Yesterday I mentioned how the AAAS (The American Association for the Advancement of Science, a very important and powerful organization) has taken an appeasement stance with regard to religion in some of its publications. Today, reading Pharyngula, I noted P. Z. Myer’s post about how he was interviewed by a local newspaper, which then sought comment on P. Z.’s unrepentant acceptance of evolution. One person who commented was professor Roger Christianson of Southern Oregon University:
Reactions by professors in SOU’s biology department to Myers’ appearance are mixed.
Professor Roger Christianson said there are alternative explanations of how diversity happened, and “people who believe in intelligent design feel the complexity of life is too great to come about by naturalistic forces.”
Christianson, an evangelical Christian, said he has brought up intelligent design and creation science in class to show the swing of the pendulum between the two schools of thought, and “I suggest the truth is somewhere in the middle.”
Somewhere in the middle? Does that mean that God produced half of all adaptations, with the rest evolving by natural selection?
Checking out Christianson’s credentials, I find that he is the Executive Officer of the Pacific Division of the AAAS (see also here).
Here’s another article (from the same newspaper in 2002) in which Christianson apparently bestows some credibility on ID. He’s talking about the bacterial flagellum:
It’s such an efficient motor that some engineers are trying to copy its design for industrial applications, according to Roger Christianson, head of Southern Oregon University’s biology department.
“It’s a pretty elaborate device, especially for bacteria, which have a fairly simple kind of cell construction,” said Christianson, explaining the complexity of bacterial flagella. He is not a design theorist. “You look at something like this and say, ‘Where did it come from?'”
“There is really no fossil record showing the fine structure of ancient bacterial flagella. On one side you’ve got people who say, ‘It evolved over time; we just don’t know the process.’ On the other side you’ve got people who say, ‘It’s so complex, it’s impossible to imagine how it could have evolved, therefore that’s evidence for design.’ ”
And another comment by Dr. Christianson on, of all places, a used book website:
My wife, Angie, and I worked with high schoolers in southern California in the ’70s and were regulars at winter camps at Forest Home, where we heard you perform several times. We loved your music! We moved to southern Oregon in 1980 and still remember well a concert you did here in the early ’80s (I can’t remember whether it was at Applegate Christian Fellowship or on the Southern Oregon State College (now Southern Oregon University) campus in Ashland). . . . I’ve often search for your recordings in a Christian CD club to which I belong, to no avail. What a joy to finally know how and what you are doing! As for the concerts and workshops you are planning, I’m hoping you will include southern Oregon. We have a very proactive Christian radio station in the area (KDOV) that might be able to help with sponsorship. . . Praise God for His faithfulness!
Now Dr. Christianson can hold any religious view he wants, and can of course comment freely to the media. But I worry about the students in his General Biology course for nonmajors. Are they learning evolution properly? And, most important, what in tarnation is he doing as an executive officer of the AAAS? Given their official position against ID (tainted as it is with accommodationism), what would inspire the AAAS to make a quasi-creationist an officer of the society?