I'd like to welcome you all to Case Western Reserve
My name is Patricia Princehouse, and this event
has evolved on its own.
It was originally going to be a debate,
but that hasn't worked out, so we
are very happy to present a talk by Ken Miller, entitled
The Collapse of Intelligent Design,
Will the Next Monkey Trial be in Ohio?
And before we get under way here,
I'd like to introduce Reverend George
Murphy, if he could come up.
He's just going to give us a little blessing here.
Dr. Murphy has a PhD In Physics and is also
a Lutheran minister.
And he is a Pastoral Associate at St. Paul's in Akron.
Let us pray.
God, we're gathered here to consider some very important
issues about life, about our society,
about your role in the world.
We pray that we would be guided to have
your wisdom and your insight, so that we
can consider these issues with humility, but also
with the knowledge that you want us to seek the truth.
I guess I'm next.
I want to thank Patricia for inviting me here.
I want to thank especially Reverend Murphy
for that wonderful prayer, which I was very pleased to join in,
and I want to thank all of you for coming.
We live in interesting times, which
will be repeated theme of what I will talk about tonight.
I figured many of you in the audience
are people who know me or have heard me speak before.
It's nice to see you again.
For those of you who don't know me,
I thought I would introduce myself.
I'm a cell biologist.
I work at Brown University which is in Providence, Rhode Island.
I work on the structure and function
of biological membranes.
A lot of my work is with the electron microscope,
and we try to work on assemblies and channels
in biological membranes.
In a sense, as a researcher, that's one of my jobs.
Another of my jobs is that of a teacher.
I'm able to be here today because we're
My spring classes start on January 26.
And in the fall, I teach an upper level course
in cell and molecular biology.
In the spring, I teach a freshman biology course
which is the largest single class at my university.
How big is the class?
That's not my class.
Those are my teaching assistants.
That'll give you some idea as to how big the class is.
I'm very happy to see a large number of young people
in the room.
And I want to let all of you know,
all of the young people especially,
that you may already know me and you may not like me.
And the reason for that is, if when you were in high school
you used any of these books for high school biology,
I wrote them.
So I apologize in advance for your experiences
or for the back-breaking strain of carrying these guys around
in your backpack.
A couple of years ago, I wrote a book on evolution and religion
called Finding Darwin's God, which
I expected to be a nice little book that would be tucked away
on library shelves and pretty much forgotten,
although I was sure it would make my mother very proud.
To my absolute astonishment, this book
is now in its 23rd printing in paperback
and has proven, in the words of my editor at Harper Collins,
to be a bit of a classic on the issue.
And if you are interested in issues of evolution
and religion, I'd very humbly suggest
that you might find the book interesting.
The subtitle is A Scientist's Search for Common Ground
Between God and Evolution.
Very often when I go out and talk on this issue,
I focus on religious aspects.
I'd be very happy to answer questions along those lines,
but tonight I'm going to focus on the issue
of intelligent design, especially as it relates
or might relate to Ohio.
As I said in the beginning, we live in interesting times.
I think one way to think about that
is to go back into what is now ancient history.
In 1999, the Board of Education of the State of Kansas
deleted all mention of evolution from the State's science
They did that because they regarded evolution
either as shaky science or as threatening
to the personal beliefs of students and their parents.
What happened afterwards, I think, is remarkable.
The voters of Kansas had about a year to think about this.
And in the summer of 2000, they voted
most of that board out of office and elected
a new pro-science majority to the board.
If you're applauding for that, then you should probably
boo for the elections in 2004.
And what happened that summer was
that an anti-science or anti-evolution majority of 6
to 4 gained control of the Kansas board,
and in a little bit I will show you
what they have been doing in the past year
to science standards in Kansas.
I spent almost a week that summer in Kansas,
actually campaigning for pro-science candidates.
I actually expect to do that this summer in Kansas.
And the New York Times, when they wrote up
this on the front page of the Week in Review,
were kind enough to mention me, take a couple of quotes
from what I talked about, and also mentioned
the title of my book.
What happened the next day was remarkable.
Whatever you think about people who read the New York Times,
they buy books.
On Monday morning, a friend of mine called me up and said,
have you looked at the best seller list on Amazon?
I said no.
He said just look at it.
My book was number 21 on the best seller
list, sandwiched directly between Clancy and Grisham.
It was very exciting.
It only lasted 11 or 12 hours, but I enjoyed it very much.
And of course, for those of you who are interested,
I very helpfully placed the ISBN number up there on the slide.
One of the things that I have found,
not always but from time to time going around and debating
people on the issue of evolution, which
is after all what I expected might take place tonight,
is that debaters on this issue claim
to lead a purely scientific movement.
And the pictures you see up here are
from a debate in which I participated
about three years ago in Columbus in front
of the Ohio Board of Education.
And the topic at that time was whether intelligent design
should be included in the curriculum of Ohio Public
Now one of the things that's striking
about this is this purely scientific movement
attracts an awful lot of support which
is not necessarily scientific.
And I want to show you a picture that
was taken outside the auditorium in Columbus on the way in.
And this gentleman here was in the business of telling me
and other people exactly where we would spend eternity
if we were foolish enough to take
the side of Charles Darwin.
It's very clear that this is an issue that arouses very strong
and very strongly felt religious feelings.
And you might ask yourself, why is that?
Why, for example, is evolution under attack?
Biology is a field that has many disciplines.
And if you were going to take one thing out of the biology
curriculum, why would you take out evolution?
What's special about that?
I mean, why not take out cell biology or physiology,
or for God sakes, why not organic chemistry?
I can see we have the makings of a popular movement.
And I apologize in advance for any chemists
who might be in the audience.
It's a cheap shot.
I realize that.
But what's the reason?
The reason opponents of evolution
will often say is because evolution
is very shaky science, and we want to get the science right.
But if you go to a website, such as Answers in Genesis, which
is the leading anti-evolution organization in the United
States, you'll find a very different set of reasons.
And I invite you to take a look at this graphic.
Evolution is depicted as the foundation
of lawlessness, homosexuality, pornography, and abortion.
Not just that it's wrong, but it is the source
of all of these bad things.
Whereas creationism is the source of a lot of good things.
Now if this is not graphic enough for you,
I've got another one that I think will help.
And this is also from Answers in Genesis.
And I show this, not because I want to make fun of it,
but because I want to make a deadly serious point.
And I like to show this to academic audiences
because academic audiences often think this really
is an argument about science.
And they say, how about if we did this experiment?
How about if we showed them this fossil?
How about if we did this in the laboratory?
Would that convince them?
Well, take a look at this.
If you regard evolution as the foundation of divorce,
pornography, abortion, racism, and all this other bad stuff,
whether it's right or not in the scientific sense
doesn't matter, because it is the source of everything that
is wrong and evil in society.
And what I love about this is the founder of evolution,
I can't read that name here, I'm sure you cannot.
But it's not Darwin.
It's somebody else.
And if you portray, if you view evolution in this respect,
of course you're going to oppose it.
You're going to oppose it deeply.
So how do you answer?
How does science respond?
I think there are a lot of ways to respond.
And one way is to develop a proper understanding
Some of you may know that about four years ago a county
in Georgia thought that the new biology books they had bought
for their students were so dangerous, in terms
of their treatment of evolution, that they needed warning
stickers on them.
And I thought you might be interested.
What textbook was so dangerous and so outrageous
that it needed a warning sticker?
So I figured I'd bring you a picture.
There it is.
And this is the warning sticker.
And the warning sticker basically
told students the book has material on evolution.
Evolution is a theory, not a fact,
on the origin of living things.
This material should be approached
with an open mind, studied carefully,
and critically considered.
And when this sticker went on the book,
I was called up by a reporter for the Atlanta Journal
Constitution, and she said, what do
you think of the sticker on your books?
And I had talked to enough reporters
to realize that she was trolling for a quote.
She wanted to write an article that
said author outraged or author slams
board or something like that.
So they could say that a Northeastern liberal Ivy League
author was outraged at what Cobb County was doing with books.
And I decided I'd have a little fun.
And I said, no.
I like the sticker.
She said, you do?
I said, I think the stickers are great.
They just don't go far enough.
And in just a second, I'll show you exactly what I mean.
Now as it turns out, our president
has tried to be helpful on this particular point.
And many of you may know that President Bush was asked
about this, and he said, I think students
should be exposed to both sides of the issues, by which he
meant evolution and also intelligent design.
