John McWhorter’s Controversial Webcast Causes Confusion

Dr. John McWhorter who is a linguist by practice and who also doesn’t believe in the existence of God conducted an interview with biochemist Dr. Michael Behe on a liberal website called; bloggingheads tv.  John McWhorter surprises Michael Behe with his profound enthusiasm for his book “Edge of Evolution” which was published back in 2007.

According to Dr McWhorter, though he had a keen interest in evolution, but didn’t feel the concept was rock solid. He questions mutations for example where there is no solid evidence that produces a ton of intermediate animals which shows a loss of  functions and then the gains of other functions before it comes another animal. He finds when he tries to discuss his doubts about evolution, people in his circle accuse him of trying to bring God into it even though he actually denies His existence.

The interview continued with discussing such things as proteins, and some of the jobs they can perform in general. John McWhorter even said he has come closer to believing in the existence of God after reading Behe’s book even though he hates change. When the interview concluded, Michael Behe was very impressed and thought bloggingheads tv was a pretty nice outfit.

Here is where the confusion started, the same day the video was posted for the public to view, it was removed! Then there were accusations of censorship being implied such as “maybe we aren’t quite as free as we think” said Michael Behe. What happened was, John McWhorter received a lot of heat for not being hard on Michale Behe, caved in and requested the video to be removed. He then states, “with regret, that this interview represents neither himself, Professor Behe, nor Bloggingheads usefully.” Next, he apologized to anyone who found his interview to be objectionable.

Let me say, Dr John McWhorter welcome to the world of controversial issues on a broadcast! What you have gone through is typical of any host who brings up issues people feel strongly about. I suspect he thought he had violated some sort of rule or rules which later the site put up some clarification about. This particular site is operated by Robert Wright who is a well known liberal. The funny part of this story, Wright claims he never thought this would happen on his site! Where has he been? There are controversial issues all over the net. How could you not consider such a thing happening on a site which promotes “diversity” of views? I’m not sure why John McWhorter chose bloggingheads tv, but one thing is for sure, he could do better.

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6 thoughts on “John McWhorter’s Controversial Webcast Causes Confusion

  1. Yet another example of how quickly Darwinists will turn on someone, even someone in their own camp, if they even hint that ID might have ground to stand on.

    Darwinists are so insecure in their beliefs that they have to destroy any opposition that presents itself.

    I watched the interview and thought it was a very fair interview, real journalism. Mr McWhorter asks honest questions and lets the interviewee answer them. He does not talk over the interviewee when he doesn’t like the answers and doesn’t try to put words in his mouth. Keith Oberman could take some lessons on reporting from this guy.

  2. Keith Oberman who came from ESPN, is a joke which is one of the reasons why his network suffers so much in the ratings. I agree, especially for someone who is not a career professional in the world of broadcast interviews, John McWhorter did a great job!

  3. “Dr. John McWhorter who is a linguist by practice and who also doesn’t believe in the existence of God conducted an interview with biochemist Dr. Michael Behe …”

    First sentence, first clue. A microbiologist with a view that contravenes that of every practicing biological researcher in the world[1] has a discussion on the merits of this view with … wait for it … a … a … LINGUIST! [2]

    “[McWhorter] questions mutations for example where there is no solid evidence that produces a ton of intermediate animals which shows a loss of functions and then the gains of other functions before it comes another animal”

    Demonstrating McWhorter’s complete ignorance, since that’s not how evolution works.

    “What happened was, John McWhorter received a lot of heat for not being hard on Michale [sic] Behe, caved in and requested the video to be removed.”

    No, he realized that he looked like an utter fool When he saw how much egg had landed on his face, he tried to minimize the damage to his reputation.

    “Then there were accusations of censorship being implied….”

    Claims of persecution is one of the ubiquitous indicia of pseudoscience.[3] You have a lot of company. Pons & Fleischmann claimed persecution against cold fusion. Rene Blondlot claimed censorship of N-rays. Joe Newman went so far as to have his Congresscritter[4] try to force the Patent Office to grant him a patent on his perpetual-motion electric motor, claiming the National Bureau of Standards had used tests that discriminated against him.[5]

    “Alas, to wear the mantle of Galileo, it is not enough that you be persecuted by an unkind establishment; you must also be right.” (Robert Park)

    When Michael Behe published his book, he was taken down on the merits by more qualified scientists than he could count. Within several weeks, Abbie Smith, then a beginning grad student, demonstrated that his assertions about the HIV virus were factually wrong. The Discovery Institute doesn’t feature his book much anymore. Stephen Meyer is the new lion.

