Friday, May 06, 2005

Strange Views of ID Proponents

The sham hearings on evolution by the Kansas Board of Education have begun. Josh Funk reports on the first day in the Wichita Eagle. Unfortunately he doens't mention the strange views of the two star witnesses William Harris and Jonathon Wells.

Now if Harris was consistent, he would argue that high school science texts should make room for alternative theories like Christian science. He's the author of a "study" which pruports to scientifically show that prayer causes medical outcomes. Here's a critique of the Harris prayer study.

But Harris is mainstream compared to Jonathon Wells, a follower of Rev. Moon's cult. Ed Brayton has the dirt on his Dispatches from the Culture Wars blog.

One of the most prominent advocates of Intelligent Design Creationism is Jonathan Wells, author of Icons of Evolution. He has a PhD in molecular biology from Berkeley. Let me give you a textbook example of saying one thing to the public and another to one's fellow travelers. In the introduction to Icons of Evolution, Wells wrote:

During my years as a physical science undergraduate and biology graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley, I believed almost everything I read in my textbooks. I knew that the books contained a few misprints and minor factual errors, and I was skeptical of philosophical claims that went beyond the evidence, but I thought that most of what I was being taught was substantially true.
He claims this quite often, that he was an evolutionist all through grad school, but eventually he was convinced solely by the biological evidence that evolution was false. Now, what does he say to his fellow travelers? Quite the contrary:
Father's words, my studies, and my prayers convinced me that I should devote my life to destroying Darwinism, just as many of my fellow Unificationists had already devoted their lives to destroying Marxism. When Father chose me (along with about a dozen other seminary graduates) to enter a Ph.D. program in 1978, I welcomed the opportunity to prepare myself for battle.
The reference to "Father" in this is to none other than our friend, Reverend Moon. Yes, Wells is a Moonie. And as far back as 1976, he tells his fellow Moonies, he had already dedicated his life to "destroying Darwinism" at Moon's urging.

UPDATE I should have read the editorial page. Randy Schofield really nailed it.

First up was William Harris, a Kansas City ID supporter who expounded on the evolution of his religious faith. He began auspiciously by telling the audience that during his Ph.D. work in college he read the Bible and "my whole world changed."

Um, excuse me, but is this the science standards hearings or "The 700 Club"?

His credentials include being a leading researcher on fish oil supplements. He also, at Calvert's prodding, revealed that he was "part of a small rock and roll band."

Roll over, Darwin.

Calvert hovered over him, beaming like a proud headmaster as his star pupil rattled off answers about the atheistic evils of the Humanist Manifesto III, "philosophical naturalism" and other straw men.

He presented the DNA code as evidence of design. Who was this designer? Harris coyly refused to speak for science on this point, although he allowed that, "I believe it to be the God of the Bible."

on Wells

Jonathan Wells, the afternoon's star ID witness, is (scratch, scratch) a Moonie who once wrote that it was partly the Rev. Sun Myung Moon's religious dogma that prompted him to pursue a science Ph.D. and set out to "devote my life to destroying Darwinism."

But he echoed the other witnesses in admitting that intelligent design was a "young theory" that wasn't ready for classrooms.

"Most scientists disagree with me," he said flatly of his evolution criticisms.

So why is Kansas listening to him for advice on the state science standards?

Under questioning, ID looked less and less like a theory that was ready for prime time.

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