Dean of Harvard Medical School endorses pro-ID book, medical professors revolt against Darwin
|June 26, 2006||Posted by scordova under Education, Philosophy, Intelligent Design, Religion|
In addition to the engineers, physicists, chemists, and mathematicians who dissent from Darwin, anywhere from 33% to 60% of medical doctors dissent from Darwin (see Nearly Two-Thirds of Doctors Skeptical of DarwinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Theory of Evolution, HCD Research Poll, also check out PHYSICIANS AND SURGEONS WHO DISSENT FROM DARWINISM).
Pro-ID sympathies are reflected by the fact a moderately pro-ID book received an endorsement by the Dean of HarvardÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s medical school, Dr. Joseph Martin.
The book, Finding God in the Questions, by Dr. Timothy Johnson (Harvard professor and ABC News journalist), is an NY Times best-seller (mention of the book at Uncommon Descent was made earlier here). This adds to the number of pro-ID books on best seller lists (like Ann Coulter’s Godless).
Martin writes of Johnson and his pro-ID book (on the back cover):
Dr. Tim Johnson, minister and physician, brilliantly analyzes his struggle with religious belief when juxtaposed to emerging scientific discoveries.
Make no mistake, JohnsonÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s book is an evangelistic book, but what is noteworthy is unlike the recent moves of the Episcopal Church in rejecting ID, Johnson appeals to the science of ID to support his theological conclusions. At a time when theological arguments (such as Ã¢â‚¬Å“God only works through DarwinismÃ¢â‚¬Â) are being used to pre-empt scientific arguments (such as ID), Johnson’s book boldly comes out and uses modestly pro-ID arguments as part of his argument for faith!
(Note: theology should never be used to argue against science, but there is nothing wrong however in using scientific arguments to support theology, see: Intelligent Design: The Bridge Between Science and Theology by William Dembski.)
Johnson believes Natural Selection has a role in the evolution of life, but he is not convinced it can be the entire explanation, and is clearly open to Michael Behe’s arguments. Johnson relies heavily on the works of Michael Denton (who was influential in persuading Behe to become a pro-IDer). Here are some quotes from Johnson’s book:
Doubt doesnÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t have to tear down belief, however; it can purify itÃ¢â‚¬Â¦.
When we encounter an object of everyday life, whether a painting or airplane, we automatically assume that it was made or Ã¢â‚¬Å“createdÃ¢â‚¬Â by a human mindÃ¢â‚¬â€or a committee of human minds. We know that such objects donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t just appear by chance from an unplanned gathering of bits and pieces of substance that happen to join and organize into a recognized and functioning object. Our whole life experience has conditioned us to assume that things exist because somebody created them.
But even if our immediate instinct as a child is to feel or believe that some kind of mind was ultimately responsible for this cosmos of ours, we can soon be argued into thinking that maybe the whole thing did indeed happen by accident, so to speak. Why is it that we would never accept that argument for the simplest of objects, yet we are so quick to assent to the proposition that the most remarkable Ã¢â‚¬Å“objectÃ¢â‚¬Â of all [the universe] is the product of chance?
And for me the most convincing argument that the universe has been Ã¢â‚¬Å“designedÃ¢â‚¬Â is the extraordinary way it is calibrated to allow for the genesis and continuation of life itself
In conclusion, I do believe there are Ã¢â‚¬Å“footprintsÃ¢â‚¬Â of an intelligence in our universe that expresses itself in the mind-boggling complexity and Ã¢â‚¬Å“coincidencesÃ¢â‚¬Â of our cosmos and in the very nature of what it means to be humanÃ¢â‚¬Â¦
And Johnson goes on to give the following as suggested readings (ah yes, good material for the next generation of doctors!):
…Michael J. Denton’s Nature’s Destiny: How the Laws of Biology Reveal Purpose in the Universe. As the title indicates, Denton focuses on the world of biology and biochemistry as a source of evidence for intelligent design
For further reading directly from the leading proponents of the ID movement I suggest DarwinÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Black Box by Michael Behe, The Creation Hypothesis edited by J. P. Moreland, Signs of Intelligence edited by William Dembski and James Kushiner, and The Design Revolution by William Debmski.
