The Great Debate on Evolution and Intelligent Design: Agnostics, Atheists, and Theists, oh my! - Evolution News & Views

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The Great Debate on Evolution and Intelligent Design: Agnostics, Atheists, and Theists, oh my!

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Distinguished scientist and professor James M. Tour will moderate a
debate next month
in Texas about intelligent design and evolution featuring four prominent scientists and philosophers. What's interesting is that defending intelligent design are an agnostic who is skeptical of ID and an atheist philosopher. That would be Dr. David Berlinski and Dr. Bradley Monton, respectively. Defending evolution will be British theologian Denis Alexander and well-known physicist Lawrence Krauss.

Here's how the hosts at St. Andrews Episcopal church in Fort Worth, Texas describe the debate:

The issue of the debate is one of the most emotionally-charged questions facing our country today. The debate seeks to present the audience with different perspectives and helpful insights to enable them to form better conclusions about faith and science. It will feature four world renowned participants who will address this significant issue from different viewpoints; specifically, a Pro-Intelligent Design Theist and Atheist, and an Anti-Intelligent Design Theist and Atheist. Our moderator, Dr. James M. Tour, is an individual of impeccable scientific standing and credentials.
It should be pointed out that David Berlinski is not a theist but an agnostic, as was made clear in his recent, hot-selling book The Devil's Delusion. While he is a prominent skeptic of Darwinism, he is not a proponent of intelligent design. An interesting choice to defend the theory, to be sure.

Berlinski's partner is Dr. Bradley Monton, a philosophy prof at the University of Colorado at Boulder whose areas of specialization include the philosophy of science (especially philosophy of physics -- which will make his interactions with Krauss all the more juicy).

Monton argues that there is some legitimate scientific evidence for the existence of an intelligent designer of our universe, but admits that in the current environment it's unlikely that such evidence will convert atheists to theism, or Darwinists to modern science.

Opposing Monton and Berlinski are Denis Alexander and Lawrence Krauss, also an odd pairing, one a theologian, the other a strident atheist.

Dr. Alexander, the Director of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, St. Edmund's College, Cambridge, will speak from the anti-ID position. Here's a theologian who agrees with the world's most vociferous atheist -- Richard Dawkins -- that of course we live in a universe which displays design, but it's not real design.

Joining him will be Dr. Krauss, the Foundation Professor in the School of Earth and Space Exploration and the Physics Department, Co-Director of the Cosmology Initiative, and Inaugural Director of the Origins Initiative at Arizona State University. If there's any time remaining after giving his title, he will simply state that there is no evidence for design.

Expect sparks and more than a touch of arrogance.

Friday, November 7, 2008
7:00 -- 10:00 p.m.
Will Rogers Auditorium
3401 W. Lancaster Ave.
Fort Worth, Texas
Tickets: $10 Adults; $5 Students
Please contact St. Andrew's Episcopal Church
at 817-332-3191 for tickets.
Download the debate brochure here.


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