Now they’ve done it—they’ve got the Royal Society angry

There will be a webcast by Steven Jones tomorrow at 1730 GMT, titled “Why Creationism is Wrong and Evolution is Right” (ooo, nice sharp title), for anyone interested. I think that means it’s going to be on at 11:30AM CST, unfortunately…I’ll be in class. Even though I’m going to have to miss it, it sounds like the Royal Society is gearing up to pound on creationism, which is always a good thing.


  1. MartinM says

    Presumably the same Steve Jones who describes creationism as ‘a lot of stupid people in the United States.’

    Should be a good show.

  2. Mark Frank says

    It starts at 18:30 British Summer Time (which is 17:30 GMT but that’s kind of confusing). That works out as 12:30 central summer time and 13:30 EST.


  3. says

    It starts at 18:30 British Summer Time (which is 17:30 GMT but that’s kind of confusing). That works out as 12:30 central summer time and 13:30 EST.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe in the US east coast, we’re currently on EDT – Eastern Daylight Time from April to October, which is an hour ahead of EST – Eastern Standard Time, which we are on from October to April. EST is 5 hours ahead of GMT, so we are normally 5 hours ahead of British time. EDT is 6 hours ahead of GMT, so we are currently 6 hours ahead of GMT. Since Britain is on British Summer Time, which is an hour ahead of GMT, the US east coast should still be 5 hours ahead of Brittish local time.

    Thus, for interested Americans, the webcast starts at 12:30 pm on the east coast (EDT), and 11:30 am central time (CDT?). I hope this info is correct, and prevents people from missing the webcast.

  4. Mark Frank says

    This getting really confusing. Forget the acronyms. I am in the UK. You have switched to daylight savings right? We have switched to summer time. So, as you say, Eastern remains 5 hours different and central 6 hours different. So an 18:30 start should be 12:30 central and 13:30 eastern.

    What am I missing?


  5. wamba says

    What am I missing?

    It’s just terminology. Our “summer time” is called Daylight Savings Time. Therefore, if you had said “EDT” instead of “EST”, everybody would be happy on that point.

  6. says

    OK, so if I get lunch now really fast, and the vet does not call me to pick up the dog right away, I’ll be able to catch this.

  7. says

    You’re wrong, but people won’t miss it. They’ll be an hour early. . Eastern Standard Time (EST) = GMT-5 … Eastern Daylight Time (EDT) = GMT-4

    Doh! I added instead of subtracted…or something. Sorry for the confusion, folks. Move along.

  8. Mags says

    I was actually at this talk (well, not this talk, but the same titled talk) when he did it at York. It was really very good.

    He’s an excellent speaker, and he doesn’t even bother addressing any cretinist claims. He just goes and gives a very stimulating talk on how we can see evolution happening around us, concentrating on HIV evolution amongst other things.

    At the York lecture (to High school science teachers and interested faculty) he had a brush with a couple of creationists. The first question was the old “where does the information come from” canard, which he dealt with well by telling them they had evolution and the origin of life mixed up and running over some experiments briefly. The second and third questions were the wishy washy “What about morality?” type. When they repeated their question, he got a little irate and said “You people aren’t harming science, you know. You’re harming your religion. What happens to your kids when they grow up with these lies, and go out into the real world and find out the truth?” (paraphrased, but he did use the words “you people”) it was great.

  9. djlactin says

    if you’re confused about times, just go to yahoo and search for ‘time zones’… choose your favorite site and read. no problem.

  10. G. Tingey says

    Yup, these loonies are crawling out of the woodwork over here, as well …

    The Royal Society ( Motto; Nullius in Verbia” – take no-ne (ele’s) word for it) is getting seriously pissed-off with all this timewasting.
    One of our teaching unions has has a rush of sanity to the brain, and called for all “faith” schools to be closed ….

    BTW – I hope to get to S. Kensington over the Easter break, to see Tikaalik, and the v. large squid (Architeuthis?) they’ve got on show ….

  11. says

    “Why Creationism is Wrong and Evolution is Right”

    Intriguing title. I wonder what the talk will be about. Think they’ll support abandoning methodological naturalism, and massive grants to study ID?

  12. Nix says

    Oh, I’m sure, arensb. After all, they are the *Royal* Society, and the Royal in question is the head of the third-largest Christian denomination. I’m sure you’re right.

  13. prismatic so prismatic says should also give you the correct current time in London. // Posted by: tng // April 10, 2006 12:37 PM

    Noting, of course, that what you really need is current GMT, not current London time (because they’re into their version of DST as well).

