Merits of intelligent design, evolution debated

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The hot topic of Intelligent Design and Evolution was debated and discussed between Raymond Bohlin and Wes Elsberry last night at the Hughes-Trigg Theater at SMU.

Bohlin, the representative of Intelligent Design, is president of Probe Ministries, which is an apologetics and worldview educational organization based out of Richardson, Texas.

He achieved his doctorate in molecular and cell biology from the University of Texas at Dallas, and currently lives in Garland.

Elsberry, an Evolutionist, is a biologist who earned his doctorate in wildlife and fisheries at Texas A&M University, and is currently the Information Project Director for the National Center for Science Education.

The debate, moderated by political science professor Joseph Kobylka, lasted for approximately forty minutes, as students and professors watched two intellectual scientists battle it out.

Last night’s event, that was sponsored by SMU’s Political Science Symposium, was initially supposed to cover the legal issue on whether Intelligent Design (ID) should be taught in public schools. However, the exchange between respective advocates reached a deeper level, when in-depth issues of technicalities, philosophies, science and religion were brought up in the dialogue.

Each representative from both sides of the debate was given fifteen minutes to deliver their presentation. Bohlin, the proponent of ID, went first.

Bohlin initially explained to the audience exactly what Intelligent Design is, claiming that it’s a “challenge to Darwinism” that offers a “scientific investigation of effects of intelligent causes.” Essentially ID is a theory that proposes that there are parts to a cell that are simply too complex to have been evolved, that rather they have been altered by some sort of “designer.”

With a “if it looks designed, maybe it is!” motto, he continued to further explain ID with an analogy. Take, for example, a message in the sand at a beach. If an innocent passerby was walking along the shore and came upon “John loves Mary” written in the sand, the particular discoverer would undoubtedly conclude that some sort of a designer left the message, and it couldn’t have happened naturally.

The same concept was further explained, in greater detail, with regards to the flagella of a cell, perhaps a bacterium.

Elsberry’s fifteen minute presentation was nothing but sheer rebuttal and refutation. Claming that ID “isn’t even a science,” the biologist stated that “anti-evolutionists have utilized political action to gain government support for teaching ID in public schools.”

Many people have argued that the theory of Intelligent Design is just a back door tactic for teaching — if not mandating – the Christian faith.

Elsberry went on to claim that “Intelligent Design” is simply an evolved name, stemming from “Creation Science” and “Creationism.”

After claiming that the theory is merely wishful thinking, he began discussing the technical and scientific justifications that ID is not even a testable hypothesis.

After the debate was finished, students and others that attended were encouraged to propose questions to each debater, some of which struck heated and interesting conversation.

After nearly forty-five minutes of open dialogue, Kobylka thanked each scientist and their audience for attending.

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