And Time Magazine, when they wrote this up,
absolutely incredibly, my co-author, Joe Levine
They superimposed President Bush's face
on our biology textbook which has caused us
absolutely no end of delight.
And I keep suggesting to the publisher,
maybe in the next edition, that's what we could use.
But I have been asked about what I think about President Bush's
opinion on this issue.
And I think my response probably should
be that I, like all other scientists and educators,
are delighted that the president has
taken an interest in science education.
We hope he continues to be interested in it.
And we also hope very much that President Bush will listen
to his Science Adviser, John Marburger, who's
a fine scientist and was picked by President Bush
to give him advice on science.
He was asked by Russell Durban from Ohio State University what
he thought about evolution?
And Dr. Marburger said, "Evolution is the cornerstone
of modern biology. " And he pointed out an awful lot
of work that we do at NIH depends upon evolution,
and then he was very quick to say that President Bush has
supportive large increases for NIH funding.
And he was also asked at the National Association of Science
Writers, he said, "Look, intelligent design
is not a scientific theory."
And as if to ram the point home, he continued,
"I don't regard intelligent design as a scientific topic."
And again, I think if the president listens
to his science adviser, he'll be in very good shape.
What about those warning stickers, the ones
that I liked so much?
One of my former students, Colin Purrington,
who's now at Swarthmore College, was so
taken by this wonderful idea of warning stickers,
the Colin figured why stop with biology books?
We could go a little bit further than that.
Here, for example, is one that we
might use on an earth science book,
pointing out that a lot of people
think that the earth couldn't possibly
be four billion years old.
You ought to be careful about that.
And why stop with earth science?
We could go on to geography, how the earth is round.
And then finally, my favorite, because I've always
been suspicious of physics.
With all due respect to Dr. Kraus
who is in the audience tonight.
You physicists have some very strange ideas.
For example, physics material on gravity.
It's worth pointing out that gravity is a theory, not
a fact, regarding a force that no one has ever seen.
Think about that when you think about the approach of gravity.
But what happened in Georgia, was that a group of six parents
recognize that these stickers were, in fact, an attempt
to promote a particular religious point of view.
And they filed a lawsuit in federal court.
The lead plaintiff was a guy named Jeff Selman.
Jeff is the little guy here, being
lectured by a board of education member in this picture.
Jeff was able to prevail in federal court.
And the court basically asked that these stickers, ordered
that these stickers, be taken out.
This is Jeff and his attorney very happy afterwards.
Because I had testified in the trial,
the Associated Press asked me for comments afterwards.
And like a fool, I answered my phone,
and I gave them some comments.
And as a result, my name was in the first sentence of the story
on this that appeared in about 1,100 newspapers.
The next morning I got more you're
going to burn in hell email than you can possibly imagine
from all over the country.
But I have to say that it was far
outweighed by a lot of congratulatory email as well.
So let me get back to this case and to the sticker
I said I like this sticker, and I do in a sense.
It just doesn't go far enough.
Now what do I mean by that?
Well, yes, the book does have material on evolution,
but a biology book has material on a lot of topics.
Why single out evolution?
Evolution is a theory?
It certainly is.
We actually have a chapter entitled Evolutionary Theory,
so I agree it's a theory.
But when you say it's a theory, not a fact,
it makes it sounds like theories and facts are opposite things.
As if we're really sure of facts,
and we're not so sure of theories.
In fact, theory in science is a higher level
of understanding than facts.
Because what theories do is they explain facts.
They unite them.
And I pointed out to this reporter,
if you went to the University of Georgia
and you studied atomic physics, you
would take a course in atomic theory.
There's no time in the future when the professor's going
to change the name of that course to atomic fact,
because that's not what atomic theory is about.
Atomic theory is a system of explanations
that explains tens of thousands of facts
about the nature of matter.
And that's what evolutionary theory is like, too.
But when you get right down to it,
the sentence that bothered me the most
is actually the third one.
And the reporter said, what do you mean?
You don't like open mindedness or critical?
I said, no, that's not it at all.
Do you know what that third sentence says to a 14-year-old?
That third sentence says we are certain of every single thing
in this book, except evolution.
So apparently you don't need an open mind
to study biochemistry.
We don't have to critically consider ecology or cell
biology or human physiology.
And in reality, if I got a chance to rewrite the sticker,
I'd rewrite it like this.
This textbook has material on science.
Science is built around theories which are strongly
supported by factual evidence.
Everything in science should be approached
with an open mind, studied carefully,
and critically considered.
That's the appropriate emphasis, and that's the sticker
that I'd like to see.
Singling out evolution, or any subject, for special treatment
is a very bad science education and also is legally dangerous.
And the reason it's legally dangerous
is because it naturally leads one to say, why, why
are you singling out one topic for special consideration?
And if that reason turns out to be constitutionally prohibited,
you might be in difficult straits.
We'll talk more about that in a second.
Now you all know that this didn't end down in Georgia.
The next migration of this controversy
was to Dover, Pennsylvania, where
the Board of Education a little more than a year ago,
decided that they would like to teach something
called intelligent design.
They ordered their biology teachers
to prepare an intelligent design curriculum.
The teachers refused, and they cited a provision
of the Pennsylvania Teacher Code of Ethics
in which the teachers had to promise in that state
that they would never knowingly present false information
to a student.
And they told their superintendent,
this is false information.
We can't violate our oaths.
What the board then did was to order it superintendent
and assistant superintendent to go into classes
and to read a one minute statement
about intelligent design to students.
That led a number of parents to complain about this,
and before long there was a federal lawsuit.
That lawsuit was tried this fall from September to late October.
There were a number of people on both sides of the issue.
This is Robert Pennock, who's a Philosopher of Science
from Michigan State, and I was honored
by being the lead witness for the plaintiffs in the case.
I spent about a day and a half on the stand.
I had a very good time.
Then, as you all know, the trial eventually was decided.
Now there's a couple of funny things
I have to tell you about this.
I didn't expect my cross examination
to go on for two days.
And I expected to be back at Brown on Tuesday
to teach a class.
When I realized I couldn't, I had
to do something I've never done in 26 years of college
teaching, and that was to cancel a lecture class.
So I got in touch with my TAs, and I said,
I've got to cancel class on Tuesday, here's why.
They said OK.
And then I put a link to the article in Science
about the trial on my course's website,
so students would know I was not off skiing or something
like that, and they thought that was OK.
Then I put a link into the New York Times,
and I guess they thought that OK.
They weren't particularly impressed.
What impressed the kids in my class
was that week there was a report on the trial in what
is for college students in the United States
the ultimate new source.
And I'm sure all the college students in this room
know exactly what I'm talking about.
And that was The Daily Show by Jon Stewart.
And when Jon Stewart talked about the trial in Dover,
that was the point at which the students
had decided I was really doing something useful.
Because if The Daily Show is talking about it,
then it's happening.
I'm sure many of you may know that the Dover
voters, in one sense or another, took care of this themselves.
And before the court case was decided,
they voted the entire board of education,
all eight members up for reelection
were voted out of office.
And I think that's a marvelous testament to the fact
that people can understand the issues,
and when they understand the issues,
they go out and make intelligent choices.
And I should also point out that this
was actually, in many respects, was
difficult for voters in Dover to do.
This is a town that typically votes 75% Republican.
The school board was all Republican.
Almost all of the insurgent candidates
were registered Republicans.
To be sure they got on the ballot in November,
they had to switch parties to the Democratic side,
so they could file as a single slate.
And then they had to convince people.
Yes, we know that you're Republican.
We are Republican.
We are conservatives, too, but we
want you to go to the Democratic side and pull the lever for us.
And Lo and behold, they did, so it was remarkable stuff.
While this was going on, the legal system worked as well.
And at the end of the trial, the federal judge
who rendered this verdict, John Jones,
basically ruled that intelligent design was unconstitutional.
His verdict was sweeping.
And that is, he not only ruled on the narrow issue,
whether this was appropriate, he ruled on the broader issue
of whether intelligent design was actually
a legitimate scientific idea that belonged in the classroom
There are some pictures that were taken from the ruling.
These are some of the winning plaintiffs.
The case has the name Kitzmiller,
et al, based on Tammy Kitzmiller here,
who was the first lead plaintiff.
And I would invite any of you who
are interested in this decision to read it.
It's very readable.
In fact, parts of it as I will show you are very funny.
