Reasonable Doubts+Me

I’m on the Reasonable Doubts podcast this week, if you’d care to tune in. This was recorded when I was in Michigan, near the end of my visit, and you can tell…my voice gets huskier after a couple of days of non-stop talking. Or maybe those rascals snuck in a ringer to dub over me, in order to get something that sounded intelligent.


  1. says

    I wanna hear Eugenie Scott’s interview on NPR. I missed it this morning. But this is good too. Really : )

  2. says

    Hell yeah! I love Reasonable Doubts. It’s good that you went over there and kicked them to make them post a new show. They skipped a couple weeks there.

    (Wasn’t there New Year’s resolution to go weekly? Hmmm…)

  3. says

    “what needs to happen next in the struggle against dogma”

    Well, one important thing is to break what seems to be a religious monopoly on what placates people’s emotions.

  4. says

    OT (perhaps supportive of PZ’s talk, but I couldn’t get it to play, so I don’t know for sure), but Casey Luskin gets pissed that anyone would even suggest “teaching the controversy” with respect to a subject other than his pet dishonesty:

    As a last ditch attempt to discredit Darwin-doubters, Garfield compared teaching critique of evolution to teaching Holocaust denial. I replied that not only is there a world of difference between the two (hundreds of serious Ph.D. scientists doubt neo-Darwinism, and one cannot find such credibility supporting something as pernicious as Holocaust denial!), but I also told him that given that I (as well as many other Darwin-skeptics) am Jewish and had close friends impacted by the Holocaust, his comparison was not just fallacious, but out-of-line.

    Yeah, well, suggesting that religiously-based myths should be taught as science is out-of-line. And the egregious liar can’t come up with an actual argument as to why Holocaust denial shouldn’t be given equal time if other unevidenced myths (or dishonest attacks on evolution) are to be taught on an idiotic notion of “equality.” He’s just “offended,” by the comparison, so it automatically doesn’t count.

    And as we all know, the vast majority of scientists who “doubt Darwin” are not competent to do so, being neither biologists, nor at all credible in backing up their “doubts.”

    Furthermore, Luskin is an offense to most Jews, so he oughtn’t get huffy when matters equally disingenuous to himself are raised.

    I mentioned that even more scientists would come out of the closet to express their doubts about evolution were it not for the intolerance in the scientific community towards dissent from Darwinism.

    Better, more would express their “doubts about evolution” (ooh, forgot the code words there, did we Casey?) if they could back up their doubts with something intelligent. Lacking a pass on creationist BS, and knowing that their claims cannot be backed up with credible evidence, there are, I am sure, a number who remain silent when they’d like to express support for their favorite myths.

    That’s all that it really amounts to, of course. People who have good science outside of the accepted views are generally more than willing to discuss their views, because they believe that they have good evidence to back up their views. Luskin’s simply whining that what is the scientific (but not cultural) equivalent of Holocaust denial isn’t welcomed in the scientific community, when he has no reasons for why it should be. If he had, he’d have given them, rather than his familiar weasel-lawyer routine.

    Glen D

  5. gingivitis says

    The Sun sentinel has an article that says:

    “Believers may not feel whips on their backs or nails in their hands, as Jesus did. Their suffering comes with the loss of jobs and homes and loved ones and health. But they find strength and encouragement in the Easter message.
    “Religion can be a tremendous help in coping,” says Christine Gudorf, chairwoman of religious studies at Florida International University in Miami. “It says you’re not alone in this; Jesus has done it……….
    Contemplating a loving God can increase feelings of compassion and security, says neuroscientist Andrew Newberg, author of the new book How God Changes Your Brain.”,0,4520994.story

    Geez, when things don’t go my way, I draw strength from knowing that some really nice guy got whipped and crucified…..
    N-O-T !!!!!!!
    The twistedness and wickedness of this kind of thinking leaves one gasping for clean air. On this Easter weekend, thank you PZ for clean air.

    Oh, and on above page, right side column, there is a poll:
    Did Jesus rise from the dead?
    Right now, it’s 73% for Yeah he physically did.

  6. seditiousmalcontent says

    “How God Changes Your Brain”?

    He turns it to fucking dribbling shit.

    Christians listen to this……

  7. Burning Umbrella says

    I think The Sun Sentinel is mistaking Elvis for Jesus in their poll.

    Still, the former never died and the latter never lived, so it’s quite a blunder.

  8. JohnnieCanuck says

    The venerable PZ Myers?

    Please tell me he was being satirical. This is important because I’m highly hagiophobic.

  9. tweetybirdie386sx says


    Sadly, the five theologians Hitchens debated at the Christian Book Expo 2009 weren’t any brighter than the radio dude debating Hitchens up there in that youtube link. At the Christian Book Expo 2009 debate, Hitchens made a point about having something “hardwired” in his brain, and they immediately jumped on him with one of those “Uhhhhh, well, who hardwired it, huhhhhhhh???” lame advanced theological retorts. What a cheap and desperate shot that was.