    To paraphrase Dante’s Inferno, “Lasciate ogni scienza, voi ch’entraste”[6]

    ===================
    [1] 484,000 to 2 is pretty much “every.” (Michael Behe and Scott Minich are the 2. Douglas Axe has moved to a fence-sitting position, so I didn’t count him. Of course, all 3 of these do accept a 4 billion-year-old earth, and the common ancestry off all living organisms., so you might not want to endorse them too readily.)

    [2] Let’s hope he’s better as a linguist. Well, he did push the ill-fated Ebonics.

    [3] Voodoo Science: The Road from Foolishness to Fraud, Robert L. Park (Oxford University Press, 2001) lays out the seven indicia of pseudoscience from Vannevar Bush, who was President Eisenhower’s science advisor, and previously MIT President.

    [4] Newman was from Louisiana. That explains a lot.

    [5] Perpetual-motion inventors are unanimous in feeling that are the butts of discrimination. See Perpetual Motion: The History of an Obsession, A.W.J.G. Ord-Hume (St. Martin’s Press, 1977)

    [6] Sorry, the pun doesn’t work in English.

  4. mcoville: “Yet another example of how quickly Darwinists will turn on someone, even someone in their own camp….”

    What “camp” might that be?

    ==Soc Puppette

  5. I hereby propose that Michael Behe interview John McWhorter on his view that English classes in the US should teach Ebonics.

    Take it away, Bloggingheads.

  6. @Olorin: “When Michael Behe published his book, he was taken down on the merits by more qualified scientists than he could count. Within several weeks, Abbie Smith, then a beginning grad student, demonstrated that his assertions about the HIV virus were factually wrong.”

    Let me be more specific on that claim, since it is one of the major claims that Behe makes iIn “The Edge of Evolution.” Behe said:

    “Like malaria, HIV is a microbe that occurs in astronomical numbers. What’s more, its mutation rate is 10,000 times greater than that of most other organisms. So in just the past few decades HIV has actually undergone more of certain kinds of mutations than all cells have endured since the beginning of the world. Yet all those mutations, while medically important, have changed the functioning virus very little. It still has the same number of genes that work in the same way. There is no new molecular machinery. If we see that Darwin’s mechanism can only do so little even when given its best opportunities, we can decisively conclude that random mutation did not build the machinery of life.”

    Abhy Smith (ERV) pointed out within a few weeks that Vpu is a totally new gene[1] in one of the phylogenetic groups of the SIV virus and its descendants, including HIV-1 (but not HIV-2). Further, Vpu performs an entirely different function in HIV-1 than it did in its precursor SIV species. This has all occurred in the past 50-60 years. But Behe said it has not happened, and cannot happen. WRONG.

    It gets worse. “Edge”s description of the HIV virus includes an illustration of its genome (Fig. 7.3). Vpu is shown, but it is not labeled, mentioned, or discussed.

    Behe, a biochemist with decades of experience, got something factually wrong that was falsified by a “pre-grad student who knew what the HIV-1 genome looked like and had a few minutes to do a PubMed search. I haven’t even taken a course in biochemistry.”[2]

    This was only one of the significant factual errors in Behe’s book. Others are raised in Behe’s Amazon blog and in other blogs. These are the kinds of deceitful apologetics endemic among those for whom faith eclipses fact. In real science, the publication, critique, and duplication processes weed out such errors. Creationists, however, are interested only in manipulating the minds of laymen, such as Prof. McWhorter. And Michael. And mcoville.

    ===============
    [1] Strebel K, Klimkait T, Martin MA,.”A novel gene of HIV-1, vpu, and its 16-kilodalton product,” Science. 1988 Sep 2;241(4870):1221-3. Note the date; this was written in a major worldwide journal almost 20 years before Behe’s book.

    [2] http://endogenousretrovirus.blogspot.com/2007/08/michael-behe-please-allow-me-to.html

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