Thursday, May 13, 2004

Back to Normal On Tuesday I praised an article by Gregg Easterbrook, who once wrote a pro-ID op-ed for The Wall Street Journal. Yesterday I managed to praise a creationist science project turned in by two middle school students.

Since these two posts have left a bitter taste in my mouth, it's nice to be able to get back to normal with this article from the website CanadianChristianity.

They've been pounding the anti-evolution drum quite a bit recently. Have a look at this recent posting from Pharyngula, describing an anti-evolution interview that appeared at the same site. I would note that the author of the present article, David Dawes, is also the person who conducted that interview.

THE THEORY of evolution may be in big trouble, according to no less an authority than Charles Darwin.

This is rather too cute. Evolutionary science has progressed a bit since Darwin's day. Incidentally, the opening paragraphs of this article appear next to a picture of Charles Darwin. The caption reads “Evolution Theorist Charles Darwin”.

“If it could be demonstrated,” he once wrote, “that any complex organ existed which could not possibly have been formed by numerous, excessive, slight modifications, my theory would absolutely break down.”

The breaking down has begun, according to many critics of evolutionary theory -- who are more convinced than ever that Darwin's concept is destined for the slag heap of humanity's failed ideas.

It seems to me there's a bit of a concession here. The critics of evolutionary theory are described as “more convinced than ever”, which implies that their anti-evolutionism existed prior to whatever recent discoveries are about to be described. So it's not as if they had once been sympathetic to evolution, but recent discoveries persuaded them to abandon that view.

In recent years, science has made great strides in understanding the immense intricacies of various organisms. “Inside every human cell sits a tiny encoded DNA coil five-thousandths of a millimeter in diameter -- which, if unfolded, would be one meter long,” writes Jay Richards of the Discovery Institute, a Seattle-based non-profit education foundation. “Even Bill Gates has observed: 'DNA is like a computer program, but far, far more advanced than any software we've ever created.'”

“Darwin knew nothing of these things,” says Toronto-based Denyse O'Leary, author of the soon-to-be-published By Design or By Chance? “He was a clever man, but he had no idea what he was talking about. He lived and died before these wonders came to light.”

I love the line about Bill Gates. From the tone of the article, you'd think Gates was making some huge concession.

And it was very generous of Mr. O'Leary to concede that Darwin was clever. Since Darwin never discussed the inner workings of the cell in his writing, it's not clear what O'Leary has in mind in saying that Darwin didn't know what he was talking about. Why do I suspect that his forthcoming book will contain little that is worth reading?

Since the 1859 publication of Darwin's The Origin of Species, biblical creationism has been under fire and losing ground -- a process that escalated dramatically with the colorful 1925 Scopes 'Monkey Trial.'

I would say that biblical creationism was losing ground long before Darwin. In the early nineteenth century a number of geologists were uncovering evidence suggesting that the Earth was far older than the Bible suggests. As for the Scopes trial, its main result was that evolution was removed almost completely from school textbooks. The movie notwithstanding, the Scopes trial was hardly an unambiguous victory for evolution.

Most creationists now generally accept what they call 'micro-evolution' -- physical changes evolving within a single species -- as scientifically provable. However, they reject the Darwinian concept of 'macro-evolution' -- transformation from one species into another -- and its underlying assumption that life on earth has developed through a random, unguided process of countless small mutations over millions of years.

This is the familiar, phony creationist distinction. Suffice it to say that there is plenty of evidence for recent speciation events in nature, and lab experiments have shown that in many cases speciation can be achieved with only a handful of genetic changes.

At one time in North America, it was against the law to teach the theory of evolution. Now it is broadly unacceptable to teach, as scientific theory, anything but evolution as an explanation for the origins of the world and its inhabitants.

Evolution has become unquestioned scientific orthodoxy. In the process, attempts to link life's origins with anything beyond material causes have been written off as 'religious' -- and therefore, scientifically invalid.

But some observers believe evolutionary theory is on the defensive -- and slowly on the way out. The Intelligent Design (ID) movement is the chief weapon in this new offensive against Darwinism.

ID advocates generally do not address the Bible's creation account. Instead, they muster persuasive scientific arguments that the universe is intricately designed. The obvious implication is that, where there is a design, there is a transcendent Designer.

Do I detect a bit of nostalgia for the days when it was illegal to teach evolution?

