Thursday, November 26, 2009

BBC debate and more pics from the Darwin conference in Alexandria

Panel on Darwin in the world: Evolution and faith in the 21st century: From left to right: John Hedley Brooke, Salman Hameed, Bridget Kendall, Nidhal Guessoum, Samy Zalat, and Eugenie Scott.

The opening day of Darwin's Living Legacy conference featured a BBC debate on Darwin in the world: Evolution and faith in the 21st century. You can listen to the debate here. To be fair, there wasn't much of a debate as the entire panel more or less agreed that evolution and religion do not have to clash. Some of the audience comments did bring up creationism and other related issues, but we didn't really get a chance to answer specific audience questions.

Here are some more pictures from the conference:

Tom Glick (left) in a contemplative mood while Nidhal Guessoum (center) and Jason Wiles are engaged in a conversation after their panel. The room where this panel was held is called "The Fourth Floor Floating Room" and you can see it on the picture above right. It is between the two bars in the upper left side of the picture. This provides a small glimpse of the amazing architecture of Bibliotheca Alexandrina.

Traveling t-shirts in front of the planetarium at Bibliotheca. Curious - Tom Glick and I are wearing t-shirts with an identical design (above). Wait a minute, I have seen these t-shirts somewhere before.

And of course, we can't skip out on birthdays - even during conferences. Here is Jason Wiles casting a spell on his birthday cake. Fern Elsdon-Baker, the head of Darwin Now project, is keeping a watchful eye on Jason and the cake.

A view from the outside of the library. Note the small figures in the picture are people cleaning windows etc.

A view from the outside of the library, with the Mediterranean in the background.

Related posts:
More thoughts on Darwin conference in Alexandria
Darwin conference in Alexandria - some pics
Darwin in Alexandria I
In Alexandria for Darwin's Living Legacy conference


Matthew said...

Salman, thanks for posting the link to the debate (and the pictures). I just finished listening as I started typing.

It was not really "debate", more the airing of ideas (which is fine). But one of your co-panelists (I forget who, I'm sorry) had it right when they pointed out that when they polled students on what evolution is, 99 percent said "(a) we are descended from monkeys, and (b) giraffes used to have short necks". The problem really comes down to what their education level is and what information they are exposed to.

I think that the "evolution" debate is most fundamentally not about evolution per se, since you can extend arguments to things like Big Bang cosmology, geologic time, and what have you. It's more about what role science itself plays in society and the education of its people. If science (or art, or history, or politics, or religion, or whatever) aren't taught, how can people possibly understand them? And that is just as true for religion and ethics as it is for science education.

The interesting question is how can (or, more fundamentally, will) society provide a good general education to its people so that they themselves can integrate all of the diversity of human thought into something coherent and useful to their lives and to society?

(Offtopic, I hope you had a good holiday.)

Anonymous said...

I am an avid follower of your blog. This is the latest scandal from turkish state TV, TRT(Turkish Radio TV). Well
not surprising at all I guess.
It is about a fish that "hasn't changed for 400 million years" and the title reads "The fish who discredited Darwin",
in other words pure creationism in Adnan Hodja rethoric. The text is laughable as well as the mimics of the speaker.
I remind you that this is TRT, the nationally broadcast TV station in Turkey.

It is amazing to see the degree with which the islamists have taken over the key state institutions. What is very surprising is
how ultra liberals are closing their eyes and mocking people who are worried to be "elitists against the will
of pious people"! This is the level of discussion we are having, criticize anything, say your worries and you are a coup-lover
antidemocrat, fashist! I am really worried. By the way, it is not surprising that TRT has been broadcasting these given
that Mr. Mustafa Akyol has started making programs for TRT. After all the damage he has done with ID stuff, it is easy now for him
to say things like ohh this is wrong on state TV, come on!

Salman Hameed said...


Thanks for the clip. But wait a minute: Mustafa Akyol is coming out to say that evolution is wrong on TRT? I thought he was mostly fine with evolution. Has he changed his position again?

Anonymous said...

No, you misunderstood what I said. I didn't say that he is advocating his anti-evolutionary agenda on TRT. He is however acting as a political advisor to TRT and making political programs for TRT. that would be perfectly ok for me if there was a balance, however that is not the case.
These political programs are like, here is Mr.Akyol and couple other people who are like bros with
prime minister Erdogan, and let's ridiculize and bash the other camp. I find this absolutely wrong.
They always pick similarly minded people who dare not criticize some acts of the government especially
if you say they try to islamicize the country (well if you do that, you are classified as coup-lover, enemy of people, fashist, and all that...). We are sliding towards an autocratic environment I think more and more.
TRT has become incredibly politicized during the current government (well it always was but I think not to that degree). This is a fact. Because of the mentality of the people managing in TRT now (hence this video in words of Adnan Hoca), people and only people like Mr. Akyol can become advisors to TRT.