Joseph Carson (
10 Jun 96 19:52:59 EDT


Conference on Design and Origins
Biola University, November 14-17, 1996

Conference Purpose and Overview:

A major research conference, attended by invitation,
bringing together scientists and scholars who reject
naturalism as an adequate framework for doing science,
and who advocate a common vision of creation whose
unifying idea is intelligent design.

Conference Organizers:

Conference Director: Richard McGee
Academic Editor: William Dembski
Chair of Steering Committee: Paul Nelson

Steering Committee:

Michael Behe, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Biological Sciences,
Lehigh University
Walter Bradley, Ph.D., Professor of Mechanical Engineering,
Texas A&M University
William Dembski, Ph.D., Associate Editor, _Origins & Design_,
Princeton Theological Seminary
Phillip Johnson, J.D., Professor of Law,
University of California Law School, Berkeley
Sherwood Lingenfelter, Ph.D., Provost,
Biola University
Richard McGee, Th.M., Director of Research,
Christian Leadership Ministries
Stephen Meyer, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Philosophy,
Whitworth College
J.P. Moreland, Ph.D., Professor of Philosophy,
Talbot School of Theology, Biola University
Paul Nelson, Editor, _Origins & Design_, Ph.D. candidate,
University of Chicago
Pattle Pun, Ph.D., Professor of Biology,
Wheaton College
John Mark Reynolds, Ph.D., Post-Doctoral Fellow,
Biola University
Fritz Schaefer, Ph.D., Professor of Quantum Chemistry,
University of Georgia
Jeffery Schloss, Ph.D., Professor of Biology and Dept. Chairman,
Westmont College

Proposed Conference Speakers and Topics:

November 14th
Thursday Evening--Unseating Naturalism by Design
Walter Bradley Self-Organizational Scenarios
Jonathan Wells Developmental Biology

November 15th
Friday Morning--Foundations for a Theory of Design
Nancy Pearcey Why Design is Alive and Well
William Dembski Logical Structure of Design Inferences
Stephen Meyer The Explanatory Power of Design
Paul Nelson Applying Design within Biology

Friday Afternoon--Biological Evidence for Design
Michael Behe Molecular Machines & Irred. Complexity
Siegfried Scherer Basic Types
Sigrid Hartwig-Scherer Paleontology and Anthropology
Jeffery Schloss Altruism and Evolutionary Biology

Friday Evening--Discussion

November 16th
Saturday Morning--Philosophy and Design
J.P. Moreland Design as Agent Causation
Del Ratzsch Design vs. Theistic Evolution
John Mark Reynolds How Design Avoids the God-of-the-Gaps
William Craig Design and the Cosmological Argument

Saturday Afternoon--Design in the Bio-Physical Universe
Hugh Ross Fine Tuning and the Big Bang
Robert Kaita Design in Physics and Biology
Charles Thaxton Design in Chemistry and Biology
Robert Newman Artificial Life and Cellular Automata

Saturday Evening--Discussion

November 17th
Sunday Morning--Prospects and Conclusions
Luder Whitlock Worship Service (Communion & Sermon)
Phillip Johnson Where Do We Go From Here?

Specific Conference Goals:

1. To Build a Community of Thought

Many scholars and scientists who work in disciplines
dominated by naturalism personally reject that
philosophy and its methodological consequences. They
want positive alternatives to naturalism, yet do not
see (or see only faintly) a broader intellectual
community of their own. The conference should bring
these scholars together to discuss their points of
commonality, and should provide them with fellowship
in a group of like-minded colleagues who are pursuing
scientifically promising theistic alternatives in
their own fields. Scientists who know they are not
alone in dissenting from naturalism will be better
equipped to encourage others to think differently.

2. To Share Ideas and Knowledge

Science and knowledge acquisition generally have
grown increasingly specialized. In many respects this
division of labor is natural and healthy. Yet in a
culture dominated by naturalism, it can also be
pernicious. "Everyone knows" (for instance) that neo-
Darwinism is well-established, because the neo-
Darwinians themselves have so assured the rest of the
world. Theistic scholars recognize that the intellectual
world itself is in chaos. Secularists are having difficulty
justifying the most basic academic standards and programs.
It is past time for theists to propose a way out for
their secular colleagues. This conference should enable
scientists in fields spanning the life sciences, earth
sciences, astrophysics, history and philosophy of
science, mathematics, etc., to communicate what they know
about the shortcomings of governing naturalistic
theories, e.g., neo-Darwinism. Far more importantly,
however, conferees would learn, in some detail, of the
work and thinking of others who do not presuppose
naturalism in their intellectual work; what common
problems are faced; what research should be undertaken;
and how the group might interact with the scientific and
intellectual worlds at large.

3. To Unite on Common Ground

The Christian world is badly riven over the "creation-
evolution" issue. Yet a surprising amount of common
ground actually unites many (if not all) of the
feuding parties. The conferees should seek a way of
approaching the origins issue that will unify
Christians. The conference should provide a means to
discover shared principles and ideas, by letting
disputants spend time together amicably in a private
setting where reputations are not on the line. The
conference would also seek to formulate a general
position statement on origins ("mere creation") which
could be widely endorsed by Christians.

4. To Communicate to Others

Wonderful ideas left under a bushel do no good. The
conference should produce tangible results which will
accelerate the growth of this new alternative to
naturalism, encouraging and disseminating scholarship
both at the highest level and at the popular levels
via such activities as:

1. Preparing a book for publication, with chapters drawn from
the conference papers;

2. Planning a major origins conference for 1997 at a large
university to engage scientific naturalists;

3. Outlining a research program to encourage the next
generation of scholars to work on theories beyond the
confines of naturalism;

4. Exploring the need for establishing fellowship programs
and encouraging joint research;

5. Providing resources for the new journal _Origins &
Design_, as an ongoing forum and a first-rate
interdisciplinary journal with the contributions by
conference participants;

6. Preparing information usable in campus ministry, such as
expanding a World Wide Web origins site
( and exploring video and
other means of communication;

7. Formulating a brief statement of unity ("mere creation")
with a call for a cease-fire on other issues (though not
discouraging research in those areas).

Addresses of Conference Organizers:
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Richard L. McGee, Director of Research
Christian Leadership Ministries Email:
3440 Sojourn Dr., Suite 200 Phone: 214-713-7130 x105
Carrollton, Texas 75006-2354 Fax: 214-713-7670

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William A. Dembski & Paul A. Nelson
_Origins & Design_ Editorial Office
Bill's email:
Paul's email:
600 Davis Street, 3W
Evanston, IL 60201-4419 Voice & Fax: 847-733-9417

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To: Joseph Carson > [73530,2350]