How Michael Behe Was Pulled from Bloggingheads.tv

Christianity Today gives the story behind this incident, which seems to reveal a selective intolerance toward dissenting ideas.

An online clearinghouse for intellectual debate has discovered the apparent boundary for its controversial conversations: Intelligent Design.

Bloggingheads.tv posted a video interview between journalist John McWhorter and Intelligent Design proponent Michael Behe in late August focused on the Lehigh University biochemistry professor’s 2007 book The Edge of Evolution. It was taken down the same day after the website received a barrage of online criticism for not asking tougher questions of Behe and for hosting him at all.

The explanation given for pulling the interview: “John McWhorter feels, with regret, that this interview represents neither himself, Professor Behe, nor Bloggingheads usefully, takes full responsibility for same, and has asked that it be taken down from the site. He apologizes to all who found its airing objectionable.”

Bloggingheads editor-in-chief Robert Wright reposted the interview four days later upon discovering the incident, but Behe says that action didn’t erase what happened . . . (Continue)

image

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

Bookmark and Share

Advertisements

21 thoughts on “How Michael Behe Was Pulled from Bloggingheads.tv

  1. Hi CBD,

    You said;
    “you claim that I’ve given you “quite a bit of abuse”. ”

    No I didn’t.

    So the rest of your comments seem a bit inappropriate really, don’t they?

    Regards,

    Psi

    Ps Can I suggest you take a few deep breaths and try to relax?

  2. Psiloiordinary – I posted a 400 word reply to you which you dismissed entirely. You followed that by asking for a dialogue. When I try to assess the value in that kind of investement of time with you and conclude that it’s not worth it, you claim that I’ve given you “quite a bit of abuse”. Apparently, your posts are so good that I should have already been convinced about the sincerity and openness you have towards dialogue and since I haven’t been convinced or engaged at all by you on this topic — that is my fault and I have been abusing you.
    You conclude that I need “good luck” with my personality.
    It might suprise us all that my time spent in this comment box will not exactly generate a large readership beyond you and Chris.
    If you’re interested in dialogue, then I think you know how to convince another party that you are. If your interest is in playing games and rehashing some cut-and-paste atheistic apologetics then I can find that in about 10,000 forums where people actually read what I post.

  3. 4 – historical support for Jesus.

    Well this is certainly specific to your faith!

    I thought the bible was written decades after the events?

    I have read McDowell but found it hideously vacuous – I can be more specific if you like.

    A couple of issues with the historicity side of things;

    Why is there no mention of events around the resurrection in other contemporaneous written accounts? The “dead rising from their graves” type of stuff would have been noticed I think?

    I am not suggesting that the followers who died for their faith were insincere, just wrong. I guess you would agree that followers of other faiths have also died for them even though you think they were wrong. So I am not sure how this counts as evidence for your faith without also counting as evidence for theirs.

    There are also many, many tales of people being saved by other faiths, so again this must count as evidence for Islam, etc if it counts as evidence for your faith don’t you think?

    – – –

    For my side of the debate – I would suggest that the behaviour of folks such as CBD counts as evidence against his particular god – what do you think?

    Looking forward to continuing the discussion,

    Regards,

    Psi

    PS

    I really meant it in my other comment about the science and I would particularly interested to see your thoughts on the scientific evidence about the development of morality.

    • Psi,
      I think what would be remarkable about the apostles dying for their claim that Jesus was resurrected is that they would be dying for what they knew to be a lie. Many people have died for things that were wrong but that they sincerely believed in. However, the apostles made the claim that Jesus had been raised and that they had personally seen Him alive and resurrected. And they were willing to die for that claim. I can’t see that happening if they weren’t convinced it was true.

      For some good material on the resurrection of Jesus and the historical reliability of the New Testament, I recommend Dr. Gary Habermas’s site, here. Habermas is a leading authority on the resurrection, and makes a good scholarly case for it.

      Yeah, I’d have to agree that someone who displays a negative or combative attitude will undermine their religion. I’m always sorry to see that happen. I hope I’ll never go there.

