* See Below for KOA's Fred Ebert Excerpts; His Callers Asking Him 5-to-2 to Debate Bob; Original and BEL Follow-up Letters to Fred: About 15 minutes into today's show (a special edition of Real Science Radio), David from Denver calls in and turns Bob Enyart's attention to Professor Ebert turning down our offer of a debate.
* On Jan. 16, 2011 Fred Ebert: spent the first hour of his Stump the Professor show on Denver's KOA radio asking callers if he should accept the BEL debate offer on evolution/age of the earth that our BEL producer Jeff George had sent to him. Results:
2 Callers: Don't do the debate
5 Callers: Yes, do the debate. [names and comments below]
* Dr. Ebert Talking to Bryce form Loveland:
39:55 "I think I'm going to do the debate. … I believe the people who have invited me have every intention of having a polite discussion, with no intention of attacking me, but attacking my beliefs. I'm sure there'd be no yelling… I find it distasteful to hear someone try to make an argument of why the Earth is 6,000 years old."
42:50: "I think I will take the debate Bryce, I think you and others have made it clear that it would be something that would be of value."
* Update: Dr. Ebert Suggests: Dr. Ebert links to rebuttals of young earth arguments at talkorigins.org. A quick survey shows that listing of arguments does not address at least the first fifteen arguments at our own List of Not So Old Things, things like soft-tissue from a t-rex, merely dried out (but not decomposed) ink from a supposedly 155-million year old squid, and blood vessels and connective tissue from a hadrosaur. And also, how about Carbon 14 being found by world-class laboratories EVERYWHERE it's not supposed to be (because it decays in only thousands of years), including in amber, coal, oil, countless fossils, gas, dinosaur bones, and diamonds).
Fred, thanks for asking your listeners for their thoughts on whether they'd like to hear a debate or not. Bob doesn't use some of the arguments that you said you especially dislike, for example while he rejects neo-Darwinism he wouldn't waste time by saying that evolution is only a theory, nor will he be quoting the Bible, but is happy to restrict the discussion to scientific observations. As to what possible value could such a discussion have, public perceptions affect public policy. You undoubtedly know that according to Gallup, on the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth, only 39% of Americans "believe in the theory of evolution." And to factor in education levels, for example, you can look at the surprisingly large percentage of MDs, one third, who are not committed to neo-Darwinism with only 63% of physicians agreeing that the theory of evolution is more correct than intelligent design (Jewish Theological Seminary study of 1,472 MDs). And this is not just southern Bible-belt fundamentalists but one sixth of Jewish docs, half of Catholic, and three-fifths of protestant MDs believe that ID is a "legitimate scientific speculation."
Fred, yes, we agree, it's often wise to avoid debating tiny minority views because the debate itself can promote and give credibility to even harmful claims that most people have never seriously entertained or even heard of. However, the rejection of Darwinism is far too pervasive for that strategy to be viewed as an effective remedy to the current situation. Eventually, the truth wins out (even whether there's life after death or not, whether there is a creator or not, whatever, the truth will win out).
If you'll consider this: An article in the NY Times says that the Tuscon murderer Jared Loughner believed in two extremist theories, that our government was behind the 9-11 attacks, and that modern banking is inherently unjust and enslaves the masses. On air Bob forces himself to take time to debate these topics in order to educate people so that those misinformed have a better chance of getting educated. When such matters are kept in the dark and not openly addressed, they're allowed to fester, and the situation easily deteriorates. Having had a computer career and having worked at Microsoft and McDonnell Douglas Helicopter Company, Bob debated some of the "leaders" who were profiting off of the Y2K scam. Also, Bob may be more successful than possibly any other voice in getting extremists who had advocated killing abortionists to now reject that view.
FRED NEVER SAW THIS PARAGRAPH BECAUSE WE OMITTED IT PRIOR TO SENDING: Finally Fred, we think it's only fair to let you know, even though this might make you decide to forgo a debate, that in 2005 in a moderated debate Bob and a Christian high school teacher took on a well-known geophysicist and a mathematician from CU, in an Age of the Earth Debate, before a live audience downtown Denver. Afterward, the old-earth crowd in the auditorium was disappointed in their side, and an atheist physicist who flew in from Seattle to watch the debate commented, and later wrote. that the "old earth" team lost the debate.
So an Age of the Earth debate, or an evolution or big bang debate, that interests educated and uneducated people alike, is always fascinating to audiences, and as atheist Dillon said to you on Sunday morning, as long as the discussion is civil, it's almost always illuminating in many ways. So in the spirit of the public discussion of widely-held controversial positions, we remain happy to debate if you'd like to.
* Fred Ebert's Callers Vote on the Creation Debate with Bob Enyart:
- Richard in Boulder: said debate offer was probably a set-up
- Ed in Wiggins: I would not take the debate. There can't be a winner because God created science. [BE: Huh?]
- Dillon on cell: I'm an atheist, but civil conversation is always illuminating
- David in Denver: suggested Fred also consider other creationists
- Bob from Aurora: something about creation research and debating paleontologists
- Bryce in Loveland: really good idea
- Randy in Littleton: I'm an evolutionist; it's a favorite topic; please debate, it's a scientist's responsibility
- Caller Fred: talked about eye muscles (Fred, if you're out there, please consider Bob Enyart's PZ Myers Trochlea Challenge.)
* Now Bob Tosses His Trochlea Challenge into Fred Ebert's Lap: Fred, here at Real Science Radio, we commissioned this drawing of the superior oblique muscle threading through the trochlea. Can you offer an answer to this enigma...
