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Why It Pays to Go Hear Darwin Apologists

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If you’ve ever passed up the chance to go hear an aggressive, propagandizing Darwin advocate speak somewhere, then thought “What’s the point?” — you’re not alone. But an email correspondent writes to us noting his recent experience attending “Darwin on the Palouse” out at Washington State University: “These Darwin talks can be very fruitful, not for making headway with the speakers (that doesn’t usually happen) but with people in the audience.”
Hosted ironically by an outfit calling itself the Palouse Coalition of Reason, the event included Daniel Dennett and PZ Myers with the latter doing basically a standup comedy routine mocking Darwin-doubters. “He never interacted with a single argument,” our friend reports. Not once.
Well of course not.
A followup event at the University of Idaho the next night starred Darwin defenders Fred Edwords and Jen McCreight. In the Q&A, our friend alluded to some challenges to Darwinian theory and offered the view that “Good scientists are masters of the method; they aren’t identified by which paradigm they pledge allegiance to.”
“I was interrupted by someone and then PZ Myers chimed in (he was there as an audience member). He turned around and said to me, ‘That’s crap science.'” And so there you go: argument over.
You can’t reason with these people — you really can’t. What made it worthwhile for our correspondent was the conversations afterward. Chatting with people from the audience, he got a chance to recommend good books to folks looking for further and better information and got into one conversation that went on over beers till midnight. That kind of human interaction is almost invariably worth the effort.