    But getting this kind of information is always the right way to go. It’s too tempting to try to articulate a general rule, then derive the specific information from the rule. Unless you’re a time measurement trivia junkie, just figure out when GMT is now, compare that to your local time, and figure out the offset.

    Right now it’s 925p (2125), Monday evening, here in metro Seattle. It’s 425a, Tuesday morning, w/r/t Greenwich Mean Time (also called UTC or Zulu). Thus my current offset is 7 hours. So I should tune in at my local 1030a to hear a 1730 GMT broadcast.


    ** Pacific Daylight Time: local 1030a

    ** Mountain Daylight Time: local 1130a

    ** Central Daylight Time: local 1230p

    ** Eastern Daylight Time: local 130p

    ** Atlantic Daylight Time: local 230p

    ** Indiana, other aberrant locations: too confusing, but perhaps not with so many people likely to be interested in evolution talks anyway.


  14. thwaite says

    Thank you prismatic – useful.

    And the BBC site is helpful in providing a RealPlayer link to download that program and plugin (free) without having to register (free but annoying) with Real Networks as normally required. Versions for several platforms including Macs.

    Anyone know if the Royal Society archive page will eventually include this broadcast?

  15. G. Tingey says

    “Oh, I’m sure, arensb. After all, they are the *Royal* Society, and the Royal in question is the head of the third-largest Christian denomination. I’m sure you’re right.”

    Nix is completely wrong here.

    The Royal Society was founded in the reign of Charles II (1649/60 – 1685) Remember that The Church of England is the “official” church, but Britain is de facto. a secular state – much more so than the USA.
    Basically, from now on, any creationists sticking their heads over the parapet – and they are – you lot have encouraged them, and the muslims have helped as well, by demanding “respect” for their version of lunacy – will get said heads seriously shot at.

  16. Tony Jackson says

    Yes, I’m sure Steve Jones will be good. He lays the science down straight and he doesn’t worry too much if he offends people in the process. The creationism thing is much less of a political force here, but there is an increased attempt to make it so from some commentators, mainly on the Right. Here for example is the Daily Mail’s Melanie Phillips attempting to connect the Da Vinci Code (of all things!) with the theory of evolution.

    It’s vintage Phillips lunacy and the relevant passage is worth quoting in full to illustrate why the Royal Society has woken up to the threat.

    “The reason is the inadequacy of scientific evolutionary theory to meet the extravagant claims by secularists that it explains the origins of life itself. This inadequacy – and the increasing number of scientists who are acknowledging it – has created growing pressure from evangelical Christians to include ‘creationism’ or its more sophisticated variant, intelligent design, in the school science syllabus, downgrading evolution from the way it is currently taught as unchallengeable fact to a mere theory alongside religious belief.
    This movement is growing so fast that the more prominent atheists are becoming ever shriller in their denunciations. Last weekend Professor Colin Blakemore, head of the Medical Research Council, even used the arrival of bird flu on British shores to beat the drum for Darwin and claim that there was no intelligent design in a virus, only the mindless force of natural selection.
    Now the discovery in Canada of the fossilised remains of Tiktaalik Roseae, a creature that was half fish, half land animal and which lived more than 375 million years ago, is being said to prove that mankind descended from fish. One might retain a measure of scepticism about such an excitable claim, since in itself this fossil proves nothing of the sort.
    For many, the claim that evolution enabled life to cross the species barrier so that humans are merely the last link in the evolutionary chain remains a step too far — not least because, by the standards science itself sets, it fails the test of evidence. It is merely a theory.
    To go even further, as some scientists do, and make the leap from evolutionary theory to the claim that this somehow explains the origin of life itself clearly fails the test of logic. The assertion by some scientists that the world probably began without any beginning sounds to many as preposterous as the belief that the world was created in six days sounds to an atheist.”

    This remember is from one of the most highly paid journalists in the UK.

    I particularly like the bit about scientists asserting that the world began without a begining.

  17. thwaite says

    Nice to see that the videocast was significantly oversubscribed.

    Despite the resulting loss of quality, I heard most of the audio (but missed most of the slides). It’s a good coherent talk for a generalist audience with some level of scientific literacy. I recognized most of it from his 2000 book DARWIN’S GHOST: The Origin of Species Updated.

    Jones is a geneticist. He developed a contrast with linguistic evolution, then talked on how much genetics and natural selection add to such ‘descent with modification’, and finished by emphasizing the singularity of humans with language(s), due to so little genetic change compared to chimps and yet giving us so much foresight.

    As noted above, the Royal Society maintains an archive on which this will likely appear in a day or so, at
    – some other interesting lectures also.