    Advanced theology 101:

    Anytime, when debating an atheist, if the atheist makes use of a verb in any fashion, then immediately jump on that verb and ask “Wellll, who dunnnitttt??? Who done that verb thingy you said!!! If there’s a verb then there’s a verber!!” At which point the atheist will immediately cease from seriously debating because he won’t believe how freakin stupid you are.

    Advanced theology 101.

  10. djlactin says

    Check yahoo! sports, NHL; gotta love it:

    “Satan rejoins Penguins for playoffs”

    RE joins?@!

  11. Strider says

    They actually updated “Reasonable Doubts” (RD)? I feel like a jerk for writing it but why can’t these great podcasts update regularly? I know, I know, get your own podcast but I don’t have the time right now and I’m none too sure it’d be that good. RD is actually not that bad on updating; POI has been AWFUL about that for weeks. The grandaddy, and still the best IMNSHO is still “Atheist Experience” and/or “Non-Prophets” and they’re pretty damned regular.

  12. Strider says

    They actually updated “Reasonable Doubts” (RD)?! I feel like a jerk for writing it but why can’t these great podcasts update regularly? I know, I know, get your own podcast but I don’t have the time right now and I’m none too sure it’d be that good. RD is actually not that bad on updating; POI has been AWFUL about that for weeks. The grandaddy, and still the best IMNSHO is still “Atheist Experience” and/or “Non-Prophets” and they manage to get excellent content posted regularly.

  13. Sili says

    Casey Luskin is complaining about the Holocaust being exploited?!!

    Damn good thing I’ve sold my irony meter on Ebay (scary how easily those sell …).

  14. Damien Calgione says

    Solid interview PZ, good work. And thanks for the heads-up on the great podcast; hopefully they get a boost in traffic from it and into the motivated to put out more than one podcast a month. :)

  15. daveau says

    “I’m the cut-rate American Richard Dawkins.” I love that. Plus, the huskiness makes you sound butch.

  16. Robert Westafer says

    Brain Identity

    Suppose we have all been misled by language invented by our predecessors and the simple truth turns out to be that we are not “human beings” or “persons” but rather human brains that are intimately connected to all the organs and other parts of the particular human body in which we reside.

    What if the word “person” and the “personal pronouns” we commonly use such as “I”, “me”, “we”, “you”, etc. are only linguistic inventions of human brains that for one reason or another were unable to identify themselves correctly as actually being human brains?

    It can be shown that a human brain has the ability to create and use spoken and written language through the use of certain areas of cerebral cortex located usually its left hemisphere. Strokes or other damage in these areas cause impairment or loss of a human brain’s ability to produce and understand spoken and written language. Precisely which linguistic abilities are impaired or lost in any given instance and to what degree depends upon the exact location and extent of the brain damage.

    We know that every human brain and body has been built from a new combination of parental DNA that resulted from the union of a particular egg and a particular sperm which formed a single new cell; and over about a nine month period the information stored in the DNA inside that first new cell allowed it to divide and grow into trillions of new cells of various types, all of which were organized into the complexity of nature that in our linguistic simplicity we refer to as a newborn baby.

    We also know that having been built by DNA, each brain and body – beginning even during the building process and continuing ever after – has been continually modified by an enormous amount of environmental variables and experience which includes the present moment.

    Suppose for the sake of argument that I actually am a human brain that is continuous with a spinal cord and connected through nerves to all the organs and other parts of the body in which I reside.

    Having such an identity may take a bit of time getting used to. But if that is my true identity, does that fact automatically mean that it is impossible for anything else to exist that is not made of atoms and molecules like I am? Or is it possible that something might exist that may be many orders of magnitude more intelligent and powerful than I am? Is it possible that something might exist that is in some way related to the awesome complexity of nature that is evident in the cosmos and can be seen throughout the living world on our planet and of which I am a part? Is that something that human brains might choose to call a “Supernatural Power”, or perhaps “God”?

    I am thrilled to be able to understand the basics of what I am and how I came into existence. But having such an understanding does not somehow automatically enlighten me as to the nature of everything else that may or may not exist.

    If I am only linguistically a “human being” or a “person” – a fictional entity invented by my predecessors that does not exist except in language, and that can be theoretically thought of as perhaps “owning” a brain and a body – but in reality I am actually a particular human brain that has been built by my DNA and modified by a ton of experience and that is intimately connected to and living within a particular human body, my body, then the brain inside my head – the brain that thinks precisely what I think, feels exactly what I feel, remembers everything that I remember, knows what I know, and has experienced everything that I have experienced – that brain located behind my forehead and inside my skull cannot be called “my brain”, as if I am somehow a separate entity that “owns” that brain, because that brain is, in fact, “me”.