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Published in: Journal of Eukaryotic Microbiology, Volume 57 Issue 1, 2010. p.1-2


THE International Society of Protistologists (ISOP) organized a pre-meeting workshop entitled ‘‘Horizontal Gene Transfer and Phylogenetic Evolution Debunk Intelligent Design,’’ as part of the 1st North American Section meeting held June 11–13, 2009, at Roger Williams University, Bristol, RI, USA. This workshop focused on the acceptance of Darwinian evolution in the United States and the role of intelligent design (ID) in the ongoing controversy between scientific knowledge and popular belief. Intelligent design, a doctrine born in the 1980s, proposes that a ‘‘Designer’’ is responsible for the complexity in biological systems and that Darwinism cannot explain holistically the origin and evolution of the natural world, nor the intricate chemical assemblage of most organic structures (Forrest and Gross 2007; Padian and Matzke 2009). The workshop emphasized how to communicate evolutionary principles to student and public audiences by using examples of protistan evolution.