Pharyngula

It’s a bit of a switch from doing the Minnesota Atheists radio show last Sunday to what I’ll be doing on Thursday: I’ll be on the Jeff and Lee Christian talk radio program (they told me 4pm, but their schedule says 3; somewhere around there, anyway). Their guest is Geoffrey Simmons, and I’m supposed to “debate” him — he gets 5 minutes to present the evidence for ID, then I get 5 minutes to present the evidence for evolution, and then follows a 50 minute free-for-all.

I already told them the format wasn’t fair. I need weeks of air time just to summarize the evidence for evolution, while Simmons only needs nanoseconds of silence to cover the absence of evidence for his side. But we take what we can get.

By the way, the online poll you scamps ransacked is still up, and Hillary Clinton is still winning.

Comments

  1. #1 Coturnix
    January 29, 2008

    OMG, Huckabee is now THIRD in their online poll ;-)

    Hillary Clinton – 34.0%
    Barack Obama – 23.0%
    John Edwards – 19.0%
    Mike Huckabee – 17.0%

  2. #2 Rey Fox
    January 29, 2008

    I already told them the format wasn’t fair. I need weeks of air time just to summarize the evidence for evolution, while Simmons only needs nanoseconds of silence to cover the absence of evidence for his side. But we take what we can get.

    Oh SNAP! PEEZED’S BRINGIN’ IT!

  3. #3 Chris O.
    January 29, 2008

    That radio show sounds like it’s going to be a disaster, but best of luck. I mean, 5 minutes to make a case for evolution? Lordy.

  4. #4 Andy James
    January 29, 2008

    Lunch with James Dobson? Gross! Might as well be a corpse.

  5. #5 Meng Bomin
    January 29, 2008

    Coturnix, I think you mean FOURTH.

  6. #6 nal
    January 29, 2008

    … while Simmons only needs nanoseconds of silence to cover the absence of evidence for his side.

    ROTFL.

  7. #7 Anon
    January 29, 2008

    Reminds me of an installment of Geraldo I saw a long, long time ago. Geraldo was bending over backward to give equal time to both sides of the issue. Problem was, the issue was vaccination, and one side was a CDC scientist with tons of publications, mountains of data, and a personality made for … peer reviewed journals … and the other side was (wait for it) LaToya Jackson. Her qualifications were that she was LaToya Jackson. She said that if we all just ate the right foods and lived good lives, that vaccinations were utterly unnecessary.

    And Geraldo did his absolute best to give both sides equal time.

    PeeZed, any chance you can ask them to give time based on the number of peer-reviewed publications you can list in support? That will motivate the ID “scientists” to scour the corners for all those publications they say are out there. And you can clean off a corner of your desk and wipe them off the program.

  8. #8 Kirill
    January 29, 2008

    Why do these debates always have to be on THEIR turf and on THEIR terms?

    If they believe their case is so strong, why not visit a university for a public debate of ID vs evolution in front of students?

  9. #9 Coturnix
    January 29, 2008

    I never learned how to count to four, sorry ;-)

  10. #10 James
    January 29, 2008

    Hmmm…maybe Kent Hovind can phone in from prison.

    Clean his clock, PZ!!!

  11. #11 Curt Cameron
    January 29, 2008

    Did you ever hear Shermer debate Hovind? Please don’t repeat that. You should study Simmons’ other performances, like when he was on Coast to Coast

  12. #12 SteveC
    January 29, 2008

    What the hell is going on in that picture at the top of the Minnesota Atheists web site?

    Are they singing? And what’s he doing with the Pilsbury Doughboy?

  13. #13 noncarborundum
    January 29, 2008

    Coturnix, I think you mean FOURTH.

    John Edwards gets no respect, I tell ya.

  14. #14 Sigmund
    January 29, 2008

    I agree with Anon, peer review is the killer point that ID cannot overcome. The whole point of peer review is to prevent lies and misinformation appearing in the scientific literature. The list of peer reviewed ID papers on the Discovery Institute website shows a total of zero ID papers in the past year, and not that much more in the few previous years. Compared to how many hundreds of thousands from supporters of evolution?
    The wedge document of the Discovery Institute predicted that by this stage there would be hundreds of pro ID papers published in the scientific literature, yet the reality is that it spluttered and died in the scientific marketplace of ideas. Its like cold fusion, but without a single paper to its name. At least the cold fusion paper allowed people to try to repeat its methodology.

  15. #15 waldteufel
    January 29, 2008

    Please don’t do it. There is nothing to be won by “debating” with a christard on a christard radio station.

    Especially, don’t accede to the concept of trying to explain the evidence for evolution in five minutes. Can’t be done, and that’s what the bastards are counting on.

    Let ‘em play with their pee pees instead.

  16. #16 Don Smith, FCD
    January 30, 2008

    Speaking of ransacking polls, the Amazon reviews of Dembski’s Design of Life are becoming even again. I think this calls for some more 1 star (if we could only give it zero stars) reviews.

