I guess I’m going to have to dust off the telly tonight

In addition to the abiogenesis program on the History Channel, it looks like Ken Miller is going to be on the Colbert Report on Comedy Central. I hope you’ve got cable!

By the way, if you don’t have cable, and you still want to see Ken Miller, the HHMI offers a DVD of Miller lecturing on evolution and ID for free to North Americans. I’m reviewing it right now for consideration in our introductory biology class.

(I actually don’t use a television, I’ve got one of these tuner gadgets for my laptop, so I’ll probably record both programs tonight.)


  1. Janus says

    Again? That’s the second time he’s been there. Although, all I remember about the first time is that, according to Miller, while it’s important to only believe things that have evidence to support them, you don’t have to have evidence to believe in God. Why? Because that’s _theology_.

  2. says

    I actually don’t use a television

    What?! Without a TV, how do you know which toothpaste whitens teeth and freshens breath best? Or which mid-size sedan won best in class and can be bought from your local dealer starting at $24,368 OAC? How about which music all the cool kids are listening to on their iPhones?

  3. Jeffrey Cornish says

    I had seven (Seven!) of the HHMI DVDs shipped to me.

    Completely free. Woot!

    The Ken Miller Evolution DVD is very good. The other Evolution DVD… Darn, I lent it out so I don’t have it handy… check the HHMI site here.
    “In the 2005 lectures, HHMI investigators Sean B. Carroll and David M. Kingsley discuss how Charles Darwin’s ideas about evolution ignited a revolution in biology that continues to this day. Darwin’s concept of a living world changing over time through natural selection has become biology’s major unifying framework.”

    That one. Excellent! Good overview of Charles Darwin’s life making him more into a person than a caricature. Good overview of current work with Stickleback fish. I highly recommend that one.

    The Clockwork Genes DVD is also pretty meaty.

    Currently I’m watching “Scanning Life’s Matrix: Genes, proteins and small molecules.”

    I have the HIV/AIDS and Stem Cells DVD’s left to watch, but I’ve watched the Ken Miller DVD a couple of times. I love his presentation.

  4. Leukocyte says

    I saw Dr. Miller speak at UGA, and thought he was excellent. He is religious, but he doesn’t let that get in the way of his science (compartmentalization, eh?), and he does a nice job of using his religious background to disarm the whole idea that Christianity and evolution are mutually exclusive ideas. He used quotations in his presentation from the pope and some saints that were supportive of the whole scientific endeavor. I guess he’s one of those religious “moderates” we hear so much about and see so little of.

  5. Holbach says

    I borrowed a DVD from the library over the weekend, titled “Kansas vs Darwin”, which we are all aware of the battle of evolution over intelligent design. The video of the procedings at the crucial sessions and the local interviews with the retards for ID, countered with the advocates of science and reason, makes one wonder if we are in the twentieth century. The well worn “I have a feeling we are not in Kansas anymore”, should be realistically and scarily termed, “We are still in Kansas”.

  6. says

    I own that Ken Miller Evolution DVD (from the HHMI). He actually referred me to it personally — it is very good. I think he’s lecturing a HS class (or perhaps a Freshman college class) — but the material is very clearly spoken.

    If you aren’t a science nerd you may find it boring — but are there really any non-science nerds that read Pharyngula? ;)

  7. Greg Peterson says

    Very cool, thanks for the tip. My apartment flooded late last week and so I checked into a hotel for the weekend while the landlord works on it (I lost a lot of stuff, including the lives of my turtle, python, and xenopus), and I’m actually staying in the hotel tonight precisely for the cable to watch these shows. Heard Miller last week on Science Friday and he was very good, and he’s excellent in the HHMI DVD, and I’m about halfway through “Only a Theory,” which is also very good. OK, so the guy loves Baby Jesus. Not the most rational thing in the world, given his commitment to evidence overall. But he does demonstrate that good science does not lead NECESSARILY to atheism (though I would argue that good science plus good philosophy probably does). People can be forgiven, I think, for having commitments to traditions and to existential solutions that are not strictly rational, as long as they are not IRrational and harmful. Miller seems to be on the right side, and he is a very powerful popularizer of evolutionary science. I’m willing to cut Miller and even Collins some slack, because I can be pretty quirky myself sometimes.

  8. Eli says

    Awesome! I’ve ordered that DVD for sharing with my university’s atheist group… we can put it in our library for those who don’t quite understand evolution.

  9. Diana says

    “are there really any non-science nerds that read Pharyngula? ;)”

    Yes, at least one.

  10. Saint Pudalia says

    “are there really any non-science nerds that read Pharyngula? ;)”

    Make that two! I’m not sure I’m ready to admit being a NERD, though.