      • Hi Chris,

        “I think what would be remarkable about the apostles dying for their claim that Jesus was resurrected is that they would be dying for what they knew to be a lie.”

        Well I agree. I am just talking about them either being mistaken, or the story having been made up afterwards.

        What about the issue of other contemporaneous reports not including many of the things claimed to have happened in the biblical account, the dead rising etc. ? Perhaps you would be good enough to point me at where Habermas addresses this point?

        Thanks & Regards,

        Psi

  4. 2 – “Fine tuning” here is a post I prepared earlier;

    http://cogitatute.blogspot.com/2008/10/out-of-tune-why-fine-tuning-argument.html

    I would be happy to listen to your response to this.

    Again I guess I would also point out that none of this argument is specific to your god just like point 1.

    3 – There is lots of science around about the existence of morals. Have you read any?

    What did you find unpersuasive about it?

    I can point you at a couple of posts I did on this as well;

    http://cogitatute.blogspot.com/2008/06/being-good-without-god.html

    Again I would be grateful for you thoughts on this – here on as a comment on my posting – whichever you prefer.

    Regards,

    Psi

    • Hi Psi,
      Thanks for the links. About fine-tuning, I don’t think the lottery analogy in your post captures the real point of the fine-tuning argument. It’s not that we have to account for the existence of any kind of universe, but of a life-permitting universe. A better lottery analogy to account for this kind of universe (our kind) is one in which a single white ball is mixed into a collection of a billion billion billion black balls. At the drawing, any ball that comes down the chute is hugely improbable. However, it’s astronomically more probable that any ball that comes down the chute will be black instead of white. In the same way, it’s vastly more probable that any universe that exists will be life-prohibiting rather than life-permitting. Thus, our life-permitting universe is incredibly improbable on chance alone.

      Yes, you can posit a multiverse (although this has its own difficulties), but a multiverse is a metaphysical speculation that’s no more or less supported by evidence than God’s existence. In fact, my guess is that the multiverse theory is actually an ad hoc explanation to avoid the theistic implications of fine-tuning.

      About morality, I wouldn’t claim that a person has to believe in God to be a moral person. But I do believe that there can be no objective right and wrong apart from God. Sociobiology will say that man has evolved morals because it contributes to his survival. But on that view, these “morals” are the chance products of blind processes — which might have turned out differently if evolution had taken a different course. Thus, whatever we’ve evolved in terms of morals are subjective ideas that really boil down to social conventions.

      If we take this to its logical conclusion, things like rape, racism, and murder aren’t really wrong, just unconventional. But deep down we know that these things are, literally, wrong. In the same way that a lion killing a zebra in the African plains isn’t wrong, neither can a Darwinian naturalist insist that one human being killing another is wrong. We humans are just advanced primates on this view. Thus, there’s nothing that really separates us from other animals. If a hawk taking a fish from another hawk isn’t immoral, neither should it be immoral if I steal my neighbor’s bicycle. Humans can’t claim any special status on a Darwinian view. We’re just the same animals with better developed brains. But that fact has nothing to do with morality, which just happened to evolve by accident, like we did.

      This, to me, is a pretty bleak picture, and absolutely counter intuitive. We know in the core of our beings that some things are right and some are wrong — regardless of the chance occurrences of evolution. And the only thing that can ground this objective, universal right and wrong is a transcendent authority, like God.

      Again, this is not to say that someone who doesn’t believe in God can’t be moral. The issue here is the metaphysical foundation and basis of right and wrong. How humans come to know this morality and act on it is a separate issue.

      • Hi Chris,

        “A better lottery analogy to account for this kind of universe (our kind) is one in which a single white ball is mixed into a collection of a billion billion billion black balls. At the drawing, any ball that comes down the chute is hugely improbable. However, it’s astronomically more probable that any ball that comes down the chute will be black instead of white. In the same way, it’s vastly more probable that any universe that exists will be life-prohibiting rather than life-permitting. Thus, our life-permitting universe is incredibly improbable on chance alone.”