    But then again, the most helpful favorable review does deserve our support. He should have given it 4 stars however since the Design of Life is the “2nd best book”.

  17. #17 YSTH
    January 30, 2008

    Lulz on the fact that you’re on an hour before the “Ministry of the Month”. I’ll make an attempt to tune in. Sounds like a hoot.

  18. #18 Raguel
    January 30, 2008

    RE:Simmons, and his profile at DI

    Who puts “coursework completed for blah blah degree” in a list of accomplishments? I just tell people I have a degree in science/chemistry, because I’m slightly embarrased I finished all courses but didn’t have the stomach to stick with my graduate lab work.

    Oh well, he is a medical doctor, so he has that on me :p. It’s just odd to me. I guess he wanted to boost his biology cred with that.

  19. #19 Sigmund
    January 30, 2008

    Wait a second, did you say you will be debating Geoffrey Simmons? The ‘Billions of missing links’ guy? He is a lunatic. They had him on the DI podcast a few months back and I couldn’t help laughing out loud at his argument – his whole book is actually based on the joke we make about creationists, that when faced with a perfect transitional fossil they say “AHA! – now there are TWO gaps in the fossil record”
    I listened carefully because I knew there was indeed a real missing link underlying why this physician abandoned the scientific method (naturally enough it happened when he found religion – or rather, according to Geoffrey, his wife found religion and then managed to convince him of the error of materialistic Darwinism).

  20. #20 Bride of Shrek
    January 30, 2008

    Just don’t share the mike. Those Christshuns have cooties.

  21. #21 Icthy
    January 30, 2008

    Sigmund, I don’t like to harp on peer review too much. First of all, it’s an obvious way to enforce conformity and sucking up to the old boys, and in fact there are frequent grumbles about that very thing. How many reviewers, in small fields, know exactly who wrote the “anonymous” paper they’re reviewing, and how many authors can guess the identities of the reviewers from the author lists of the “important papers you forgot to cite”?

    I don’t think the situation is too horrible, but that’s a subtle quantitative matter rather than a sharp qualitative distinction, and it’s something that the creationists can point to as a conspiracy to silence them.

    And frankly, it’s not fundamental to science. It’s an important part of a method for doing science that we’ve found works well, so science done that way gets goodies like government funding, but good science is not defined by passing peer review. Rather, peer review is supposed to measure submitted articles against a pre-existing standard of “good science”.

    In other words, it is false to say “creationism is bad science because it doesn’t pass peer review”. Rather peer review is simply doing its job, and creationism doesn’t pass peer review because it’s bad science. (And a failure of peer review that leads to a creationist paper getting approved doesn’t prove that it’s good science, just the the referee made a mistake.)

    Good Science(tm) is fundamentally functional, and its quality lies in how well it functions. That function is predicting the future. “If I do W, X and Y, then Z will happen”. “If I search through Devonian rock 375 million years old, I have a chance of finding really cool fish fossils, which will be intermediate between Panderichthys and Ichthyostega.”

    When you describe a way to make predictions, and those predictions are sufficiently specific and accessible to be falsifiable, then you have invented a scientific theory. If your predictions differ from those of existing scientific theories, you have invented a new theory. (If your predictions are the same, yours is the same old theory painted a different color.)

    The next stage is experiment: you create the circumstances where two competing theories make conflicting predictions, and see which is wrong. Maybe both of them are, which is when science gets really fun.

    But that’s the point I think it’s important to hammer home: science works. Scientists in lab coats with fancy lab equipment are a lot less impressive-looking, but often more expensive than, priests in robes with incense burners. They both say incomprehensible things that involve a lot of latin. Unless you explain a sharp and clear distinction that’s not just names and clothing, Joe Schmo is going to give his support to the one who’ll take time to talk to him every Sunday.

    Please people, work hard at developing non-recursive definitions of science. You do not have be a professional scientist, or have any sort of degree, to do science. Sure, it helps a lot, but Oliver Heaviside did superb science. Raymond Ditmars is still regularly cited, and his highest academic credential is graduation from Barnard Military Academy at the age of 15.

    Haven’t you noticed that creationists don’t see the difference between scientists and priests? The hard-core creationists are unsaveable, but don’t let them confuse the audience. Science doesn’t have all the answers, or you might not like those answers, but the answers it has actually work.

    And if it doesn’t work, it’s not because You didn’t pray hard enough. You didn’t pray right, with the right kind of feeling or faith. You didn’t get enough people to pray for you.

    There’s something wrong with you.

    It’s your fault.

  22. #22 Kamikaze189
    January 30, 2008

    Make sure you mention that (supposed) problems with evolution are not support for ID. I know, it’s obvious. But I’ve seen debates where people don’t jump on things they can rebut with simple phrases.

  23. #23 Janine
    January 30, 2008

    Oh dear. Is PZ going to be the christian being thrown to the lions in the Coliseum?

