Darwin Day: Darwin confronts intelligent design; George Johnson, PhD, Washington University

Few topics in science are more familiar to the general public than evolution, and few are more often misunderstood. The teaching of evolution in Missouri science classrooms has been under attack by proponents of “intelligent design,” who argue that living things are too complex to have arisen without the intervention of an intelligent designer. A bill was passed out of committee in the Missouri legislature last session with a “DO PASS” recommendation that would facilitate the teaching of this view in our state. It is interesting to speculate how Darwin might have responded to the authors of this bill today.

Dr. George Johnson is Professor of Biology at Washington University where he has taught biology and genetics to undergraduates for 30 years. Also Professor of Genetics at Washington University’s School of Medicine, Dr. Johnson is a student of population genetics and evolution, renowned for his pioneering studies of genetic variability. He is the author of more than 50 scientific publications and seven texts. St. Louisans are familiar with Dr. Johnson as the author of a weekly science column, ON SCIENCE, in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, and as the founding director of The Living World at the St. Louis Zoo.