Update: A reader notified me that the way I quoted was unclear. I've reformatted my entry to make it clear who is talking.
As you will see from the following interview Lee Strobel has a subtle, penetrating, mind and this has served him well in his apologetics works. But, he's not a scientist and he is dependent on scientists who are Christians to give him good information. Unfortunately, he has not been served well by them. Hat Tip: Short Attention Span.
Strobel is interviewed by Christianity Today Magazine.
Christianity Today: You start your book with a scene with you as a young reporter. You're sent to West Virginia, where a bunch of religious townspeople are protesting the teaching of evolution in their textbooks. I was wondering if you thought that some of the things going on in public schools today would be similar to that.
Lee Strobel: If you look at public opinion polls, the public at large is generally skeptical about Darwinism. It just doesn't ring true to a lot of people. There's an underlying widespread skepticism that neo-Darwinism could explain the diversity of life.
I take a different approach to that than some people do. I want more evolution to be taught, not less. What I mean by that is, right now, students are only getting one side of the coin. They're only getting a cursory overview of what neo-Darwinism is and being told some facts that some people believe support it. I want them to hear more about it. I want them to hear the evidence that challenges neo-Darwinism. I want students to be able to critically think about whether or not this makes sense. I want them to be free to follow the evidence wherever it points. That, to me, is academic freedom, that they should be able to pursue the evidence.
I'm not saying that Intelligent Design ought to be taught in public schools. I am saying that kids ought to be open to possibilities and pursue the evidence wherever it points, including in that direction.
The Blinne Blog: Give Strobel some points for not just cheer leading for Intelligent Design. You get the sense (and this is near-universal in the Evangelical community) that if you laid all the cards on the table Intelligent Design has the winning hand. Other more subtle proponents might say Intelligent Design doesn't have a strong hand, but neo-Darwinism has a weaker one. This is the root of the average Christian's opposition to how Darwinism is taught in the Public Schools.
And it is a pack of goods.
First Young Earth Creation and now Intelligent Design have been telling Christians that Darwinism is on the run. This is simply not true. There are thousands of papers describing in detail a host of evolutionary pathways. These pathways include many of Behe's supposedly irreducibly complex systems. Many of these papers are very recent. Not only do scientists know that the mechanisms of evolution work, but there is greater understanding how it works. The latter part could be used in a design argument because the genetic mechanism is quite beautiful. (Listen to the Francis Collins keynote on the ASA web site.) Anthony Flew is now being tauted by the Intelligent Design community. He stopped being an atheist because he believed neo-Darwinism, not because he doubted it. Design and Darwinism are not by necessity mutually-exclusive categories. Even if the Darwinists are terribly self-deceived it is an utterly wrong to characterize them with the "on-the-run" self-perception. Unfortunately, it is the Christian lay people who have been deceived. This produces the slander of the scientists that they are just a bunch of atheistic materialists. Some are, but many are not.
Christianity Today: How can Intelligent Design get past the creationist label?
Lee Strobel: It's always the Darwinists who bring that up. I've done this on my TV show, Faith Under Fire, where we'll have a debate between someone who is convinced of Intelligent Design versus a Darwinist. The Intelligent Design person brings up scientific data and arguments based on scientific evidence to support his or her beliefs. And then it goes to the other side, and that person is immediately accused of injecting faith and injecting religion and trying to be a subterfuge to teach the Bible in schools.
Well, time out here, who's bringing up religion? I didn't hear the Intelligent Design advocate bring up religion. It's being brought up by the other side. It's an ad hominem argument that Darwinists use to throw sand in people's eyes to suggest that this is just biblical creationism in another disguise. What I'd like to see is the debate centered on the evidence and the data. Why are people so afraid of evidence that happens to point toward an affirmation of what the vast majority of people on the Earth believe in the first place?
The Blinne Blog: As a Christian who believes in intelligent design (the concept, not the movement) I say start by stopping the slander of scientists. The mis-appraisal of the state of science has caused a huge mutual misconception between scientists and Evangelicals. Evangelicals say they only want the science taught. If that was so, then it would be neo-Darwinism, because the science taught by Intelligent Design is utter, complete garbage. The scientists try to figure us out and only can figure that this is just re-packaged creationism, not realizing that we really think a sow's ear is a silk purse. We really believe that in a fair fight we would win. If we don't do a brutally honest self-appraisal and fast, good men like Lee Strobel will lose their hard-fought reputation and the good they have done will be tainted.