  24. #24 Sigmund
    January 30, 2008

    Why is there no representative of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster to discuss THEIR theory of Intelligent Design? That is hardly fair, we need all THREE sides of the story to be told.
    On a serious note, why not point out that the most scientifically distinguished (ahem) ID advocate, Michael Behe, completely accepts most of Darwins model – an ancient Earth and common descent. IDiots are generally fine to use this in arguments with scientists but really don’t like this pointed out to a Christian audience who otherwise assume that ID is completely supportive of biblical creationism. Ask Simmons what is the age of the earth, and why this is not agreed upon by his fellow DI members, after all if it really is 6000 years old then evolutionary theory would certainly collapse. The idea IDiots put forward that the Earth might be 6000 years old or it might be 4500,000,000 years old – and it actually doesn’t make much difference scientifically! – is quite untenable and they really should be made squirm whenever they dare suggest it.

  25. #25 Gregory Kusnick
    January 30, 2008

    Here’s one approach to this kind of debate:

    http://cectic.com/105.html

  26. #26 Josh in California
    January 30, 2008

    *sigh* Five minutes? These guys are clowns.

    How about this?

    Don’t go into detail. Make reference to as many different pieces of evidence as possible in your five minutes. This is exactly the same approach the IDiot will be taking, but at the end of your five minutes you’ll do something he won’t: offer to explain anything you’ve mentioned in detail.

    Two good things could come of this:

    A) He assumes that you aren’t actually prepared to discuss any of your bullet points in detail, so he attacks one of them rather than pulling Random IDiot Talking Point #832,0421 out of his ass. Then you stomp him good, ’cause you actually prepared to discuss all 35 bullet points in detail.

    B) He assumes that you’re prepared to discuss everything you mentioned in detail, and thus ends up trying to avoid any canned objections he thinks you’re prepared to counter. That could leave him groping for something that seems safe to use against you.

    Also, I recommend reading the last few issues of any journals (real or fake) that he’s likely to have read. I expect that he’d love to catch you off-guard with something you haven’t heard of yet.

  27. #27 peter
    January 30, 2008

    I’d love to see it, but here in Germany? Perhaps it’ll be on YouTube later.
    As Sigmund says, if he’s a young-earther it would be particulary interesting: the only honest way out for people like that is the Omphalos way – divine intervention in spades.

    Peter

  28. #28 Michael X
    January 30, 2008

    PZ, though the latest Cectic comic may recommend it, I don’t think you should wear a clown suit to the debate.

  29. #29 Mrs Tilton
    January 30, 2008

    Peter @26,

    if Simmons is really a whole-hog young earther, there’s no point in talking with him. Uncompromising YECers, unlike other subspecies of creationist, have a sort of perverse consistency. Yes, it’s a ludicrous and contemptible consistency that denies the competence of human senses and reason and requires a level of epistemic relativism — no, epistemic nihilism — so mindboggling that it would make professional French deconstructionists send indignant donations to David Horowitz in protest. But it’s consistency. There’s really nothing to do with these people but bid them, as Matt Ridley put it, a polite good-day (or as PZ would probably prefer, a sneering good-day).

    Old-earthers and, especially, cdesign proponentsists are another kettle of fish. With the possible exception of the very dimmest and most infantilised among them, they are by the very nature of their arguments dishonest. If that’s what Simmons is, PZ should not be trying to score points for his own views so much as to damage Simmons on-mike. Who knows, if PZ can shine some light on the wrongness and badness of Simmons’s fairy tales, perhaps some listener will ask himself some uncomfortable questions and, from that starting point, eventually find his way out of the cave. Just one such listener would be a victory; joy shall be in heaven over one sinner that repenteth, etc.

    Anyway, good luck PZ!

  30. #30 SteveF
    January 30, 2008

    I’m more confident about this debate than others, simply because PZ knows creationist tactics, he knows their “work” and he knows the games they play. Some biologists are regrettably unaware of their M.O. and can lose points as a result of this.

  31. #31 Sigmund
    January 30, 2008

    I doubt very much that many biologists are unaware of standard creationist tactics – whether they tackle them in an appropriate manner is, however, another question. Taking on creationist points to the audience of this blog is very different to taking them on with a religious audience. Trying to explain how genetic data confirms evolutionary predictions is clear as day to rationalists yet complete ‘technobabble’ to creationists who are easily won over by the arguments about crocoducks or bananas giving birth to a dog. The ‘two more gaps’ argument actually makes sense to fundamentalists so it doesn’t matter how many transitional fossils you mention, its actually just confirming what they believe.

  32. #32 maxi
    January 30, 2008

    I hear the Hitchens debate was a big success, perhaps try copying his tactics?

  33. #33 Stuart Weinstein
    January 30, 2008

    “PZ, though the latest Cectic comic may recommend it, I don’t think you should wear a clown suit to the debate.”

    No, but he should bring his nightstick.

