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James DeGregori

Evolution: It's Not Just For Geeks Anymore

About the topic


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About the topic

One is often left with the impression that there is real debate within the scientific community over the relative merits of evolutionary theory and intelligent design (ID) and that evolutionary theory is a threat to good Christians everywhere. There is, however, simply no significant support for ID in the scientific community, and to say otherwise is simply dishonest. Yes, you can find a few people with PhDs in science or engineering fields that support ID, which is true for just about any idea out there. One needs to ask for any of these scientists what their fields of study are and what sort of impact they have had in their fields (do they publish in reputable journals?). The vast majority of scientists back the theory of evolution by natural selection, as this theory is supported by overwhelming scientific evidence.

Nonetheless, it is pointless to engage in debate over the merits of an idea based on faith, since ID is not set up to be falsifiable. The debate should not be about which idea you should believe, but which should be taught in public schools. Faith can be wonderful, but science education must adhere to the principles of science and should reflect the scientific consensus, which ID does not. Watering down the teaching of evolution in our schools risks the education of a generation of Americans that lack understanding of a theory that is a critical foundation of modern biology and medicine.

Finally, to stage the debate as being Christianity versus Science (by either side) is to the detriment of both. There are plenty of reputable biologists that are both Christian and supporters of modern evolutionary theory. They see no more conflict between faith and science than do Christians who study linguistics (or did the study of languages begin and end with the Tower of Babel?), Christian astronomers (or was Galileo wrong after all?) or Christian geologists (where did all that oil come from?). They simply recognize the distinction between their beliefs based on faith and their conclusions based on scientific evidence. From an article by J DeG on the CERT website.

James DeGregori is one of the founders of CERT, the Colorado Evolution Response Team, whose site has much of interest.

University of California Berkeley has a great site: Understanding Evolution: your one-stop source for information on evolution.


James DeGregori received a B.A. in Microbiology from the University of Texas at Austin in 1987 and a Ph.D. in Biology from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology in Cambridge in 1993 (under the mentorship of Dr. Earl Ruley). From 1993 to 1997, as a postdoctoral fellow in the lab of Dr. Joe Nevins at Duke University Medical Center he studied how the E2F transcription factor family controls transcription and cell fate decisions. Since 1997 he has been a faculty member in the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Genetics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

Studies to better understand the conditions that foster the initiation of leukemias and lymphomas are currently a major thrust of the lab. These are malignancies of the white blood cells, which can occur at any stage of life, from infancy to old age. The DeGregori lab has developed an evolutionary based model for cancer development, called Adaptive Oncogenesis. The lab is currently exploring how reduced stem cell fitness resulting from carcinogen exposure, irradiation, inadequate diet or aging can select for adaptive cancer-causing mutations and thereby promote cancer. Other studies in the lab are geared towards the development of novel therapeutic strategies to treat leukemias and non-small lung cancers. The lab performs genome-wide screens to identify genes whose inhibition will synergize with current targeted therapeutics to eliminate cancer cells. These studies could lead to discovery of novel combination therapies that will more effectively treat or possibly even cure common malignancies.

News: 18 May 2010 DeGregori appointed as UCCC Molecular Oncology Program Co-Leader

Dr. James DeGregori (Molecular Biology/SOM Biochemistry & Molecular Genetics) has been appointed by the University of Colorado Cancer Center Associate Directors as co-leader of the Molecular Oncology Program.

DeGregori, who has been a full member of UCCC since 1997, will lead UCCC’s most basic program with Dr. Joaquin Espinosa (Molecular Oncology/CU-Boulder Molecular, Cellular & Developmental Biology).

DeGregori’s research focuses on how leukeumias and lymphomas are initiated and new treatments for these common blood cancers. He received his PhD from MIT, and is professor of biochemistry and molecular genetics at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

© 2004 Colorado Café Scientifique