14 COMMENTS

  1. I can get by the flashy teeth, and even forgive Wingrove for his Southern accent, but pontification while
    giving the appearance of reading off of cue cards (see at about 3:20) just makes a great subject
    sound canned and corny,–much like the way TV preachers seem to come off. And maybe my understanding of evolution is incorrect, but I don’t think it’s quite precise enough to deem it a “non random” process. More understandingly put, I think,would be the notion that it is a “relatively random” process. Professor Dawkins, let’s hear from you!!!!!

  2. In reply to #1 by kidchicago:

    And maybe my understanding of evolution is incorrect, but I don’t think it’s quite precise enough to deem it a “non random” process. More understandingly put, I think,would be the notion that it is a “relatively random” process. Professor Dawkins, let’s hear from you!!!!!

    Mutation is random of partly random. Natural selection is certainly not “random”.

  3. I like the emphasis on “Evolutions by natural selection is first a fact. Then it goes one step further, and is also a theory. A theory in science is one step higher than a fact. ” What ? Sure. We can SEE evolution all around us, in almost every life form on the planet, at differing speeds and places. But when evolution goes farther and becomes a theory, now we are talking something really powerful. A theory makes predictions………under circumstance A, with life form B, in environment C, we should expect to see the following….. And then we look for evidence that it did occur. I think this idea that a theory is more powerful than a fact needs to be emphasised. If nothing else, that will rattle the deniers.

    Another side point to this is that we must all make it very clear there are multiple kinds of evolution

    1. Evolution of the universe from the Big Bang

    2. Stellar evolution (formation of stars, and their eventual death)

    3. Planetary systems evolution (formation of planets from disks of dust, gases and other material)

    4. Evolution of life (formation of life from non-life – abiogenesis)

    5. Evolution of multiple species from a common ancestor (Darwin and natural selection)

    We have to make sure when we talk about evolution we are only discussing the last one. The first three are astrophysics/cosmology. Don’t let the deniers conflate them all, as they are separate topics having little to do with one another. (Yes, I know without each of them in sequence, the one after can’t come to pass.)

  4. A few of recommendations.

    1. Dump the green screen, it looks like this was produced in 1998.
    2. Either make this a discussion or a classroom lecture, don’t do both. Reading a prepared response then moving back to planned and forced interaction makes it difficult to listen to and follow.
    3. Give episodes a name instead of only a number, it would be nice to know what is being discussed up front. If someone wanted to look back at these for information on a specific subject they would be lost.
  5. @kidchicago I disagree with you when you say evolution is relatively or in whatever way random. Let me enlighten you a little bit on the principle of evolution. Evolution is a gradual step by step process which is an accumulated result of numerous individual genetic mutations. These genetic mutations, contrary to popular belief are also not an occurance chance. Genetic mutations take place because there is a cause for such a mutation, to name a few of the causes, exposure to the natural radiation, the simple repeated cell cycles where in during mitosis and meosis the chromosomes need to be duplicated or split which is very tedieos process and is alomost 100% accurate but if there is a disruption in this duplication(mechanical, varied cell signaling mechanisms, radiation, a faulty DNA polymerase or any other potential causative agent) then you get a mutated gene, fortunately, we have a highly accurate and very sophisticated DNA duplication mechanism, which has itself undergone (To put it mildly) has undergone a tremendous amount of natural selection, this mechanism also includes proof reading and correcting any untoward variations, so these genetic mutations are random, they do have a cause. (The whole group of causative agents for mutations are called matagens/carcinogens/teratogens depending on the context). Hence mutations are not random neither is natural selection, observable mutations manifest as a step in evolution, but the fact is it is an accumulated effect.

    Dr. Yogesh. D India.

