Intelligent Design – Science or Religion?

Post a Comment » Written on April 24th, 2006     
Filed under: News
ROLLING HILLS ESTATES, CA (April 24, 2006) – Intelligent design – science or religion? There’s a lot of controversy surrounding the idea, but what is it exactly? Can it really explain the origin of our universe?

A number of scholars will address those questions and many others during a panel to be presented at 7 p.m. May 21 in the worship center at Rolling Hills Covenant Church. The program, sponsored by the church and the Biola Christian Apologetics Program at Biola University, will bring together a panel of scholars to present their best evidence, for and against, the proposition that the universe is the product of Intelligent Design (ID).

The Intelligent Design theory claims that certain features of the universe and the complex, information-rich structures of biology are best explained by an intelligent cause and are not the result of chance or randomness. It follows the principles of scientific method, disregards the biases of both religion and naturalism, and leads all of the available evidence to a hotly debated conclusion, according to the sponsoring organizations. What makes it so controversial, they suggest, is that some individuals interpret Intelligent Design as a means to infer God’s existence and that it challenges the way evolution is taught in schools.

Proponents Paul Nelson, from the University of Chicago’s Department of Philosophy, and John Mark Reynolds, Biola University, will represent views favoring Intelligent Design, while James R. Hofmann and Craig Nelson, both from California State University in Fullerton, will share opposing viewpoints, all designed to challenge listeners concerning their own views.

Moderator for the evening will be Craig J. Hazen of Biola University. He is the director of graduate studies in the Christian Apologetics Department at Biola University. Hazen also is an associate professor of Comparative Religion and Apologetics. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California in Santa Barbara. He is author of The Village Enlightenment of America and numerous articles.

Panel participants represent a variety of academic backgrounds and specialty areas:

  • Paul Nelson specializes in developmental biology. His is a fellow of the International Society for Complexity, Information and Design. Nelson received his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago, Department of Philosophy. He has written articles on the philosophical aspects of evolutionary biology including one recently published in Biology and Philosophy. He also edits Origins & Design.
  • John Mark Reynolds is an associate professor of philosophy at Biola University. He earned a Ph.D. in philosophy at the University of Rochester. Reynolds is also the founder and director of the Torrey Honors Institute, a Great Books program for gifted students. He is an author and a specialist in ancient philosophy and epistemology. He is noted for studies of Plato and W.V. Quine.
  • James R. Hofmann is professor and chair of the Liberal Studies Department at California State University in Fullerton. He earned two degrees in physics and a Ph.D. in history and philosophy of science at the University of Pittsburg. He is an author and essayist.
  • Craig Nelson lectures in the departments of Comparative Religion and Liberal Studies at California State University in Fullerton. He is also an adjunct faculty member at CSU, Dominquez Hills, and is a clinical laboratory scientist at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Fontana.

Rolling Hills Covenant Church will offer a four-week series to further explore the evidence for Intelligent Design, the existence of God, and Christianity as a follow-up to the debate. To sign up for the follow-up series, contact Erin Cook by telephone at 310-521-5272 or by email at

The worship center, where the panel will convent, is located at 2222 Palos Verdes Drive North in Rolling Hills Estates. For additional information, call the church staff at 310-519-9406.

Editor’s note: to read a feature article “Making Peace between Science and God” by Joel Olfelt, which appears in the current (April) issue of The Covenant Companion, please see Companion Feature and select the article from the April menu. The April issue also features an article by Carl Koval, “Good For Science – A Covenant Scientist Considers Intelligent Design.” To subscribe to the magazine, call 773-907-3312 or visit

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