Pharyngula

The “magnificent P-Zed”?

Aww, I’m flattered; Richard Dawkins read aloud part of my Courtier’s Reply in his recent debate with Alister McGrath. You can listen to it online—I think I’m going to have to have Dawkins read all of my posts aloud, since he makes them sound so much better.


If you want to listen to just the section where he reads my article, here’s a 2.1 mp3 file.

Comments

  1. #1 Tony
    March 28, 2007

    It’s a shame we cant see Alister McGraths’ face as Prof.Dawkins was reading it…and read it well he does.

    Congrats PZ on being quoted by the Prof.

  2. #2 Carlie
    March 28, 2007

    Dawkins is on Fresh Aire today. I don’t care for Terri Gross’ interviewing most of the time, but it might be worth listening in.

  3. #3 AC
    March 28, 2007

    I just listened to the full recording. I wish Dawkins had seized on the following statement by McGrath (note the opening line, dripping with irony):

    “One has to give such proof as is commensurate with the thing you are trying to engage with. And certainly in many cases we have to deal with looking at evidence which actually leads us to suppose certain things have happened – maybe have happened in the past. And we may believe these are very good explanations of what has happened, but actually we can’t repeat history and step back into it.

    Now, you probably know this, but Karl Popper (I think wrongly) said that, in his view, evolutionary theory was not actually strictly speaking part of the scientific method. Now, I think he’s wrong, but the reason he said that was because it involves making judgments of what happened in the historical past, which actually could not be confirmed because you could not step back into history and repeat it. I think he’s wrong there, but I think the point he was trying to make is that you’re looking at a whole range of complex observations and asking, what is the best explanation you can give of this? And that does seem to me to be a perfectly legitimate approach given the nature of the material, and certainly I would want to argue in my own way I’m doing something similar. Experimentation is wonderful where you can apply it – but you can’t always apply it.”

    Dawkins only commented that of course Popper was wrong on that point, and he mentioned the predictive ability of evolution despite Earth’s biological history being unrepeatable to us. But that is only scratching the surface of this monument to hubris. McGrath may have once been a scientist, but he is surely no longer one.

    He also claimed that “explicability demands explanation” – that it is very strange that we humans can understand so much about our universe, so there must be some (divine) reason for it. I would challenge him to explain why exactly this is strange. In fact, the whole of his comments were shot through with the same old arguments from ignorance or personal disbelief and other fallacies that we are painfully accustomed to from religious believers.

  4. #4 386sx
    March 28, 2007

    I wonder why Mr. Dawkins didn’t go into his 747 thangy very deeply. He went into the Courtier’s Reply quite extensively indeed! But, rather lamentably, he didn’t go into the 747 thingymabbob thing, unfortunately. (Sadly so.) Hrmmm, I wonder why that is.

    Alister McGrath seemed like a very nice fellow but it was kind of sad to hear all the typical special pleading Josh McDowell-ishy type stuff.

  5. #5 David Marjanovi?
    March 28, 2007

    Quid[...]quid latine dictum sit, altum videtur

    :-D

    (Have had 6 years of Latin at school. Am just evil enough not to translate the above. Harr harr.)

  6. #6 David Marjanovi?
    March 28, 2007

    Quid[...]quid latine dictum sit, altum videtur

    :-D

    (Have had 6 years of Latin at school. Am just evil enough not to translate the above. Harr harr.)

  7. #7 AxisofJared
    March 28, 2007

    Dawkins lends such an air of sophistication and authority to whatever he says. I dare say I would actually start believing the stories from the OT if I heard him reading it.

  8. #8 Tulse
    March 28, 2007

    Not only is PZ “magnificent”, he is, according to Dr. Dawkins, “America’s leading science blogger”. Now if that’s not a book jacket blurb (or blog tagline”, I don’t know what is.

  9. #9 Timothy (TRiG)
    January 8, 2009

    Pee-Zed. I’d never pronounce it any other way. Pee-Zee sounds too much like a cartoon character. Or a bird. Peewee?

    Latin: http://www.bbc.co.uk/dna/h2g2/A218882

    TRiG.

The site is currently under maintenance and will be back shortly. New comments have been disabled during this time, please check back soon.