Terry Pratchett at the Darwin Festival

Posted by : Rev. Ouabache | Sunday, August 16, 2009 | Published in

I didn't realize it until yesterday but it looks like the guys at the Naked Scientists are doing a whole podcasting series of interviews that that did at this year's Cambridge Darwin Festival. I already mentioned their coverage of Baba Brinkman's Rap Guide to Evolution. For this week's show they interviewed one of my all-time favorite authors Terry Pratchett:

A couple of comments about the interview: I love the fact that he did a Science of Discworld book completely on the subject of biology and evolution. The fact that he made Richard Dawkins into a priest makes it even better. He has his history of evolution down pretty good but I think he misunderstands the Creationism movement:
And perhaps it's possible, one could speculate, if there was this intelligent design theory of evolution at that time just possibly the two sides, the Church and Science, might just have thought, "Well, you know, this isn't the best there could be but it's got something in it for everybody. And we can more or less sorta live with it and so we'll just shake hands on that one because it doesn't cause very much trouble."

First off, I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that he meant "theistic evolution" instead of "intelligent design". I've seen many other people make the exact same mistake so I'll let it slide. It's just goes to show you how nefarious the Discovery Institute's propaganda truly is. Theistic evolution is a theological position that God created the process of evolution to create all of the species of life on earth. Intelligent design is an anti-evolution political movement that is purposely trying to destroy the underpinnings of the philosophy of science and force religion back into public schools.

Secondly, there were many natural theologians then and today that have absolutely no problems with the theory of evolution. Yes, there were big debates in the first 50 years or so after Darwin published but that all went away for a time after all of the evidence started piling up. Almost every denomination has put out statements affirming that evolution does not conflict with their theology including the Roman Catholic church, Eastern Orthodox church and most mainline Protestant groups.

Modern Creationism that denies evolution has only been popular for the last 50 years and only in denominations that follow a strict literal interpretation of the Bible (or Koran). Almost everyone accepted the theory of evolution until Henry Morris dusted off an old Seventh-Day Adventists book on flood geology that modern Young Earth Creationism took off. The only religious groups that officially back YEC are Evangelical Christians and certain Muslim sects. Unfortunately those Evangelicals have strong political power in certain parts of the United States. Those are the ones trying to undermine science education so that they might push their religion in schools. Everyone else seems to be cool with evolution.

Other than that one little section it was a great interview. It doesn't seem like the Alzheimer's has affected him too much so far. Here's hoping that Terry hangs on for awhile longer to give us many more Discworld novels.

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