The Intersection

You Might Think I’m Crazy…

Okay, I’m readying myself for the criticisms and hate mail….I have agreed to debate Jonathan Wells again, this time for an hour. And it’s going to be on a conservative show: The Michael Medved Show out of Seattle. We’re doing it in studio, from 1 to 2 pm PT, on Friday.

Okay, now’s your chance to fire away with all the reasons why I shouldn’t be doing this. Or, if you’re in the mood, feel free to post any constructive comments concerning my last performance against Wells; or, thoughts on what I might do differently this time; or, vivid descriptions of just how badly I’m going to get my butt whupped; or whatever else you can think of.

Comments

  1. #1 J-Dog
    September 13, 2006

    Chris – You must feel pretty confident, or you wouldn’t have signed up to do it again! I saw you last year on the Daily Show, and I am confident you can handle yourself, but it would be interesting to hear what your thoughts are after your last go-round.

    So, what were the high and low points the last time? I didn’t see any “after-action reports”.

  2. #2 Herb
    September 13, 2006

    Can we download the previous performance somewhere?

  3. #3 John Farrell
    September 13, 2006

    Don’t talk what he wants to talk about. If it gets into speciation and descent, and the link between us and primates, then discuss Chromosome 2, the molecular evidence…

  4. #4 Fred Bortz
    September 13, 2006

    If he starts with the left vs. right stuff, you might want to ask why a definition of science that excludes intelligent design has a political slant.

    Plenty of conservatives reject Intelligent Design and don’t think it belongs in the science curriculum.

    Collect lots of quotes from modern and past pro-evolution conservatives to throw at him, including Judge Jones’ opinion, and ask him if they are really closet liberals.

    Ask him repeatedly to cite statistics on the “many” scientists who defend teaching ID in the schools. You probably can find statistics that they represent a minuscule percentage of people who call themselves scientists.

    Keep him, and Medved, on the defensive, and they will dig themselves into a hole of more and more outrageous assertions.

    Then ask what predictions ID has made that have had any value in technology. Compare that to the advances in medicine that the modern evolutionary understnding of biology has produced.

    Are you foolish to do this? I don’t know. Better you than me!

    Good luck!

  5. #5 matthew
    September 13, 2006

    “Ask him repeatedly to cite statistics on the “many” scientists who defend teaching ID in the schools. You probably can find statistics that they represent a minuscule percentage of people who call themselves scientists.”

    I’d ask for actual names too.

    Good luck Chris!

  6. #6 Dar k Tent
    September 13, 2006

    I’m cwith Fred 100%: keep them on the defensive.

    Make their heads spin like Linda Blair’s in the Exorcist.

    Too bad it’s radio.

  7. #7 Jim Ramsey
    September 13, 2006

    Chris,

    My guess is that Wells is what I call a “half-duplex” personality. He only does transmit. He never does receive. Yes, I know that technically makes him “simplex”, but there you are.

  8. #8 SLC
    September 13, 2006

    I would still recommend nailing him on his belonging to the Unification Church, particularly as to whether he agrees with reverend Moon that the latter is the second coming of Joshua of Nazareth. It’s a waste of time to debate Wells on his terms.

  9. #9 Herb
    September 13, 2006

    If it gets into speciation and descent, and the link between us and primates, then discuss Chromosome 2, the molecular evidence…

    I don’t like this… If you argue the science, the average person won’t know whom to believe. I say bring it back to issues that anyone can understand. The fact that virtually 0% of scientists support ID is good. Maybe bring up the NCSE’s Project Steve (over 700 Steves and counting!). Wells may say that many great ideas were at one time unpopular among scientists. Then I’d point out that when scientists think an idea has merit, they are generally interested in convincing OTHER SCIENTISTS and do not take their ideas straight to schools or museums. ID “scientists”, on the other hand, want their ideas taught in schools and museums and could care less that their “peers” think ID is crap.

  10. #10 caerbannog
    September 13, 2006

    So it’s gonna be Mooney vs. Moonie…

    (and I’ll definitely be rooting for Mooney)

  11. #11 Timcol
    September 13, 2006

    Ask him to comment on active research projects on Intelligent Design and forthcoming peer-reviewed papers. Here’s a good source of so-called ‘research’ that IDers are doing: http://www.researchintelligentdesign.org/wiki/Main_Page

    If you can find any actual research on these pags you’re a better man than I am. Then once we’ve established that there is NO research being performed, compare and contrast with current research projects and papers on evolution.

  12. #12 Dark Tent
    September 13, 2006

    Fred said: “Ask him repeatedly to cite statistics on the “many” scientists who defend teaching ID in the schools. You probably can find statistics that they represent a minuscule percentage of people who call themselves scientists.”

    Matthew said: “I’d ask for actual names too.”

    Reminds me of something the physicist Arthur Eddington once said.

    When asked
    “Is it true you are among the three people who understand general relativity”

    Eddington rpsonded “I wonder who the third person is.”

    How many scientists defend teaching ID in the schools?

    Let’s see, Wells…and…and..Hmm, I wonder who the second person is.