Of course, the ID people may not agree that their theory implies a transcendent Designer. They routinely protest that we should take seriously the intelligent aliens theory.

As for the claim that Darwinism is on the way out - they have been making that claim for more than a decade. In fact, as far as I can tell, they make exactly the same arguments today as they made a decade ago.

One of the crucial ID concepts is “irreducible complexity.” Biochemist Michael Behe introduced the theory in a key ID book, Darwin's Black Box. Behe states that an irreducibly complex biological system, such as the human cell, is made up of well-matched and interdependent parts. To function properly, all the parts must be present at the same time, fully-formed and in the right combination. ID argues that it is impossible for the separate parts to develop in isolation from each other, accumulating their essential characteristics one by one over a period of time, and then accidentally fuse together as a perfectly working organism.

Darwinian evolution is increasingly being called into question because of ideas like irreducible complexity. Over the past two decades books promoting ID -- by authors such as Behe, Phillip Johnson, Jonathan Wells, Michael Denton and William Dembski -- have created a sensation in Christian intellectual circles.

Actually, irreducible complexity is the only crucial concept for ID, at least as applied to biology. Dembski may talk a lot about “Complex Specified Information”, but when it comes time to apply his ideas to biology he relies completely on Behe's writing.

Also, IC as described by Behe is not a theory. It is simply a term that he defined, coupled with the assertion that a system matching his description could not evolve gradually. That claim is false, of course.

I'm not sure what Christian intellectual circles the author has in mind, but it should be observed that there are plenty of mainstream Christians and Christian groups who want nothing to do with ID.

From here the article goes on to discuss various other perspectives on the legitimacy of ID. I'll respond to that part of the article in Sunday's post.

Wednesday, May 12, 2004

What to Make of This? When I first saw this story at the AgapePress website, I hoped it would turn out to be a huge exaggeration.

Two Maryland home schoolers were recently honored for winning the "Best Overall" project award at Lockheed Martin's “Space Day” competition.

Fifth-grader Grant and seventh-grader Samantha Foster from Germantown finished first place in their age group for the “Space Trek” design challenge. In their project, the Fosters put forth a creationist view of the solar system and wrote about their fictional journey in search of the Oort Cloud (the alleged “nursery of comets”). After researching the Answers In Genesis website, they realized the Oort Cloud did not exist because the universe is less than 10,000 years old.

Maybe it would turn out out that while the students were, in fact, creationists, that fact played no role in their project. I mean, there just had to be more to the story, right?

Apparently not. From what I've been able to learn so far it appears that this story is straight up. You can learn more about the Lockheed Martin Space Day program here. An excerpt:

Since its launch in 1997, the Space Day educational initiative, which takes place on the first Thursday of each May, has evolved into a massive grassroots effort dedicated to the extraordinary achievements, benefits and opportunities in the exploration and use of space. The ultimate goal is to promote math, science, technology and engineering education by nurturing young peoples' enthusiasm for the wonders of the universe and inspiring them to continue the stellar work of today's space explorers.

Here's a brief description of the task the students had to fulfill:

Exploring a new place is the ultimate adventure. You would be the first person to see, smell, hear, touch, and even taste a new environment. Like other great explorers, you would need to record everything you experienced. Lewis and Clark, who explored the Louisiana Purchase territory, kept detailed journals of their expeditions that included stories of hardship and extraordinary finds, descriptions of the landscape, maps, drawings of animals, portraits of people around them, even samples of dried plants.

The Challenge
Design an electronic journal about a planet, moon, comet, or asteroid in our solar system that you choose to explore. Include your expedition plans, as well as several daily entries about exploring this new environment.

Further details can be found here.

The winning team described an expedition to the comet Chiron. The materials they put together as part of their winning entry are available here. Part of their entry involved writing three short stories describing the adventures of their explorers. It is the second of the three, available here, that contains the creationist content. Here's an excerpt.

The rest of the team was on a weekend break. They were out floating around in space. I had to stay behind to look after the ship. Tomorrow Cadence would take over for me for a while so I could get a chance to get a break.

That was really nice of her, since she had been an enemy with me from the beginning. I tried to be friends with her but she wouldn’t have anything to do with a Christian. She’s very into evolution. That’s the only reason why she wants to go to space, to prove the Oort Cloud theory. Which is almost the same reason I want to go to space as well, but I want to disprove the Oort Cloud theory.

