A GOOD DECISION: Nichole Winfield, Associated Press:
ROME (AP) — A Vatican-backed conference on evolution is under attack from people who weren’t invited to participate: those espousing creationism and intelligent design.
The Discovery Institute, the main organization supporting intelligent design research, says it was shut out from presenting its views because the meeting was funded in part by the John Templeton Foundation, a major U.S. nonprofit that has criticized the intelligent design movement.
Intelligent design holds that certain features of life forms are so complex that they can best be explained by an origin from an intelligent higher power, not an undirected process like natural selection.
Organizers of the five-day conference at the Pontifical Gregorian University said Thursday that they barred intelligent design proponents because they wanted an intellectually rigorous conference on science, theology and philosophy to mark the 150th anniversary of Charles Darwin’s "The Origin of Species."
While there are some Darwinian dissenters present, intelligent design didn’t fit the bill, they said.
"We think that it’s not a scientific perspective, nor a theological or philosophical one," said the Rev. Marc Leclerc, the conference director and a professor of philosophy of nature at the Gregorian. "This makes a dialogue very difficult, maybe impossible."
He denied the decision had anything to do with Templeton’s funding for the conference. "Absolutely not. We decided independently within the organizing committee, in total autonomy," Leclerc said.