Tuesday, April 11, 2006

More on New ID Course at Cornell: Another Comment By MacNeill

Another comment by Professor Allen MacNeill on the new course on intelligent design at Cornell University (discussed in my last post):
The course is, indeed, interdisciplinary. Credit is available through four departments: ecology & evolutionary biology, biology & society, history (of science), and science & technology studies. And it isn't just ID that will be discussed. The existence of design and/or purpose in nature (technically "teleology") has been debated for millennia. We will be approaching the topic from both a historical and philosophical point of view, using modern ID theory as a focus for our discussions. I expect that at least some participants will be surprised to learn that the question of purpose in nature has been addressed by evolutionary biologists such as Francisco Ayala, Ernst Mayr, Colin Pittendrigh, and William Wimsatt, as well as by philosophers of science such as Ernst Nagel and Andrew Woodfield. We will be reading papers and excerpts from these and other authors, as well as the books listed in the reading list. I hope that all participants will come out of the course with a much clearer understanding of just what design and purpose is, how we can recognize it, and what part it plays in natural systems.

But, of course, according to Judge Jones, none of this can be discussed in a public high school, because that would constitute the establishment of religion.

MacNeill does not take the hyper-simplistic view of intelligent design that I discuss here. Compare this university course with another university course discussed here.


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