisconsin, Carroll has authored and contributed to numerous scientific books, journal articles and studies.
Carroll has received the National Science Foundation Presidential Young Investigator Award, the Shaw Scientist Award of the Milwaukee Foundation, and numerous honorary lectureships. He also was elected a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was named as one of America's most promising leaders under 40 by Time Magazine in 1994.
Posted: Fri, January 26th, 2007 at 9:45AM