Sunday, May 15, 2005

The Terms of Debate in Kansas - New York Times

The Terms of Debate in Kansas - New York Times: "Methodological Naturalism

The philosophy of mainstream science that nature has its own method, without the possibility of supernatural influence on, say, how DNA is sequenced. William S. Harris, a chemist who helped write Kansas' alternative science standards questioning evolution, said that methodological naturalism puts blinders on the search for truth.

Irreducibly Complex

Introduced in Michael Behe's 1996 book, 'Darwin's Black Box,' which describes the intelligent design concept, this phrase refers to a system in which the removal of one part prevents the system from performing its basic function. Such a system could not evolve over time, since it cannot exist without every part, and thus would undercut the concept of natural selection.

Common Descent

The idea that, beyond the biblical notion that humanity descends from Adam and Eve, all of life's species have the same origin. Pedro Irigonegaray, the lawyer at the Topeka hearings arguing for the teaching of evolution, pressed several witnesses on whether they believe in prehominids as the ancestral line to homo sapiens. One response from an opponent of teaching evolution: Extremely unlikely.

Wedge Strategy

Conceived by the Seattle-based Discovery Institute, this reflects the change in strategy by critics of evolution to avoid mentioning hot-button terms like creationism and instead emphasizing intelligent design, with its logical-sounding notion that complexity unexplainable by natural laws should be attributed to some other, possibly divine, force. The aim is to create a wedge to change school curriculums to teach the controversy over Darwin's theories. (The other side said there is no scientific controversy.)


The idea that species evolve over time is almost universally accepted.


The notion that one species can evolve into another, a view that is rejected by creationists and some intelligent designers."

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