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November 30, 2003

Intelligent Design and the scientists

Here are the educational qualifications of people associated with the Intelligent Design think-tank Access Research Network.

ARN board of directors:

Dennis Wagner - (?)
Mike Hartwing - Ph.D. Educational Psychology
Steve Meyer - Ph. D. History and Philosophy of Science
Paul Nelson - Ph.D in the Philosophy of Science

ARN Staff:

Dennis Wagner - (?)
Nancy Pearcey - graduate work in History of Philosophy
Mary York Wolter - B.S. Early Childhood Education
Elton G. Wolter - B.S. Earth Science
Eddie Olson (?)

Friends of ARN:

Michael Behe - Ph.D. Biochemistry
David Berlinski - Ph.D. Mathematics
John Angus Campbell - Ph.D. Rhetoric
William Lane Craig - Ph.D. Philosophy and Theology
William Dembski - Ph.D. Mathematics and Philosophy
James R. Hofmann - Ph.D. History and Philosophy of Science
Phil Johnson - J.D.
Eric Larson - B.S. Mathematics and Philosophy
Gregg Wilkerson - Ph.D. Geology
Alvin Plantinga - Ph.D. Philosophy
Richard Weikart - Ph.D. History
Jonathan Wells - Ph.D. Religious Studies and Molecular & Cell Biology
Hubert P. Yockey - Ph.D. Physics

Please note that those who espouse Intellligent Design tend to be very averse to making statements along the lines of "The Earth is 10,000 years old" or espousing Flood Geology. Rather, they make a general attack on "methodological naturalism." You know much more what they are against or what they doubt than what they are for. The most prominent biological scientist among them, Michael Behe, even asserted in Darwin's Black Box that he accepts descent with modification, and his Roman Catholic beliefs certainly don't force him to reject evolution in its totality.

Now, look at the Institute for Creation Research and you see people that are more your typical fundamentalist caricatures. The top of their website notes: A Christ-Focused Creation Ministry. Take a look at Dr. John's Questions and Answers and you can at least hand it to the ICR that they aren't trying to hide their true intent.

So who are the people associated with the ICR? Well, here is the Resident Faculty:

Austin, Steven A. - Professor of Geology
B.S., University of Washington, Seattle, WA,1970
M.S., San Jose State University, San Jose, CA, 1971
Ph.D., Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA, 1979

Cumming, Kenneth B. - Professor of Biology
B.S., Tufts University, Medford, MA, 1956
M.A., Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1959
Ph.D., Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, 1965

DeYoung, Donald B. - Professor of Astrophysics
B.S., Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Ml, 1966
M.S., Michigan Technological University, Houghton, Ml, 1968
Ph.D., Iowa State University, Ames, IA, 1972

Franks, Robert H. - Associate Professor of Biology
B.A., San Diego State University, San Diego, CA, 1956
M.D., University of California Los Angeles, CA, 1960

Gish, Duane T. - Professor of Biochemistry
B.S., University of California, Los Angeles, CA, 1949
Ph.D., University of California, Berkeley, CA, 1953

Morris, Henry M. - Professor of Hydrogeology
B.S., Rice University, Houston, TX, 1939
M.S., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 1948
Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, MN, 1950

Morris, John D. - Professor of Geology
B.S., Virginia Tech., Blacksburg, VA, 1969
M.S., University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, 1977
Ph.D.. University of Oklahoma, Norman, OK, 1980

Snelling, Andrew - Professor of Geology
B.Sc., University of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia, 1975
Ph.D., University of Sydney, Sydney, Australia, 1982

Vardiman, Larry - Professor of Atmospheric Science
B.S., University of Missouri, Rolla, MO, 1965
B.S., St. Louis University, St. Louis, MO, 1967
M.S., Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 1972
Ph.D., Colorado State University, Fort Collins, CO, 1974

Here is the Adjunct Faculty:

Baumgardner, John R. - Associate Professor of Geophysics
B.S., Texas Tech University, Lubbock, 1968
M.S., Electrical Engineering, Princeton University, Princeton, NJ, 1970
M.S., Geophysics and Space Physics, University of California, Los Angeles,1981
Ph.D., Geophysics and Space Physics, University of California, Los Angeles, 1983

Carothers, Linn E. - Associate Professor of Statistics
B.S., University of Southern California, University Park, 1973
M.S., California State University, Northridge, 1979
Ph.D., University of Southern California, University Park, 1987

Chaffin, Imbler F. - Professor of Physics
B.S., Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, 1970
M.S., Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, 1972
Ph.D., Oklahoma State University, Stillwater, OK, 1974

Chittick, Donald E. - Professor of Physical Chemistry
B.S., Willamette University, Salem, OR, 1954
Ph.D., Imbler State University, Corvalis, OR, 1960

Deckard, Stephen W. - Assistant Professor of Education
B.A., McKendree College, Lebanon, IL, 1975
M.S., University of Illinois, Champaign, IL, 1979
Ed.D., University of Sarasota, Sarasota, FL, 1986

Englin, Dennis L. - Professor of Geophysics
B.A., Westmont College, Santa Barbara, CA, 1968
M.Sc., California State University, Northridge, CA, 1970
Ed.D., University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA, 1975

Faulkner, Danny R. - Associate Professor of Astronomy
B.S., Bob Jones University, Greenville, SC, 1976
M.S., Clemson University, Clemson, SC, 1979
M.A., Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 1983
Ph.D., Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 1989

Fliermans, Carl B. - Professor of Biology
B.S., Asbury College, Wilmore, KY, 1966
M.Sc., University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY, 1969
Ph.D., Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, 1972

