|Centre professor addresses evolution debate on KET program
RELEASED: Sept. 1, 2005
DANVILLE, KYCentre College professor Christine Barton appeared as a panelist on a recent episode of "Kentucky Tonight," the hour-long, weekly public affairs discussion show produced by Kentucky Educational Television.
The topic of discussion was Evolution and Intelligent Design. Barton, a Centre Scholar and professor of biology, appeared along with Rev. Hershael York of the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, scientist and author Cornelius Hunter, and Rev. Lisa Wilson Davison of Lexington Theological Seminary.
Barton acknowledged that intelligent design should be understood for its social significance, but maintained that it has no validity as a scientific theory. She cited the theory's originator, William Paley as an important influence on Charles Darwin, whose explanation for the mechanism by which evolution proceeds forms the basis for the mechanism currently accepted by the vast majority of practicing biologists.
Where intelligent design falls short, however, is as a scientific theory, Barton said. "Intelligent design, as it currently stands, doesn't belong next to evolution as a competing scientific theory."
The final concern expressed by Barton focused on the impact of the intelligent design debate on the teaching of science in the public schools. She noted that the U.S. is already falling behind other countries in science and technology and requiring the teaching of a theory that does not have scientific validity would seriously compromise science education programs in the public classrooms.
The show aired Monday, August 22 on KET1, and can be seen in its entirety at the KET Web site: [link: http://www.ket.org/cgi/foxweb.exe/db/ket/dmps/Programs?id=KYTO1237].
Barton has taught at Centre since 1981. Her research interests have focused on behavioral and ecological interactions in aquatic systems. An advocate of improving the quality of science education at the elementary and secondary school levels, she has directed a summer science camp on the Centre campus for elementary and middle school students and organized hands-on science workshop for both elementary and high school teachers.
Barton earned a B.A. in biology from the University of Vermont and an M.S. and Ph.D. in fisheries biology from Oregon State University.
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