Based upon the merit of his lecture, and putting personal opinions aside, Prof. David DeWolf was ineffective at presenting a cogent argument and only succeeded to further mystify the issue of Darwinism versus Intelligent Design.
He began with a brief outline of his presentation and proceeded to summarize the various points to be covered. Due to this, the lecture initially appeared to be easy to follow and understand, but it quickly became apparent that this would be far from the case. The outline showed that DeWolf would first start with Justice Jackson’s opinions on Orthodoxy, then take two detours, one titled “Teach the Controversy” and the next on the Kitzmiller case, then return to Justice Jackson. The outline’s greatest flaw was the lack of a sufficient introduction for those unfamiliar with the context of Darwinism and Intelligent Design’s reputed war.
Instead, DeWolf jumped directly into the mire of controversy and didn’t bother to properly explain his position. His first point, focusing on Justice Jackson’s opinion in the Flag Salute Case and, more specifically, the case in which Jackson introduces the concept of “no orthodoxy”, was mentioned to establish the idea that any orthodoxy within the educational system should not be allowed.
For his next point, labeled as the first detour, he summarized his view of the three basic pillars of Darwinism and explained how each of those three pillars are being challenged. Several authors were sighted, and a few familiar concepts, such as the Cambrian Explosion, were mentioned. After the inadequacy of Darwinism was established, DeWolf immediately went on to the second detour: the Kitzmiller case. In this detour, DeWolf proceeded to point out the flaws of Judge Jones’ decision, which ruled against promoting Intelligent Design as a possible alternative to Darwinism in a High School science class.
After these two detours, for his conclusion DeWolf stated his opinion that Darwinism had become an orthodoxy and that Intelligent Design should be included as a topic for discussion in scientific curricula.
Personally, the idea of introducing more concepts of the formation of the Universe in High School classes is not offensive, but DeWolf’s presentation did nothing to solidify this position. He spent a good deal of time creating elaborate, hypothetical parallels to accompany his points of view, and relied on a minimal amount of evidence which was gleaned from the research of other scientists. He did succeed in pointing out that Darwinism is full of unexplained phenomena, but failed to fully prove its place as an “orthodoxy”, his evidence being solely based upon the singular Kitzmiller case. Also, Intelligent Design itself was not sufficiently explained, and certainly was not proved to be of sufficient scientific merit to be placed within the classroom.
Ultimately, DeWolf’s larger message was not an unreasonable one. The misguided trip he took to lead the audience to his conclusions, however, was laden full of tangents and fuzzy logic. The body of his presentation only succeeded to muddle the very assertions DeWolf desired to make. It was a mistake that he could have remedied through better organization, development, and deeper analysis; unfortunately for DeWolf, the presented product was laden with as many holes as the ones he was attempting to shoot through Darwinism itself.