Saturday, April 16, 2011

Richard Dawkins Interviews/Debates Wendy Wright

This is one of the few times I will admit a clear win for Richard Dawkins. While I appreciate Wendy Wright's stance and can sympathize with many of her concerns, she just didn't know her position well enough (nor Dr. Dawkins') to get into the technicalities of evolution. In my opinion, Dawkins was overall polite and reasonable with his questions and objections. And while Miss Wright was polite, she not only refused to admit that her understanding of evolution was quite limited; but she regularly dodged direct questions.

For example, Miss Wright asked a number of times, "Where's the evidence?" And Dawkins would politely reply with several examples of so-called "transitional fossils." It was obvious that Miss Wright knew little to nothing about these fossils. Instead of admitting her ignorance and agreeing to look into these further, she pridefully dismissed Dawkins' attempt.

This does make me wonder why Dawkins would agree to interview someone like this who has no credentials in science. Wouldn't this had made for a much more useful exchange had he interviewed a creationist or ID proponent with a Ph.D in his or her respective field? Otherwise, what do interviews like these really accomplish except for an excessive number of facepalms to those viewing?

If you're going to discuss the technicalities of evolution with someone, here's a tip: know what you are talking about and/or be willing to look into something for which you are unfamiliar. Otherwise, you are causing more harm than good.

23 comments:

vasquez said...

Ph. D in what? How many biologist with Ph. D's belong to a pro ID group?

Either way, I don't think finding someone with a Ph. D would make much of a difference. There's plenty of literature (peer-reviewed) that most people can't even grasp (especially me) because we're not biologist and lack the skills to understand a great deal of the published literature.

I also don't know Dawkin's intent: Does he really care to argue evolution or just cater to a specific audience that just wants to see bloodshed so he can continue to sell more books and other merchandise.

Mike Felker said...

@Vas,

I'd think a Ph.D of any science would be better than none at all. How many biologists are there? I'm not sure, but there are enough for Dawkins to choose from if he wanted. Richard Sternberg would have been a good one, given that his credentials far exceeds Dawkins'.

I don't know Dawkins' intent either, given who he chose to debate. But where me and you seem to differ is that I think that balanced debates can be most helpful.

Mark Hunter said...

I watched this a while ago, it's embarrassing.

Anonymous said...

Oh I get it now. He won't debate you unless you're a a woman from an organization that has nothing to do with science.

Brian

The Apologetic Front said...

Brian, that is so very true that I am embarrassed for Dawkins.

vasquez said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
vasquez said...

This wasn't a debate, and I don't think it's meant to come close to portraying itself as one and even if it was it would solve nothing since debates are not necessary about anything other than "winning."

I think her understanding of evolution is on par with most peoples, though she probably knows justs a little bit more since she's involved with a creationist organization.

I'm not sure if Sternberg cares to debate anything, because the last time I heard anything of him he was complaining about some conspiracy against him .. even though he broke protocol and published an embarrassing paper .. then again, I think I could see Dawkin's point. To "debate" gives the impression that there's actually something to intelligent design, when there isn't.

I really wish they would work harder on providing something of substance for ID (getting something published i.e. peer-reviewed) rather than play these little "debate" games.

The Apologetic Front said...

@Vas,

As far as debates, I think we just might have to agree to disagree on that. Obviously, this wasn't a real debate. But since Dawkins rarely does debates, its about as close as we'll get to see. But for some of us, debates are useful because certain ideas can be shown to be defensible; regardless of whether or not one is a good debater.

And I have to disagree with what you said about Sternberg. He certainly does care about debating, which is why he joined Stephen Meyer in a public debate against Shermer and another. As far as the "conspiracy," look at the documentation for yourself and see if the case holds up:

http://www.richardsternberg.org/

And there are plenty of places on the internet which seek to show that Sternberg is guilty. But one should look at both sides and come to their own conclusions on the matter.

ID'rs certainly do seek to publish their ideas in peer reviewed journals. The problem those who run the journals won't allow "religion" to be published. So why bring this up?

This is why ID'rs publish in their own journals and write books on the subject. The information is out there for anyone to investigate for themselves. And I wouldn't judge the legitimacy of an idea based upon whether or not the opposing side decides to publish their views. Nevertheless, there is a fair number of "pro-ID" papers that have gotten published, though they may not specifically talk about "Intelligent Design." Most of these papers may hint at it, or just offer something critical of particular aspects of evolution. In fact, Behe published an article very recently in a peer-reviewed journal.

Vas said...

http://www.expelledexposed.com/index.php/the-truth/sternberg

I've heard Sterberg's side before, like I said he's basically saying there's some huge conspiracy to silence him and others. He broke protocol and published a rather crappy paper. I don't think there is any denying that he did so.

Give me a break. There's plenty of religious folks working in the scientific community, the reason ID cannot publish any peer-reviewed literature is because they don't have anything to publish i.e. what they're pushing isn't s ience and cannot be observed.

Did Behe's paper have anything to do with ID?

