Intelligent Design vs. Darwinism at SMU

This weekend, April 13-14, there will be a conference billed as Darwin vs. Design in the McFarlin Auditorium on Southern Methodist University’s campus. Featured speakers are Lee Strobel, Dr. Michael Behe, Dr. Stephen Meyer, and Dr. Jay W. Richards. If you’re able to make it, you won’t be dissapointed.

What makes this even more interesting are the Darwinists’ lame attempts to prevent the conference from happening. According to Bruce Champman, President of the Discovery Institute,

We invited the chairs of SMU’s departments of biology, geological sciences and anthropology to send representatives to the first night of our conference so they can present their objections and even interrogate intelligent design scholars with their toughest questions.

As we were writing this, the anthropology department declined due to a scheduling conflict, but the other departments have not responded. Unfortunately, this behavior is all too common among defenders of Darwinian theory. They publicly disparage intelligent design (often showing through their comments that they know very little about what it actually proposes), but they refuse to engage in genuine dialogue.

According to Jeffrey Weiss of The Dallas Morning News,

Professors opposed to the Bush library aren’t the only angry faculty members at Southern Methodist University this week.

Science professors upset about a presentation on “Intelligent Design” fired blistering letters to the administration, asking that the event be shut down.

The “Darwin vs. Design” conference, co-sponsored by the SMU law school’s Christian Legal Society, will say that a designer with the power to shape the cosmos is the best explanation for aspects of life and the universe. The event is produced by the Discovery Institute, the Seattle-based organization that says it has scientific evidence for its claims.

The anthropology department at SMU begged to differ:

“These are conferences of and for believers and their sympathetic recruits,” said the letter sent to administrators by the department. “They have no place on an academic campus with their polemics hidden behind a deceptive mask.”

Similar letters were sent by the biology and geology departments.

The university is not going to cancel the event, interim provost Tom Tunks said Friday. The official response is a statement that the event to be held in McFarlin Auditorium April 13-14 is not endorsed by the school:

“Although SMU makes its facilities available as a community service, and in support of the free marketplace of ideas, providing facilities for those programs does not imply SMU’s endorsement of the presenters’ views,” the statement said.

The school also will review its policies about who is allowed to hold events on campus, Dr. Tunks said.

(Incidentally, it strikes me that a Methodist [and thus Christian] university would distance itself from the claim that an Intelligent Designer, such as God, may be responsible for the vast teleology in our world)

Note as well that Dr. William Dembski will be speaking for the Dallas Christian Leadership luncheon series Thursday, April 12, in the SMU Umphrey Lee Center. His topic will be “The Intelligent Design Controversy.”

HT: Uncommon Descent

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