Tuesday, December 19, 2006

The Sunday Sequence

This was an interesting (in parts) debate featuring Richard Dawkins and Andy McIntosh from Truth in Science.
The presenter (William Crawley) summary of the sequence is here
Listen again is here.

Things became interesting when AM challenged RD on whether abiogenesis requires intelligence or not. RD interpreted this to mean that AM was maintaining that evolution breaks the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics.

Is seems clear to me that they were talking past each other at this point. AM is talking about the problem of abiogenesis whereas RD is talking about things like gene duplications and subsequent mutation.

Richard Dawkin's reflects on the sequence here

This has been followed up by a letter in the Guardian really pushing for Leeds University to take further action with regard to AM.

“However, the claim that McIntosh's eccentric view of reality is unconnected
with his teaching or research as a professor of thermodynamics would appear to
be cast into some doubt by a conversation that I recently had with him on BBC
Belfast's Sunday Sequence. McIntosh publicly stated that evolution is
incompatible with the second law of thermodynamics.”

According to RD YEC beliefs should bar a person from any position anywhere in UK education or research. This includes areas entirely unrelated to science as well as to science itself.

“As to the general point about whether barmy views like McIntosh's should debar
somebody from teaching a subject which is not directly connected to that
particular nonsense, it is a difficult question. Would you like your child to be
taught, say, chemistry or German, by a teacher who believes in the Flat Earth
theory? It doesn't matter, you might say, because chemistry and German would be
the same on a flat Earth. But wouldn't you lose CONFIDENCE in that teacher's
qualification to teach ANYTHING? Would you entrust your child's education in any
subject to a man whose perception of reality was so demonstrably unreal?”


Anonymous Brian said...

I heard this interview and I'm glad to see it being discussed as it just goes to show the real motivations behind the backers of TiS. Mackintosh comes across as someone who is out of touch with reality, which is disturbing given his academic credentials and the position he holds. Given what he teaches it is incredulous to hear him use the 2LOT argument again. Like Behe, he seems hell-bent on becoming an academic martyr for the cause.

6:07 pm  
Anonymous sandy said...

There is nothing 'incredulous' (clearly English isn't your native language) about what McIntosh said. If you weren't already prejudiced against TiS, McIntosh's undisputed achievements in engineering science would have led you to question whether having a particular view about the origins of life is necessary for doing good science. It may just be possible for equally competent scientists to disagree profoundly on such a murky matter.

1:40 pm  
Anonymous Hrafn said...


Believing that the world is only 6000 years old requires denying large chunks of Physics (especially Astrophysics and Atomic Physics), Geology and Biology. Further, I would suggest that anybody who believes that Evolution violates the Second Law of Thermodynamics is clearly destroying any credibility they might have to teach Thermodynamics.

5:51 pm  
Anonymous Brian said...

You are right Sandy, I am prejudiced against TiS - they are pushing a religious agenda into British school science classes that has, rightly, failed to win the backing of the government. Please tell me I am wrong?

Comprehension obviously isn't one of your strong points - read my post - I don't question his academic credentials. However, when he chooses to twist his obvious understanding of the 2LOT (he is a prof. of thermodynamics?) to support his worldview then that sort of behaviour is incredulous. It doesn't do much for his credibility in real scientific endeavours either.

AFAIK, not even the creationists use the 2LOT argument anymore!

6:06 pm  
Blogger allygally said...

MacIntosh undermines his own discipline by pushing the 2LoT argument. It shows that he is prepared to put his religious agenda above his scientific understanding. And that is dangerous for his students...

Leeds Uni should be asking him some serious questions..

10:25 am  

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