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Science against the ropes 

Noted physicist to address intelligent design argument

click to enlarge Lawrence Krauss gets smart about intelligent design.
  • Lawrence Krauss gets smart about intelligent design.

Lawrence Krauss' lecture title, "Science Under Attack," reads like a World War II-era newspaper headline or old sci-fi movie tagline.

Of course, scientists have been met with scrutiny, even persecution, throughout history. But the year is 2006, and with technology's developments, many theories have become accepted facts. Is the influential Case Western Reserve University astronomy and physics professor surprised to be heading into the ring in science's defense at this late hour?

"Yes, it's shocking," Krauss says. "If you told me 20 years ago that this would be happening now, I would've never believed it. Especially regarding these topics of evolution."

Intelligent design essentially has become the new platform for creationism, with proponents arguing that omitting a creator's footprint from evolution discourse paints an incomplete and unfair picture. An atheistic evolutionary biologist and a spiritual-minded biologist may agree that life has evolved by natural selection, but the former asserts that the process is random while the latter believes that God is behind it.

Krauss feels that intelligent design is outside the scope of the science world, and he desires a clear line between scientific and theological arguments in the public-school classroom.

Seemingly borrowing terminology from the enemy camp, Krauss has called for scientists and like-minded individuals to become "vocal evangelists" for the cause of science.

"I do urge that with a sense of irony, but in some sense, the idea is to fight fire with fire," Krauss says. "There is misinformation spread in churches every week, and I think we must do a better job of reaching people beyond the ivory tower."

In a controversial commentary in the New York Times last May, Krauss argued that contentious intelligent design queries simply were not scientific. That article further fueled an already-raging debate.

Clearly, like Stephen Hawking and Carl Sagan before him, Krauss has engaged the public and bridged the wide gap between geeky science and pop culture. He's authored seven books and contributed to more than 200 scientific publications. The seasoned editorialist and lecturer also takes to the airwaves, expounding upon physics and astronomy to radio audiences.

Krauss also has earned a rare scientific hat trick: He's the only physicist to earn the highest recognition of the American Physical Society, the American Association of Physics Teachers and the American Institute of Physics. From string theory and dark matter to his book The Physics of Star Trek, Krauss has proven himself exceedingly erudite.

If any single Superman can rally science's defense, it's probably him; after all, "Krauss" isn't really so far away from "Kent."

--Matthew Schniper

capsule

"Science Under Attack, from the White House to the Classroom: Public Policy, Science Education, and the Emperor's New Clothes"

Colorado College's Packard Hall, 5 W. Cache La Poudre St.

Thursday, Feb. 2, 7:30 p.m.

Free and open to the public; call 389-6607 for more information.

  • Noted physicist to address intelligent design argument

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