Past Event

Café Society: Where Did We Come From? The Debate over Intelligent Design

In 1802, William Paley published the watchmaker analogy to support the idea that an organism’s complexity is evidence fo”5{ a cosmic designer. He stated that if a person found a pocket watch in a field, one would conclude that it was a product of human design not natural processes because of the complexity of the object. In 1859, with the publication of the Origin of the Species, Darwin presented the theory of evolution by natural selection. His treatise has come to dominate the scientific community’s understanding of our origins and is widely regarded as the most important unifying concept in biology.

However, throughout the past two centuries and into this new millienium, opposition to the concept of evolution persisted. Today the concept of intelligent design (I.D.) is the subject of much debate. It’s proponents claim that overlooked scientific observations and mathematical theory seriously questions evolutionary theory and conclude that the complexity of living creatures are designed by a higher being.

One of the current stages for this debate is the public school system. Advocates of I.D. are challenging many states to include it in the science curriculum of schools. Given that the majority of the public supports the teaching of creationism along with evolution in schools (68 percent cited in 1999 Gallup poll) and the scientific justification mapped out by I.D. supporters, why are states so resistant to teaching I.D. in classrooms?

Is intelligent design the theory we have been searching for to ultimately reconcile the divide between science and faith? Are I.D. theorists misrepresenting evolution? Is Darwinian theory beyond dispute or are their gaps in understanding and evidence that are yet unaccounted for? Is this debate about science or about religion and philosophy?

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For more informaiton, please contact Kristin Millikan at 312.422.5580.