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SETI Radio

Michael Shermer appeared on the SETI Institute’s weekly science radio program, Are We Alone? In this show, Shermer shares what he learned about Darwin after having retraced his steps on a journey through the Galapagos Islands.

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Paul Nelson Debate

Michael Shermer defended evolution in a debate against Paul Nelson — one of the world’s most noted proponents of intelligent design and a senior fellow with Discovery Institute’s Center for Science and Culture. Please note: the first 2 minutes, 48 seconds of this recording has technical problems with volume and clarity, but the rest is fine.

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It’s Dogged as Does It

Retracing Darwin’s footsteps in the Galápagos shatters a myth but reveals how revolutions in science actually evolve
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Among the many traits that made Charles Darwin one of the greatest minds in science was his pertinacious personality. Facing a daunting problem in natural history, Darwin would obstinately chip away at it until its secrets relented. His apt description for this disposition came from an 1867 Anthony Trollope novel in which one of the characters opined: “There ain’t nowt a man can’t bear if he’ll only be dogged … It’s dogged as does it.” Darwin’s son Francis recalled his father’s temperament: “Doggedness expresses his frame of mind almost better than perseverance. Perseverance seems hardly to express his almost fierce desire to force the truth to reveal itself.” (continue reading…)

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William Dembski Debate

Is life on Earth the product of a supernatural Creator or Darwinian evolution? Can science prove the existence of God? Michael Shermer goes head to head on Audiomartini with noted Intelligent Design theorist William Dembski, fellow of the Discovery Institute. The devout and the heretical alike will gain insight from this fascinating interview.

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Rumsfeld’s Wisdom

Where the known meets the unknown is where science begins
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At a February 12, 2002, news briefing, Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld explained the limitations of intelligence reports: “There are known knowns. There are things we know we know. We also know there are known unknowns. That is to say, we know there are some things we do not know. But there are also unknown unknowns, the ones we don’t know we don’t know.”

Rumsfeld’s logic may be tongue-twisting, but his epistemology was sound enough that he was quoted twice at the World Summit on Evolution. The June conference, hosted by San Francisco University of Quito, was held on the Galápagos island of San Cristóbal, where Charles Darwin began his explorations. Rumsfeld’s wisdom was first invoked by University of California at Los Angeles paleobiologist William Schopf, who, in a commentary on a lecture on the origins of life, asked: “What do we know? What are the unsolved problems? What have we failed to consider?”

Creationists and outsiders often mistake the latter two categories for signs that evolution is in trouble, or that contentious debate between what we know and do not know means that the theory is false. Wrong. The summit revealed a scientific discipline rich in data and theory as well as controversy and disputation over the known and unknown. (continue reading…)

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