And if you just do Kitz, K-I-T-Z Miller on Google,
you'll find it right away on the web.
And it's floating around.
This is Judge Jones.
One of the things I got a kick out of
was the insistence, by some people
who didn't like the verdict, that Judge Jones was
another one of those darn liberal activist judges.
This is a cartoon talking about this exact point.
I'll blow this up a little bit, and this is the sort of thing
we have to appoint more church going Republican judges.
And this person, who presumably knows Judge Jones,
says by the way, he is a Bush appointed,
church going Republican judge.
Judge Jones is a political protege of former Governor Tom
Ridge of the State of Pennsylvania
and Judge Jones was recommended for the federal bench
by Senator Rick Santorum in Pennsylvania.
So any notion that Judge Jones is a liberal activist judge
is belied by who his sponsors were and also
by his judicial record.
His is simply, I am convinced, someone
who is bright, who is intelligent,
and who understands the meaning of the Constitution.
And just like a good umpire who calls them like he sees them,
and that's exactly what happened in this case.
This is a nationwide issue.
I have talked about trials in Georgia and Pennsylvania.
I'm sure all of you are familiar that this has been
an issue in the state of Ohio.
It is also a continuing issue, as we shall
see, in the state of Kansas.
And I just very quickly colored in a few more states in which
there are either boards of education that
are trying to de-emphasize evolution or bills
filed in state legislature to give equal time
to intelligent design theory, criticisms of evolution,
or even creation science.
Many of my friends up in the Northeast tend to say,
oh this is just a problem in flyover country.
Who cares about this?
I actually spoke at Harvard a couple of months ago.
You aren't going to believe this.
And somebody put their hand up and said,
who cares what they teach kids in Alabama and Mississippi?
And I thought, wow.
You realize how that sounds.
And then I realized I was at Harvard.
And I pointed out that EO Wilson,
the great evolutionary biologist at Harvard, grew up in Alabama.
And the point is, does it matter what we teach kids
in Alabama and Mississippi?
For all we know, the next Stephen Jay Gould or EO Wilson
is down there in Alabama and Mississippi.
And your damn straight, it matters
what we teach people in every classroom in this country.
Let's go to Kansas.
Advocates of so-called intelligent design
scored, no question about it, a major victory
in Kansas this year by attacking what they called naturalism
in state standards.
This may happen in Ohio, too.
So I would urge you to be on guard about this.
Now what do I mean by naturalism?
The Board of Education in Kansas,
which is now governed by a 6 to 4 anti-evolution majority,
held a series of hearings, to which
many scientists including myself were invited,
and to which we did not go.
And the reason for that was because the three board
members who presided over the hearings
had already announced in advance that they
were against evolution.
And the hearings were, in our opinion,
simply a political sham.
Well, what happened afterwards is the board decided, first
of all that they would be emphasize evolution.
Secondly, that they would introduce so-called criticisms
of evolution of the sort that you've seen in Ohio.
But if you really want to know what
is at risk from the anti-evolution movement,
look at Kansas.
And the reason for that is when the anti-evolution movement
got control of the State Board of Education, what did they do?
They rewrote the definition of science itself.
Not just biology, not just evolution, science.
All of a sudden, they're getting the chemists upset.
They're getting the physicists upset.
They're even get the geologists, who
paid no attention to anybody--
Upset on this issue.
Now what do I mean by rewriting the definition of science?
This was the definition of science in the Kansas school
Science is the human activity of seeking
natural explanations for what we observe in the world around us.
It seems to me like a straightforward, commonsense
easy to understand definition of science.
Did the new board like that?
They deleted that.
And they decided we want to put this up.
Science is a method of systematic continuing
investigation, uses all this good stuff,
to lead to more adequate explanations
of natural phenomena.
That doesn't sound too bad.
But wait a minute.
What do they mean by more adequate as opposed to natural
Remember the standards once said,
"We seek natural explanations from science,"
and they now say we want more adequate explanations.
Well, the board majority explained this to everybody,
and they said here's what we want to do.
We want to get rid of the concept
of methodological naturalism that
is used in physics and chemistry,
and basically we think that what naturalism does
is it limits inquiry and permissible explanations,
and promotes the philosophy of naturalism.
In short, we want to open science up
to non-naturalistic explanations.
Now I want you to think about that for a second.
What is a non-naturalistic explanation?
I can't think of anything except the supernatural explanation.
Supernatural explanations may be correct.
Remember, I live in New England.
A lot of people who looked at the baseball playoffs in 2004
could see the hand of God in the success of the Red Sox.
And do you know what?
I think that might be true.
I think God might have had his fill of George Steinbrenner
And that was it.
But that explanation, even if correct,
is not science, because it's not testable.
And that's the point that is made.
And the notion of promoting non-naturalistic explanations
is exactly what's happened in Kansas.
Now you might say, but come on, shouldn't you teach both sides?
Well, sure you should.
But you have to realize that with many scientific ideas,
when you talk about teaching both sides,
what are we talking about when we
talk about both sides of chemistry, neurobiology,
physics, or astronomy?
When you look at the other side, you
might be disturbed as to what the other side is.
It could be alchemy, phrenology, outright magic, or astrology.
Now I think most of you will agree,
even if you don't like what I'm saying right now, most of you
will agree that's a pretty funny cartoon.
I mean, come on.
This is an editorial cartoon as he's
taking license with the facts.
Nobody really wants these things in the science classroom.
And you know what?
Until the Dover trial, I would've thought that, too.
But a funny thing happened at the Dover trial.
Pay attention to this one down here.
And that is, where would intelligent design
take the science classrooms?
Michael Behe was placed on the stand
under oath in the Dover trial.
Michael is a Professor of Biochemistry
at Lehigh University.
He's probably the country's leading advocate
of what he calls the biochemical challenge to evolution.
He is very much in favor of intelligent design.
He's a member of the Discovery Institute.
He's been here in Ohio.
On cross examination, Dr. Behe admitted
that his definition of theory was so broad,
it would also include astrology.
And here's another thing from the same article.
The lawyer pointed out that astrology would
come under this definition.
Behe agreed with that, and the exchange prompted laughter
from the court.
Now I wasn't in the courtroom that day,
but I'm sure it was pretty funny to see
an advocate for intelligent design say,
yes, if you stretch the definition of science
to include intelligent design, you
know what else fits in that strike zone?
And I would add so does mysticism, pyramid power,
new age spiritualism, and Wiccan teaching or witchcraft.
And I'm sure this is all really fine stuff,
but one of the things that it's not is science.
And that's the point.
And I think the relevant question
that anyone who advocates intelligent design has
to answer is you want to open the science classroom up
to intelligent design, you will also
open it to astrology and a whole host
of pseudo scientific beliefs.
Is this really what you want to do in terms
of reforming science teaching?
And I should point out, this was not an accidental statement
by Dr. Behe.
He said it in his deposition.
Then he said it in trial.
The attorney asked him again, are you sure,
do you really mean that?
And he went on, and he said yes, and he
thought astrology had made some very fundamental contributions
So in any event, that's where we are with this.
Now one of the questions that I wanted
to ask in front of this audience tonight,
is whether or not we can learn anything from the Dover trial?
I've only been in two trials in my life.
Actually, I guess I've been in three, because I served
in a jury for another trial.
But it's really different being on the witness stand
and being cross examined and seeing all these people there.
And I have to say, it was a very exhilarating experience.
It was not unlike a graduate seminar,
when you're surrounded by really sharp grad students who
are going to push you up against the wall,
and see if you really know the stuff.
So what I want to tell you, basically in a sense,
is what I learned at the trial, and I think what most of it
can take away from it.
Here's the first thing that I saw at the trial.
It's the reason for the title of my talk tonight.
What we saw was the literal collapse of intelligent design
as a scientific theory.
Now let me try to explain to you what I mean by that.
One of the first things that intelligent design argues
is that it is necessary to explain
what we see in the fossil record,
that the fossil record is a problem of one
sort for evolution.
You might hear people say that the fossil record doesn't
Well, the National Academy of Sciences only a few years ago
basically said, look, there's so many intermediate forms
between all these species that it's often
difficult to identify categorically
where the transition occurs from one species to another.
In other words, there's so many transitional forms,
we actually argue about this.
Christine Janis, a friend of mine at Brown
who's a paleontologist, I once asked Christine,
what about this business of no transitional forms?