    Stuart

  34. #34 SteveF
    January 30, 2008

    I doubt very much that many biologists are unaware of standard creationist tactics

    I’d like to believe that, but unfortunately I don’t. My suspicion is that a lot of biologists, at least over here in the UK, are still rather naive about creationists. As an example, Steve Jones gave a talk to the Royal Scoiety entitled Why creationism is wrong and evolution is right. Clearly a pretty significant platform. One of his examples of evolution in action, showing why creationism is wrong, was HIV-AIDS.

    Apparently he didn’t realise that this is they kind of microevolution that virtually all creationists are happy to accept. I assume he didn’t realise this because he hasn’t read much of what they write and probably thinks they are essentially a bunch of poorly educated idiots. There are YECs who accept the reality of the horse transitional series; they aint going to be worried about HIV-AIDS. This kind of gaffe is excellent propaganda for the creationists.

  35. #35 csrster
    January 30, 2008

    “Don’t go into detail. Make reference to as many different pieces of evidence as possible in your five minutes.”

    I would say just the opposite. Select the one most telling piece of evidence in favour of Darwinian evolution and argue it as best you can in those five minutes. Remember that somewhere out there there is some young kid sitting in the back of his parents car bored to tears by the yakkity-yak of the same gosh-darn radio station _again_. And you have a chance to blow his f*cking mind wide open to the possibility that just maybe everything he has been brought up to believe in is wrong. Go for it!

  36. #36 DrFrank
    January 30, 2008

    You should take along a buzzer that you can press every time he makes an argument that’s just a criticism of evolution rather than positive evidence for intelligent design.

  37. #37 ConcernedJoe
    January 30, 2008

    PZ some simple advice from a simple person..

    Please have simple and succinct talking points and use them in hammer like mantra fashion.

    I know you can do better than this but as an example: Bring in a listing of one simple search of peer reviewed papers published in acclaimed journals etc. that address the old “it is a motor and too complex” issue so to speak .. say things like I have a list of 100 (1000, whatever) papers from prestigious scientific peer reviewed journals that show one of ID’s main justifications is patently absurd. Show me your scientifically peer reviewed rebuttal to any of them, or to any other bone fide scientific ones I did not list here.

    Have 2-3 of these hammers and use them.

    Have an example (keep it simple and to the point) of a scientific article that was properly countered to show how real debate and truth-seeking is done in science. Do not sway from the mantra – which is essentially that we have a tons of evidence substantiated by 1000’s of scientists using fair and truth seeking rules – now you show me one real scientific article that ID has countered in any way through the process scientists use to keep it honest and real.

    Lessons in the facts will be lost, but a mantra that essentially says: only a huckster, fool or idiot could ignore the evidence that abounds for evolution will not be totally lost.

    My guess is that more than a few (maybe 10%) of ID people in the audience will know when they are being foolish and maybe take a critical look at the whole ID thing and their laziness for accepting it.

    Attempts will be made to bring you into a debate re: atheism, Dawkins and/or some esoteric point that can never be honestly explained in one sentence; do not fall into the trap. Stick with your mantra which is essentially: I have tons of evidence – you have none as far as the scientific community can see; show me how you have rebutted any of the bone fide scientific evidence .. (here you must be strong – because he will try to draw the discussion from the HOW his point was proved to his appeal to layperson commonsense intuition – you emphatically: “no no I did not say rebut the issue now – I said show me what process, article, etc. done in a bone fide scientific way that rebutted it and made an accepted stronger case for ID .. or which ones are in progress and when you expect them to be published. When they are – if none now – I will discuss the issue being addressed per se.”)

    Hope I made my point. Hope it helps in some way.

    PS – do not be drawn into a debate on is ID real science … simply say – if it is than it should be using the process scientists must use to establish scientific points and concepts. Until it does it is not science of any usefulness.

    PPS – remember thre is no way you’ll win over more than a fraction.. the ideas is to win over that fraction that actually care that they are being foolish and lazy. Others that do not care are lost causes.

  38. #38 True Bob
    January 30, 2008

    I’d suggest focussing on support for ToE for about a minute, and spend the other 4 minutes ripping ID to shreds. Turn the premise around – why abandon what is working for something with nil for support?

  39. #39 holbach
    January 30, 2008

    Just cut it short PZ and say to the morons “Let’s see
    your freaking god right now, bring it down, prove it!”
    As I have said before, if I were a supreme being and one
    of my creations questioned my existence, I would be down
    in a flash. We are never going to argue these deranged
    cretins with reason, so let’s see the real proof.
    Present this to the dolt Simmons: “Would you be willing to
    test your faith and be left in the middle of the Sahara
    Desert with no food, water, clothes or shelter and pray to your god to be rescued? Like crap you would, you insane moron! Get the bare and blatant stuff right up front and get them to substantiate their non-existent god. The hell with arguing with them on logical points. We have been doing it for a long time and it has not made any impression on the rabble. Let’s see your freaking god, you insane morons!