The Apologetic Front said...

@vas,

If you thoroughly researched Sternberg's site and found "expelledexposed" to present the true side of things, then i'll leave you to that opinion.

As to your second paragraph, that's the very thing under question: is ID a legitimate scientific theory? Of course, you dismiss it as non-science, so expect it to be in a journal in the first place? Perhaps the first question should be whether ID is true or scientific before wondering why its not published in a journal.

And no, Behe's paper did not mention ID but was more critical of evolution.

I'm actually not that concerned with whether or not ID papers should be published in journals that are run by evolutionists. I'm completely content with ID'rs and Creationists publishing in their own journals where readers can look at both sides' journals and come to their own conclusions on the issue.

vasquez said...

We've been over this before, Sternberg isn't being truthful and he took it upon himself to change the way peer-reviews were handled. There's not much room for "opinion" when we're talking about what even he himself has admitted.

I dismiss it as non-science because it is non-science. What claims does it make that can be tested?

I'm actually not that concerned with whether or not ID papers should be published in journals that are run by evolutionists.

This leads me to believe that you too hold onto that view that those evolutionist are purposely keeping ID down, which is pure bull.

So, now that you're able to come to your own conclusion on the ID vs Evolution debate due to the hundreds (thousands?) of debates, articles and peer-reviewed Creationist journals .. what evidence do we have to support ID? Is there any?

The Apologetic Front said...

@Vas,

Do you believe that there is a criteria by which one could accept intelligent design in the natural world, if it were true?

vasquez said...

I believe that there is a criteria that does exists that ID has yet to meet that would prove ID. I don't think the ID movement is about that though, I think it has more to do with a much bigger agenda and little to do with actual science.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wedge_strategy

The Apologetic Front said...

@Vas,

Whether ID has an agenda or not would not prove whether its true or false.

What is this criteria by which you could conclude that something in the natural world were intelligently designed?

vasquez said...

I'm accusing ID advocates of having an agenda (Discover Institute), i.e. in my opinion the fight has nothing to do with truth.

Do you believe that there is a criteria by which one could accept intelligent design in the natural world, if it were true?
What is this criteria by which you could conclude that something in the natural world were intelligently designed?

Let me rephrase my answer. No. Intelligent Design cannot be tested i.e. it's not falsifiable.

Now, I'm sure to a person like Dembski it can be. Though the only method I know of detecting it as created by Dembski amounts to nothing more than bad maths.

The Apologetic Front said...

@Vas,

So what you're saying that it would be impossible to know with any degree of probability that intelligent design were true? In other words, the only possible option in the explanation for life is a non-intelligent source? i.e. chance and natural selection?

You admission clearly reflects your metaphysical presuppositions.

vasquez said...

I'm saying Intelligent Design as defined by those who advocate it e.g. Discovery Institute, Meyers, Behe and Dembski is not science.

I'm not saying that it's impossible to know, but there is no way of testing those claims made by the ID party, that is, God did it is not testable.

Mike Felker said...

@Vas,

What i'm concerned with at this point is not whether you agree with ID, but how you would define and prove ID if it were true.

In other words, let's assume for the sake of argument that Meyer, Behe, Dembski and all ID theorists are dead wrong in their criteria for supporting ID. Therefore, what criteria would you propose for ID?

Just as a side note, there are atheists and agnostics who believe in the legitimacy of ID. In fact, one atheist wrote a book defending intelligent design:

http://www.amazon.com/Seeking-God-Science-Atheist-Intelligent/dp/1551118637/ref=wl_it_dp_o?ie=UTF8&coliid=IR88R4GKXMOUX&colid=3U0665WX8WOKO

Vas said...

There is no criteria that I need to propose for ID to become credible. The Scientific Method already exists.

I'm well aware of non-theists who hold onto ID, but they more or less do so because they buy into The Ancient Astronaut Theory (i.e. Aliens tinkered with our DNA).

The Apologetic Front said...

@Vas,

Ok then, please show me how the scientific method could be used to support whether or not something is intelligently designed.

Vas said...

I suppose I could repeat the words "irreducible complexity" and that would be alright.

If you're looking for a theory or model, then I'm afraid I don't have one. Then only thing that could ever substantiate ID would be evidence, and to my knowledge there isn't any in favor of.

The Apologetic Front said...

@Vas,

I'm having a bit of difficulty in figuring out what you're really trying to say.

You're asking for evidence, but i'm trying to figure out what would qualify as evidence of ID or irreducible complexity. That is, if either one of these are true, then how would we know? Would it be impossible to know? Is evolution the only possible option?

Rick Warden said...

Upon review, Dawkins made at least four untrue or blatantly misleading comments in the informal debate, therefore I would have to say he lost.

Wendy was very wise in this debate in seeking to draw out actual verifiable proof of evolution, which apparently does not exist according to Dawkins' replies.

For more on this, see the following article:

Why Atheists Fear Debate

http://templestream.blogspot.com/2011/08/why-atheists-fear-debate.html