Sunday, April 01, 2007

"A teaching moment"

I mentioned in an earlier post that EN&V reported that some of the faculty at Southern Methodist University wrote letters in protest to the upcoming Darwin vs. Design conference at their university.

To their dismay, the conference will not be cancelled, so the faculty has decided to use the conference as "a teaching moment". I can about imagine what that might entail. Sounds like ID bashing on the horizon.

Bruce Chapman, President of the Discovery Institute, has decided to help the faculty in their endeavor to provide "a teaching moment". He has proposed that the faculty participate in open dialogue with the conference speakers the night before the conference begins.

Goodness, that sounds like an outstanding opportunity for the faculty to really show those IDists a thing or two, and the students will have the opportunity to learn from this dialogue.

Think the faculty will take Chapman up on his suggestion??

March 29, 2007

I am writing to invite you or a representative from your faculty to participate in a dialogue about the theory of intelligent design on Friday night, April 13th, ahead of the formal commencement of our conference that evening on your campus.

We noted with interest the comment of one of your SMU faculty colleagues, Dr. Bretell, who stated in the Dallas Morning News that the science faculty plan to use the conference “as a teaching moment.”

As educators ourselves, we applaud you for this and would like to enhance the teaching opportunity for your students by creating a forum in which your faculty can participate in an open dialogue with proponents of intelligent design—in particular, with our three conference speakers, Dr. Michael Behe, Dr. Stephen Meyer, and Dr. Jay Richards.

If you accept our invitation, I will arrange for the first portion of our Friday night program to be devoted to this discussion. We propose the following format: one of our speakers would make a fifteen-minute presentation explaining the merits, from our point of view, of the theory of intelligent design. Then we would invite one of you to make a presentation explaining your main criticisms of the theory. We would then allow your panel to ask us a series of challenging questions of your own choosing. After that we would open the discussion to a few questions from the audience.

We are all committed to respectful scholarly dialogue and to the use of scientific methods of reasoning in the investigation of nature. In our view, science progresses in part as scientists and scholars discuss and evaluate competing interpretations of scientific evidence. We think that the format we are proposing will allow for such discussion and will, therefore, create a teaching moment for all who participate and observe the discussion.

We hope you will join us. May I ask you to respond at your earliest convenience by contacting Robert Crowther in our Seattle office at 206-292-0401, extension 107, or

Yours sincerely,

Bruce Chapman
President, Discovery Institute

Robert Van Kemper Chair, Anthropology
Robert T. Gregory Chair, Geological Sciences
Larry Ruben Chair, Biology
Thomas W. Tunks Provost of SMU