  40. #40 James
    January 30, 2008

    PZ,
    I posted this on my Facebook group, and the ID trolls haven’t touched it. I’ve been in science a while but I’m a newbie in the advocacy arena, but it’s my 2 cents:

    “A choice for creationists: pseudoscience or conspiracy?

    One of the most astonishing things about the creationist /”intelligent design” movement is that they have never succeeded in publishing a peer-reviewed research paper in any of the journals indexed at the National Library of Medicine, which currently encompasses over SEVENTEEN MILLION citations. Amongst these citations the theory of evolution, on the other hand, has never been disproved. NLM covers all branches of the life sciences, and needless to say a paper providing evidence against evolution would be a blockbuster. So what’s the problem? There are two possibilities:

    1. Creationism is based on religious belief, not science.
    2. A concerted worldwide effort by research scientists, scientific journal editors, educators, and the media has unjustly prevented a single valid creationism manuscript from being published.

    There’s the choice. The second you invoke the Bible you’ve chosen the first option. Furthermore, scientists can be religious or non-religious people, but I defy you to produce an atheist creationist.”

    My point is that people don’t realize that railing against the theory of evolution is like arguing for a flat earth or a geocentric universe – I suppose that technically you can believe that, but your belief is so far out on the fringe that it shouldn’t be taught in school. Thoughts?

  41. #41 PZ Myers
    January 30, 2008

    Don’t worry. I’m going into this with a couple of ideas.

    1. This isn’t really a debate. It’s my opportunity to get a few words in on a medium that has an audience enriched in individuals ignorant about evolution.

    2. My expectations are low. I’m not planning on “converting” anyone, and I’m not even going to try.

    3. This Simmons fellow is hilarious. I’ll share the fruits of my research into his ideas here on the blog afterwards…but let’s just say that his book brightened my day. Laughter is the best medicine, they say.

    4. I am planning to focus on one simple idea in my 5 minutes. Afterwards, Simmons will go into the usual Gish Gallup and we’ll have plenty of opportunity to touch on many subjects.

    5. I’m keeping it light. The fate of civilization does not rest on my brief performance on a talk radio program.

    6. I do think it’s important that us accursed “intelligent, educated segment of the culture” try to get represented on the great conservative wasteland of AM radio.

  42. #42 cj
    January 30, 2008

    “I need weeks of air time just to summarize the evidence for evolution, while Simmons only needs nanoseconds of silence to cover the absence of evidence for his side.”

    That’s you’re opening line right there, PZ!

  43. #43 Nan
    January 30, 2008

    Sounds like you’ve recognized the actual target for whatever you have to say isn’t going to be the loon “debating” you or anyone else in the studio; it’s the radio audience. You may not convert any of them, but it’s a great opportunity to slip in a wedge of doubt.

    Love the poll — Democrats in the top three slots, Huckabee trailing at 4th, and the other repugnicans sliding into oblivion.

  44. #44 True Bob
    January 30, 2008

    The fate of civilization does not rest on my brief performance on a talk radio program.

    Oh you misunderestimate your impact, PZ ;)

  45. #45 RichardC
    January 30, 2008

    The case for evolution can be summarized in 30 seconds, and is the same as the case for any other accepted scientific theory:

    (1) It explains a vast and growing quantity of observations.

    (2) No other competing scientific theory explains a remotely comparable amount of the observed data.

    (3) It is consistent with the rest of our scientific knowledge.

    Because of (1), presenting the complete case for evolution would require months if not years.

  46. #46 Sinbad
    January 30, 2008

    “I do think it’s important that us accursed “intelligent, educated segment of the culture” try to get represented on the great conservative wasteland of AM radio.

    If you care what a Christian thinks, PZ, I think your decsion to “keep it light” is the right one. My hypothesis as to why liberal talk radio is such a ratings failure is that it is far less entertaining than conservative radio and takes itself way too seriously. Conservative radio has its windbagness too, of course, but Limbaugh and Ingraham have funny bits fairly often (for example). Franken is a funny guy (per SNL) but never showed it on Air America (at least when I was listening). My $.02….

    P.S. Is Hillary (the poll leader) an appropriate feminist model when the main qualifications she brings to the table relate to who her husband is and what he’s done?

  47. #47 CrispyShot
    January 30, 2008

    I just visited the poll, and I only see Republican candidates now?

  48. #48 Sinbad
    January 30, 2008

    One more thing….

    From a Christian perspective, Ken Miller’s discussion of what it says about God if evolution is false despite the evidence is very compelling. I would expect that you’d find plenty of opportunity to use it.

  49. #49 SteadyEddy
    January 30, 2008

    I’ll be listening… 980 AM what’s that, a couple more clicks up the dial from Air America?

    It’s funny they goofed up on the time thing- telling you 4 and listing it at 3… trying to catch you unprepared, perhaps sitting on the toilet, I suppose.

    Get ‘em PZ!

  50. #50 Eric
    January 30, 2008

    I’m going to call in and ask what a question on an ID exam, aimed at high-schoolers, might look like?

