Episode 14 - Darwin’s Impact, Then and Now, Part 1

February 01, 2010

In this panel discussion from 2009's Darwin Day celebration at the Center for Inquiry / Transnational in Amherst, New York, two physicians and a biologist explore the applications of evolutionary theory to the "front lines" of science.

Panelists include Parag Parikh, M. D., an ear, nose, and throat surgeon from Niagara Falls, New York; Brahm Segal, M. D., associate professor of medicine at the University at Buffalo Medical School and chief of the Division of Infectious Diseases at Roswell Park Cancer Institute; and Glenn Morrow, Ph. D., associate professor in the department of biology at Medaille College in Buffalo, New York.

The program is introduced by John Shook, vice president for education and research at the Center for Inquiry.

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Episode 14 - Darwin’s Impact, Then and Now, Part 1

http://www.centerforinquiry.net/audio/centerstage/centerstage-0014.mp3

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I tired to subscribe via iTunes but none of the shows will download.

Posted on Feb 01, 2010 at 4:27pm by DarronS Comment #1

I’m not sure why we need this additional forum when it seems to be pretty close to the one immediately above.

I’d suggest they be merged.

Occam

Posted on Feb 01, 2010 at 7:03pm by Occam Comment #2

I’m not sure why we need this additional forum when it seems to be pretty close to the one immediately above.

I’d suggest they be merged.

FWIW I suggested that we have a new folder for this show rather than (e.g.) not having it on the forum at all, as with the Blog responses.

They’re two different podcasts, so that’s some reason to separate them ...

Posted on Feb 01, 2010 at 8:35pm by dougsmith Comment #3

What do you do when you find Dawkins’s “gene vesel” explanation of how our bodies evolve “overly pessimistic”? Well, of course, you go to Gould and Lewontin to have your spirits raised higher. This is getting really tiring.  downer

Posted on Feb 02, 2010 at 12:01pm by George Comment #4

Or, like most people, you can just say, “Oh, ok that’s interesting” and go on about your life.

I think people are threatened by the whole selfish gene concept because it talks about human beings in the same abstract way you would talk about any other machine. Evolution has shaped us for a variety of functions, most of which serve the needs of our genes and some of which incidentally lead to love, hate, poetry, the Japanese Tea Ceremony, and great works of literature like The Lord of The Rings (sorry George, I just had to throw that in for your benefit) wink. If you ponder it too much, it can make life feel empty and pointless, but in general the intellectual understanding doesn’t reallly change the color of the experience much, and when it does it can just as often be in positive as well as negative ways. It’s like all the hand-wringing of believers about how empty life will be if they lose faith, which generally doesn’t manage to persist for long once they do and life goes on feeling pretty much as it did before. I don’t necessarily concede Dawkins is 100% correct about everthing, but the general outlines he gives of how evolution works is pretty unassailable, spandrels notwithstanding. Still, when I came to believe that I didn’t suddenly feel like a mindless “vessel.” Scotch and sex and chocolate; good books, good music, good conversation; my friends, my wife, my little girl. All of these things are just as good and just as beautiful now as they were when I gave the credit for them to some vague deistic concept of God instead of the mindless forces of nature and blind chance.

Posted on Feb 02, 2010 at 1:47pm by mckenzievmd Comment #5

I think I do understand why people may feel threatened by the idea of us being just mere gene vessels (or, indeed, why they want to believe in god or the afterlife) but I no longer feel sympathy for them. What about me? I want to know what our universe is all about! I am not scared! I am bored and I am tired of having to listen to this nonsense just because some people want to waste their life living in some kind of fantasy land. I am pissed. (Maybe the talk gets better later on but I gave it up after about ten minutes. I had no interest of finding out.)

And, Brennen, it’s fine, you can refer to The Lord of The Rings as a great work of literature. There is a room for many different kinds of great works of literature.  grin There is, however, no room at all for different kinds of the scientific truths.  angry

Posted on Feb 02, 2010 at 2:14pm by George Comment #6

There is a room for many different kinds of great works of literature.  There is, however, no room at all for different kinds of the scientific truths. 

Amen!

Posted on Feb 02, 2010 at 2:58pm by mckenzievmd Comment #7