Tuesday, December 29, 2009

A biology graduate student reacts to Eugenie Scott

Student post by Kelli Upton, in response to Eugenie Scott’s recent talk at Fresno State.
            Dr. Scott, although I was previously unaware, is a highly regarded advocate of evolution and for keeping intelligent design out of schools.  As the director of the National Center for Science Education, she has mastered handling interrogation from opposing sides of her argument. This was evident when members of the community confronted her on issues after the seminar. She only slipped a few times as far as I’m concerned, with being too condescending. Even though a self-described young-earth creationist applauded Dr. Scott for her continuum from creation to evolution, I thought that this continuum had the sole purpose of tying intelligent design proponents with ridiculous movements such as “flat earthers.” I believe that arguments made from creationists like Michael Behe etc., including arguments of irreducible complexity, are helpful in that they force us to investigate further into what the scientific community has already accepted as a reality. They also give us tools to provide better evidence against intelligent design. The dichotomy that Dr. Scott suggests we so desperately need to reject is only made more distinct when scientists are demeaning towards the other side. The way evolution is taught by some on this campus is exactly as such. In actuality, it would do a young scientist good to learn creationist/intelligent design points of view so that we are able to have constructive conversations with one another and not alienate people from science. Although this information should be pursued outside of the classroom, it would no doubt be helpful when inevitable debate pops up during class discussion.  Overall, I believe Dr. Scott did a nice job of conveying this and I think the take home message was that scientists cannot account for the supernatural and therefore only the natural world should be considered when studying science. I was enthralled with her presentation and it was a real treat to have her on campus. I look forward to reading some of her work.


Brad December 29, 2009 at 10:47 AM  

As someone who learned young-earth creationism in Bible study and later replaced that with intelligent design, and then accepted standard evolutionary theory, I can see both points. (and yes, I realize how unballsy it is to say that)

There is a huge gap between YEC and ID, in terms of the claims that are made, but the underlying spirit is the same, in the sense that it is a reaction against anything that brings mankind closer to an animal-like status. But frankly, ID is an enormous improvement on its predecessor; it's proponents are more amenable to open dialog in my experience, and its tenets are much easier to compartmentalize.

So I guess what I'm trying to say is that you make a good point. Condescension—in the form of conflation—could easily drive smart and relatively open-minded people away from biological studies. GOOD JOB KELLI IM SO PROUD OF U

Brad Kroeker


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