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Benjamin Wiker - The Darwin Myth
Posted: 16 November 2009 08:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 31 ]
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Nice Job, DJ.

It seems Wiker claims that to describe a process in strictly natural terms is to preclude the existence of a god or gods. So many processes are described in strictly natural terms: riding a bicycle, digesting food, doing your taxes, etc. And it seems incredibly easy to patch a god into the description. Just add to the end of any description the phrase, “and that’s how God did it.” I wonder what Wiker would say to that aside from the apparent difficulty posed in reconciling such descriptions with parts of The Bible.

Jordan

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Posted: 17 November 2009 12:20 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 32 ]
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DJ Grothe, I give you an A for that interview.  He did an insightful and educated job of it, digging deep into the guest’s ideas, the guest came away saying that it was his best interview which I judge to be a success!  I hate the interviews where the obnoxious host attempts to be the “star of the show” and does most of the talking, I never tune in to hear the host speak, I only tune in to hear the guest speak, the guest is the star.  With a guest like Wiker of the Discovery Institute, I really do want to hear their thoughts.  Sorry Benjamin, not to learn a life lesson, nor to grow closer to you, nor to be enlightened, but instead to understand people, to learn to promote our side to the other side and in public, and to learn the DI’s latest antics.

When the host just verbally attacks the guest, that is a rude and aweful way to treat a guest, and it is just obnoxious looking in my eyes.

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Posted: 17 November 2009 06:13 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 33 ]
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I started out writing a comment on this discussion,
but, it took off…

and I’m gonna try making it a New Topic:

THE NATIONAL READ-IN CHALLENGE:
DARWIN’S: THE ORIGIN OF SPECIES

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Posted: 24 November 2009 05:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 34 ]
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Nice interview, but as many said there’s always this residual feeling of frustration because there’s so much more you’d like to have pointed out by the host. I too feel like the core of the whole argument was left largely untouched.

There was this part where DJ asked about Wiker’s final openmindedness to the possibility that natural selection would INDEED turn out to be the main mechanism.  Here things should have been directed towards aspects like methodological naturalism and why it’s at the heart of science, Ockham’s razor and the core of arguments from incredulity. Or in other words: what would “Wiker science” look like, allowing supernatural aspects? Do we invoke the supernatural each time our current understanding or imagination reaches a roadblock? Would that actually work? Would it EVER add something to our understanding of the world?

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Posted: 24 November 2009 08:38 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 35 ]
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JH-man - 24 November 2009 05:54 AM

Nice interview, but as many said there’s always this residual feeling of frustration because there’s so much more you’d like to have pointed out by the host. I too feel like the core of the whole argument was left largely untouched.

There was this part where DJ asked about Wiker’s final openmindedness to the possibility that natural selection would INDEED turn out to be the main mechanism. Here things should have been directed towards aspects like methodological naturalism and why it’s at the heart of science, Ockham’s razor and the core of arguments from incredulity. Or in other words: what would “Wiker science” look like, allowing supernatural aspects? Do we invoke the supernatural each time our current understanding or imagination reaches a roadblock? Would that actually work? Would it EVER add something to our understanding of the world?

Excellent point and worth repeating.

Welcome to the forum JH-man, hope to hear more from you.

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Posted: 24 November 2009 08:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 36 ]
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I think you two are confusing an interview with a debate. As an interviewer DJ’s job is to draw out the interviewee and let him explain his ideas and give him enough rope to hang himself. We can decide what we want to believe or disbelieve.

It is not the interviewer’s job to refute points the interviewee makes.

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Posted: 25 November 2009 05:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 37 ]
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fotobits - 24 November 2009 08:46 PM

I think you two are confusing an interview with a debate. As an interviewer DJ’s job is to draw out the interviewee and let him explain his ideas and give him enough rope to hang himself. We can decide what we want to believe or disbelieve.

It is not the interviewer’s job to refute points the interviewee makes.

But DJ did interject some counterpoints already. While listening, I was really expecting him to navigate a little in this direction at this point. It was perfectly possible to shape it as a way to help Wiker explain what exactly was bothering him about natural selection, and whether it wasn’t just an attempt to merely obfuscate the search for a driving force instead of finding a naturalistic, scientific one.

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Posted: 25 November 2009 04:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 38 ]
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JH-man - 25 November 2009 05:31 AM

But DJ did interject some counterpoints already.