* Ebert Excerpts: (BEL assistant producer: "These are close to verbatim, but I couldn't type fast enough to quite keep up." :)
Ebert 1st Hour: "Thermodynamics is very much like a religion. In fact, everything we do is faith-based. It very much depends on the faith you have in the set of primitives that makes up your subject. So the more faith, and more accepted your primitives, the more scientific as a group we think of something. But that's not to say that thermodynamics is carved in stone. It's very much based on some assumptions having to do with energy. We've just never seen a system that doesn't go to or seek its lowest energy state. We've never seen one. So we have tremendous faith in that primitive, which allows us then to build up a set of axioms based upon the assumptive primitives that we have in any science. So any science is like that. (The only one that really would violate that would be mathematics, because it's purely an intellectual endeavor, and does not necessarily have to reflect to any real world experience you might have.) It's certainly not an idiotic statement to liken science to religion. Much the same way that I feel today that string theory is more like a religion, because there's no way to test the primitives, there's no way to test the assumptions upon which it is built, because we don't have the machinery to do it, whereas we do have the machinery to test things that are thermodynamics in nature."
2020 RSR Update: On a point of agreement with Prof. Stump, it's been 40 years since string theory was proposed and it still lacks experimental evidence and one of its leading proponents Michio Kaku just lost a nearly 20-year bet when no one had won a Nobel prize for string theory by 2020.
Ebert 2nd Hour: "The universe is homogeneous on a large scale, expanding, has reached an equilibrium. In terms of its temperature dispersion. So it's not an argument to say that the universe can't exist forever. No one said it existed forever. It just existed for a tad more than 6,000 years. In terms of one's religious views, the Bible certainly gets the events right, in it's non-scientifically form, in darkness, light, and what had to transpire to have a universe. And I've tried to be gracious in saying that, provided you don't view days as 24-hour days. Then the events in Genesis can be looked at in terms of their order of occurrence, and discussed, from a scientific perspective. But then you get someone who says, no, the events happened in six days, and God rested on the seventh. … It's a very small minority of people who are creationists, and literal biblical interpreters. And when one has this debate, it almost gives the illusion that these concepts are on equal footing. So that's part of my reticence about any form of debate. The science side has absolutely nothing to gain out of this discussion. We're well aware of the primitive set, that we assume. We understand the assumptions… that those are not provable. But we can test hypotheses. Should we ever make an observation that's not in agreement with Einstein's theory of relativity, then everything is turned on it's head. But as hard as people have tried, no one has been able to come close, in their attempt. The Bible tells us everything we need to know. All observations, comparative homologous structures, similarities of protein structures, fossil records, which are one part, of several, which look at the history of the earth, combines all of these things together. It's a daunting group of observations that are able to change. Whereas if I assume that everything the Bible tells me everything to know about… has to be banged into my theory, no matter how kludgy that gets.
Many of which have been answered, such as the eye, such as no one has seen evolution occurring. …then people have said no one has ever seen macro evolution. And there's multi-decade experiments demonstrating that. As well as the new life forms in the laboratory that show evolution. And the argument that I detest most is that evolution is just a theory, because the use of the word theory by scientists is what some creationists view as a hypothesis. The very premise is somewhat insulting, and ignorant of the process itself, but that borders on insulting the people who are making the statement, which is why I tend to shy away from the debate. Because there's nothing for me to gain. I'm not going to change anyone's opinion who has a faith system, and they're certainly never going to convince me with any argument that has so far been proffered, that will make me want to re-examine the scientific method, or the age of the universe, or the age of the earth, or evolution itself. It is not going to happen. …the school systems don't offer creation as an alternative. Children absolutely should have a faith; there's tremendous value in moral issues, etc. Vedic scriptures, the Koran, the Old and New Testament, these books, the questions they raise, I find to be very valuable. Would I send my children to Sunday School? You betcha. But do I find that anything I learned there supplants anything… [I learn from science? No.]"
---------- Original message ----------
From: Jeff George <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Date: Sat, Jan 15, 2011 at 1:08 AM
Subject: Mr. Ebert, want to have a fun debate on your show?
I'm one of the show producers for conservative, young earth creationist talk-show host Bob Enyart here in Denver on 670am KLTT (50,000 watts). Bob thought it might make for an entertaining show if you and he were to debate whatever subjects you would like, such as:
- Age of the Earth
- Biological Evolution
- The Big Bang
- ____________ (other)
The debate could be on either your show or his (Bob Enyart Live) and if you want, the debate could include Fred Williams of EvolutionFairyTale.com. And you could also invite someone else to participate. Pretty much any format you think would be the most entertaining for an audience. Sounds like fun to me. What do you think?
Today’s Resource: Get a science DVD, book, or one of our debates (written, audio or video) from BEL and Real Science Radio! Have you browsed through our Science Department in the KGOV Store? Check out especially Walt Brown’s In the Beginning and Bob’s interviews with this great scientist in Walt Brown Week! You’ll also love Dr. Guillermo Gonzalez’ Privileged Planet (clip), and Illustra Media’s Unlocking the Mystery of Life (clip)! You can consider our BEL Science Pack; Bob Enyart’s Age of the Earth Debate (with the former president of a leading geophysical society); Bob's debate about Junk DNA with famous evolutionist Dr. Eugenie Scott; and the superb kids' radio programming, Jonathan Park: The Adventure Begins! And Bob strongly recommends that you subscribe to CMI’s tremendous Creation magazine and Ken Ham's Answers magazine! Or to order click any link or call BEL at 1-800-8Enyart.
* Post-show Note on the Fact of Evolution: Consider the claims that evolution is a fact, and that evolutionists only disagree on how it happened. Evolution is fundamentally a "how" claim. Creationists and evolutionists agree that countless organisms exist. Thus, HOW these lifeforms appeared is exactly the claim that evolutionists say that they have established. So to claim that evolution is a fact and that evolutionists are simply debating "how" is a major attempt at obfuscation.