23 June 2010

It's okay, Bono. I'm on it.

U2 can't make it to Michigan this year, due to Bono's back injury. (Me: "Ouch. He'll be fine." My girlfriend Susan: "What do you expect? He's old. He should pack it in.") So here are my attempts to fill the void.

1. I was a guest on the Skeptics Guide to the Universe podcast about a week and a half ago. The subject was "junk DNA" and boy was it fun to talk to people who actually understand. Check it out; the whole show is really entertaining, and I've decided to subscribe. You know me and skeptics...

2. A couple months ago (30 April) I gave a talk at Calvin on "Convergence and chance in the construction of the tree of life" in the Christian Perspectives in Science series in which I summarized, rather basically, the competing ideas of Stephen Jay Gould and Simon Conway Morris on contingency and convergence in evolution. Video is on that page, and has also found its way onto YouTube.

3. One of the many interesting people I met at the BioLogos conference was Rachel Held Evans, author of the new book Evolving in Monkey Town and an alumna of Bryan College where my friend Todd Wood does his good work. Dennis Venema and I told Rachel what a hero Todd is and she was clearly delighted. She's written two very entertaining posts on the BioLogos blog, one on stuff she learned at the conference, and today's excellent entry on revising one's beliefs when confronted with the fact that the world is not as fundagelicalism would claim.

4. Next week I'll be among the speakers at the Cornerstone Festival, an annual festival of music and ideas held in central Illinois. I'll do two series, one on human nature and scientific explanation and one on evolutionary biology. Susan is excited about checking out new music, and I'm eager to meet Christians who aren't afraid to get out of the box. (Insert favorite Bono quote here.)

5. I was contacted a week ago by a "moderator" of a blog I refer to as "The Cesspool." He told me that there was "some discussion about me" at the Cesspool, then wrote this:
...I'm inviting you to come comment if you would like.

In light of your open letter to Stephen Meyer, I'd like to know what you meant by doing whatever was in your power to bring about the destruction of the Discovery Institute. What did you have in mind? Do you normally not support freedom of thought? I'm sincerely interested in your thinking on this and what means of destruction you had in mind. I appreciate your time.
I responded:
Thanks for the invitation to comment at Uncommon Descent. I've read the "discussion" about me there and found it sickening. I'm not at all interested in commenting at your site, for several important reasons that you are welcome to ask me about.

If you are sincerely interested in my thinking, then I invite you to dialogue with me at my blog, the place where my remarks were posted. There, you will find that all voices are included, something that anyone who values freedom of thought would insist on.

Please come by the blog and ask your question. I'll answer it promptly and publicly, and in the spirit in which it is asked.
That was five days ago. In weeks to come, I will gladly explain how I believe we should go about destroying the Discovery Institute. And the whole goal is to support "freedom of thought."

6. Finally, if you're here from the Cesspool or from the Discovery Institute, or if you came to cry about how I'm not nice enough to your favorite personage, just be aware that the
Jolly Roger is still flying and my business is unfinished.

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