Can the hold that Intelligent Design theorists have in America be broken by the evolutionists? Professor Michael Ruse, a leading American evolutionist, makes the case for Darwin in The Annual Robert Grant Lecture, "Darwin or Design? Reporting from the front lines of America's struggle over evolution", at the Grant Museum for Zoology at UCL (University College London) on 16th November.
In his public lecture, Professor Ruse, Florida State University, will argue that Intelligent Design and creationism are closely allied belief systems and that their theories have no basis in science. And yet, the state of Kansas has decreed that Intelligent Design theory can be taught in their science classes and the teaching of Darwin's theory of evolution has been banned from many schools across America.
Professor Ruse said: "I think creationism is a part of a bigger movement to a conservative evangelical Christianity world view -- I don't think we evolutionists have been as responsive as we should have been."
But, Professor Ruse is sure that the evolutionists are right - because the scientific evidence is "overwhelming". Professor Ruse said: "Creationism is not science; it is protestant Christianity of an American variety being tarted up to look like science."
He added: "There is massive evidence of natural selection leading to evolution. Today if you have an infection you need massive amounts of penicillin compared to that needed in the 1940s. The simple reason is that the bugs you are fighting have evolved."
Commenting on whether this turn towards the Intelligent Design world view could hit the UK too, Professor Ruse (whose book The Evolution-Creation Struggle was published in June by Harvard University Press) said: "Well it could do, but generally in Britain people do not care about religion in the way that Americans do -- that is what makes Tony Blair such an anomaly -- one generally does not get public figures who wear their religion on their sleeves like he does."
The lecture series, organised by the Grant Museum of Zoology at UCL, has a tradition of addressing topical scientific issues. The museum was renamed nine years ago in honour of its founder Robert Grant, a Darwinist, who opened it in 1828. On the day of the relaunch, the first "Annual Robert Grant Lecture" was given by the palaeontologist, Steven J Gould.
This year's lecture promises to be just as topical as the first. Dr Helen Chatterjee, Curator of the Grant Museum of Zoology at UCL, said: "This lecture is particularly pertinent at a time when 11 parents from Pennsylvania will take their local school board to trial over the introduction of Intelligent Design into the school's curriculum. The outcome of that will surely go down in the history books."
Source: Eurekalert & others
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