And she said, are you kidding?
I just came back from a meeting where
there were 11 or 12 new fossils from the Powder River Basin
in Wyoming were being introduced,
and almost fist fights broke out among the scientists arguing
as to whether or not these fossils should
be called mammal-like reptiles or reptile-like mammals.
If paleontologists are willing to argue about that,
it tells you two things.
One is, paleontologists will argue about anything.
And the second thing that it will tell you
is that there are innumerable intermediate and transitional
forms that we see in the fossil record.
But I want to go a little bit further than this.
One of the arguments that has often
been made against evolution is that the fossil record
doesn't have the intermediates that it ought to.
For example, we've known for a long time
that whales and dolphins evolved from terrestrial mammals.
There are unmistakable marks in their genetics
and in their skeleton of this.
But critics of evolution have said, oh yeah.
Well, if they did, where are the intermediate forms?
Put up or shut up.
And in fact, I've even seen cartoons
that looked a bit like this, ridiculing the notion
that an intermediate could even exist between a land
mammal and a swimming mammal.
And the argument is that such animals
would be so awkward on the land, and so poor
at swimming in the water, that they really
wouldn't be survivable.
Well, the cartoons and the argument
started to disappear about 10 or 12 years ago
when the very first skeletons of exactly such creatures
were dug up.
This is the skeleton of an organism which is now
called ambulocetus natans.
And if your Latin is good, you'll
know that ambulocetus means the walking whale,
and natans means who swims.
This is the walking whale who swims.
It is a perfect intermediate form
to plug right in the middle.
So you might say, do we now have a true intermediate form?
As it turns out, we have five intermediate forms
that fill this gap, all discovered within the last two
Precisely because, paleontologists
when they found this guy, they figured out
we know where to look.
And where to look is in the Indus River Valley
between India and Pakistan.
That's where these creatures evolved,
and that's where more intermediate fossils
are found all the time.
So do evolutionists say, yay, we've solved the problem.
Evolution is true.
Darwin was right.
Science is enormously self critical.
If this really happened, if this is
a genuine evolutionary series, do you
know what has to have happened along with it?
The middle ear has to have been completely changed.
The reason for that is the middle ear
that a land mammal like us has is very
good for hearing in the air.
If any of you have scuba dived or snorkeled,
you know that you're hearing stinks underwater.
Your hearing is lousy.
But the underwater hearing of these guys is sensational.
It's so good they can use it as a form of sonar.
That's because their middle ear structure
is entirely different.
So if this is real, we should be able to look at the middle ear
structure of these fossils and see intermediate forms
in which they're reshaped.
And you know what?
That's exactly what we see.
This is a paper, a year and a half ago from Nature,
dissecting a series of fossil skulls
and showing exactly how the apparatus in the middle ear
was remodeled, through a whole series of intermediate forms,
to change from an apparatus that was good for hearing in the air
to an apparatus that was intermediate,
to an apparatus that was terrific
for hearing under the water.
So the fossil record, the more we
fill it in, the more complete it becomes, and the more powerful
it becomes as evidence for evolution.
The second thing that you saw at the trial
was that when data was introduced at the trial, which
I and another witness introduced from a whole genome sequencing,
the intelligent design advocates just literally
had nothing to say.
We weren't asked questions in cross examination.
The other side never brought it up.
They never argued against it.
They just left it.
Here's an example.
Many of you may know that a few months ago the genetic code
of the chimpanzee was published.
Therefore, we can compare our genome
to these primate relatives.
What do we find?
I want to show you one striking finding
that dates to about a year ago.
You all know that evolution argues
that we share a common ancestor with the great apes,
the chimpanzee, the gorilla, and the orangutan.
Well, if that's true, there should be genetic similarities.
And in fact, there are.
But there's something that's really interesting
and has the potential, if it were true,
to contradict evolutionary common ancestry.
And that is we have two fewer chromosomes
than the other great apes.
We have 46.
They all have 48.
That's very interesting.
Now what does that actually mean?
Well, first of all, the 46 chromosomes that we have,
you got 23 from mom and 23 from dad.
So it's actually 23 pairs.
These guys have 24 from each parent.
So they have 24 pairs.
So everybody in this room is missing a pair of chromosomes.
Now where'd it go?
Could it have gotten lost in our lineage?
If it got lost, if a whole primate chromosome was lost,
that would be lethal.
So there's only two possibilities.
And that is, if these guys really share a common ancestor,
that ancestor either had 48 chromosomes or 46.
Now if it had 48, 24 pairs, which is probably true,
because three out of four have 48 chromosomes, what
must have happened is that one pair of chromosomes
must have gotten fused.
So we should be able to look at our genome
and discover that one of our chromosomes
resulted from the fusion of two primate chromosomes.
So we should be able to look around our genome.
And if we don't find it, evolution is wrong,
we don't share a common ancestor.
So how would we find it?
Well, biologists in the room will
know that chromosomes have nifty little markers.
They have markers called centromeres,
which are DNA sequences that are used to separate them
during mitosis, and they have cool little DNA sequences
on the end called telemeres.
What would happen if a pair of chromosomes got fused?
Well, what would happen is the fusion
would put telemeres where they don't belong,
in the center of the chromosome, and the resulting
fused chromosome should actually have two centromeres.
One of them might become inactivated,
but nonetheless, it should still be there.
So we can scan our genome.
And do you know what?
If we don't find that chromosome,
evolution's in trouble.
Well, guess what?
It's chromosome number two.
Our chromosome number two was formed by the fusion
of two primate chromosomes.
This is the paper from Nature a little more than a year ago.
And I put up a little of the paper.
I'm sorry, it's technical.
But look at what it says.
Chromosome two is unique to our lineage.
It emerged as a result of the head-to-head fusion
of two chromosomes that remain separate in other primates.
Those of you who have not kept up
with how much we know about the genome
should pay attention to this because you'll
be amazed at how precisely we can look at things.
The precise fusion site has been located at base number
114, 455,823, 214,455,838.
In other words, within 15 basis.
And you'll notice multiple sub telemere duplications,
the telemeres that don't belong.
And Lo and behold, the centromere that is inactivated
corresponds to chimp chromosome 13.
It confirms the prediction of evolution.
How would intelligent design explain this?
Only one way.
By shrugging and saying, that's the way the designer made it.
No reason, no rhyme.
Presumably there's a designer who designed human chromosome
number two to make it look as if it
was formed by the fusion from a private ancestor.
I'm a Roman Catholic.
I'm a theist.
In the broadest sense, I would say I believe
in a designer, but you what?
I don't believe in a deceptive one.
I don't believe in one who would do this to try to fool us.
And therefore, I think this is authentic,
and it tells us something about our ancestry.
Third thing that was abundantly clear
at the trial, these great icons of intelligent design,
the things that are supposedly unevolvable.
They've fallen apart.
Example, specifically taken apart
the trial, the notion that the bacterial flagellum couldn't
have been produced by evolution, or the blood clotting cascade,
or the generation of biological information.
I don't have time to talk about all three,
but I'm going to show you two of them.
The notion that these complicated biochemical
structures couldn't have been produced by evolution
has been championed by Michael Behe.
And Behe has an idea that he calls irreducible complexity.
And he says, you can't evolve these things
because they're irreducibly complex.
Notice what he says.
"An irreducibly complex system can't be produced the way
that evolution works, by numerous successive slight
modifications of a precursor system,
because any precursor to an irreducibly complex system that
is missing a part is by definition nonfuctional."
These are multipart systems.
And he's basically telling you that the 30 or 40 proteins that
are in here, they all have to be together,
or there's no function.
And since natural selection does have to work gradually,
I agree on that point, it can't produce 20, 25,
26 proteins knowing what will eventually happen,
because natural selection is blind,
which is indeed absolutely true.
So the poster child for intelligent design
by any standard, it shows up so often it really
could be called the poster child,
is in fact the bacterial flagellum.
This was mentioned so often in the trial
that the judge, probably from fatigue,
got a little sarcastic about it.
One of the attorney's said, your honor, when we reconvene,
we're going to talk again about the bacterial flagellum.
And the judge at one point said, oh goody.
The last expert witness for the Board of Education,
a Biochemist named Scott Minnich from the University of Idaho,
was called up to the stands to talk about this.
And since Behe had talked about, and the lawyers
had talked about it, and they had argued about it,
and I had talked about it as I'm going to show you here.
