ID Kills Darwin with Kindness in Town Hall
Exclusive The Darwinists may have gotten the headlines with their lawsuit to stop intelligent design in a local high school (see 01/19/2006 story), but the townspeople of Frazier Park, California showed warm support for ID in person. A town hall advertised in the local paper and sponsored by one of the area churches packed out the community center with some 250 people eager to hear more about intelligent design. Most seemed to be from local churches, but several town officials, reporters and some families of the lawsuit plaintiffs were present.
After the showing of the film Unlocking the Mystery of Life, a panel of scientists and teachers supporting ID took questions from the audience. No one was hostile or confrontational; if anything, the anti-ID people seemed rather timid or just sat quietly. An independent filmmaker gathered footage for a documentary he wants to make on the ID controversy in America. A reporter for the local paper said he came expecting to hear religious arguments for the existence of God, but was surprised by the quality of the scientific arguments for intelligent design and found them convincing. His staff also were impressed by how polite and friendly the pro-ID people were.
One point made clear was that this was an opportunity for people to learn about ID and to open the door for rational discussion on this issue in a pleasant, non-confrontational manner. The pastor who acted as MC did not lead in prayer or create any religious pressure, but broke the ice by thanking them all for coming, humorously congratulating them for getting their small town in the national spotlight, and inviting them to share their questions. Panel members stayed on topic about what ID is. Though religious or philosophical implications are important on both sides of the debate, the panelists were careful to stick to the issue of whether design from intelligent causes can be approached scientifically. Church volunteers brought tables of refreshments and a bookseller had a table full of ID books and videos for sale; another table contained handouts on ID topics found on the Discovery Institute website.
This could be a great idea for your home town. Organize a town hall on intelligent design and show one of the Illustra Media films. These quality productions say most of what needs to be said. Have handouts, serve some food, make some books and videos available for sale, and get some knowledgeable teachers or scientists to take a few questions. You could well get a big crowd of interested people, like the little town of Frazier Park did.
The Darwinists may have felt outnumbered on this occasion, but if so, they were overpowered only by friendly and gracious people. Another producer was overheard to say that in his experience Christians and pro-ID people tended to be likeable, compared to pro-Darwinists who tend to be “loud, aggressive, insecure and unlikable, or just hopelessly naive.” Every effort was made to give opponents a sympathetic hearing. The emphasis of the meeting was to define what intelligent design is, and to learn more about it, without pressure or confrontation. The film was extremely effective. Afterwards, you could almost sense that any antagonists would have felt sheepish trying to contradict the arguments made so effectively. They seemed to have been caught off guard. The ID they learned about was apparently much more scholarly, well-reasoned and attractive than what they may have read in the newspapers.
This is what needs to be done from the grass roots up. One of Phillip Johnson’s books is entitled, Defeating Darwinism by Opening Minds. Let’s open some minds, shall we?