DJ did offer counter-arguments, but fotobits gave us the
contrast between an interview and a debate.  A debate is a contest
that one tries to win, they try to make their opponent loose
DJ interviewed the guest, offering a counter-point to give the guest
the opportunity to offer their rebuttal (whether it is a
home-run rebuttal or a piece-of-eh-hum rebuttal.)  As fotobits
said, give them plenty of rope.

The debater refutes the opponent, so maybe DJ could invite a
second guest to debate the first guest, DJ says he likes a debate.
I intend this to be an educational debate, certainly not a Fox News
“fair and balanced” one where a guest is invited merely because
they are a member of the opposing political party.  But I still
think that DJ should stay neutral on the topics, an interviewer,
a facilitator.

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Posted: 26 November 2009 08:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 39 ]
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jump_in_the_pit - 25 November 2009 04:34 PM
JH-man - 25 November 2009 05:31 AM

But DJ did interject some counterpoints already.

DJ did offer counter-arguments, but fotobits gave us the
contrast between an interview and a debate.  A debate is a contest
that one tries to win, they try to make their opponent loose
DJ interviewed the guest, offering a counter-point to give the guest
the opportunity to offer their rebuttal (whether it is a
home-run rebuttal or a piece-of-eh-hum rebuttal.)  As fotobits
said, give them plenty of rope.

The debater refutes the opponent, so maybe DJ could invite a
second guest to debate the first guest, DJ says he likes a debate.
I intend this to be an educational debate, certainly not a Fox News
“fair and balanced” one where a guest is invited merely because
they are a member of the opposing political party.  But I still
think that DJ should stay neutral on the topics, an interviewer,
a facilitator.

Look, I certainly don’t want to overstate my critique on DJs interview itself. It doesn’t keep me awake at night.  wink  But it’s not even about openly trying to refute a guest or anything. At the end of the interview it simply remained largely unstated what exactly Wiker had to offer, or imagined, in terms of (scientific) alternative to NS. Clearly he had to HAVE one, judging by his opposition to the idea.  So that was a little frustrating, even apart from agreeing or disagreeing with him.  He could have talked about spontaneous complexity or some other vaguely naturalistic concept, or he could have explicitly admitted he just needed a God. But I don’t seem to remember any of that.

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Posted: 26 November 2009 08:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 40 ]
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Welcome to the world of ID debunkers, JH-Man. The most frustrating part of talking with IDiots is they have nothing other than criticisms of evolution and what they have termed Darwinism. IDiots have no theory of their own. They tout Irreducible Complexity, but that is only a diversion they developed to deflect attention from their religious agenda. IDiots are trying to sneak Creationism into our schools, but after the Supreme Court ruled that tactic unconstitutional they changed the name to Intelligent Design and started over.

The Kitzmiller v Dover Board of Education trial revealed their tactics publicly, and the judge’s decision made it settled case law in the United States that ID is nothing more than Creationism in disguise. They are liars trying to spread their version of Christianity under the guise of science, and have been exposed as such. Yet some people still take them seriously, and they managed to get one of their professional liars published in a major news outlet on the 150th anniversary of the publication of “On the Origin of Species.”

We have a lot of work to do. Maybe you are right. Maybe DJ should have torn the guy into little pieces. That would have been the correct tactic for a general audience, but PoI’s audience is a bit more educated and a bit more intelligent than CNN’s audience. Perhaps DJ did exactly what he intended: left Wiker twisting in the wind so we could decide for ourselves what to so with his corpse.

[ Edited: 26 November 2009 08:26 AM by DarronS ]
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Posted: 03 January 2010 06:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 41 ]
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fotobits - 15 October 2009 10:03 AM

As a former journalist I can see why DJ conducts the interviews as he does. A journalist’s job is to present information fairly, and in the case of these podcasts DJ’s job as a journalist is not to confront his guests, but to get them to explain their views so his listeners can come to informed conclusions. We can decide for ourselves if the interviewee is making sense or talking woo. One of the key aspects of having an open mind is listening to differing viewpoints and reaching your own conclusions. Shutting out someone with whom you disagree is ideology, not skepticism.

Yeah, that’s true, but I think it depends a lot on the chemistry between them if that’s going to happen. I remember the Chris Hedges interview. Both were beginning to get quite angry, me included!

Anyway, there was a question or subject that I missed. Wasn’t Darwin supposed to become a priest at one time? It doesn’t exactly add up with the supposed religious-sceptic-from-birth theory.

