Wednesday, April 12, 2006
Intelligent Design and "Flock of Dodos"
Yesterday's New York Times included an article on one biologist's attempt to move the debate over intelligent design forward: "Eager to Tell the Stories of Science, a Biologist Evolves." This news story begins:
If a Harvard-trained evolutionary biologist makes a film about creationism's cousin, intelligent design, and calls it "Flock of Dodos," you know who he's talking about, right?
The biologist, Randy Olson, accepts that there is no credible scientific challenge to the theory of evolution as an explanation for the diversity and complexity of life on earth. He agrees that intelligent design's embrace of a supernatural "agent" puts it outside the realm of science. But when he watches the advocates of intelligent design at work, he sees pleasant people who speak plainly, convincingly and with humor. When scientists he knows talk about evolution, they can be dour, pompous and disagreeable, even with one another. His film challenges them to get off their collective high horse and make their case to ordinary people with — if they can muster it — a smile.
Otherwise, he suggests, they will end up in the collective cultural backwash just like the dodo.