Chuckie’s Ghost visits me regularly and let’s me know what’s happening inside the belly of the beast. Here’s the latest:
The 2007 Genetic and Evolutionary Computation Conference in London included a “social” occasion in which Richard Dawkins, Steve Jones, and Lewis Wolpert all participated in a “debate” in the London Museum of Natural History. It was not a conventional debate in that the conference organizers had solicited questions from the registrants prior to the conference on the web and then selected individuals to ask their questions. The panel then took turns responding.
Although the topic was supposed to be how complexity could arise from evolution, none of the questions ever really got to the point. It will be interesting to see whether the organizers release a copy of the audio or at least a transcript. While the questions were not supposed to address religious issues, the last two questions of the evening did. Dawkins instantly drew on his “God is a virus” analogy and Jones took the opportunity to stress that “only stupid people belive in ID?” The latter comment drew a standing ovation from several of those in attendance.
While Wolpert generally supported the views of both Dawkins and Jones, he also suggested that there were some problems with natural selection bringing about speciation. Dawkins in turn stated that he saw no reason why a mouse could not de-evolve into a sub-species and then re-evolve with wings. Wolpert disagreed, which led Dawkins to say “Lewis, you are starting to sound like a creationist.” Whereupon Wolpert responded, “It is funny that you should say that. [pause] Sometimes in the dark of the night, I wish that it (creationism) were true.”