Expert Comment Available on Dover, Pa., Intelligent Design Case

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Media Contact: | | December 19, 2005

Expert Comment Available on Dover, Pa., Intelligent Design Case

from the University of Pennsylvania  

Note to TV producers and assignment editors: The University of Pennsylvania has an on-campus television studio with live-shot capability for interviews with Penn experts.

With the decision in the Dover Intelligent Design case pending, the University of Pennsylvania offers experts who can provide commentary on the facts surrounding the case, the teaching of evolution and the science of evolutionary biology.

Teaching Science

Michael Weisberg, an assistant professor in the University of Pennsylvania's Department of Philosophy, is an expert on the history and philosophy of science.  

Earlier this year, Dr. Weisberg, along with Dr. Paul Sniegowski, submitted an open letter signed by many of their Penn colleagues asking the Dover, Pa., school board to reconsider its decision to allow "intelligent design theory" in local schools.  

Dr. Weisberg is also the chair of the Penn Museum's Evolution Project Coordinator--as such, he is working closely with Museum Director Richard Leventhal, Museum staff and scholars to develop educational programs for students, teachers and the general public.  He has been outspoken in his criticism of the Dover school board's decision to teach intelligent design in the science classroom.

Richard M. Leventhal, director of the University of Pennsylvania Museum, has coordinated the first informal gathering of national experts in evolution and the teaching of evolution this fall, and he can speak about the need for evolution education in the science classroom and in museums for the general public.

Janet Monge is a physical anthropologist and co-curator of "Surviving: The Body of Evidence," a Penn Museum exhibition for students and the public about where the process of evolution has brought us.  Dr. Monge can illustrate, with examples, how humans are not perfectly designed and the importance of teaching and understanding human evolution as it is known through the scientific method.

  

Science of Evolution

Junhyong Kim is a professor in Penn's Department of Biology whose research focuses on understanding the complicated developmental program encoded within the genes of organisms.

His research includes the comparative study of the genomes of different species of animals, including humans, and using computational methods to deduce the "Tree of Life," which shows how different organisms are related through evolution.  Dr. Kim can discuss how scientists regard the evolution of molecules and molecular systems, a factor of controversy in the Intelligent Design movement.

Alan Mann is a physical anthropologist and a co-curator of "Surviving: The Body of Evidence" at the Penn Museum. Dr. Mann can speak about the anthropological evidence for evolution.  

Paul Sniegowski, an associate professor in Penn's Department of Biology, is a scientist who uses evolutionary and population genetic theory as a framework for understanding the evolutionary significance of mutation rates and mutational phenomena.  

Dr. Sniegowski can explain how mutation, the ultimate source of genetic variation, is a driving force in evolution.