In theory, comets are only supposed to live to be a few thousand years old. Again, in theory, the universe is supposed to be 4.8 billion years old. So if comets live only to be a few thousand years old and the universe is WAY older than that there should be no more comets right? Wrong. Scientists suggest that there is this cloud out in deep space called the Oort Cloud. This cloud is supposed to spit out new comets every so often.

Instead, if thinking that there’s something way out in deep space that nobody has ever seen spitting out new comets for us at just the right times, wouldn’t it make more sense to think that the universe is less than 10,000 years old and that’s why comets are still alive? I thought so.

One day Cadence came up to me and asked, “So you don't believe in evolution, right?”

“Right. Why do you ask?”

“Well, I was just wondering what your stance was on the Oort Cloud Theory.”

“That thing doesn’t exist. If it did, that would mean the universe is 4.8 billion years old, which it isn't.”

“Don't you believe in the Big Bang Theory?”

“Kind of… God said 'let there be' and BANG! there was.” Cadence scowled at me as I continued, “Why can't we just believe that God created the universe and everything in it?”

“Because there is no God. He’s just a fictitious character in a book. Somebody just made him up because he felt the need to have somebody rule over him and tell him what to do.”

Not very subtle. Want to guess whether our courageous explorers found the elusive Oort cloud?

This could be a major discovery! I went back to my bunk and grabbed my digital camera. It was the newest one and just 2'' x 1'' and it was only ½ an inch thick. I took shots of the space where the cloud would be if it were there. I had discovered the absence of the Oort Cloud! Well, actually Jason had, but I was still very exited!

This was an important piece of evidence in this battle between Creationists and Evolutionists that could bring thousands to know the Lord. I would have some hard solid evidence to show all the evolutionists and to give to today's Christian scientists who are struggling with other non-believing scientists to prove a point. I hit my knees right there and gave thanks to the Lord and said a silent prayer for Cadence.

Naming their lead character Jason does rather add insult to injury.

Anyway, the winners certainly can not be accused of concealing their sympathies.

After a fair amount of browsing on the Space Day website, I managed to find the criteria on which the stories were judged:

All three stories:

  • Are extremely well-written
    and organized.

  • Have very well-developed

  • Have well-developed

  • Have great use of dialog.

  • Contain science and
    space facts that are very
    effectively incorporated
    into the stories.

And therein lies the interesting part. I haven't seen the other entries, so I don't know what they were competing against. But considering that this story was written by a seventh grader, I must say I'm impressed. It certainly scores well in organization, plot, dialogue, and characters. Obviously I would not have chosen to cast the creationist in a favorable light, and cast the evolutionist as the humorless dogmatist, but surely that is an editorial decision.

Which brings us to the final criterion. Though I would quibble with the tone and some of the phrasing, the fact is that I can find no serious factual errors in this story.

Here's an excerpt from Wikipedia's entry on the Oort cloud:

The Oort cloud (sometimes called the Öpik-Oort Cloud) is a postulated spherical cloud of comets situated about 50,000 to 100,000 AU from the sun (approximately 1000 times the distance from the Sun to Pluto); with an inner disk at the ecliptic from the Kuiper belt. Although no direct observations have been made of such a cloud, it is believed to be the source of most or all comets entering the inner solar system (some short-period comets may come from the Kuiper belt), based on observations of the orbits of comets.

In 1932 Ernst Öpik, an Estonian astronomer, proposed that comets originate in an orbiting cloud situated at the outermost edge of the solar system. In 1950 the idea was revived and proposed by Dutch astronomer Jan Oort to explain an apparent contradiction: comets are destroyed by several passes through the inner solar system, yet if the comets we observe had existed since the origin of the solar system, all would have been destroyed by now. According to the theory, the Oort cloud contains millions of comet nuclei, which are stable because the sun's radiation is weak at their distance. The cloud provides a continual supply of new comets, replacing those that are destroyed.

I think my creationism-hating credentials are pretty solid, but it looks to me like the students here did an impressive job. I congratulate them on their victory.

Tuesday, May 11, 2004

Easterbrook on Global Warming It pains me to endorse anything Gregg Easterbrook has written, since he once wrote a pro-ID op-ed for The Wall Street Journal. However, this essay about the miserable science in the forthcoming movie The Day After Tomorrow, is worth a read. Here's an excerpt:

Preposterous Hollywood mistreatment of global-warming science is about to return in the movie The Day After Tomorrow, a big-budget disaster flick that premieres Memorial Day weekend. Directed by the guy who did the big-budget sci-fi disaster flick Independence Day, the new being promoted as based on science. Will this have the backfire effect of making the real and troubling science of artificial global warming seem like science fiction?

