Eliezer Yudkowsky staying on Bloggingheads.tv

His two primary reasons:

1) Robert Wright publicly said that this was foolish, apologized for the poor editorial oversight that led to it, and says they're going to try never to do this again. This looks sincere to me, and given that it's sincere, people really ought to be allowed more chance than this to recover from their mistakes.

2) Bloggingheads.TV has given me a forum to debate accomodationist atheists who are insufficiently condemning of religion - for example my diavlog with Adam Frank, author of "The Constant Fire". Adam Frank argues that, while of course we now know that God doesn't exist, nonetheless scientific wonder at the universe and its mysteries has a lot in common with the roots of religion. And I said this was wishful thinking, historically ignorant of how religions really arose and propagated themselves, and a continuation of such theistic bad habits as thinking that things of which we are temporarily ignorant are "sacred mysteries". And no one at BHTV complained that I was being too confrontational, or too anti-religious, or that it was unfair to have the diavlog be between two atheists.

I can understand why some would want to distance themselves from BHTV after the recent events. But there's no reason that everyone of similar mind needs to follow the same strategy. The flight of Zimmer, Carroll, etc., from BHTV serves as a warning shot, but it still has the potential to be an interesting forum.

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Is there a reason for anyone of a similar mind to follow Zimmer, etc?

I can see the point of a boycott, but the first people didn't call for one, so it's not going to happen. There is some value in the publicity of these "warning shots," but there is rapidly diminishing publicity to more people doing it. In particular, PZ Myers's quiet exit looks worthless to me.

By Douglas Knight (not verified) on 08 Sep 2009 #permalink

Eh, I'm wondering how much of this is just rationalization on Yudosky's part with geniune motivation being one of compartive cost. The loss in exposure for Yudowsky leaving BHTV would seem to be considerably greater than the loss for Zimmer or Carroll leaving. There are plenty of venues where I've run across Zimmer's and Carroll's work and opinions but I'd never heard of Yudowsky until I saw him on BHTV.

By unstated reason? (not verified) on 08 Sep 2009 #permalink

Unstated: well, whatever. We can't peer into the Yudster's heart, so personally I'm going to let all that be between him and his God (oh, wait...).

I watched his hard hitting anti-religion diatribe vs Adam Frank, and it was indeed potentially inflammatory - too much so for commercial mass media. He ain't lyin, if you ask me.

By Eric Johnson (not verified) on 08 Sep 2009 #permalink

I'm listening to the Wright podcast as I write. He seems pretty sincere. Without repeating what I said in the last post on this, I think BH allows for a deeper appreciation of science to a wider audience than many people get. (It's politics 90% of the time)

That said, I really do hope they get more organized.

I had never heard of Carroll or Zimmer before I started paying attention to bhtv.If there is a similar venue I would like to know about it since I will miss both of the above.

I agree it is an interesting forum even if quality is all over the map. The informal conversational format is hard to beat. Plus you get a chance to see what a lot of elite journalists are really like in person. Not very impressive in most cases I must admit.

A warning shot about what and to whom.

The losers here are the folks driving off in a 1958 blue Huff.

Well, as we used to say on the Well.... Door. Ass. Bang.

By vanderleun (not verified) on 09 Sep 2009 #permalink

I suspect, given where they blog, that Discovery may try and do a more robust blogging platform. Which wouldn't be a bad thing, mind you. Zimmer is one of those guys I always seem to enjoy listening to no matter what he's speaking about. He's just always finding interesting things and is an amazing explainer.

I found the whole controversy surreal. Who cares? I follow bloggingheads regularly, and the commentators say things I think are dumb often. I notice this despite selection bias by which I tend to ignore diavlogs that look especially dumb. Occasionally, they even say things that I think are offensive. Them saying dumb things neither breaks my leg nor picks my pocket. It doesn't matter. I'm slightly disappointed Yudkowsky even felt the need to dignify this business with a statement that he's not quitting.