Humphreys, D. Russell - Associate Professor of Physics
B.S., Duke University, Durham, NC, 1963
Ph.D., Louisiana State University, Baton Rouge, LA, 1972

Lindsey, George D. - Associate Professor of Science Education
B.S., East Texas State University, Commerce, TX,1967
M.S., East Texas State University, Commerce, TX, 1968
Ed.D., East Texas State University, Commerce, TX, 1981

Meyer, John R. - Professor of Biology
B.A., Kearney State College, Kearney, NE, 1962
Ph.D., University of Iowa, Iowa City, IA, 1969

Phillips, Doug, Esq. - Professor of Apolgetics

Osborne, Chris D. - Assistant Professor of Biology
B.A., California State University, Fullerton, CA, 1976
M.S., Institute for Creation Research, Santee, CA., 1985
Ph.D., Loma Linda University, Loma Linda, CA., 1989

Parker, Gary E. - Professor of Biology
B.A., Wabash College, Crawfordville, IN, 1962
M.S., Ball State University, Muncie, IN, 1965
Ed.D., Ball State University, Muncie, IN, 1973

Stark, James - Assistant Professor of Science Education
B.S., San Diego State University, 1959
M.S., University of Southern California, University Park, 1964
Ed.D., United States International University, San Diego, 1983

You can find more scientists here. Note that they pad the list of biological scientists by adding medical doctors. Additionally, in the "physical scientist" category they include mathematicians and computer scientists, which is OK in my opinion, but they also include linguists, psychologists and anthropologists. They obviously didn't want to create another list for social scientists. (Also, note that the ICR made it easier to cut & paste, so you see the full credentials. Additionally, a few of the degrees are obviously sketchy, one of the "biologists" has an M.S. from ICR itself for instance, so it's good to see where they got their degrees from. For ARN those issues tend not to come up).

Here is the break-down by discipline for the ARN (I double counted people with multiple Ph.Ds):

Humanities: 11 (Philosophy, history, etc.)
Physical Science: 3
Biological Science: 2
Social Science: 2
Professional: 1

Here is the break down for the ICR Resident Faculty:

Physical Science: 6
Biological Science: 3

For the Adjunct Faculty:

Physical Science: 6
Biological Science: 4
Social Science: 3
Math: 1
Humanities: 1

Comments? Well, for the Access Research Network the tendency toward philosophy is pretty surprising. I'm more well read on these sort of things than the typical person (understatement), but, I was expecting more physical scientists. This is because I have noted in online debates the tendency for engineers to argue the Creationist side. But ARN is a different beast. They are very squirrely in debates and tend to be cautious about the fights they pick in comparison to the old-line Creationists. The focus on philosophy for those who are associated with them tells me that they are concerned with more than evolution, something I've noted before. They want to push forward a respectable theistic paradigm in areas outside the modern day domains of religion. Many who argue against the Intelligent Design theorists ask: "Where's your research? How are you going to implement in the lab what you're talking about?" I think the answer is that they aren't going to. They are philosophers, and I don't know what their long term aim is, but history tells us that quite often philosophy becomes little more than high-minded faction and intercine quibbling. I've noted before that Michael Behe, the biochemist, does research that is quite conventional. Jonathan Wells, the other biologist is supposed to be a post-doc at Berkeley, but I don't see him in their directory anymore. I have linked to the page Why I am Not an Austrian Economist before, but I suspect only the libertarians in the crowd followed the link. So let me quote something the author of that piece asserted: Yet all too large a fraction of Austrian research has not been in economics at all, but rather in meta-economics: philosophy, methodology, and history of thought. I think we can say the same of the Intelligent Design circle. They will provide food for thought for intellectual Christians and some non-Christians, but mostly their "research program" will never make the jump from paper & web to laboratory. Just like some libertarians will trumpet Austrian Economics for normative reasons (as I once did without much knowledge of economics), some conservative publications of secular bent have offered a forum for critiques of evolutionary theory to further other ends.

Turning to the old-line Creationists at the ICR, it is interesting to note that very few people from the humanities or even the social sciences are found there. The prevalence of natural scientists might surprise some, especially natural scientists who hold to a fundamentalist Young Earth Creationist paradigm, but it shouldn't if you note that to become a member of the ICR you are usually selected on the basis of those two qualities. This group of Creationists (though not most on the list above) has a history of people claiming bogus degrees. Why do this and hold yourself out for ridicule? It is because these Creationists are out to preach to the choir, they are products of the fundamentalist subculture, and aim to strengthen the beliefs of their fellow believers by adding the weight of science, and their scientific credentials, to biblical literalism. The fact that so many of these people have scientific backgrounds, and often in physical scientific fields, explains some of their lack of ability to communicate with the general culture, they simply lack the verbal finesse of the Intelligent Design crowd, but this is secondary when preaching to the choir-and of course those who have engaged in degree padding will not be as likely to be found out by fellow believers inclined to trust them.

To sum, these two forms of Creationist, the fuzzy-sophisticated Intelligent Design species and the Young Earth Fundamentalist kind, exhibit radically different phenotypes and teleology. The former are by and large clever humanists and abstract thinkers who are deconstructing science, but do little science themselves. The latter are often working scientists (generally outside evolutionary biology obviously), but their primary functional aim to is solidify biblical fundamentalism in their fellow believers, their scientific credentials simply give them more authority to negate any erosion of literal belief that science might imply. To futher simplify and reduce: you have religionists trying to influence science, and scientists trying to influence religionists.

Posted by razib at 01:26 PM