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In a Radio Debate, Our Jonathan M. Meets Thoughtful Atheist Cory Markum

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Here is an item to feel good about this fine Sunday. On Britain's Premiere radio, our friend Jonathan M. (above left) had a long, interesting radio debate with atheist Cory Markum (right). They talked about whether nature gives evidence of design and whether that in turn supports, obviously without clinching, a theistic inference.

The thoughtful and very lucid discussion, led by host and moderator Justin Brierly, runs to an hour and twenty minutes, something you wouldn't find on U.S. radio. Brierly previously hosted Stephen Meyer in an excellent debate with UC Berkeley paleontologist Charles Marshall about Meyer's book Darwin's Doubt.

You should listen to the discussion here. Of course I think Jonathan won, but frankly I'm not less impressed, for different reasons, by Cory Markum.

Darwin advocates typically flee from a debate with advocates of intelligent design. Good for Mr. Markum, then, who has the courage of his convictions. A writer for the popular website Atheist Repubic, he is respectful, reflective, genial, modest, open-minded, and willing to learn. Remarkable!

A telling moment? Markum reasonably asks Jonathan if he is concerned to find himself in a small minority in the science world. Jonathan answers that being in a minority doesn't make you wrong, that's how scientific revolutions always begin, and in fact he (and we) are aware of ID supporters in science who keep their views secret for fear of suffering career consequences.

These are questions about ID as a minority view having to do with, you might say, the sociology of knowledge. By the same token, I would want to ask Cory Markum why the atheist scientists he admires (Dawkins, for example) refuse not only to debate ID advocates but even, in their writing and speaking, to represent the modern design argument accurately.

Jonathan goes on to say that he's not overly impressed that most biologists reject ID. After all, judging from their public comments, very few seem to understand what ID theorists actually say, how they argue and what evidence they adduce. I would add, the ones that can discuss intelligent design in an informed manner tend to be ID advocates.