        Ok lets use your analogy – how do you know there is only one white ball? My point is that you can’t know this based on the drawing of one ball.

        “In fact, my guess is that the multiverse theory is actually an ad hoc explanation to avoid the theistic implications of fine-tuning.”

        I’m sure you will forgive me if is go with evidence over your guess for the time being.

        “About morality, I wouldn’t claim that a person has to believe in God to be a moral person.”

        We agree here then.

        “But I do believe that there can be no objective right and wrong apart from God.”

        Ok then a few questions follow from this;

        Does god restrict an appreciation of morals to people only?
        If god says it is OK to kill someone, then does that make it good?
        How you know which bits of the bible to follow as being good or bad?

        “Sociobiology will say that man has evolved morals because it contributes to his survival. But on that view, these “morals” are the chance products of blind processes — which might have turned out differently if evolution had taken a different course. Thus, whatever we’ve evolved in terms of morals are subjective ideas that really boil down to social conventions.”

        A morale structure is a simple and easy to understand adaptation to living in social groups. I can suggest some hard science (Not sociology) that explains this and also involves mathematical predictions that can be tested.

        “If we take this to its logical conclusion, things like rape, racism, and murder aren’t really wrong, just unconventional. But deep down we know that these things are, literally, wrong. In the same way that a lion killing a zebra in the African plains isn’t wrong, neither can a Darwinian naturalist insist that one human being killing another is wrong.”

        Oh dear – now you are telling me what my side of the argument is.

        Do you really mean this? This is the quick way to end a conversation – it is very insulting indeed.

        The evidence doesn’t support your view either – if you read my post on being good without god you will see two things – no measurable difference in moral actions between the religious and non religious in the experiments I linked to and further data showing a direct but inverse link between religiosity and various measures of civilised behaviour including rapes and murders. I.e. exactly the opposite of what you just claimed.

        How do you explain all this evidence against your assertion?

        “This, to me, is a pretty bleak picture, and absolutely counter intuitive. We know in the core of our beings that some things are right and some are wrong — regardless of the chance occurrences of evolution. And the only thing that can ground this objective, universal right and wrong is a transcendent authority, like God.”

        I agree that evolution is a pretty bleak picture, but again I would rather go with the evidence than just with something because I like it.

        I think that humans have the ability to think about and discuss and agree on what is right and wrong.

        How do you decide which bits of the bible outrank which other bits? Is it ok to kill people or not? I’m struggling to see how you have a moral guide when there are so many contradictions.

        “Again, this is not to say that someone who doesn’t believe in God can’t be moral. The issue here is the metaphysical foundation and basis of right and wrong. How humans come to know this morality and act on it is a separate issue.”

        I think that we have evolved the ability to understand moral reasoning, it has many advantages for the individual to be able to do so.

        I pointed out a lot of evidence that this seems to have happened but you haven’t addressed any of it yet.

        ;-(

        Regards,

        Psi

  5. Chris,

    Thanks for your manners and thoughtful response.

    Let’s chat through these in turn;

    If by summarising I have missed anything please correct me.

    1 – “personal experiences of god” – two points – I don’t have a faith and so it seems to me that the main problem you have with this line of evidence is that lots of other folks tell me almost exactly the same stuff who have a completely different god. What am I to think? Should I believe them or you? Further investigation shows such experiences almost always reinforce the existing cultural beliefs i.e. a person brought up as a hindu (substitute any other god here) or living in a hindu country has experiences that give them evidence to support their cultural “background”, this indicates to me that it is something from inside the person.

    How would you use this kind of evidence as evidence for your particular faith?

    Thanks,

    Psi

    • Hi Psi,
      You’re right that you’re limited in what you can conclude from people’s religious experiences. So, I’d say it’s just one piece in the big picture. However, in my view, the simple fact that nearly the entire population of our planet believes in something supernatural is a good reason to think there’s something to it. Maybe it’s significant that over five billion people think that nature isn’t all that exists. We should remember too that just because there’s disagreement among religions, that’s not to say that none of them is actually right. I believe Christianity has a significant advantage because of its strong historical basis (the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus), which other religions can’t claim.