Johnson would be considered moderately pro-ID in as much as he accepts design for the universe and seems somewhat undecided of Darwinism’s role in biological evolution.
However some physicians are more forthright in their anti-Darwinian views. For example, Raul Leguizamon, M. D., Pathologist, and a professor of medicine at the Autonomous University of Guadalajara Mexico was recently quoted as saying
I signed the Scientific Dissent From Darwinism statement, because I am absolutely convinced of the lack of true scientific evidence in favour of Darwinian dogma
Nobody in the biological sciences, medicine included, needs Darwinism at all
Darwinism is certainly needed, however, in order to pose as a philosopher, since it is primarily a worldview. And an awful one, as Bernard Shaw used to say. The hold it has in academic circles is not at all due to the empirical evidence that allegedly supports it, but to its philosophical presuppositions and implications, the political correctness of the Darwinian paradigm and the intellectual inertia of academia in general.
Further, Michael R. Egnor, professor of Neurosurgery at S.U.N.Y. Stony Brook has published a letter in the Journal of Clinical Investigation
The essay by Attie et al (Ã¢â‚¬ËœDefending science education against design: a call to actionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢) is an odd ‘call to action’. Scientists generally consider a Ã¢â‚¬Ëœcall to actionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ to be a call for more vigorous discussion and research. Dr AttieÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s Ã¢â‚¬Ëœcall to actionÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ is a call for censorship.
Dr. Attie assembles a philosopher, an historian, a lawyer, and a couple of politicians to coauthor an essay encouraging scientists to lobby for laws that censor criticism of Darwinism in schools. They assert that if you donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t accept Darwinism as an adequate explanation for biological complexity, youÃ¢â‚¬â„¢re Ã¢â‚¬Ëœanti-scienceÃ¢â‚¬â„¢.
The authorsÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ preference for censorship, rather than debate, is understandable. Poorly thought-out arguments donÃ¢â‚¬â„¢t hold up well in open debate. They devote a paragraph to testing (and claiming to refute) Mike BeheÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s concept of irreducible complexity. The first sentence of their next paragraph is Ã¢â‚¬Å“ID makes no testable predictions.Ã¢â‚¬Â They propose a law that mandates that public school students be taught material that Ã¢â‚¬Ëœdescribes only natural processesÃ¢â‚¬â„¢. That rules out the Big Bang, black holes, multiverses, and much of modern cosmology. Emergence of the universe ex- nihilo, physics in singularities, and the existence of countless other universes are by definition not ‘natural processes’. Censor quantum mechanics as well. ThereÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s nothing Ã¢â‚¬ËœnaturalÃ¢â‚¬â„¢ about SchrodingerÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s cat!
The authors’ policies, if taken seriously, would exclude many of the most important advances in 20th century physics. The most interesting and fruitful science challenges dogma, and the most entrenched dogma in modern biology is Darwinism.
The authors express concern that discussion of Darwinism and intelligent design will cripple science education. Yet the United States leads the western world in science and in skepticism about Darwinism. The current American debate about the origin of biological complexity is clear evidence that free inquiry is quite compatible with leadership in science.
Science thrives in an atmosphere of free inquiry. Teach the controversy!
Hear hear, professor Egnor!
My minor reservation with Timothy Johnson’s suggested reading list is he refers to Robert PennockÃ¢â‚¬â„¢s book, Intelligent Design Creationism as a reference for a balanced exchange (yikes!). Bill Dembski asserts Pennock conducted himself with less than common standards of ethics and integrity in writing the book, Intelligent Design Creationism. See STATEMENT BY WILLIAM A. DEMBSKI ON THE PUBLICATION OF ROBERT PENNOCK’S NEW BOOK WITH MIT PRESS.