Thursday, May 04, 2006


Clever By Design

On April 26, The Seattle Times sponsored a debate between Peter Ward, a paleontologist and professor of Geological Sciences at the University of Washington in Seattle, and Stephen Meyer, of the intelligent design think tank, the Discovery Institute.

As soon as the debate ended, the Discovery Institute's Evolution News and Views blog began trumpeting Meyer's tremendous victory for intelligent design. Victories big and small, you may remember, have been a little hard for ID advocates to come by lately.

Robert Crowther, in one of several posts crowing about Meyer's victory in the debate, wrote:
In speaking with many people afterwards –including both ardent ID supporters and staunch Darwinists-- it was obvious to everyone that Meyer clearly prevailed. Both debaters were engaging, but everyone I spoke with found Meyer to be more substantive and thoughtful with his answers.
Always the skeptic, RSR has been casting about for a report on the debate from a more objective source. Yesterday, Bruce Ramsey, a Seattle Times editorial columnist reported that at the end of the debate, "Ward asked the audience whether anyone had changed his mind. Of the hundreds of people who packed Town Hall's former Church of Christ, Scientist, I didn't see anyone raise a hand."

Interestingly, Ramsey also reports that Ward was heckled by Meyer's supporters throughout his presentation.

Ramsey, who concludes that ID is a "clever argument, by design," also makes note of this exchange:
"You can't go to the supernatural [said Ward]."
("He's not!" said the hecklers behind me.)
There was another problem: "Who is the Designer?"
"In my view, the Designer is God," said Meyer.
"How do we test for God?"
"We don't claim to be able to know the identity of the Designer."
Could it be that Meyer's famous victory at the debate, like the scientific evidence supporting intelligent design, is not all it's cracked up to be?


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