      Christianity has great power to transform people’s lives, which even atheists often recognize. Here’s a good example of that by a journalist who’s an atheist, but has seen this happen in Africa.

      • Hi Chris,

        “We should remember too that just because there’s disagreement among religions, that’s not to say that none of them is actually right”

        Well I agree. I didn’t actually claim otherwise.

        “Christianity has a significant advantage because of its strong historical basis (the life, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus), which other religions can’t claim.”

        Every other religion I have looked into DOES make exactly these same claims.

        Guess what – they also use stories of the transformation of people’s lives just as you have.

        So how can I choose?

        Come to think of it – how did you choose. When did you become religious?

        Were you brought up to it?

        – – –

        “However, in my view, the simple fact that nearly the entire population of our planet believes in something supernatural is a good reason to think there’s something to it.”

        I completely agree. I think there must be something to the fact that most people think this way. But to let popularity be a measure of veracity a simple logical fallacy.

        I think it likely that people have evolved to be religious.

        This would explain everything without resorting to the supernatural.

        Once again I would be happy to include the supernatural if you can show me any evidence for it.

        Regards,

        Psi

  6. cbd,

    As I pointed out above;

    “When I see believers I often ask them what evidence they have for their belief and then I tend to get quite a bit of abuse.”

    Good luck with the personality.

    Psi

  7. You’re assuming that I think it’s worth discussing this with you — a false assumption. You’ve got nothing to contribute to the topic and you need something more than “ears” to be able to listen to the conversation. The ears need to be connected to a capability for dialogue and you don’t have that, unfortunately.

  8. Hi cbd,

    Perhaps you didn’t spot it but I have just asked you for your evidence.

    I am all ears.

    The examples I gave were examples of the ad populous argument in action, no ridicule, blocking out concepts or dismissal of possibility before investigating it intended.

    Fire away with your evidence – looking forward to it.

    Regards,

    Psi

    • Hi Psi,
      I’m not sure why cbd bailed out of the conversation so quickly, but I’ll give you my take on some evidence for God.
      First and foremost, I believe I’ve experienced God in my life. I believe He changed my life, that I’ve felt His presence, and that He’s spoken to me before — not audibly, but internally. Like having a thought that absolutely didn’t come from you. Of course, someone could dispute my experience. But, it’s been very real to me for the 24 years I’ve been a Christian.

      Other evidence would be the existence of the universe. Why is there something rather than nothing? God is the best explanation for the existence of the universe, in my view. We also know the universe is extremely fine-tuned for life to exist. There are dozens of constants that had to be precise to an astronomical degree for life to exist (e.g., the expansion rate of the big bang, the density of the universe, the strong and weak nuclear forces, etc.). Taken together, there is practically zero probability all of these constants could have happened by chance. And that’s only for life to be possible. For life to actually arise, one encounters another set of almost impossible odds (assuming evolutionary development).

      I also don’t believe science or any naturalistic explanation can account for why objective moral values exist. But I believe moral values grounded in God’s nature do account for them. Also, I don’t think we can explain consciousness by appealing to anything material. Philosophers of mind will readily admit that we have absolutely no idea how the activity of the brain could produce an awareness of “I exist.” But a soul, created by God, does explain that — that is, that we are immaterial beings who interact with a physical body.

      Finally, I believe the resurrection of Jesus from the dead validated His teachings and His identity as God incarnate. I believe there’s excellent historical evidence for His resurrection, and that it’s better attested than any other event in ancient history. His closest followers were all convinced enough to risk their lives to proclaim His resurrection when they had every reason not to — and many of them did lose their lives for preaching that message. I can’t think of any reason a group of men would die for what they knew to be a lie (i.e., that Jesus was resurrected). And Paul’s conversion from a persecutor to an apostle also requires an explanation.

      So, in a nutshell, those are good reasons to believe that God exists and that Christianity is true. But, as I mentioned, the strongest evidence for me is my personal experience of God and how He has worked in my life for a long time now.

