August 22, 2006

Wells vs. Mooney Wrap Up & Guess Who Called In...

Me. That's right, I called Fox News Radio to participate in the insanity.

We'll get to that later.

First of all, my predictions earlier were a bit off; it wasn't really a massacre, it was more like a shrugfest than a slugfest. Here's a liberally paraphrased version of the debate:

Wells: All intelligent design is saying is that things are complex and there is a designer. There is no evidence for Darwinism.

Mooney: There is plenty of evidence for evolution by natural selection.

Wells: All we're saying is that things are too complex and there is a designer. There is no evidence for Darwinism.

Mooney: That's not scientific. You're circumventing the peer review process.

Wells: Yes it is. There is no evidence for Darwinism. No evidence. None. Zero. Zip. Zilch.


That was the gist. In one half-hour, there is no way either debater could tackle the specifics (the only way to have a proper debate), and therefore it came down to an even volley.

Mooney, however, obviously had a plan going into the debate: By illustrating Wells' intolerance for the compatibility of evolution by natural selection and traditional Christianity, he was able to take a moderate stance in saying that yes, they can coexist in one's mind. Wells, predictably, came out against the acceptance of evolution by natural selection by Christians, repeating his mantra: no evidence for Darwinism.

Then came the callers. Atheists, young earth creationists, IDers, nerds lost in specifics, all pulling this way and that on science and evidence, trying to justify one philosophy or another. One man said that scientists are trying to disprove the existence of God(s), that we bring brain tumors on ourselves, and that science was incapable of divining any truths about the universe because the universe was ever-changing.

I got a bit fired up.

I'm tired of debating about whether or not God exists. It's silly, sophomoric, and entirely futile in the end - there is no evidence, but no evidence is never evidence of anything. I have better, more productive things to do, and I'm tired of people shifting gears, turning a debate about evolution into a theological discussion.

So I called and got through. I was "Jeremy from Frostburg, Maryland" if anyone was listening.

I explained three main points (hopefully, anyway; I admit, I was a bit nervous - I'm a writer, not a speaker): I'm tired of science suffering from the debates of the faithful/faithless, ID is a political wedge into our school systems to disrupt how we obtain objective truth, and - in response to the brain tumor guy - how science does not search purely for detail, but seeks to interlock phenomena into unified theories like gravity, relativity, the nuclear forces and evolution. It's all about the Holy Grail: accurate, replicable prediction.

Two criticisms from the girlfriend: When I said "IDers" on air, it sounded like "idears," and I should have left the bit about unified theories and nuclear forces out of it.

She's usually [always] right, so I'll take note.

Overall, good effort by Chris. It's certainly not going to change things, but at least the idea that evolution by natural selection is incompatible with faith was challenged successfully.


  1. The truly irritating thing is that some people who should know better -- that is, smart science types -- also want to say that evolution is incompatible with faith.

    Good on you for trying to get through at Fox news.

  2. That's awesome that you got through and got to say what you wanted to say. I've never really tried calling into radio shows... I guess I'll have to try from now on.

  3. Good for you! I can't stand even listening to those kind of shows, so I applaud your strength of will. :-) The notion that religion/spirituality and science cannot coexist is just ridiculous. The two concepts blend quite well together in my brain. I stupidly got into a debate with a young-earth creationist online the other day, it's just impossible to argue with people who hold such views. Of course, she'd say the same about me.

    We gotta start Darwin's Defenders! :-)

  4. It's not that evolution is incompatible with belief in a god. It's not. What it's incompatible with is the literal interpretation of the Bible...which is why Christians put up such a fuss.

  5. My high school senior is always ticking off some creationist kid in his environmental science class. When he took biology there was a sticker in the front of the textbook about evolution. Thankfully, his very Christian and very conservative biology teacher taught biology and religion. I forgot to say we live in Alabama.

    Good for you in speaking up.