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Friday, February 16, 2007

Recent podcasts: God isn't as smart as She thinks she is (?), and more ...

✎ One of the most interesting discussions I've ever had on the intelligent design controversy was with Jay Kelly at Wired Parish. Kelly, who has a background in philosophy, sees the big picture better than most radio hosts.

(You'll have to paste this link into your browser. I can't seem to make it work any other way. - d.)

✎ I may have mentioned Beyond the Book's You Better Believe It, presented by the Copyright Clearance Center. The Center's Chris Keneally interviews four Canadians, including me, on the book scene in Canada:
Panelists include Marlene Coghlin, the executive director for Christian Booksellers Association in Canada; Denyse O’Leary, Canadian-based journalist and author of an award-winning book on intelligent design, By Design or By Chance?; Oriah, the author of several inspirational and prose-poem best-selling books; and Brian Stiller, president of Tyndale University College & Seminary, and founder and former editor-in-chief of Canadian magazine Faith Today.

I talk a bit about the origin of my recent book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?.

✎ Here's a show that was a lot of fun! Australian science journalist Robyn Williams, author of Unintelligent Design: God Isn't as Smart as She Thinks She Is and I go at it, with Sheridan Voysey of Open House Australia trying to moderate. I had meant to say more about Williams' interesting book, summarized at Amazon,
Why make the earth, the solar system, our galaxy and all the rest when the Garden of Eden was all that was wanted? And then there's lifespan. During long periods of human history, the life expectancy of men was a mere 22 years and children were lucky to toddle, let alone grow up. Why the waste? And shouldn't we sue God for sinus blockages, hernias, appendix flare-ups and piles, not to mention bad backs? Using all sorts of examples from the natural and scientific world Robyn Williams takes on the stalking monster of fundamentalist religion and creationism in a short, wicked and witty debunk of intelligent design. This is a book to infuriate the Christian fundamentalists and amuse the rest of us.

Williams is fundamentally - so to speak - confused about the difference between intelligent design, optimal design, and perfection. Intelligent design just means input of a higher level of information than law and chance together account for. Optimal design means the best available design, given constraints, but the best optimized systems do not perform well under all circumstances. As for perfect design, well, in a universe where everything must be mortal, it would be disastrous. But I digress. Robyn and I are poles apart, no less.

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