For a second, Minnich got up there,
and he said he was going to talk about the bacterial flagellum,
and the judge deadpanned, well, we've heard that before.
And Minnich turned to him.
This is the best line of the trial.
Minnich turned to him and said, you know your honor,
I sort of feel like Zsa Zsa Gabor's fifth husband.
I know what to do.
I just don't know how to make it exciting.
And so I take my hat off to Scott.
That was good.
I like that.
So what is this argument about?
Here's the argument in very simplified form.
If you have a complex multipart biochemical machine composed
of many parts, its function, everyone agrees,
can be favored by natural selection.
But the argument is that evolution can't produce them
because the individual parts have no function of their own.
That's what irreducible complexity means.
So natural selection can't make this.
It doesn't have any function.
Can't make that.
Can't make that.
Therefore, you can't evolve a structure like this.
Now how does evolution explain something like that?
Well, ever since Darwin, we've had a very good explanation.
And that is these complicated machines,
they don't arise from scratch.
They arise from combinations of components
that have different functions, functions of their own,
and the components originate with functions of their own
Therefore, natural selection will
work every step of the way.
Now that's not evidence.
That's just an argument.
But the beauty of this is we can now hold these two ideas up
against each other, and we could say, who's right?
If irreducible complexity is right,
then the parts of these machines should be absolutely useless.
But if evolution is right, we should
be able to take these machines, look at their parts,
and discover wow, they do other jobs.
So let's go ahead and do that.
Let's take the bacterial flagellum.
So if we start with the flagellum,
here it is, and these drawings name the genes
in the proteins in the flagellum.
And we say, let's take away a whole bunch of the parts.
Let's take 40 of its 50 parts away.
Now watch very carefully, because I'm
going to do that experiment right there.
There it goes.
The parts are all gone, and I have left 10 parts
that span the membrane.
What are left behind are 10 proteins
in the base of the flagellum.
Now if irreducible complexity is right,
this should be absolutely functionless.
It should have no function.
But if you'll pardon the double negative, what is left behind
is not nonfunctional.
What is left behind is the type three secretory system,
and it is fully functional.
I know most of you in the room are going, of course, the type
three secretory system.
The type three secretory system is a molecular syringe
in which some of the nastiest bacteria on this planet
produce toxic proteins, grab onto one of our cells,
and inject those proteins into our cells.
The bacterium that causes bubonic plague works this way.
It's really nasty stuff.
Well, guess what?
The 10 proteins that make up the type three secretory system
are directly homologous to the 10 proteins in the base
of the bacterial flagellum.
They don't produce movement.
There not a flagellum.
But are they functional?
They are fully functional.
So remember that claim.
Any precursor to an irreducibly complex system
that is missing a part is by definition nonfunctional.
This guy is missing 40 parts, and it is perfectly functional.
What that means, there's no other word for it,
is that that statement is wrong.
Now that's not an incidental statement.
That is the heart and soul of the intelligent design
And in this case, it turns out to be wrong.
Now it's even wronger than that, because it turns out
that not only do these proteins make up the type three
secretory apparatus, but almost every protein
in the bacterial flagellum is strongly
homologous to proteins that have other functions elsewhere
in the cell.
And what that means is when we look
at this wonderful icon of intelligent design,
a careful analysis of the flagellum
actually matches evolutionary theory.
Namely, the parts should have functions of their own
and not the intelligent design prediction.
And that's simply a fact.
Now intelligent design does no better
when it talks about blood clotting.
I'm sure you all know that blood can clot.
And many of you who have had the misfortune to take biochemistry
as a college course also know that there
is a complicated pathway of proteins that is
responsible for blood clotting.
Dr. Behe argues, and intelligent design
argues, that pathway is irreducibly complex.
And again, what does he mean?
None of these proteins do anything, except clot.
In the absence of any of them, blood does not clot,
and the system fails.
So the argument is the reason we know
a creator had to create it, or design it,
is because all the parts have to be present together.
And the reason we know that is in the absence of any
of the components, blood doesn't clot, and the system fails.
Now this is an argument made by Michael Behe.
But it's also an argument that the Dover Board of Education
wanted to present to their students.
They got 60 copies, two classroom sets,
of this intelligent design textbook, Pandas and People.
Pandas and People makes the exact same claim.
Only when all the components are present,
does the system function properly.
Even though, and us nasty evolutionary biologists
point out, that all of these proteins, almost all
of them searing proteases, which means they
were probably formed by successive rounds of gene
But once again, they say all the proteins, nothing equivocal
here, all the proteins have to be present
simultaneously for the clotting system to function.
That's very interesting.
Being an empirical scientist, I always want to say,
is that right?
Well, how could we test it?
We could test it by taking this wonderfully complicated system,
and let's take a component away.
Let's knock one out, and see if they're right.
Well, the first one that we can knock out,
because nature's done the experiment for us,
is Factor XII.
What happens if we knock out Factor XII?
Another PowerPoint experiment.
There it goes.
Factor XII is gone.
Will blood still clot?
Well, not in us, but it turns out
that whales and dolphins lack Factor XII.
It's actually an evolutionary adaptation to deep sea diving,
and their blood clots just fine.
That means that proposition that they all have to be present
Now taking one away, that's chintzy.
Take a few more than one away.
How about we take three of these factors away?
Well, it turns out the puffer fish, a genome that
was sequenced just a couple of years ago,
is missing the entire three part contact phase system up there.
The puffer fish has blood that clots just fine.
So this argument about unevolvability,
which is based basically on the argument
that all the parts have to be present,
it just turns out to be wrong.
It falls apart.
And this was something else that showed up in the trial.
This is technical information, but it basically
shows that Doolittle has worked out
an evolutionary scheme for how all of the factors
evolved from a single set of components
that existed before, blood clotting was evolved.
And that leads to an evolutionary prediction.
And the evolutionary prediction is shown over here.
And over here in another paper.
And that is that the protein should have very specific
relationships to each other.
The different factors.
And Lo and behold, you can search
the genomes of a host of organisms,
and it does exactly that.
The relationships match.
So what this means with respect to blood clotting, is claims
that you need every component to be
present for biological function, that's the claim,
those claims are false.
The second thing is a testable pathway has been proposed.
I showed it on the previous slide.
Careful analysis of that pathway shows
it fits the evolutionary prediction,
and there is absolutely no scientific support
at all for any suggestion that the pathway
was produced in a single step of creation or design.
And that's what I mean by the collapse of intelligent design
as a scientific theory.
Now the one thing that I haven't shown you,
because here I'm just going to read you part of the judge's
decision, was a similar demonstration
on the evolution of the immune system.
And Behe has written, and it's part of in Pandas,
"That Darwinian explanations of the evolution of the immune
system are hopeless and doomed to failure. " Well,
he wrote that about 10 years ago.
And it turns out, as I described in my testimony,
a flurry of research has shown exactly how the gene shuffling
system in the immune system did evolve.
And the judge captured this perfectly,
in terms of what happened at trial.
On cross examination, Professor Behe
was questioned about this claim that science would never
find an evolutionary explanation for the immune system.
He was presented with 58 peer reviewed publications,
nine books, and several immunology textbook chapters
about the evolution of the immune system.
However, he ignored all this and simply assisted
that it still wasn't sufficient evidence of evolution,
and that it was simply not good enough.
If you want theater in the courtroom, what the lawyer did
was held up the first paper, have you read it?
He said no.
This is a paper on the evolution of the immune system.
Here's the second paper.
Have you read that?
Yeah, read that one, and so forth and so on,
and gradually all 56 papers were piled up
in front of the witness.
All nine books and all of these textbooks, and he
simply said, it's evidence that is not good enough for me.
I think that made a very strong impression
on the judge that here was someone who, regardless
of scientific credentials, was determined
to ignore the empirical evidence rather than to go by it.
The fourth thing that really happened at the trial
was that evolution was exposed as a religious doctrine
masquerading as science.
And I bring this up because I think
it is particularly relevant to Ohio.
And many of you may think, wait a minute,
this doesn't mention religion, it's not really that way.
But I want to bring to your attention
the federal court test for the actions of a government that
might or might not infringe on the First Amendment
to the Constitution, the Establishment Clause.
And the established precedent is something known as the Lemon
test, and it's a court case of Lemon versus somebody else.
And it basically says whatever the government body does,
the action has to have a legitimate secular purpose.
It can't have the primary effective of either advancing
or inhibiting religion.