  11. JoeB says

    One of the TV news shows profiled the HHMI just a few days ago. It seems that when HH was in his kookiest, most reclusive phase, a judge ordered him to either communicate with his own company, regulators, competitors, etc., or divest himself of his aircraft company. He gave ownership to the HHM-Trust, with himself as sole trustee, of course. Perfectly legal, and he could do whatever he wanted with the assets. When he died, after some legal wrangling, a board of trustees was created to carry out the intentions of the trust.
    Sean Carroll’s evo-devo work at Wisconsin is one of the funded programs.
    The HHMI allows quite open-ended proposals, unlike NIH and others, and it even allows investigators to switch paths freely.

  12. Eric says

    Set phasers to stun. Er, I mean DVR to record. The program will air a number of times, so if you miss it or forget to record it:

    Monday, June 16 09:00 PM
    Tuesday, June 17 01:00 AM
    Saturday, June 21 10:00 PM
    Sunday, June 22 02:00 AM
    Sunday, June 29 02:00 PM


    Thanks for the notice. The History Channel has a bunch of good programming that I regularly ‘record’ and watch.

    – Cities of the Underground
    – Human Weapon
    – Lost Worlds

    In fact it’s the only thing I really watch on cable.

    In addition to Comedy Central (like somebody mentioned), the Colbert is online at: http://www.hulu.com/the-colbert-report

  13. apk says

    HHMI does incredible work. Originally founded as a tax shelter by Mr. Hughes with no research being done whatsoever, it has become the second-largest philanthropic organization in the world (I believe the Gates Foundation is #1). Thanks for pointing us to these resources.

  14. JeffreyD says

    “are there really any non-science nerds that read Pharyngula? ;)”

    Lifting hairy knuckles off of floor to wave arm overhead while grunting.

    Ciao y’all

  15. Carlie says

    And I think reading Pharyngula makes you a science nerd by definition, whether you want to be or not. :)

  16. Wowbagger says

    Aaron #8 wrote:

    If you aren’t a science nerd you may find it boring — but are there really any non-science nerds that read Pharyngula? ;)

    Er, yes. I’m really more of a literature/pop-culture ‘nerd’ myself – hence why I come here rather than Panda’s Thumb; that gets a bit too heavy-going for me. But reading the posts here has increased my knowledge and interest in science.

  17. Karig says

    I rarely comment here, but thanks very much for the link to the free DVDs from HHMI :) I just ordered seven DVD sets having to do with genes and evolution.

    I guess that makes me a “science geek” too, despite the fact that I’m just a layman with no formal science training whatsoever. :)

  18. says

    PZ, nice to see you plug the HHMI stuff.

    Of course, as a high school teacher, when I see the word ‘free’ I tend to stop everything until I have the candy. I have most of the HHMI stuff, including Miller’s latest video. The best part is actually not the beatdown on ID that occurs early in the video. I’ve seen Miller do that presentation live, and he is of course skilled at that. No, for my money, Miller is at his absolute best taking questions from the students at the end of the DVD. His ability to respond rapidly and earnestly to a variety of questions, while always staying on point, is remarkable.

    Again, as a high school teacher, I’m used to having the occasional odd question directed my way and the issue is not just having mastery of the content. You have to be able to respond quickly and in an engaging way, even to questions that are a bit off-topic that might derail your desired focus. I confess that I reran the last 15 minutes a couple of times to savor Miller’s responses. I think in that entire Q-and-A period I only heard him go ‘uh’ or repeat a word once, all the time. That’s pretty good! Of course, they might’ve edited out badly-formed responses, I suppose, but again I watched it twice and it all seemed pretty seamless to me.

    Another HHMI DVD that I would recommend highly is the one on RNA hosted by Thomas Cech.

  19. SC says

    I just watched Miller on the Colbert Report. The latter part was tolerable, but the beginning was infuriating. First, the statement that science has prospered because of no government involvement, as though tax-funded research hasn’t been a key element in scientific progress. And then the suggestion that ID advocates are like “welfare queens”?! Great framing there, Miller. In the future, please look for analogies that don’t promote vile, pernicious stereotypes.

  20. CButterb says

    Ken Miller is a douchebag. Sometimes people who have successfully compartmentalized and kept the religion and faith part of their brain sectioned off from the reason and science part leave the door open a crack wider than they intend to, and we see some of the unexamined nastiness lurking beneath the surface. He seems to be talking to a target audience of Waltons: wanting to understand science, but afraid for all kinds of pathetic emotional reasons to stop clinging to the prejudices of their upbringing. Hooray for what he did in Dover, but he can take his “welfare queen” bigotry and shove it up his Jesus-hole.

  21. says

    If you aren’t a science nerd you may find it boring — but are there really any non-science nerds that read Pharyngula? ;)

    Make that several! I’m actually into ancient and pre-modern literature and philosophy, though I read a large amount of modern work. I am also a sci-fi/fantasy freak and a computer geek. I just happen to think that nature is the most awsome thing to ever behold, so I am wholly intrigued by the world of science – all sciences.

    Thanks tons for the referral to HHMI. I ordered seven dvds and a print.