The other day, I posted about the Discovery Institute’s end of year wrap-up. One of the things that bugged me about it was that while Brian Miller said,
In 2022, I participated in several conferences and private events in which I interacted with prominent scientists, he failed to mention any of these conferences or the names of these
prominent scientists. That’s a striking omission! Waving vaguely in the direction of unspecified conferences and scientists is the opposite of persuasive. So I browsed through the archives of the Disco Institute to see if he mentioned any of them at the time they occurred.
This is not definitive at all — these are just the conferences he mentioned on Evolution News & Views. Maybe he was jet-setting around the world attending an international conference every week, but then it’s peculiar, given the braggadacio of his year end post, that he never brought them up before. Here is just the 2022 conferences he mentioned. There weren’t many of them.
- In November, he attended a Catholic conference on creation.
I’m back now from a conference this past week at Notre Dame, titled “‘And It Was Very Good’: On Creation,” hosted by the de Nicola Center for Ethics and Culture. The Center described the conference as follows:
In the created world, Pope Francis writes, we are able to perceive “a grammar written by the hand of God” (Lumen Fidei). If creation is a language, what can we discern regarding the creator? The de Nicola Center’s 22nd annual Fall Conference will explore the many facets of the created world and the act of creation, including questions of cosmology, teleology, natural ends, natural law, the Imago Dei, creaturely status, ecology, stewardship, cocreation, recreation, redemption, and more.
The organizers accepted my abstract for a talk titled “The Return of Teleology to the Natural Sciences.” I presented the talk as part of a panel with two other scholars, and it seemed well received.
In September, he mentioned a conference, but it’s not clear that he attended.
As an engineering professor at Bristol University and Cambridge, Stuart Burgess has researched biomechanics for nearly thirty years. He is one of the leading engineers in the UK. Earlier this year, he presented a talk at the Westminster Conference on Science and Faith titled, “Why Human Skeletal Joints Are Masterpieces of Human Engineering: And a Rebuttal to the ‘Bad Design’ Arguments.”
In May, he was at a conference on science and faith.
At the recent Dallas Conference on Science and Faith, Discovery Institute physicist Brian Miller gave a great talk on the convergence of biology and engineering. It’s up now on YouTube and eminently worthy of being shared. Miller’s theme is that “you see the same engineering principles in human engineering as you see in life.”
(Yes, he wrote the article, and is referring to himself and the
great talkin the third person. Weird.)
I don’t know that this one should count, but in March he was promoting a Disco Institute summer seminar. He doesn’t say, but I assume he participated in this yearly event in 2021? Maybe?
In 2016, I attended the Center for Science & Culture’s annual Summer Seminars on Intelligent Design, and that fateful week pulled me into the epicenter of the design debate. For years, I had studied and lectured on the evidence for design in nature.
I’m being generous in noting the conferences he talked about, but note: none of these are professional conferences, and they all have a religious agenda. It’s not that religious people can’t be excellent scientists, but these are not events that would attract a diverse group of scientists — all the attendees would have had a certain bent towards favoring creationist explanations to varying degrees. It makes his implication that he was reasonably representing the views of many prominent people in the sciences a bit suspect. Talk to creationists, you tend to find they like creationism…news at 11.
He may have also attended real, secular, professional conferences as well that he didn’t tout, but I have reservations about that, too. He has a Ph.D. in physics. Not to demean physicists, but few of them have the kind of knowledge of biology to be able to appropriately assess the evidence for evolution, and I wouldn’t be surprised to learn that some brilliant minds in physics are part of the crackpot fringe in biology.
I suspect that a creationist who wanted to present his theorizing on gods and design at a physics conference would get the same response Paul Nelson got at a biology conference — uninterested neglect. Lonely indifference.He sure wouldn’t have cause to brag about his reception.