And then finally, even if all this is OK,
it still must not result in the excessive entanglement
of government and religion.
So what the judge did was to apply the Lemon test.
This is the strictest test.
This is the most lenient test.
And it turns out, he found that the actions of the Dover board
failed all three prongs of the Lemon test.
They showed, for example, that there was no legitimate secular
purpose in promoting the teaching of intelligent design.
And why is this the case?
Well, one of the things you might ask
is, if intelligent design is a religious idea, so what?
What's wrong with introducing it in the science classroom?
And this is part of the judge's decision
that I think really bears make note of.
Introducing this as an idea into a science classroom,
as he points out, "it sets up what will be perceived
by students as a god-friendly science,
and that's intelligent design, one that explicitly mentions
an intelligent designer, and the other science, evolution,
that has no position. "
What I told the judge is I thought a false duality
would be produced.
It would tell students quite explicitly, choose god
on the side of intelligent design,
or choose science on the side of evolution and reject god.
And introducing such religious conflict into the classroom,
the judge wrote, "is very dangerous,
because it forces students to choose
between God and science, not a choice
that schools should be forcing on them."
The last question that I was asked was related to this.
And I pointed out to the court that the Lord has blessed me
with two daughters.
I brought both of my daughter's up in my faith,
and I also brought both of them up to love science.
And one of them has actually become a biologist.
The other one has become a teacher.
Alas a history teacher, but we don't speak of her.
But the point that I wanted to make to the judge
is that when my daughters were being educated,
I not only wanted them to understand and adhere
to our faith, but I also wanted them to love and understand
And if there were ever placed in a classroom, where they were
told explicitly or implicitly, choose the religious theory
on this side or the anti religious theory on this side,
choose between God and science, I as a parent,
as a taxpayer, as a citizen, would
have been outraged at this false choice between religion
and science being foisted upon them.
And that, as far as I was concerned,
was exactly the problem with the Dover policy,
in terms of introducing this idea into the science
Now the Dover board, of course, argued that their statement
was not religious.
And this is the four paragraph statement
that was read to students.
And if you look at it quickly, I like
to paraphrase the statement by saying, basically, kids,
we've got to teach you evolution because the State says
we have to.
Then it says, evolution, we're going to teach you that,
but it's pretty shaky.
And there's a lot of problems and gaps.
There is this other really cool theory,
called intelligent design.
You will notice that there are no mention of any problems
or any gaps in intelligent design.
And by the way, we've got this really good textbook in there.
And then keep an open mind.
Talk about this with your families.
And by the way, we have to give you
a test at the end of the semester,
and evolution will be on the test.
And what that essentially does, and the judge certainly agreed,
is to undermine evolution, and to undermine it
for the purpose of promoting intelligent design.
Now you might say, well, intelligent design
is not religious.
I think it is.
But you know what?
You don't have to listen to me.
And you don't have to listen to the expert witnesses
for our side of the case.
As the judge pointed out, you can
listen to the expert witnesses on the other side of the case.
Because it turns out, Dr. Behe said
that it is implausible that the designer is a natural entity.
So he must be supernatural.
Dr. Minnich said that intelligent design requires
the ground rules of science to be
broadened so that supernatural forces can be considered.
And Professor Stephen Fuller said that the project of ID
is to change the ground rules of science
to include the supernatural.
Once again, don't take it from our side of the case,
take it from the other side of the case.
ID is, in fact, inherently religious.
Now what does this have to do with Ohio,
you might say, because after all, we're not teaching
intelligent design in Ohio.
The lesson plans adopted by the Ohio Board of Education,
they don't mention intelligent design.
And Stephen Meyer from the Discovery Institute, and this
is a posting that Steve has on a website, Stephen Meyer
even came in front of the Ohio Board of Education,
and he promoted not intelligent design,
but a teach the controversy promotion.
Now this sounds very good.
It sounds very neutral.
It seems to have nothing to do with creationism.
So you might ask yourself, what does this
have to do with creation or creationism?
Well, look at the whole website.
And look where Meyer actually posted this work.
He posted it on www.creationdigest.com,
and he clearly intended this as a friendly audience
to review the news as to what he thinks is happening in Ohio.
This is clearly a backdoor way to sneak this
into the classroom.
Consider, for example, that textbook, Pandas and People,
which was purchased for the Dover School District.
When you read Pandas and People, it
doesn't sound like it is religious at all.
Darwin is subject to intelligent design,
doesn't give a natural thing.
Intelligent design means that various forms of life
began abruptly through an intelligent agency.
It sounds pretty scientific.
It turns out this is only the latest version,
and Pandas and People existed as an earlier draft.
We didn't know this until the lawyers subpoenaed
the publisher and asked for copies of the earlier
versions of this book.
And when we saw these earlier versions,
we just about fell over.
The earlier versions talk about the creation view.
Creation means the various forms of life
began abruptly through an intelligent creator.
And in fact, when you hold these two
up next to each other, what you discover is incredible.
There is paragraph after paragraph in the early
and the later versions of the book
that read essentially identical, except a global word
processor has changed creator to designer,
has changed creation to intelligent design.
How do you make an intelligent design textbook?
You take a creation textbook and change the word
create to the word design.
And this was abundantly clear.
Now Barbara Forrest, an expert in the history of this idea,
got all of the earlier versions, and what she did
was she graphed--
The number of mentions of creationism and the number of
mentions intelligent design in the earlier versions,
and you will notice that something remarkable
happened in 1987.
Which is the mention of creation dropped to almost zero,
and the mention of intelligent design
moved up to take its place.
Now I don't know what you'd conclude about this.
We'll get to 1987 in just a second.
But my first reaction when I saw all these older versions
is my god, didn't these people learn anything
from the Nixon administration?
Burn this stuff!
But it wasn't burned, and it's still around,
and we know what's going on.
Now some of you may know what it was that happened in 1987.
But for those of you who don't know,
this is a timeline showing, you might say,
a legal history of litigation regarding
evolution in various courts.
And what happened in 1987, is a Supreme Court decision
known as Edwards versus Aguillard that
identified creationism as a religious doctrine.
Literally within a month of that decision,
the drafts changed from creation and creationism
to intelligent design and designer.
Basically, there's no question that this was simply
relabeling the old product with new packaging
to make it palatable.
And again, this is something else
that came out remarkably so at the trial.
And what the judge wrote is, "The plaintiff's
You had to be there to see this.
"Several drafts, several of which
were completed prior to and after the comport decisions,
and three astonishing points emerge.
One, definition of creation science
is identical to the definition of intelligent design.
Cognates of the word creation appeared about 150 times,
were deliberately and systematically replaced with
ID, and the changes occurred right after the Supreme Court
said that creation science is religious. "
So the history of this was very straightforward.
The judge also wrote, and this was an extraordinary thing
I'm going to move my lapel pin down by my microphone,
so you can hear the audio clip in just a second.
The judge says, you know the citizens of the Dover
board of Dover "were very poorly served
by members of the board who voted for the ID policy."
Here are two of them up here, former members of the board,
now voted out of office.
To me, it's remarkable to hear a federal judge talk this way.
It is ironic that several of these individuals,
who so staunch and proudly touted
the religious convictions in public,
would time and time again lie to cover their tracks
and disguise the real purpose behind the ID policy.
I don't know about you, but I didn't know federal judges
talked like that.
And I found that absolutely astonishing.
There is at least one person who understood
what the policy was all about.
All of you know who that person is,
and he called it exactly right.
Here he is.
-Last month, the people of Dover, Pennsylvania
voted to dismiss school board members who
supported the theory of intelligent design.
But according to some people, that's not all they voted out.
-I'd like to say to the good citizens of Dover,
if there is a disaster in your area, don't turn to God.
You just voted God out of your city.
Pat got it right.
This really is a religious idea.
And what's astonishing is to see Robertson saying
exactly what this is all back.
And once again, I think, regardless
of what you think of the Reverend Robertson,
I think he was exactly right from his point of view
that this was a religious question.
Now the question, I think, that all of you in Ohio
have to consider is, is this critical analysis lesson plan
that you now have in Ohio, is this
really different from the Dover approach?
And I've read opinion columns saying immediately, oh no, it's
got nothing to do with it.
It's entirely different.
The Dover decision is not precedent.
It's just a district court decision,
but all the information that I have talked about tonight
was unearthed at the Dover trial, and it's all available.
