Continuing the discussion from Arthur Hunt and Stephen Meyer here:
On another thread there is a silly debate about who won a public exchange at Biola University between @Art and Meyer on Signature in the Cell. A silly debate because…
Though there was something beautiful uncovered. @Art posted his take on the event, but also included what happened afterwards. This is the real story of the event…
I mentioned some “professorial” activities that ended up making this trip quite rewarding. One of these was something I volunteered to do once I accepted Biola’s invitation to be on the panel of critics. I knew almost nothing about Biola, and I decided that one thing that would take some of the edge off of this experience would be to offer to give a seminar or lecture to the Biola scientific community. I decided that a lecture would be a better way to interact with students and Biola faculty outside of the adversarial, “us vs. them” atmosphere of the Meyer event. To my great and good fortune, the head of the Apologetics Program (that was organizing the event) forwarded my offer to the science faculty, and I was able to give a lecture to a large and diverse class. The lecture itself was a challenge, and I am not sure how well I pulled it off – the class was a collection of upper-level students who had a lot of biology course background, and younger science majors who had yet to take many (if any) biology classes. I chose to talk about some of the behind-the-scenes developments in plant biology that contributed to the unfolding of the small RNA story. This allowed me to talk about plant biotechnology (something that might interest a first-year student) and small RNAs.
Needless to say, the class reacted very well to my lecture, and I got several excellent and insightful questions throughout the talk. The following interactions I had with my two faculty hosts for the afternoon were also splendid. I was impressed, and I must ashamedly admit pleasantly surprised, by the students and my two hosts. I can only hope that this effort on my behalf allowed the students and their professors to see a “critic” in a different and more complimentary light.
What if interactions between the ID movement and scientists could look more like this? Would that not be a better sort of way?
@Art, I had some questions:
Have you maintained contact with anyone at BioLa?
Can you tell us the professors with whom you interacted?
How do you think we can build trust with students in institutions outside the mainstream of science?