    I mean we all know the answer (“God Did It!!!”), but I’m just curious as to how they are going to present ID in a science course.

    A google search led me to this lesson plan…
    http://www.scottsdalecc.edu/ricker/pests/humor/lesson_plan.html

    :)

  51. #51 Kseniya
    January 30, 2008

    Five minutes? LMAO. That’s the way these folks think. (Who was that president who didn’t want to know anything that wouldn’t fit on an index card?)

    All one can do is summarize. As Michael Shermer wrote in SciAm, “We know evolution happened because innumerable bits of data from myriad fields of science conjoin to paint a rich portrait of life’s pilgrimage.”

    Innumerable.

    Go get ‘em, Professor!

  52. #52 Dan
    January 30, 2008

    Streaming audio is available from the link at the top of this page: http://www.kkms.com/subpages/kkms-am/upcomingshows.aspx

    I look forward to listening in. Go get ‘em PZ!

  53. #53 OsakaGuy
    January 30, 2008

    I hope some kind soul makes an MP3 of this!

  54. #54 Tom
    January 30, 2008

    I’m torn about having scientists of PeeZed’s caliber participating in events like this. One the one hand, we clearly are in dire need of responsible practitioners of science making the case for science and science education based on genuine scientific grounds. So to that extent, it’s a good thing for him to go on programs like this one, whether or not he’s going to change the minds of any listeners (I’d guess that 99.9999% of regular listeners to Jeff and Lee’s show exist in some realm beyond the reach of actual evidence).

    On the other hand, it reinforces a lay misunderstanding of the nature of science itself, namely that public verbal debate either is or should be the medium for for clarifying scientific questions. All of us here understand that it’s not. But Jeff and Lee’s addled audience won’t grasp that.

  55. #55 Brownian, OM
    January 30, 2008

    Fuck ‘em and the evidence for evolution. List off the three points RichardC gave in #44 in four seconds and then politely turn to your colleague and pointedly ask him to list the positive predictions made by ID. Disallow any criticisms of evolution.

    Tear a page from their playbook at let the dishonest fuck twist in the wind for awhile.

    Oh, and remember to cover your heart, Indy.

  56. #56 Heather
    January 30, 2008

    The poll is still up, but they definitely took it off the front page. The new poll is “Which candidate would you like to see win the Republican nomination?” That’s a one sided poll if I’ve ever seen one. But I guess you can’t listen to Xtian talk radio regularly enough to go and take one of their online polls AND vote dem. Your head would probably explode in a robotic “does not compute” manner.

  57. #57 Fatboy
    January 30, 2008

    James wrote:

    There are two possibilities:

    1. Creationism is based on religious belief, not science.
    2. A concerted worldwide effort by research scientists, scientific journal editors, educators, and the media has unjustly prevented a single valid creationism manuscript from being published.

    I think a lot of creationists would agree to both those points and not see anything wrong with it. To a lot of them, evolution = atheism, and the only reason people came up with the TOE in the first place was because they wanted an explanation that removed God.

    holbach wrote:

    Just cut it short PZ and say to the morons “Let’s see your freaking god right now, bring it down, prove it!”

    They’re ready for that one, too. “Do not test the LORD your God as you did at Massah.” (Deuteronomy 6:16) “Jesus answered him, “It is also written: `Do not put the Lord your God to the test.'” (Matthew 4:7)

  58. #58 Kseniya
    January 30, 2008

    “No religious test shall ever be required as a qualification…”

  59. #59 Dahan
    January 30, 2008

    “Which candidate would you like to see win the Republican nomination?”

    Same answer: Obama.

    Next.

  60. #60 arensb
    January 30, 2008

    Maybe we’ll finally get answers to some of those Frequently Unanswered Questions about ID.

    I wouldn’t hold my breath, though.

  61. #61 Josh in California
    January 30, 2008

    PZ should read what Darwin said about his religious beliefs, ’cause we know that the cdesign proponentist will be spewing all kinds of nonsense about Darwin.

  62. #62 SteadyEddy
    January 30, 2008

    Just a sneak peek to tomorrow’s debate…

    I was just taking one for the team and listening to Jeff and Lee shortly after 4pm today (Wednesday). They told their listeners about the debate and they said “We’re really asking you to pray that things will go well tomorrow”.

    Also, they said that over half of their website traffic this week was coming from pharyngula linkers. That’s pretty amazing, since PZ just posted about the debate late last night. Therefore, they see tomorrow as a sort of recruiting mission. “There will be plenty of opportunties there to soften hearts and spread the word of Jesus”.

    To their credit, Jeff and Lee did recognize that the pharyngula audience believes that they and their listeners are crazy Christians from the “flat earth” society. They’ve been reading this thread- so keep the comments coming.

    They said they probably won’t be taking calls during the “debate” because they claim there will be enough back and forth between the two experts. My guess is that they’re afraid of their new (temporary) audience calling them on their ID bullshit.

    Have fun PZ!