  13. #13 Herb
    September 13, 2006

    Thanks for the link, Timcol. Their wiki is very amusing… They’ve got a bunch of biographies divided into “pro-ID”, “anti-ID” and “ID-curious”. The “pro-ID” category contains all the usual suspects; the “anti-ID” category contains 2 people: Richard Dawkins and William Provine. If they were a little more honest, they’d include an entry called “Almost Every Scientist in the World” and bring the count up to 3.

  14. #14 Dark Tent
    September 14, 2006

    Timcol said: “If you can find any actual research on these pags you’re a better man than I am.”

    Though they may not do scientific research, the ID people undoubtedly do research: marketing research to see what will work best to get the public (and more imporantly school boards) to buy into their ideas.

    The Discovery Institute’s “Wedge Strategy” (and document) and glitzy website are two examples. I’m sure they have all kinds of marketing experts working for them. That does not mean they are coming up with effective stuff, of course.

  15. #15 RA
    September 14, 2006

    Some things to think about beforehand:

    Medved is a conservative activist, so you should expect him to be biased in favor of Wells in your debate. He will slant his questions toward Wells and may even help Wells answer, or not answer, as the case may be. Expect ringer questions, like asking Wells, “Why are scientists who doubt evolution afraid to speak out?” or asking you, “Why are evolutionists so hostile to religion?”

    Be prepared to debate the premise of Medved’s questions in addition to the substance. For example, any attempt to claim that evolution is a scientific debate needs to be met with hard numbers. You should have the names (and scale of membership) of the major scientific organizations that support evolution and oppose ID at the tip of your tongue at all times. There’s a world of difference between saying that “major scientific organizations oppose ID”, and saying that the National Academy of Sciences and the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the most prestigious scientific organizations in the country, together representing X00,000 scientists, have both issued statements opposing the teaching of ID in the public school system because it is not science.

    Lastly, you should be prepared to call Medved on his bias! Don’t hesitate to tell Medved on air that he needs to remain impartial. Do it very politely, but be assertive, e.g., Michael, since we need you to be an unbiased moderator of this debate, please don’t make Jonathan’s argument for him.

    Good luck.

  16. #16 Dark Tent
    September 14, 2006

    Medved is the Russian word for “bear”.

    I’d bring a jar of honey.

  17. #17 Fred Bortz
    September 14, 2006

    Medved is a conservative activist, so you should expect him to be biased in favor of Wells in your debate.

    That’s precisely what makes him vulnerable. As RWOS discusses, conservative activists in the Republican Party have duped religious conservatives into seeing ID vs. evolution as a partisan or left-right ideological issue, when it is nothing of the kind.

    As I have said before, there’s nothing inherently liberal or conservative in the definition of science. In fact, there’s nothing anti-religious in that definition, either. It simply states that science rests on observation and that hypotheses must be falsifiable. ID, like Wells’ religion, rests on the nonfalsifiable hypothesis of a creative intelligence and is therefore not science.

    In fact, an ID-believer could consider evolution to be the mechanism by which the creator carries out the design. Why does Wells deny that interpretation? And why does he consider evolution to be a left-wing philosophy?

    Hammer him with questions like that, and do the same to Medved if necessary. This is not the time to be Mr. Nice Guy.

  18. #18 Dark Tent
    September 14, 2006

    March of the Penguins,” the conservative film critic and radio host Michael Medved said in an interview, is “the motion picture this summer that most passionately affirms traditional norms like monogamy, sacrifice and child rearing.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/13/science/13peng.html?ex=1284264000&en=36effea48de3fa22&ei=5088&partner=rssnyt&emc=rss

    “Emperor penguins are serially monogamous. They have only one mate each year, and keep faithfully to that one other penguin, but each year, most choose different mates.” [surprise, surprise]
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emperor_Penguin

    With “penguin family values”, an adult in the US could have close to 60 different spouses over their lifetime and still call him/her-self monogamous to the end. Talk about spice!

    Forget debating Wells. Ask Medved to tell us all about the Penguins.

  19. #19 KeithB
    September 14, 2006

    Why not nail him on the *lies* in his new book as documented on the Panda’s Thumb?

  20. #20 Steve Reuland
    September 14, 2006

    Well Chris, it looks like your agitating has paid off:

    New Report Exposes the False Facts Used by Chris Mooney in His War on Intelligent Design

    In his book The Republican War on Science, Chris Mooney declares war on intelligent design, calling it a “reactionary crusade” promoted by “[s]cience abusers.” Discovery Institute now responds to Mooney’s war on intelligent design (ID) by publishing a detailed report,
    “Whose War Is It, Anyway? Exposing Chris Mooney’s Attack on
    Intelligent Design” documenting 14 major errors Mooney makes when writing about ID in his book. The report will be available at http://www.discovery.org on Friday, Sept. 15.
    Read more about this here.

    You’d better watch out! They’re going to document 14 “majory errors”, which I have a sneaking suspicion no one but them would recognized as erroneous.

  21. #21 John
    September 14, 2006

    A tad off topic, but you might ask him his take on Luke 19:27 (New International Version)

    “But those enemies of mine who did not want me to be king over them–bring them here and kill them in front of me.”

    That’s Jesus talking.

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