After all, the Discovery Institute
came here and told you.
That they do not want to teach intelligent design
in public schools.
That's just not their policy.
That's Stephen Meyer.
He's the guy who said that.
Stephen Meyer is the author of a book called,
How to Get Intelligent Design Into Public School Curriculum.
So if you hear him saying momentarily, no, we
don't want to teach intelligent design in Ohio schools,
I think the proper way to understand
that is we don't want to teach intelligent design in Ohio
We'll figure out a way to do that.
And the lesson plans, of course, don't have anything
to do with creationism or intelligent design, do they?
Well, guess what?
If you look very closely at those lesson
plans, what you will discover is the topics for the five lesson
Of those five lesson plans, four of them
come directly out of the Pandas and People
book, the creationist book that was
relabeled as an intelligent design textbook.
And the fifth one comes directly from Michael Behe's book,
Darwin's Black Box.
These are also found in a whole series
of other intelligent design textbooks,
including Icons of Evolution by Jonathan Wells.
And you might ask yourself, well,
are any of these really intelligent design books?
Go to the Discovery Institute website,
and you will find that these are touted as the source
books of intelligent design.
And the judge realized that correctly,
and he wrote something that I think applies directly to Ohio,
and is I think worth thinking about.
And that is, "Intelligent designs backers have sought
to avoid the scientific scrutiny,
which we have now determined that it cannot withstand,
by advocating that the controversy, but not ID itself,
should be taught."
And what Judge Jones wrote was, "This tactic
is at best disingenuous, and at worst, a canard.
The goal of the intelligent design movement
isn't to encourage critical thought,
but to foment a revolution which would supplant
evolutionary theory with ID."
And that is part and parcel of the lesson plans now adopted
in the state of Ohio.
People might say, well, let's be fair.
Isn't the scientific community biased
against intelligent design?
Isn't it prejudiced?
Doesn't it suppress it?
I think that idea overlooks how often science deals
with novel scientific claims.
But what we expect people to do is
to do real research to back up those claims,
to submit them to peer review, to engage in the give and take
of scientific argument, to win a scientific consensus.
And eventually, if the evidence is on the side of these ideas,
no matter how goofy they sound at first and no matter
how much the scientific community opposes them,
they will eventually find their way
into classroom and textbook.
Now intelligent design advocates like
to say they've got a new scientific idea, too.
And you know what?
If they wanted to do this, I'd be thrilled.
I'd say, see you at the cell biology meetings.
See you at biochemistry.
See you at the earth science meetings.
We'll have fun.
We'll argue about this, and I'll show you
that you're full of it.
But you know what?
Maybe you'll do the same thing to me.
Maybe you'll come up with the experiments, with the evidence,
with the analysis, that will show you're right.
And if you are right, in 10, 15, 20 years,
we won't have to go to the school board and argue,
you'll automatically be in classroom and textbook.
But their idea of how the scientific process should work
is not exactly like this, it is rather like this.
And that is they would like a direct injection
into classroom and textbook.
And they'd like that injection with the aid
of the political process, which is exactly why they've
concentrated not on research, they don't produce any,
not on peer reviewed publications,
and not on winning scientific consensus.
What they have concentrated on is public relations
and political pressure.
You might also ask yourself how many
scientific organizations around the country
have criticized these Ohio lesson plans.
And a few of them are shown up here,
including my own scientific society, the American Society
for Cell Biology, a society that is resident to many, many Nobel
laureates and one of the largest experimental societies
in the United States.
The source for all of this information by the way,
is a great organization called Americans United for Separation
of Church and State.
If any of you are interested in their activities,
they have a very simple web address, A-U, for Americans
These are the organizations lined up
against the Ohio lesson plans for fairness, for balance,
for equal time.
I also have to show you the organizations that have lined
up in favor of the lesson plan.
Here they are.
And you can make your own decision as to whether or not
this is a lesson plan in which you,
as the people of the state of Ohio, should be proud.
What is at stake in this?
And quite frankly, this is where I want to close.
I think what is at stake, literally, is everything.
This is a cartoon, last panel of a cartoon,
that a friend of mine sent me.
And you can see there's a young man here.
I assume he's Hindu or Pakistani.
He's in a science laboratory studying science.
And you can see this as the creationist
found unlikely support among students in China and India.
And this young man is saying, oh, "Yes, America, we
would like it very much if you would
teach your children religious dogma instead of science.
We'd like their jobs."
And I think, to pull absolutely no punches, what
is at stake in this argument, in this debate,
in this political struggle, isn't whether students
will learn evolution.
I think that's small potatoes.
I don't think a generation of citizens
will be harmed if they don't quite
understand the difference between allopatric and
I think what is difficult is to contemplate
a generation of Americans growing up
with the wedge driven between them and science.
And the intelligent design movement
proposes to drive exactly that wedge, which
is aimed to produce what they call atheistic science.
If that happens, then something that all of us in this room
have taken for granted during our lifetimes
is going to change.
And that something is that the United States
is the worldwide leader in scientific research
If we put that mantle down, and I
think this movement has the potential
to cause that to actually happen,
a dozen nations around this world will eagerly pick it up,
will take scientific leadership from us,
and will never give it back.
And that is what is at stake in Ohio
and every one of the American states.
Thank you very much for coming today.
Thank Professor Miller very much for his talk.
He is open to questions.
How much time, roughly?
Oh, you've got as much as more than half an hour.
Whatever he wants to--
We've got the webcast through 9:00.
We'll figure that's probably a reasonable time.
I'm going to moderate this, which mean simply
that I will point to people to stand up and ask questions.
And Patricia has suggested that I might contribute any comments
that I would find helpful, but I will
try to be very restrained in doing that.
So who has questions?
Dr. Miller, how do you explain these
quote "legitimate scientists" supporting this?
I am embarrassed to confess that Dr. Behe is a biophysicist.
I am as well.
And I was shocked to see that he was doing this.
I've known him for many years.
How do they get into this?
And what's going on, and what's their agenda?
Well, I'm not going to pretend for a minute
to be able to psychoanalyze the people who
stand on the other side of this debate.
But I will point out that almost to a person,
they regard evolution as the foundation
of a dangerous scientific materialism.
And I'm going to point to somebody
who I think really summed up the reason for the opposition best.
And I think this reason applies even
to a trained scientist, like Michael Behe Jonathan Wells who
has two PhDs, or Stephen Meyer who's trained in philosophy.
This summer in August, I was listening
to an interview on National Public Radio,
and it was an interview with Senator Rick
Santorum from Pennsylvania who's just
published a new book called, It Takes a Family.
It was a 10 minute interview, and it was just
to let him promote his book and say what it was about.
But in the middle of it, the interviewer
asked him, Senator Santorum, I found it strange
that in the middle of your book you
took a shot at part of the science curriculum.
Now you're a senator, a politician,
with no training in science, but nonetheless you
decided to take a shot at evolution.
Then he said, why evolution?
And it's almost an exact quote, that I almost
have it memorized.
And Senator Santorum says, because it really matters.
It's where we come from.
And he said, if we're just an accident,
if we're a mistake of nature, then that puts
a different moral demand on us.
And he thought for second and said,
in fact, it doesn't put a moral demand on us,
then if we are the intentional creation of a supreme being who
does make moral demands.
Now think about that.
Because what he said is that if evolution is right,
morality is an illusion.
And morality isn't just don't do sex, drugs, and rock and roll.
Morality is what's right in the world,
how do you treat the poor, issues of war and peace,
economic justice, fairness, personal integrity.
And I think it matters to all of us.
It certainly matters to me.
If you actually come to believe that evolution
as a doctrine invalidates any sense of morality,
you're going to oppose it, whether you
think it's scientifically justified or not.
Now I'm not going to pretend to look inside Dr. Behe's head
and see if that's exactly what is making him tick.
But I do know, he has said very clearly
that he thinks evolution and evolutionary materialism
is a morally destructive doctrine.
And I would assume that's the source of the motivation.
Got one up on the balcony.
Nice and loud.
You'll have to talk loudly.
These folks wouldn't participate through the political process,
instead of the scientific process, unless that's
where the fertile ground was.
I spent a lot of time in the political left
and noticed that hostility towards science
is just as great there.
That new-age stuff you were talking about, astrology, et
So what is it that we ought to be doing better?
Well, that's a really good question.
As an ex Barry Goldwater Republican,
I appreciate you saying that large elements of the left
are anti science.