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Posted: 03 January 2010 07:24 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 42 ]
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Strappado - 03 January 2010 06:24 AM

Yeah, that’s true, but I think it depends a lot on the chemistry between them if that’s going to happen. I remember the Chris Hedges interview. Both were beginning to get quite angry, me included!

Anyway, there was a question or subject that I missed. Wasn’t Darwin supposed to become a priest at one time? It doesn’t exactly add up with the supposed religious-sceptic-from-birth theory.

Welcome to the forums.

I agree with your point about Hedges. He has that effect on a lot of people. I listened to that one on the way to the Texas Star Party last year. Luckily I was on a deserted road in the Texas Hill Country so no one called 911 to report some lunatic driving down the highway screaming at his car stereo.

Yes, I recall Darwin did consider priesthood. Thanks for the reminder. I’ll try to remember that next time an IDiot brings up Darwin being a lifelong atheist.

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Posted: 08 January 2010 10:28 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 43 ]
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It was the night before christmas and all was quiet. The little boy woke up in the middle of the night and wanted to watch Santa deliver his xmas gifts. Quietly he snuck down the stairs and peeked around the corner of the living room. But instead of Santa he saw his dad, busily arranging packages around the xmas tree.
The boy was disappointed and ran to his dad, asking, “why is Santa not here”?  His dad, not wanting to destroy the boy’s illusion replied, “oh, Santa was here already, but he had so little time that he just dropped the presents in the middle of the room and asked me to arrange them properly”. The boy was relieved that Santa had remembered him and went back to bed, secure in the knowledge that Santa was real and could be depended on to deliver his presents forever more.

Is there a parallel here?

[ Edited: 08 January 2010 10:40 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 11 May 2010 07:22 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 44 ]
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Only Grothe could handle a guest like this with so much class. A difficult program to listen to, but I think it’s important for us to hear from bilious characters like Wiker.

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Posted: 05 August 2010 04:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 45 ]
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Okay, I listened to the podcast a year and a half later.  I’m glad to see that people have pretty much said what I was thinking. 
How can someone who seems so educated have such flawed opinions?

1.  He acts like scientists are so dumb and so pumped full of ideology that they didn’t realize an ancient deity was staring them right in the face.  Excuse me?  Oh, I see why we can’t seem to cure cancer, we forgot to take God into account.  Okay, yeah, he’s right here in my petri dish holding onto some molecules.  Too bad we followed our God, Darwin, for so many years.
2.  His example didn’t even prove his point; it proved the secular scientific point.  He said for hundreds of years people believed a certain scientific event.  Then a different theory came along that worked much better.  But it wasn’t a supernatural theory; it was a natural, scientific theory, so it undermines his argument.
3.  He should have been challenged to name one single time that a supernatural fact was proven to be the key to a long standing scientific question.  It’s has always been the reverse throughout all of scientific history.  A supernatural explanation is always supplanted by a natural one.
4.  Instead of an example, he kept bringing up Marxism.  That just confuses the issue.  We’re looking for evidence of the supernatural.  Just because he claims Marxism (supposedly) didn’t take human nature completely into consideration, does not mean that somehow scientists have to take the supernatural into consideration when working in the evolution sciences!

His foray into human morality seemed equally flawed.  Why does he ignore the fact that humans are animals and therefore our behavior requires a supernatural explanation?  Human social behavior can easily be seen as part of the spectrum of animal behavior on this planet.  Bonobos are at least as generous towards each other as people are and they never kill each other.  Does Wiker think that they have God?  Does every animal species that does not practice, brutal, systematic eugenics on each other, somehow spiritual?  Obviously, each species has different social norms and strategies, and I fail to see why you would need magic to explain it.

Also, it seems to me that evolution has given us a tremendous amount of information and has facilitated countless medical and agricultural advances, as well as huge insights into many other disciplines.  But somehow he thinks that we’re just kind of stuck right now?  And it’s because we forgot that there’s a whole other side to evolution that we’re just ignoring on purpose?  What would this even look like?  Would it help us calculate DNA strands faster and more accurately?  Would it give us the ability to fertilize other planets with life?  Would we be able to engineer more efficient microorganisms to consume pollution?  Would we finally be able to understand how life got a start?  I just don’t get it. 

When you boil down his educated talk, it’s just a string of irrational beliefs.

[ Edited: 05 August 2010 05:00 AM by Satyr ]
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