In The Day After Tomorrow, climate change caused by artificial greenhouse-gas accumulation initiates a preposterous instant planet-wide calamity. Enormous mega-tornadoes larger than any ever actually observed in nature appear from nowhere to level the city of Los Angeles. Hail larger than any ever actually observed in nature smashes Tokyo to ruins. The Antarctic ice sheets melt essentially instantaneously, creating a global tsunami that floods the world's coastal cities. Then, just three days after the instantaneous melting of the ice caps, an instantaneous ice age hits northern latitudes, freezing the seawater that flooded coastal cities and leaving Manhattan under an instant glacier.

Devotees of bad movie science may recall that Independence Day was the movie whose opening scene shows an especially evil spaceship flying over the moon. As it flies past, its vibrations cause the dust on the moon to obscure the footprints left by Neil Armstrong. I kid you not. I suppose that since these were evil vibrations, they were able to jump the vacuum between the ship and the moon.

The situation is this: The Bush administration denies that global warming exists. Hollywood presents a global warming scenario so ludicrous, a child should see through it. Is there anyone who gives a damn about good science?

Monday, May 10, 2004

Open for Comments! I have finally gotten around to enabling the comments section of EvolutionBlog. So let me know what you think!

Er, as an opening comment perhaps someone more net-savvy than me can tell me how to change the font-size of the word “Comments”. It seems a bit large as it stands. Thanks in advance.

Curriculum Developments There have been a number of developments on the curriculum front. Thanks to Stranger Fruit for providing some of these links.

A while back I reported on the travails of Darby, Montana, which was debating whether to adopt an “objective origins” policy in their science classes. Of course, “objective origins” is creationese for “biased in favor of our own idiosyncratic religious beliefs”. Happily, the good people of Darby voted out the chief backer of this policy, and elected an opponent of the policy. You can get the full story here. Here's an excerpt:

Darby school board voters, clearly weary of a rancorous battle over a controversial science policy, swept incumbent trustee chairwoman Gina Schallenberger out of office Tuesday and replaced her with a new trustee opposed to the so-called "objective origins" policy.

Erik Abrahamsen, whose campaign included his opposition to the policy, was elected to the board along with incumbent Bob Wetzsteon. Wetzsteon and Abrahamsen pummeled Schallenberger and a fourth candidate, Robert House, who had hitched his campaign to Schallenberger's, supporting objective origins.

Alas, the victory might be short-lived. AgapePress is reporting that two candidates for the Republican nomination for governor are running on platforms that include teaching creationism. That story is available here:

A candidate for governor of Montana is voicing support for the teaching of creationism in public schools.

The Darby School Board recently adopted an “objective origins” science policy that allows criticisms of the theory of evolution to be taught in district schools. It is a move that has generated increasing discussion in Montana over the creation/evolution debate.

Former state senator Ken Miller, who is now seeking the governorship of Montana, believes teaching of creation in the classroom should be basic and should not include biblical scripture verses. He feels it is important that information about creationism be presented scientifically so that students and their parents can make a fully informed comparison between it and Darwinism.

“If we're going to present the theory of evolution,” Miller says, “then we also need to present the theory of creationism and then allow both of them to be presented to the children. And then they with their parents [can] decide what they believe to be true and what they want in their lives.”

What Miller is promoting here is the “equal time” approach, which was found unconstitutional by the Supreme Court in 1987. In that case, “creationism” referred to the young-Earth version. It is possible that Miller has something less extreme in mind, in which case it might manage to pass constitutional muster.

Arizona is also gearing up for a fight, as reported here:

Teaching science is back on the classroom agenda, and along with it comes the debate over teaching the theory of evolution.

Scientists say it is not the kind of argument Arizona should be engaging in if it wants to attract national attention as a hub of biotechnology research.

Dozens of scientists and teachers are poring over Arizona's science standards, which haven't been updated since 1998. The exercise is an important one because it is meant to prepare students for a new statewide AIMS science test by 2008.

But revisiting the standards has reopened the controversy over how to teach evolution without stepping on beliefs that God, or even several Gods, created the world and human beings.