And it certainly is true.
I think you see this most clearly in the European left,
where the European left has been enormously hostile to science
I think, and I'll accuse myself first,
I think that we in science suck at getting our message across
to the public.
We are terrible popularizers.
And as an example of that, I would
ask how many people in the audience
were aware of the discovery regarding
the fusion of human chromosome number two, which was worked
out about 18 months ago?
A couple of well-informed biologists.
But aside from that, that should have been popularized.
That should have been on the evening news.
And there should have been the Carl Sagan types writing
about it and talking about it.
And part of it is because, quite frankly, we in science,
we have the best jobs in the world.
I mean, how cool it is to be able to walk
in your laboratory in the morning and say, gee,
I wonder what I shall try to discover today.
And you know what?
That's the job that I have, and a lot of other people
in this room have, too.
And that's cool.
So why would you want to get messed up
in the political process, if that was it?
So that's one reason is self absorption.
Another reason, I think, is a terrible and ultimately
self-destructive tendency in the scientific , community,
to look down our noses at popularizers.
Example, Carl Sagan, who I think was
the most effective popularizer of science in the last 30
or 40 years, in many circles was looked down
upon by his colleagues in the astronomical and physical
Stephen Jay Gould, the great evolutionary biologist,
this may come as news to some of you who
don't know this field very tightly, but Steve was actually
look down upon by many people who regarded themselves
as more serious evolutionary scientists,
precisely because Steve wrote for the general public
and did that brilliantly.
Until we have the scientific community, A,
do a better job of popularizing science, and B,
begin to reward our best messengers
to the public sphere, I think science
is going to take heat from both the left and the right.
In front here.
In the center there.
Speaking from the left, I want to just suggest
a slightly different take on all this.
I think that when you said that what's at stake here
is everything, you actually gave a very narrow definition
of everything, because you only talked
about science and technology.
I'll take that.
And I think that what's at stake here,
and many people on the left think
that what's at stake here, is literally everything.
It's not just theocratic science,
but it's theocracy in government.
Its many issues that are defined as moral issues
by this or that different religious group.
And it's being pushed by the most restrictive
religious perspective, and not the broadest
religious perspective about what morality and what ethics is,
and what politics is and what democracy is,
and what the political structure should be.
So I think it really is about everything
in a much broader sense.
And I'll just finish by saying that you
asked about theocratic science.
I've seen theocratic science.
When I was teaching at Rutgers, I
had a student who was from Pakistan
and provided me a lot of articles in English
about Muslim science.
They actually didn't talk so much about god,
but they talked about principles of good and bad
that could be discovered and dealt with.
And they were talking about good and evil
as the subject matter of science.
I think that's a worthwhile point.
It's interesting that you brought up Muslim science.
About three or four years ago, I have a little web page
with a lot of evolution stuff up on it,
I started to get emails from Turkey and Lebanon and even
a couple from Iran, believe it or not,
of students who wanted me to answer their questions
And a few of them I asked, why are you asking me this?
And they connected me with the writings
that go under the pen name of our Harun Yahya, who
is an Islamic writer based in Turkey
who has written a whole series of anti evolutionism books.
And one of the students was actually kind enough
to buy me am English translation of the book
and mail it to me from Turkey, so I could
see what all this was about.
And it astonished me.
One was, I suppose, not so astonishing,
and one was downright hilarious.
The not so astonishing part says that all of the arguments made
in the Islamic world for the scientific insufficiencies
of evolution are just recycled versions of the ones
that I've talked to you about here.
It says nothing new.
But the second part was genuinely amusing.
And that is Harun Yahya argued to his young readers
that they should appreciate the fact that evolution
is a Western Christian plot to subvert
the morals of Islamic youth.
And as part of his prove of this,
he pointed out that Charles Darwin studied
for the priesthood of the Church of England,
and that proves to you that he's just
another crusader, which I thought
was a rather interesting take.
But the other thing that's worth pointing out,
and I think that we can learn a lot from the history
of the Islamic world.
And if you go back to the 13th or 14th century,
and you look at the great Muslim caliphate across the Near East
and North Africa, that was the center of learning and science
and cosmopolitan thought.
The Islamic world was the leader in mathematics and astronomy
and in many other branches of science.
Something happened to the Islamic world
to the point where the amount of genuinely important science
done in the Islamic world in the 20th century,
unfortunately, is very close to zero.
And that something is exactly the ascendancy
of the kind of theocratic talk that you are talking about.
And if this were to happen in the leading nation in the west,
we could see the same sort of retreat backwards,
and that worries me a great deal.
I just want to comment on this.
A lot of folks on the left claim to be supportive of science.
But as we saw with the various debates at the school board
here in Ohio, our strongest support
has come from traditional Republicans,
The Democrats have been very, very weak in their support
and sometimes have also opposed the science curriculum.
Yeah, and I should also point out,
I mean I showed a cartoon at the beginning to point this out.
I wrote an op ed piece right after the trial
that was published in the Philadelphia Inquirer.
And in the first part of it I said,
if there was ever a place where the proponents
of intelligent design had a home field advantage,
it was in the federal court in Harrisburg.
They had a popularly elected school board
that was behind them.
They had a citizenry that was behind them.
They had a federal judge recommended for the bench
by Rick Santorum, who in his three years on the bench
had established himself as a conservative jurist
and a self-described strict constructionist.
Everything should have gone their way.
And in fact, the attorneys on our side of the case
looked at this guy's record when we drew him,
and they said, boy, let's just hope he's smart.
Well, as it turns out, he was.
And he paid attention to the arguments,
and he wrote a very powerful decision
that I would recommend to anyone.
And it's particularly powerful because it came
from a conservative jurist.
And that's a valuable point to make.
Way in the back.
I want to add to the gentleman's point before.
You had mentioned about the Middle East.
And my question is what happened here?
Back in the '50s, '60s, '70s, science did everything.
Everybody generally seemed to be pretty interested.
We put a man on the moon, and atomic energy, everything else.
Was this always an underlying theme
throughout the United States?
Or why is it right now in the last decade, or two decades,
rearing its ugly head now?
Well, my short answer to that is that there has always
been an active anti-evolution movement in the United States.
It has ebbed and flowed, in terms
of the degree to which it has caught the public imagination.
But if you look at opinion polls in which you ask people
whether they accept the evolutionary theory
of human origins, and you go back in these polls
to the '40s and '50s, you find quite consistently,
depending on how you phrase the question,
that only about 35% to 45% of the people in this country
That was true even back in those good old days of the '50s
and '60s that you're talking about.
In the summer of 1964, to tell you
more about my youth than you ever wanted to know.
I was a guide at the Boy Scout pavilion
of the New York World's Fair.
So I spent a whole summer at the World's Fair
working a few hours a day in the Boy Scout
pavilion, my little shorts and neckerchief and everything
else, and the rest of the time going around the fair,
having just a wonderful time.
There was an exhibit at that World's Fair, New York World's
Fair, put up by the Moody Institute of Science.
Because I was already a science geek at the time,
I saw Institute of Science, cool.
It was an anti-evolution exhibit.
So this organized anti-evolution activity
has been with us for a long time.
I think when you say, what's happening now?
I think one is that the political climate in the United
States has made it much easier for people
to take religious ideas into the mainstream
and to run with them, to argue essentially
that if science has an anti religious bias,
we have to correct it with a pro religious bias.
And then the second thing is, I think,
that the Edward versus Aguillard decision in 1987
was a shock wave for the creationists,
and you saw that dramatic change in terms of the adoption
of this new idea.
The new label, and that's all it is, it's a label,
applied to the creation science movement, intelligent design,
If you were working at an agency,
and you were brainstorming for a product name,
man, when you came up with that name, you should get a raise.
And I think, in part, because it's a phrase that
appeals to all people of faith.
If you are a person of faith, I think by definition,
you think that there is an intelligence,
there's a guiding force to the universe
that your life has meaning and purpose and value.
And then when you hear the word intelligent design,
you figure, well, that sounds like that's something that I
should be on the side off.
So I think it's a combination of constant anti-evolution
sentiment and brilliant public relations
on the part of the intelligent design movement.
And let me just add to that.
I think that that's one thing that has really
helped strengthen this movement is the ambiguity of the phrase
That on one hand, it can mean we believe that there's
a God who created the universe.
And a lot of people believe that.
And the other meaning, however,