Live blogging NOVA and Dover evolution trial?

November 13, 2007

For the next couple of hours, I’ll be watching instead of blogging, mostly (“Judgment Day: Evolution on Trial”). PZ is liveblogging, he says. I’d go for the popcorn, but we just finished dinner.

These issues are still very much alive. Texas science standards are up for rewriting now (a bunch to come on that here, from Texas Citizens for Science, soon). Texas biology books will be updated in the near future. Creationists have flocked to Texas in anticipation.

Judge Jones was featured on The News Hour tonight — the man is a statesman of great stature, refusing to denigrate either side, but carefully explaining the law and the judge’s duty.

Stay tuned to PBS tonight. You will not see anything like this program on any commercial outlet, broadcast or cable. PBS remains one of the shining lights of our government, a wonderful idea executed with flair.


7:56 p.m.: The guy playing Kenneth Miller in the trial reenactment is good, but he’s nowhere near as engaging as Miller is. This NOVA is a good deal: I wish someone had a good video of Miller’s presentation to the Texas State Board of Education in the 1990s (1999? 1997? I’ll have to look that up). It was a stellar performance before a hostile crowd, and it was one of the big rocks that stopped the anti-evolution tide.

For that matter, I wish we had copies of the testimony of Andy Ellington and Stephen Weinberg from 2003. I understand a video may still exist (Discovery Institute taped the whole thing, but don’t expect to see them ever let this stuff out for others to see — it’s too powerful). Ellington was afire, and Weinberg was as statesmanlike as anyone will ever see him. It was great.

Nick Matzke got a little camera time earlier. He’s a hero in this story, and he was grand earlier in other states.

Watch this stuff carefully. The scientists and policy defenders of evolution are almost to a person, wonderful people. You’d enjoy a dinner with Eugenie Scott. You’d love to spend an afternoon with Andrew Ellington. There are scientific, political and religious differences galore, but very few really disagreeable people defending evolution. Funny: The pro-evolution side demonstrates the virtues of Christian charity better than the self-proclaimed Christian side. (And as if on cue, just after 8:00 p.m. Bill Buckingham shows up to attack the teachers as non-Christian, or not good Christians, even the ministers’ kids — and he looks crabby, if not downright bothered.)

8:07 p.m.: The actor playing Michael Behe has his voice and delivery down pretty well, but without the usual smirk. I wonder if Behe smirked through his testimony — anybody know? Maybe the ID folks would have been better off to hire an actor to play Behe.

8:10 p.m.: Behe’s irreducibly complex stuff, and bacterial flagella: Has anybody ever asked Behe why an intelligent designer wouldn’t have used a screw propeller, which would be more efficient than a flagellum? Is the designer irreducibly dense, too?

8:55 p.m.: IDists and other creationists won’t like the program. It was fair. In two hours, NOVA offers clear understanding of what happened at the trial, and to people who listen, it tells why evolution came out on top.

Great program. How many will it sway?

In the interim comes word that Kenneth Miller will be in Dallas day-after-tomorrow from something called “Pegasus News Service.” Since Pegasus is the flying horse logo of the old Magnolia Petroleum Company, which was adopted by Dallas-based Mobil (before Exxon-Mobil), it’s clearly a Dallas-based news group. Maybe SMU related. Here are the details of Miller’s visit:

On Thursday, Nov. 15 at 5 p.m. in the Hughes-Trigg Student Center Ballroom on the campus of Southern Methodist University, Kenneth R. Miller will lecture on the subject of science and faith in America, and how the falling out of favor of “intelligent design” will affect our understanding of science as a tool for understanding our world. The lecture is free and open to the public.

Only one Scout meeting conflicting . . . can I make it?


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