Intelligent Design Advocates: Are Darwinists Afraid to Debate Us?

Two of the nation's main intelligent design (ID) advocates wrote an opinion editorial for the Tuesday edition of the Dallas Morning News questioning why pro-evolution professors at Southern Methodist University (SMU) did not accept their challenge to a debate.

Bruce Chapman, president of the Discovery Institute, and John West, associate director of the institute's Center for Science & Culture (CSC), have publicly called out to the SMU faculty, and have accused them of being hypocritical.

"Various science professors at SMU have called on their university to ban our conference, and more recently some of them have declared that they 'have a duty as practitioners of science to speak out' against intelligent design," read the article in the Dallas Morning News. "But if they truly believe that they have a duty to 'speak out,' why not speak out by engaging intelligent design scholars in a serious discussion?"

The discussion would have been a part of the upcoming "Darwin vs. Design" conference to take place this Friday and Saturday that will be held on the college's campus. The debate idea was in response to the negative reaction the conference had received from the SMU faculty.

The president of the Discovery Institute had sent letters to three department chairs at SMU asking them to have a dialogue, where both sides would provide evidence for and against ID - a theory which argues that complex living organisms are the result of a "designer."

SMU Anthropology Chair Robert V. Kemper last week declined the invitation, explaining that his department had previous engagements that it had to attend to.

Since the other two professors have still not responded, Chapman and West wrote to the local paper to express their disappointment. They feel that ID scientists are not given the same kind of respect that evolutionists are.

"Nowhere is the free exchange of ideas supposed to be more robust or uninhibited than on college campuses," noted the article titled "Bruce Chapman and John West: Are the Darwinists afraid to debate us?"

"Unfortunately, this behavior [by evolutionists] is all too common among defenders of Darwinian theory," the two added. "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."

The article also explained that the refusal to have scientific debate and discussion is contrary to Darwin himself, who felt that "a fair result can be obtained only by fully stating and balancing the facts and arguments on both sides of each question."

"What are today's Darwinists so afraid of?" concluded the editorial.

The "Darwin vs. Design" conference will feature three of ID's most outspoken scientists, including Dr. Michael Behe, biochemist from Lehigh University and CSC senior fellow; Dr. Stephen Meyer, director of the CSC; and Dr. Jay Richards, a research fellow at the Acton Institute and CSC senior fellow.

Discovery Institute, a nonpartisan public policy think tank based in Seattle, is a major promoter of ID theory.