Transylvania University logoTransylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, honored me with an honorary degree at its Academic Convocation on September 15, 2017. The following is the third (and final) installment of a lightly edited version of my talk on that occasion. In part 1, after introducing myself and NCSE, I described the issues in Kitzmiller v. Dover, and in part 2, I discussed the testimony offered by the expert witnesses for the plaintiffs and Judge John E. Jones III’s decision.

 

+ read

Transylvania University logoTransylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, honored me with an honorary degree at its Academic Convocation on September 15, 2017. The following is the second installment of a lightly edited version of my talk on that occasion. In part 1, after introducing myself and NCSE, I described the issues in Kitzmiller v. Dover, the 2005 trial over the constitutionality of teaching “intelligent design” in the public schools, presided over by Judge John E. Jones III. 

 

+ read

Transylvania University logoTransylvania University in Lexington, Kentucky, honored me with an honorary degree at its Academic Convocation on September 15, 2017. The following is the first installment of a lightly edited version of my talk on that occasion.

 

+ read

Cover of Matthew Avery Sutton's American Apocalypse

Although it was published a few years ago, I don’t feel embarrassed that I have only recently finished reading Matthew Avery Sutton’s excellent American Apocalypse: A History of Modern Evangelicalism (2014). What I feel embarrassed about is that although I bought a copy of the book when it was published, I read a copy from my local public library, because my copy is in a box somewhere. Anyhow, as its title suggests, Sutton’s discussion centers on the attitude of American evangelicals toward the end-times prophecies of the Bible. Accordingly, the book addresses how they thought about and reacted to events of the day, from the Great War through the Depression, World War II, and the Cold War, to 9/11, interpreting them through the lens of their premillennarian convictions. Overall, I enjoyed, and learned a lot from, American Apocalypse.

+ read

Henry Drummond

In part 1, I was discussing “The Last Word of Great Scientists on Evolution,” a 1925 antievolution pamphlet by J. J. Sims about which I have long been curious. The title is ambiguous: are the last words on evolution the final, conclusive, and binding verdict on evolution from the assembled host of great scientists, or their rattling deathbed croaks? Both, as it happens: Sims not only deploys the usual motley assemblage of putatively authoritative quotations but also relates not one but two deathbed recantations. The first, unsurprisingly, is Lady Hope’s story about Darwin. The second, which was unfamiliar to me, was a story about Henry Drummond (right; 1851–1897), the Scottish naturalist and Free Churchman whose The Ascent of Man (1894) was among the early influential versions of theistic evolutionism.

+ read