  63. #63 James
    January 30, 2008

    @ #56

    Fatboy,
    This is true, but to agree to both means that not only do you admit creationism is based on religion (and thus legally and logically has no place in a science class), but you also admit to being a massive conspiracy theorist. Bad combination. Double fail.

    I also agree with you that invoking divine proof is a bad strategy – like PZ said, he’s keeping it light and is not expecting to convert anyone, but he can be an effective advocate and teacher. I’m sure most listeners have lots of preconceived notions but very little knowledge of the subject at hand. Pulling a Hitchens would be counterproductive – it would feed their fear of godless scientists out to destroy religion.

    I hope I can catch the webcast.

  64. #64 Jason Dick
    January 30, 2008

    PZ,

    With only five minutes to talk on your own, might as well go for the heart of the theological issue, the evolution of humans. I’m sure you could fairly well describe at least one good piece of modern genetic evidence, such as human chromosome 2 or the GULO pseudogene. Perhaps skewer the “common designer vs. common descent” nonsense that creationists like to trot out when we mention similarities, and stress that it’s the pattern that’s important.

    Granted, you’d be trusting that their knowledge would be small enough that your more general knowledge of this part of the field of evolution will carry you through (I understand your expertise differs quite significantly from human evolution?).

    Anyway, just a suggestion. I’m sure you’ll do great in any case :)

  65. #65 ConcernedJoe
    January 31, 2008

    Let a tired old crazy man ask you again to not fall into the trap they will try for you – i.e., avoid the debate on science facts or atheism. Stick to your mantra (essentially from these concepts):

    (1) I have tons of scientifically verified and accepted evidence and you have essentially NONE as far as the scientific community can see

    (2) Until you do successfully use the scientific community’s process of exposing, testing and getting acceptance of your ideas, your ideas about ID or rebuttals of Evolution have no scientific merit or basis for a scientific discussion.

    (3) To establish scientific evidence for ID you IDers must use the process scientists must use and have used consistently for several lifetimes to establish and continually verify their bona fide scientific evidence and assumptions. Unless you do that you cannot hope to establish ID as a scientific concept, or to even rebut the bona fide scientific evidence or assumptions I can reference for Evolution.

    (4) Any person can have an idea, an intuition, a feeling, or a hope, and eloquently write about it or lecture on it. And anybody can believe those things as fact. But only ideas brought to light via the rules of the rigorous testing and review of the worldwide scientific community have any standing in science; ID has not brought anything to light through this process that has achieved standing in science.

    (5) ID has zero standing in science because you IDers have nothing that has withstood the real scientific process, that is your fault for refusing to follow the scientific community’s process or the fault of your vacuous ideas failing to withstand even the most preliminary steps of that process, but certainly it is not the fault of the scientific community that thrives on properly formed and presented new ideas, challenges and rebuttals, and that truly welcomes them of any stripe.

    Sorry I could not resist making my points again – I know you don’t need my lectures .. hope it goes well and is not too frustrating for you.. let us know how it goes.

  66. #66 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 31, 2008

    Perhaps skewer the “common designer vs. common descent” nonsense that creationists like to trot out when we mention similarities, and stress that it’s the pattern that’s important.

    Bah. Two words: Stupid Design. Talk about cephalopod eyes.

    I have tons of scientifically verified and accepted evidence

    There is no such thing as “verified” or “accepted”.

    Until you do successfully use the scientific community’s process of exposing, testing and getting acceptance of your ideas

    Strike “community”. The definition of science is not an arbitrary convention. Instead, as long as you can answer the question “if I were wrong, how would I know?”, you are doing science. As soon as you can’t do that, you’re not doing science, and that’s the point that needs to be hammered home.

    —————

    P.S. Is Hillary (the poll leader) an appropriate feminist model when the main qualifications she brings to the table relate to who her husband is and what he’s done?

    The point of voting for her was to scare the fundies. Nothing else.

    I just visited the poll, and I only see Republican candidates now?

    That’s because they have a new poll up, as the accompanying text clearly explains. The pharyngulated one has been closed, and here are the results:

    Hillary Clinton (2676 votes-35.0%)
    Barack Obama (1883 votes-25.0%)
    John Edwards (1389 votes-18.0%)
    Mike Huckabee (1212 votes-16.0%)
    Other (129 votes-1.0%)
    No One (120 votes-1.0%)
    John McCain (27 votes-0.0%)
    Mitt Romney (24 votes-0.0%)
    Fred Thompson (23 votes-0.0%)
    Rudy Giuliani (18 votes-0.0%)

  67. #67 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 31, 2008

    Perhaps skewer the “common designer vs. common descent” nonsense that creationists like to trot out when we mention similarities, and stress that it’s the pattern that’s important.

    Bah. Two words: Stupid Design. Talk about cephalopod eyes.

    I have tons of scientifically verified and accepted evidence

    There is no such thing as “verified” or “accepted”.

