Evolution a thing thing one can only discredit in a debate?

[Olaf Simons, Gotha, Germany] The fact that someone from richarddawkins.net should speak against such interviews has of course an ironic twist. The titular saint of that site Dawkins himself has, as far as I can see, never resisted the temptation to venture such a confrontation.

Almost iconic is his interview with Wendy Wright – as it happened in 2008. It became a YouTube classic with 1,384,342 views (as of it today) – here the full lengts version:

What Dan Arel does not like about the upcoming interview?

  1. That it turns evolution into a thing to be debeated, something questionable where it is an acknowledged fact.
  2. That it gives publicity to Ken Ham, a man who is likely to go into any such a debate for the sheer sake of his own notoriety,
  3. and, last but not least, that it will be Bill Nye (and not Richard Dawkins) who goes into this confrontation on behalf of the sciences — one should leave such interviews, so the message, to real to scientists while Nye is simply the Science Guy we know from the telly.

The Dawkins—Wright confrontation has left marks in the media. Sarah Lyall commented on it in a New York Times book Review:

He was talking to Wendy Wright, president of a group called Concerned Women for America and a dedicated creationist.

In the interview Ms. Wright repeatedly asserts that there is no evidence for evolution, even as Mr. Dawkins repeatedly advises her to just go look for it in museums. “I don’t have them here, obviously, but you can go to any museum and you can see Australopithecus, you can see Homo habilis, you can see archaic Homo sapiens and modern Homo sapiens,” he tells her.

But it is as if she doesn’t hear him.

“If evolution has had the actual evidence, then it would be displayed in museums, not just in illustrations,” she says.

I am actually quite happy about the fact that the confrontation will not involve a biologist, a true scientist, but the Science Guy, a media man. Not because I feel that this should (and will) be dealt with media expertise. I rather feel that Nye is likely to shift the focus of the entire debate right into the field of Ham’s agenda — and that is, I think, what one should do if one has read Ken Ham’s book The Lie. The question is on which ground one wants to have the debate: On the ground on facts as presented by scientists, or on the grounds of politics and education. As Ham stated: you have to make sure that it is fought on the ground you feel comfortable with. Ham is clever but he will be unable to win on his preferred hunting ground.

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