Thursday, December 01, 2005

Meeting Scott in Vienna

Vienna, Virginia, that is. Had a pleasant drive down I-66 to catch Eugenie Scott's presentation, mentioned yesterday. Genie spoke for close to two hours to an audience of roughly 125 people. She provided an excellent overview of the history of creationism and ID, discussed a few standard anti-evolution arguments, and mentioned a few of the important court decisions in this regard. The talk seemed to go over well. She had no trouble unloading the copies of her excellent book Evolution vs. Creationism.

One insight, attributed to Nick Matzke of the NCSE, that I found especially interesting was the following: The first use of the term Intelligent Design to refer to a scientific theory came in the book Of Pandas and People. That's intended as a high school biology text. How many scientific theories can you name whose first mention came in the form of a high school biology text? The usual procedure is for a scientific theory to be kicked around among scientists for a while, gradually gain acceptance via proven usefulness, and only then trickle down into the science texts.

I got to speak to Genie after the talk. Very exciting! We had met previously after some presentations she gave in Kansas (my former home) but it had been a while. It was also nice to meet the excellent people from The Alliance for Science. The organization for the event was flawless. I'd like to personally thank Dick Lessard both for letting me know about the talk, and for providing flawless driving directions for how to get there.

I also got to meet some actual living, breathing people who read my blog. Assuming that they are still reading (and that the reality behind the blog persona wasn't too disappointing), thanks for coming over to introduce yourselves. The pleasure was all mine.

An excellent evening all around.

3 Comments:

At 4:38 PM, Blogger Craig Pennington said...

"The first use of the term Intelligent Design to refer to a scientific theory came in the book Of Pandas and People. That's intended as a high school biology text. How many scientific theories can you name whose first mention came in the form of a high school biology text?"

My favorite bit was her answer to the inclination to be fair and include alternatives. After pointing out that what should be included in a pre-college introductory science curriculum is the scientific consensus; and pointing out that going from idea to scientific consensus takes a lot of hard work which the ID "theorists" have not done, she said "I think it's only fair that they do the damn hard work."

"I also got to meet some actual living, breathing people who read my blog (and that the reality behind the blog persona wasn't too disappointing), thanks for coming over to introduce yourselves. The pleasure was all mine."

You look taller in your posts. I enjoyed meeting you as well, so it's false to claim that the pleasure was all yours.

Cheers,
Craig

 
At 1:43 PM, Anonymous darthwilliam said...

Any science historians out there who can relate when other relatively recent scientifc theories were adopted in textbooks? eg, how long from relativities first published papers (1905) until it was in a textbook? How about plate tectonics - thats even more recent. Of course, all of these at least *had* peer-reviewed papers, ID hasn't even taken that step (and can't!)

...darth

 
At 6:41 PM, Anonymous Neil said...

Jason, all of us at the Alliance for Science who met you were very glad to have you attend. It's quite a long trek from Harrisonburg to Oakton; thank you for making the trip.

I've been enjoying your blog ever since Dick Lessard drew my attention to it.

Hope to see you again.

 

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