The Student News Site of University of Arizona

The Daily Wildcat

93° Tucson, AZ

The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

“Evolution, intelligent design face off at Humanities panel “

Timothy Galaz/ Arizona Daily Wildcat

From left, Karen Seat, associate professor of religious studies, Joanna Masel, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and Lucas Mix, an Episcopal priest and chaplain at the UA Episcopal Center run a panel discussion about evolution and intelligent design at the Poetry Center on March 31 2010.
Timothy Galaz
Timothy Galaz/ Arizona Daily Wildcat From left, Karen Seat, associate professor of religious studies, Joanna Masel, assistant professor of ecology and evolutionary biology, and Lucas Mix, an Episcopal priest and chaplain at the UA Episcopal Center run a panel discussion about evolution and intelligent design at the Poetry Center on March 31 2010.

Almost 100 people crammed into the Dorothy Rubel room at the UA Poetry Center to attend a round-table discussion on evolution and intelligent design on Wednesday. 

The discussion, held as part of Humanities Week, featured two panel members: Joanna Masel, a UA assistant professor in ecology and evolutionary biology, and Lucas Mix, a UA adjunct professor of religious studies and an ordained Episcopalian priest.

The panel, moderated by UA associate professor of religious studies Karen Seat, addressed questions concerning the incompatibility of Christianity and evolution and the validity of intelligent design as a viable alternative to evolution.

“”There’s a real sense coming out of fundamentalist evangelism that society is on the wrong path,”” Seat said. “”To them, the only path that is right is a biblical path. Evolution is seen as an attack on the traditional, literal meaning of the bible.””

Masel expanded on the intelligent design movement, as well as opined on why evolution is one of their targeted beliefs.

“”Are some versions of Christianity incompatible with the theory of evolution?

“”Absolutely,”” Masel said. “”But I don’t think it’s right to single out evolution as a sticking point. Once you pick out a theology that is incompatible with evolution, it becomes incompatible with all science.””

The panel also discussed the claim that evolution is just a theory and thus should not occupy a favored spot in school curricula.

“”This argument exploits several different meanings of the word ‘theory,'”” Masel said. “”For scientists, saying something is just a theory is the same as saying it’s just the highest form of scientific knowledge we have.””

Mix elaborated on the point, saying that just because both evolution and intelligent design could be considered theories does not necessarily place them on even ground.

“”The true question is how much confidence we have in them,”” Mix said.

After answering questions put forth by the moderator, the panel took questions from the audience. Mix’s dual role as a man of science and the cloth drew the most interest from those in attendance.

“”All scientific inquiry begins with the assumption that you lack complete knowledge,”” Mix said. “”The challenge philosophically with creationism and in general is whether you can have an unchanging knowledge of the universe.””

Mix went on to elaborate on his position, saying that God created the universe, and that as a biologist he was just trying to figure out how.

“”Much of the true value of the Bible is not scientific, it’s not historical,”” Mix said. “”It’s about humanity’s relationship with God.””

More to Discover
Activate Search