Robert Wright's Bloggingheads.tv Censors Intelligent Design Interview
Wow. This is positively Stalinist. Robert Wright's Bloggingheads.tv has abruptly removed an interview it put up hours before in which linguist Dr. John McWhorter talks with biochemist Dr. Michael Behe about Behe's The Edge of Evolution. It's a fascinating exchange. McWhorter starts off by saying that while his own writing has been primarily on race, other subjects interest him more. For example, it would seem, evolution.
He proceeds to reveal startling depths of enthusiasm for Behe, Behe's book, and intelligent design. He talks about how he never previously believed in God and never wanted to until he read Behe, who of course in his own writing steers clear of theological ruminations (apart from noting that he's a Roman Catholic). A senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute, McWhorter clearly has been thinking and reading about the subject for years. He makes a stimulating, well informed interviewer for Behe.
Sounds good, right? No, bad! Very bad! Bad McWhorter! Apologize now!
OK, I will!
Something evidently happened behind the scenes at Bloggingheads. So the interview was taken down, at which point an anonymous Orwellian Administrator posted as follows:
John McWhorter feels, with regret, that this interview represents neither himself, Professor Behe, nor Bloggingheads usefully, takes full responsibility for same, and has asked that it be taken down from the site. He apologizes to all who found its airing objectionable.Now, you must go and watch the interview for yourself over at Uncommon Descent. Here's the link where it used to be. You can disagree with Behe and McWhorter; think they're both full of baloney if you like. But there's no question that simply as an interview, a piece of casual, conversational journalism, the McWhorter exchange is exemplary. It's fascinating. He admires the book, undoubtedly, even becoming passionate about it at points, but also poses challenging questions. There's nothing to apologize for here. Yet clearly he was pressured into taking it down. By whom?
The irony is that Wright himself has stood out from other Darwinists for his honesty and openness. I blogged earlier on his offer of a "grand bargain" of peace between Darwin-believers and Darwin-doubters. Is our part of the bargain then to be seen and not heard? Or maybe not even seen. Wright seems to be away from email. One assumes this happened while he was out of the shop.
Efforts to get a meaningful comment from anyone else at Bloggingheads have so far not panned out. We'll keep you posted.
But OK, let's try to give the benefit of the doubt. Maybe you have to be a practicing scientist in a white lab coat to have an opinion on Darwinism? You mean like Behe himself? No, dummy, like McWhorter who's only got a PhD from Stanford in linguistics, taught at Berkeley and Cornell, and wrote a book about the evolution of language! Obviously just another know-nothing creationist.
Or could it be that there's something inappropriate, according to the vaunted Bloggingheads tradition, about an interviewer expressing undisguised friendliness to the subject of his interview? Hmm, compare and contrast with this Bloggingheads interview with atheist Darwinian biologist P.Z. Myers by Abigail Smith, a wide-eyed, giggling University of Oklahoma grad student in a tank top. In one segment, the stolid Myers and flirty Smith commiserate with each other about the misery of having to review "creationist screeds" such as those by Michael Behe. Does this young lady, who also blogs, ever challenge Myers on anything? Maybe I missed it.
Here's her cheerfully obscene take on censoring Behe. It's odd, what she says about the Behe-McWhorter interaction would be far more accurately said about Myers-Smith. We'll leave it at that, since this is a blog for all the family.
Editor's note: This entry is cross-posted at David Klinghoffer Beliefnet's blog, Kingdom of Priests.