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Monday, May 18, 2009

Darwinism vs. design: Houston playwright discovers how open-minded Darwinists can be

Here I posted on a play and a Socratic dialogue on the ID controversy.

There's more: The Third Side by Thomas Vaughn, a play staged in Houston, Texas, produced by Mildred's Umbrella Theater Company critiques both intelligent design and Darwinian evolution:
After being pressed by a student, Biology Professor Henry Darden admits that he finds Darwin's emphasis on natural selection as the means of evolution unconvincing". This public confession thrusts Professor Darden into a culture war he wanted nothing to do with. As different sides claim him as their own, the collisions of science, faith and intellectual intolerance take a toll even on his family life as the controversy opens up both new and old wounds at home.

And this from the Writer's Notes,
The character Henry Darden’s views are based on the ideas of well-qualified scientists. These professionals are not creationists, and they do not believe in Intelligent Design. Their credentials and their motives are impeccable. As a dramatist, I am not qualified to have a worth-while opinion on who exactly is right in this scientific debate, but it was the blistering, often personal attacks on these individuals by their colleagues that inspired this play.

The hostility these men and women received, however, is nothing compared to the vitriol directed towards Dr. William Dembski, a leading advocate of Intelligent Design (ID). I want to personally thank Dr. Dembski here. Knowing full well that I did not agree with his views, Dr. Dembski still took the time to read the play to help assure the accuracy of how the ideas behind ID were portrayed. He even suggested a fine story note that I used and I think the play is better for it. I am very grateful for his trust, his generosity, and most of all his open-mindedness.

This stands as a stark contrast to some of those that I communicated with in the same capacity who hold the more mainstream view of evolution. They were openly hostile to not just the play but the very notion that these minority views should be given a voice at all. The interviews with the notable scientists these ideas are based on were attacked without being read. One individual even suggested that the interviews were probably just made up and not worth reading in the first place.

While this hostility came from only a few, and only from the academics, it was enough to assure me that the basic thrust of the play was essentially correct.
Tom Vaughan, you are going to get yourself Expelled if you are not careful. You don't need to agree with the ID folk to get Expelled. Just doubt Darwin, and bingo!

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