Fortnightly logo

The Case Against Intelligent Design

You can't really be scientifically literate if you don't understand evolution, and you can't be an educated member of society if you don't understand science.
-Eugenie Scott

In the first two presentations in the series on intelligent design microbiologist Michael Behe and mathematician and philosopher William Dembski argued that Darwinian evolutionary theory cannot account for the variety and complexity of living things. The findings of modern natural science, they maintain, demonstrate intelligent design in nature. This position is highly controversial, and no one has played a larger public role in critiquing intelligent design than Eugenie C. Scott, executive director of the National Center for Science Education, Inc., a pro-evolution nonprofit science education organization.

In this conclusion of the Athenaeum's Intelligent Design series, Scott will argue that during the 1980s and 1990s intelligent design theory has succeeded brilliantly in positioning itself in the body politic, but that it is virtually ignored in the scientific literature, appearing in a desultory way in the philosophy of science literature. According to Scott, intelligent design theory has gained a lot of momentum because it allows religion, labeled as science, to sneak into schools through the back door.

Dr. Scott is frequently called upon by the print, radio, and television media to present "the scientific view" when conflicts arise between scientific and pseudoscientific explanations, including appearances on Donahue, Geraldo, Crossfire, Firing Line, Ancient Mysteries, and The Pat Buchanan Show. She was featured in the Nova programs "In the Beginning: The Creationist Controversy" (1999) and "What About God" (2001) in the Nova/Clear Blue Sky "Evolution" series. Dr. Scott holds a Ph.D. in biological anthropology from the University of Missouri and has taught at the University of Kentucky, the University of Colorado, and in the California State University system. A human biologist, her research has been in medical anthropology and skeletal biology.

Eugenie Scott's appearance at the Athenaeum is sponsored by the Salvatori Center, the Roberts Environmental Center, and the Athenaeum.