The article's next paragraph deserves some comment:

Scientists say the evolution theory that started with Charles Darwin's monkey-to-man premise and the fossil record of an old and evolving planet is the same one that is at work when researchers learn how bacteria evolve into drug-resistant strains. It is even at work when a new type of dog is created through selective breeding.

Charles Darwin's “monkey-to-man premise” could be more accurately described as his “recent common ancestry of apes and man conclusion”. I love the writer's tone of child-like fascination that selective breeding of dogs and drug-resistant bacteria have anything to do with evolution.

The article also contains this interesting paragraph:

Meanwhile, some science teachers who are also people of faith struggle with their classroom objectives.

Willie Longreed is a Stanford University-trained scientist who teaches at Tuba City High School and also believes in the traditional Navajo religion, which says that many Gods, called The Holy People, created the world and humans.

Longreed also is a member of the committee that's working on the latest set of science standards. He calls evolution theory the crux of the biological sciences, and every day walks among its evidence of fossils, ancient footprints and the timeline found in stratified rocks.

Longreed calls science "observation," which he teaches in the classroom, and his faith "all assumption," which he "tiptoes around" when teaching. As for his personal peace, Longreed said he has found a balance between the two, having faith in The Holy People but also having faith in antibiotics, which the theory of evolution helped to produce.

Said Longreed: "You have to hear both sides of the issue and fit yourself in."

Creationists routinely pretend that our only choices are Darwin's theory of evolution and the creation story of Genesis. They conveniently ignore the fact that many religions have creation stories. Once we open the door to non-scientific theories in science classrooms, it doesn't end with Genesis.

Finally, Pharyngula has this encouraging post about developments in Minnesota:

Our state senate voted down an attempt to modify the science education standards with an amendment authored by the Intelligent Design creationist wing of the Republican party. The amendment was the same as the one approved by the House a while back.

This is good news, but we’re not done yet. The House and Senate versions of the science standards still need to be reconciled, and now everything moves into backroom conference committees. Let’s hope Senator Steve Kelley can keep doing his good work on this matter.

Incidentally, as recent developments in Montana and Minnesota once again illustrate, teaching creationism in science classes is entirely a Republican fetish. I don't know of a single instance where a Democrat has instigated or supported such a policy.

Sunday, May 09, 2004

The Relentless Stupidity of Creationists Don't miss this magnificent post from Panda's Thumb contributor Andrea Bottaro. It discusses a recent posting at the IDEA center website. IDEA is an acronym for Intelligent-Design and Evolution Awareness. They organize student clubs at high schools and colleges across the country. To see the absurdity of this try to imagine a theory of relativity club.

One of the great frustrations of dealing with ID folks is that they don't make even the slightest bit of effort to get their basic facts right. All that matters is the illusion of scientific legitmamcy. For example, one of the biomolecular systems ID people have seized on as showing evidence of design is the human blood clotting cascade. It was a poor choice, since actually rather a lot is known about the evolution of blood clotting. Much of the pioneering work on this subject was done by Russell Doolittle. The IDEA folks devote some space to discrediting Doolittle's work, writing:

The essence of Doolittle’s response was to proclaim nothing more than homology between various proteins in the blood clotting cascade… This was the essence of Doolittle’s response to Behe: the blood clotting cascade proteins are similar (to varying degrees), therefore they must have evolved from one-another via duplication and co-optation. This mere sequence similarity, nothing less, and nothing more, formed the basis for Doolittle’s belief that the irreducibly complex blood clotting cascade could evolve. There was no discussion of intermediate stages showing how stepwise modifications in the current pathway could have been reversed back to a more simple stage. This is what graduate students were taught in a seminar directly intended to rebut the claims of Behe.

Accompanyig this assertion was a diagram showing the degree of protein similarity between the four proteins comprising hemoglobin and a fifth protein called myopin. This diagram bore the label

Above we see 5 proteins involved in the blood clotting cascade, arranged in a tree simply according to their percent sequence similarity.