      I’ll be glad to hear your thoughts about it.

      Thanks,
      Chris

  9. Its not an argument ad populum, its an argument that questions whether you’ve investigated the evidence or not. It’s like forensics. Do you look at all the evidence that is given, or do you just dismiss it without consideration? What evidence have you considered already? What methods have you used to weigh the evidence? Have you tried the methods used by people who have claimed to discover God already, or do you reject those without ever having tried them? You compare religious believers with people who claim to have been abducted by UFO’s. This is very clear and obvious evidence to me that you’re trying to dismiss and ridicule the concept — you’re blocking out the possiblity before having investigated it. You actually seem less confrontational than the vast majority of atheists that I’ve encountered — and that is very good to see. But you also take the same attitude which closes off possibleinvestigations before you’ve even tried to look into them.

  10. I only recognise that description of atheists from discussions with the religious and not from the many, many atheists I know.

    When I see believers I often ask them what evidence they have for their belief and then I tend to get quite a bit of abuse.

    ;-(

    I don’t believe in god because I simply haven’t encountered any evidence for him yet.

    If you have some then please share it!

    But be prepared for me to think about it using my two founding tenets ;-)

    Thanks,

    Psi

    PS my founding tenets don’t include accepting the argument ad populous as a reason to believe.

    If you do then why aren’t you a member of a religion with more believers than christianity?

    Do you think people are being abducted by UFO’s just because half the population does.

    In historical times when Thor was the god in vogue, did he exist?

    PPS – I do realise that I an an awkward b*gger

    ;-)

  11. Ok, those are tenets or principles. You do not consider yourself a religious believer — you don’t go to church or worship or anything like that. But your first principles are faith-based, in that you start with some assumptions and then build your world-view on them. You put your faith and belief in some things and not in others. Eventually, you decide on something that gives explanation for your life and its meaning and purpose. You use reason to figure out the goal in life and you live to fulfil that goal and you argue with people to convince them, or argue against them, based on what you concluded. All of that is “like” a religious belief. It’s a program that explains life and its purpose and meaning — and you necessarily live by that “credo”. Some take it more fervently and denounce and banish others who do not share the Darwinist-credo, for example. But it’s a very big question: “Why do you not believe in God?” Now you look at believers, those who pray, the claims of religious teachers and followers, writings considered sacred, actions in humanity through the ages considered sacred, libraries full of theological teachings explaining God’s ways and revelations … and you have an answer for them. But that answer is a very big answer — considering that 4 billion people on earth today believe in God. That creates some pressure. Certainly its more than if a person says “I don’t collect rare butterflies”. A big, significant reason is not needed to explain that because there are not 4 billion butterfly-collectors and entire libraries are not filled with 4,000 years of writings about the importance of that topic.
    So, to answer the question “Why I don’t believe in God” requires a somewhat forceful answer — something that has power enough to shut down all of those other voices.
    It’s that kind of force that creates a religion out of atheism. The atheist acts like, and thinks like, a believer because so much weight must be put on the assumptions and faith-based reasoning that ends with an atheistic conclusion.
    That’s why Darwinism is elevated to so much exaggerated importance. Because people believe in Darwinism in order to have an alternative to God – and that alternative takes on aspects of religious doctrine.

  12. I think my basic “tenets” are;

    The universe is real.

    Logic works.

    I can use it to learn about the universe.

    I don’t believe in anything supernatural – not seen any evidence so far.

    Does this make me a religious believer? What would you call my faith?

    Regards,

    Psi

  13. Evolutionary theory is a sacred doctrine which is treated with religious devotion and respect by its adherents. Michael Behe has blasphemed the doctrine so he is shunned and silenced. This episode gives very good evidence on how important Darwinism is in supporting the faith of materialist-atheists.

    • Naturalism seems very similar to a religious belief, and evolution would be one of its major tenets. I think you’re right — if you transgress one of the major doctrines, you’ll experience the wrath of the other members.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s