  6. In reply to #7 by dr.yogesh.d:

    @kidchicago I disagree with you when you say evolution is relatively or in whatever way random. Let me enlighten you a little bit on the principle of evolution. Evolution is a gradual step by step process which is an accumulated result of numerous individual genetic mutations. These genetic mutations, contrary to popular belief are also not an occurance chance. Genetic mutations take place because there is a cause for such a mutation, to name a few of the causes, exposure to the natural radiation, the simple repeated cell cycles where in during mitosis and meosis the chromosomes need to be duplicated or split which is very tedieos process and is alomost 100% accurate but if there is a disruption in this duplication(mechanical, varied cell signaling mechanisms, radiation, a faulty DNA polymerase or any other potential causative agent) then you get a mutated gene, fortunately, we have a highly accurate and very sophisticated DNA duplication mechanism, which has itself undergone (To put it mildly) has undergone a tremendous amount of natural selection, this mechanism also includes proof reading and correcting any untoward variations, so these genetic mutations are random, they do have a cause. (The whole group of causative agents for mutations are called matagens/carcinogens/teratogens depending on the context). Hence mutations are not random neither is natural selection, observable mutations manifest as a step in evolution, but the fact is it is an accumulated effect.

    Dr. Yogesh. D India.

    I came across this in one of professor Dawkins’ book. He wrote: When we say mutation is random we don’t mean we don’t know what causes mutation but: the mutation is not guided by any mysterious force or plan. I hope I’m not mistaken and remember this correctly, however his vocabulary is far more richer than mine :-)

  7. I understand that the RD Foundation is in large parts an education of sorts for those who aren’t really sure of scientific facts, and I also get that one is possibly required to be quite boring in willing to repeat these facts over and over again…but do we really need another Evolution101 and debunking of creationism? Not going to lie, but I would have probably dozed away if this was an actual classroom. It is appreciative that these are free and maybe there’s someone out there who might find this useful…but is anybody with me here?

  8. Dr. Y—Thanks for the excellent, brief explanation. But if mutations occur both with and without IDENTIFIABLE natural cause (without identifiable natural cause being your example of its occurrence during ordinary tedious mitosis and meosis—why the mess-up in the first place???— Do we know the proximate cause???—— Tediousness cannot possibly be a complete explanation of proximate cause) would it not be fair perhaps to refer to the process more precisely as relatively nonrandom??? (Relatively, in the sense
    of our lack of understanding of the actual proximate cause for what is observed.)

    Perhaps before discussing a topic such as evolution, it would be helpful to introduce and understand precisely what the Scientific Community means in the empirical sense when it applies the terms “random” and “nonrandom” to any Scientifically observable process.

    Thanks again.

    The Kid

    In reply to #7 by dr.yogesh.d:

    @kidchicago I disagree with you when you say evolution is relatively or in whatever way random. Let me enlighten you a little bit on the principle of evolution. Evolution is a gradual step by step process which is an accumulated result of numerous individual genetic mutations. These genetic mutations, contrary to popular belief are also not an occurance chance. Genetic mutations take place because there is a cause for such a mutation, to name a few of the causes, exposure to the natural radiation, the simple repeated cell cycles where in during mitosis and meosis the chromosomes need to be duplicated or split which is very tedieos process and is alomost 100% accurate but if there is a disruption in this duplication(mechanical, varied cell signaling mechanisms, radiation, a faulty DNA polymerase or any other potential causative agent) then you get a mutated gene, fortunately, we have a highly accurate and very sophisticated DNA duplication mechanism, which has itself undergone (To put it mildly) has undergone a tremendous amount of natural selection, this mechanism also includes proof reading and correcting any untoward variations, so these genetic mutations are random, they do have a cause. (The whole group of causative agents for mutations are called matagens/carcinogens/teratogens depending on the context). Hence mutations are not random neither is natural selection, observable mutations manifest as a step in evolution, but the fact is it is an accumulated effect.

    Dr. Yogesh. D India.

  9. The freaky green tint on the side of their faces needs to go – is this an artifact from green screen? What is up with the banana and her last comment? (the pious will sign off after that if they have not already) Who is the target audience for this? No offense to the actors, but they seem like they are part of a Heaven’s Gate cult or similar – not a great step forward for the evidence based movement I am afraid.

  10. I think each episode has been better than the one before it. I hope you start getting calls or fielding questions through skype/email etc. soon. You do a good job coming across as approachable, and these types of shows are probably better when guests bring unscripted questions and challenges.

Leave a Reply