Faith & Social Justice: In the spirit of Richard Overton and the 17th C. Levellers

Evolution, I.D. & NOVA

UPDATE: Reminder that this is tomorrow on most PBS stations. Check local listings. Update: Wed. For those in the KY area who missed this on Tues. night on KET 1 (like me because a vandal cut my cable!), take heart: It will be shown on KET 2 tonight (14 November 2007) @ 9. p.m. EST! So, I will get to see this after all!

If you have been following the discussion on creation, evolution, and “intelligent design,” you will be interested in an upcoming episode of the Public Broadcasting program Nova.  On 13 Nov. ’07 @ 8 p.m. on most U.S. PBS stations, Nova will air the episode, “Judgment Day: Intelligent Design on Trial.”  This refers to the recent Kitzmiller v. Dover case in PA in which public school science teachers fought the school board over being forced to give “equal time” to I.D. in science classrooms.  The teachers won.  The Nova episode will interview Philip Johnson, the attorney who is considered the “father of Intelligent Design.” (This characterization is not really fair.  Johnson, whom I met several years ago, is a strong popularizer or “evangelist” for I.D.  But the promoters with the scientific credentials are Michael J. Behe of Lehigh University and author of Darwin’s Black Box and Paul Chien of the University of San Francisco.  They are joined by the conservative Christian philosophers, William A. Dembski; J. P. Moreland; William Lane Craig; J. Budziszewski.) It also interviews Dr. Ken Miller, biologist at Brown University who was one of the expert witnesses for evolution at the trial.  You get to hear excerpts from Judge John Jones’ (a very conservative judge appointed by Pres. George W. Bush who, nonetheless, concluded that I.D. was a theistic philosophy rather than science and, therefore, it was unconstitutional to teach it in science classrooms of public schools–since that would be to violate the no-establishment clause of the 1st Amendment) ruling and 7 experts define science and its differences from religion and why Intelligent Design does not qualify as science.  One can also find how many of Darwin’s predictions continue to be confirmed 150 years later and examine fossil evidence of transitional species that “fill the gaps” that I.D. claims cannot exist–because a key claim of I.D. is that certain complex features are so “irreducibly complex” that no intermediary development can exist since they only become useful when fully developed–but the fossil record proves otherwise.

No matter what side of this debate one takes, this looks to be an excellent episode. I know I’ll be watching and taking notes!


November 12, 2007 - Posted by | science & faith


  1. Wouldn’t be unconstitutional then for high school science teachers to teach that evolution disproves theism?

    Comment by Thom Stark | November 8, 2007

  2. Yes, Thom, it would. It would also be FALSE for any such teachers to make such a claim. Science qua science does not deal with ultimate matters like God. It cannot rule on theism one way or the other. Atheistic scientists like Richard Dawkins are not always aware of this, but when they write in defense of atheism they are no longer speaking as scientists, but merely as atheistic philosophers.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | November 8, 2007

  3. Right. That’s clear. I don’t know, I did High School in Australia. I don’t know what the climate’s really like here. But I would imagine the overwhelming impression in the classroom would be that science is presenting evidence against religion.

    Comment by Thom Stark | November 9, 2007

  4. UPDATE: Reminder that this is tomorrow on most PBS stations. Check local listings.

    Wow, I thought that “this” was today…

    Comment by Dan Trabue | November 13, 2007

  5. I was able to catch most of the show last night and I thought they did a great job of capturing the essential elements of the argument as well as the importance of the trial. I learned a few things.

    Comment by Mike L. | November 14, 2007

  6. Well, I missed it since someone cut my cable (now restored, as you can see by this message)! I hope they replay it.

    Comment by Michael Westmoreland-White | November 14, 2007

  7. FYI… It looks like they are going to make it available online.

    Comment by Mike L. | November 15, 2007

  8. […] PBS Nova Special on Evolution and “Intelligent Design.” (This is TV at its best. Every church should order a copy and watch it as a way to start discussion.) […]

    Pingback by Index of Posts on Creation and Evolution « Levellers | July 14, 2008

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