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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

UPDATED! Berkeley student intelligent design club: Written up in The Daily Californian

(The update is that it is NOT true that the club offers membership only to Christians. see the bottom of the post.)

Reporter Christina Bautista writes, regarding the Berkeley student intelligent design (IDEA) club,

As a part of a philosophical minority on campus, senior Tom Kim started up the UC Berkeley chapter of Intelligent Design and Evolution Awareness this fall to provide a forum for like-minded students on campus to openly discuss their views without fear of insult.

Rather than researching the merits of intelligent design on their own, opponents of the movement often go along with political arguments against it and are easily swayed by media influence, Kim said.

"I think before people reject intelligent design, it should be examined by careful study where they consider the primary resources themselves rather than listen to what they are told by others. It should be considered with a fully informed mind that has thoroughly considered both sides," Kim said.

In general, it is quite a fair piece. One blooper, however: Bautista offers,

In 1991, Johnson published "Darwin on Trial," the first of his many books critiquing evolution. He is program advisor for the Center of Science and Culture in the Discovery Institute, a national conservative Christian think tank that lobbies for the inclusion of intelligent design in science curriculums.

Discovery Institute does not lobby for inclusion of intelligent design in science curricula:

Instead of mandating intelligent design, Discovery Institute recommends that states and school districts focus on teaching students more about evolutionary theory, including telling them about some of the theory's problems that have been discussed in peer-reviewed science journals. In other words, evolution should be taught as a scientific theory that is open to critical scrutiny, not as a sacred dogma that can't be questioned. We believe this is a common-sense approach that will benefit students, teachers, and parents.

Indeed, it's no secret that Discovery is not very happy about the current Dover case, which was started by an unrelated group. But in "following the evidence wherever it leads" (the ID slogan), Disco may have opened a bigger can of worms than it can easily close. Still, that's not Disco's fault. And I say good luck to the student ID clubs.

(Note: It's been said that the Berkeley IDEA club offers membership only to Christians. I asked someone there, and they said no, that is not correct:
No, it is NOT true that we offer membership only to Christians. I think this was an issue with the UCSD club (I'm not sure though). I doubt our club will be a "membership-type" club. We're just going to hold events and welcome whoever decides to come (friend or critic). It's more like a publicity group than a club that students sign up for (There isn't anything to sign up for anyway, except for our emailing list. By the way, could you encourage students [or whomever] to sign up for our emailing list? We'll be sending out things like interviews with the ID leaders, so it would be interesting to a wide audience.).

Glad that's settled! ID is not a specifically Christian idea, after all. Ask former atheist philosopher Antony Flew)

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