Monday, November 30, 2009

Jonathan Wells Confronting Dawkins on Medved?

Ok, so we're driving in the van to Costco on Black Friday. My husband turned on the "Michael Medved" show. There was some British guy on there talking about evolution. I immediately recognized that it was Richard Dawkins. He was promoting his book, The Greatest Show on Earth, which basically outlines his love affair with neo-Darwinism. Blah, blah, blah, whatever...

But my boredom turned to intrigue rather quickly. During their dialogue, Dawkins made some very interesting statements that caught our attention. One was that evolution could only go back as far as to the first life (which he defined as "self-replicating DNA"). Anything prior to that would be in the realm of chemical research, not evolution. He readily admitted that we currently know of no chemical pathway or mechanism to explain how the first self-replicating DNA formed. He cited the RNA-world hypothesis, but admitted that it has limitations. Of course, he was exceedingly optimistic that some mechanism would be discovered at some point in the future, but at least he was willing to honestly admit where the research was at the moment. I appreciated that.

Medved also asked Dawkins about life on other planets. Dawkins said he isn't sure about that; he's open to it, he just isn't sure the evidence is there. Again, another honest statement. What was really interesting (to me) was that he plainly admitted that if there is no life on other planets, then it would mean that the development and history of life on Earth would have "spectacular" implications. (Possibly theological?) He even described the history of the universe and life as having the "appearance of design," but quickly dismissed it as having any actual design.

After a little while, a caller named "Jonathan" from somewhere in Washington called in to challenge Dawkins. He immediately clarified that he wasn't a "young-earth creationist" (my husband and I both breathed a sigh of relief), but he didn't believe in the decent of man hypothesis either. Dawkins was shocked. He asked the guy a couple times to clarify his credentials. "Are you a professional biologist?" (yes) "Where did you get your Ph.D.?" (Berkley) After a minute or two, I said to my husband, "I think that's Jonathan Wells posing as a regular caller." Although they never mentioned it, the more "Jonathan" talked, I felt more certain of my theory. I just can't believe Dawkins didn't figure it out. Wells has such a distinctive voice. Dawkins just didn't know what to do with "Jonathan" other than cite the emerging molecular research which he feels just solidifies the case for common descent once and for all. "Jonathan" didn't really have a chance to respond to that.

Anyways, if you're a member of Medved's archives' service, you might want to catch the third hour of the November 27, 2009 show. It's up there now. If you're not a Medved subscriber, unfortunately, I think you're out of luck. Bummer.

1 comment:

Laura said...

I caught part of this show too, though I think I missed the last part of the last hour. Found it interesting as well.