    Until you do successfully use the scientific community’s process of exposing, testing and getting acceptance of your ideas

    Strike “community”. The definition of science is not an arbitrary convention. Instead, as long as you can answer the question “if I were wrong, how would I know?”, you are doing science. As soon as you can’t do that, you’re not doing science, and that’s the point that needs to be hammered home.

    —————

    P.S. Is Hillary (the poll leader) an appropriate feminist model when the main qualifications she brings to the table relate to who her husband is and what he’s done?

    The point of voting for her was to scare the fundies. Nothing else.

    I just visited the poll, and I only see Republican candidates now?

    That’s because they have a new poll up, as the accompanying text clearly explains. The pharyngulated one has been closed, and here are the results:

    Hillary Clinton (2676 votes-35.0%)
    Barack Obama (1883 votes-25.0%)
    John Edwards (1389 votes-18.0%)
    Mike Huckabee (1212 votes-16.0%)
    Other (129 votes-1.0%)
    No One (120 votes-1.0%)
    John McCain (27 votes-0.0%)
    Mitt Romney (24 votes-0.0%)
    Fred Thompson (23 votes-0.0%)
    Rudy Giuliani (18 votes-0.0%)

  68. #68 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 31, 2008

    Just out of spite, I’ll try again:

    Hillary Clinton (2676 votes-35.0%)
    Barack Obama (1883 votes-25.0%)
    John Edwards (1389 votes-18.0%)
    Mike Huckabee (1212 votes-16.0%)
    Other (129 votes-1.0%)
    No One (120 votes-1.0%)
    John McCain (27 votes-0.0%)
    Mitt Romney (24 votes-0.0%)
    Fred Thompson (23 votes-0.0%)
    Rudy Giuliani (18 votes-0.0%)

  69. #69 David Marjanovi?, OM
    January 31, 2008

    Just out of spite, I’ll try again:

    Hillary Clinton (2676 votes-35.0%)
    Barack Obama (1883 votes-25.0%)
    John Edwards (1389 votes-18.0%)
    Mike Huckabee (1212 votes-16.0%)
    Other (129 votes-1.0%)
    No One (120 votes-1.0%)
    John McCain (27 votes-0.0%)
    Mitt Romney (24 votes-0.0%)
    Fred Thompson (23 votes-0.0%)
    Rudy Giuliani (18 votes-0.0%)

  70. #70 Kseniya
    January 31, 2008

    Hillary Clinton has as many years experience as an elected public official as GWBush had when he ran for President in the leadup to the 2000 general election. She has more years experience working as an elected public offician in Washington that GWBush had when he ran, and she surely learned at least as much about navigating the Federal government in her eight years as First Lady as GWBush learned in his eight (drug-addled?) years as Vice First Son and four years as (clean and sober?) First Son.

    So attacking her “feminist” credentials on the basis that she was First Lady is pure bullshit, and as anti-feminist as it gets. Shame on you, Sinbad. You can do better than this.

  71. #71 Kseniya
    January 31, 2008

    Crap, I wish I could learn to proof-read my own stuff. ACK!

    “She has more years experience working as an elected public official in Washington than GWBush had…”

    Preview is my friend… Preview is my friend… Preview is my friend…

  72. #72 Fatboy
    January 31, 2008

    James wrote:

    This is true, but to agree to both means that not only do you admit creationism is based on religion (and thus legally and logically has no place in a science class), but you also admit to being a massive conspiracy theorist. Bad combination. Double fail.

    I personally agree with you, but I don’t think that creationists, the audience of this radio show, would. The only reason creationism isn’t allowed in science class is because of human law. They’d love to see that law get changed. Plus, they (ignorantly) see evolution as a religion, too, so they already see what they consider a religious belief being taught in science class.

    As far as the whole conspiracy thing, what can you do? If you can ignore the reams of evidence supporting evolution, is it such a stretch to think all scientists are involved in a mass conspiracy?

    So again, I agree with you, but I don’t think presenting the argument in that way will convince any creationists.

  73. #73 Sinbad
    January 31, 2008

    Kseniya —

    I don’t think comparing Hillary with Dubya is exactly where you want to go. In the same way that Dubya would never have been nominated or elected to anything without the status of his father (and we continue to pay for that mistake), I don’t see where Hillary would have been nominated or elected to anything without the status of his husband. I don’t think that reflects favorably on feminist ideals, though I don’t question her feminist credentials.

  74. #74 Traffic Demon
    January 31, 2008

    Looks like they’re not going to be taking callers today. :(

  75. #75 Stublore
    January 31, 2008

    Any links available to a recording of the debate?
    I missed it live, obviously :(

  76. #76 Eric
    January 31, 2008

    Please tell me there is someplace I can listen to this debate.

  77. #77 John Phillips, FCD
    February 1, 2008

    Stublore and Eric, if you go to their site you can find a download link in MP3 format or you can just use the link below, if it gets through;

    http://www.kkmslive.com/MP3/15013108-Simmons%20&%20Myers.MP3

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