Impressively scientific, no? There's just one problem. Hemoglobin and myobin have absolutely nothing to do with blood clotting. Here's Bottaro's reply:

I wasn’t at Doolittle’s seminar, but I have every reason to believe that the FAQ author wasn’t either, or if he/she was, he/she wasn’t paying much attention, because the figure shows a phylogenetic tree of hemoglobins, which are proteins involved in oxygen and CO2 transport, and have absolutely nothing to do with blood clotting. There are also 5 other errors (!) in the figure (2 obvious, 3 less so), but I’ll leave it to the readers to identify them (first one to get them all right wins a virtual pint at the PT virtual pub). (Emphasis in Original)

Now, Doolittle’s argument may have sounded unconvincing to an ID faithful, but two things are almost certain: he didn’t claim that hemoglobins are involved in blood clotting, and his argument did not rest simply on protein similarity. Several reviews of the evolution of the blood clotting cascade, including one by Doolittle himself, have appeared in the last couple of years - regardless of the original Doolittle seminar contents, certainly enough time for the FAQ author to get acquainted with the data [1]. In fact, the blood clotting cascade has been essentially ignored in recent ID literature, perhaps because of the accumulating evidence for evolutionary precursors and overall evolutionary plasticity of the clotting system in various vertebrates, as discussed in the references above. Recent evidence has linked the appearance of some duplicated gene pairs (those for clotting factors IX and X, V and VIII, respectively) to a global genome duplication that is thought to have occurred right before the emergence of jawed vertebrates (sharks, bony fish, and land vertebrates). If this is correct, jawless vertebrates (or agnathans, like lampreys and hagfish) would be expected to display simplified cascades containing a reduced set of these components. Indeed, although jawless fish gene data are still partial, of the major clotting components only thrombin, fibrinogen, and 3 members of the FVII/FIX/FX/protein C family have been identified so far. The origin of the FV/FVIII duplicated pair is also thought to likely date to the same whole genome duplication, and the search for their agnathan precursor is ongoing. As the jawless fish gene catalog becomes more complete, it will be interesting to see whether these predictions will be borne out.

Bottaro has many more observations of a similar bent. He also has all the necessary links to the original post.

Facts mean nothing to creationists.

New Edition of ID Textbook Most scientific theories have to go through an extensive period of testing and review before they are given pride of place in school textbooks. The idea is to wait until a theory proves its worth before presenting it to students.

The downside of this approach is that a theory that fails every empirical test and makes no contribution to science will never be presented to students. That especially sucks if your theory exists for the sole purpose of indoctirnating impressionable teenagers. All of which helps to explain why ID proponents have decided to skip the step where their theory has to earn some grudging acceptance from the scientific community and have gone straight to the texbook writing stage instead.

Over a decade ago the first (and only) ID textbook was published, entitled Of Pandas and People. A team of ID writers, including Michael Behe and William Dembski, have published a new, thoroughly updeated, edition of this hoary tribute to ignorance and intellectual cowardice. The table of contents, preface, and afterword of the book are available in PDF format here.

The brazen dishonesty gets started right in the first paragraph of the preface:

A decade has passed since Of Pandas and People's second edition appeared in print. Written by Percival Davis and Dean Kenyon, this book was the first intelligent design textbook. In fact, it was the first place where the phrase “intelligent design” appeared in its present use. Since the second edition of Pandas, intelligent design (or ID as it is now abbreviated) has gone from a small and marginalized protest against Darwinian evolution to a comprehensive intellectual program for reconceptualizing biology. Ten years ago intelligent design consisted mainly of sporadic criticisms of Darwinism and offered only vague glimmers of what a positive science of intelligent design might entail. Since then, intelligent design has laid the foundations for a general biology whose fundamental organizing principle is intelligent agency and not blind natural forces.

Actually, ID is still a small and marginalized protest against Darwinian evolution. That is all it will ever be among scientists. And if they have actualy laid a foundation for a positive science of ID, I have seen no trace of it. If such a foundation were really in place they would be spending their time doing science and producing results. Instead they spend their time writing textbooks and lying to nonscientists.

The authors go on to write:

The impact of intelligent design is being felt both in the scientific community and in the culture at large. Front page stories in major
newspapers like the New York Times are giving intelligent design respectful treatment (in their science section no less). Television dramas, movies, and popular novels are exploring the theme of intelligent design. And of course, intelligent design is being fiercely debated throughout the academic world. Consequently, it is high time to issue a revised and expanded edition of Pandas that reflects the progress of intelligent design over the last ten years.

There is not a science department in the country that is having a serious debate about the worth of ID. Their respectful treatment from The New York Times consists of a single, bemused but not overtly hostile article three years ago. Conspicuously absent from the Times, or any other publication, is any report on the progress ID folks are making in revolutionizing biology.

It will be interesting to see if any but a handful of conservative Christian colleges adopt this book.