Today I participated in a fun interview on radio station WUFT, which is in Gainesville. The program was Conner Calling and it was a full hour, by far the longest interview I’ve done so far. It also featured about 10 people calling in to ask questions and state opinions. That’s also another record for me. I’ve only faced two or three in previous interviews.
The show started with a nice overview of Going Ape and a discussion of some historical highlights from it, especially William Jennings Bryan’s influence in 1920s Florida. Unfortunately, there was a technical glitch a few minutes in. I could hear the host just fine but they couldn’t hear me. The producer tried calling me back a few times and every time I answered there was no connection. We eventually hooked back up and made it through the rest of the program without any issues. After a few more minutes of general conversation the listeners’ calls started pouring in.
I appreciated the thoughtful comments from folks about some religions having no problem with accepting evolution in general and about the acceptability of comparative religion classes in schools and about the presence of overtly creationist voucher-accepting private schools in Florida. I kept quiet after some comments because I sensed the host was trying to get as many callers on air as time allowed and I didn’t want to get in the way of that. But I did try to briefly express my agreement with many of these points later.
After a comment I made about creationism not being science and creationists not doing science, a gentlemen offered up the suggestion that creationists are doing science but are blocked from journal publication due to bias against them. I disagreed. If a scientist has viable results and that scientist keeps working at it, the science will eventually break through. After decades of creationist flim-flam, nothing scientific has emerged.
Another caller tried to nail me with the old fashioned creationist zinger of the 2nd law of thermodynamics making evolution impossible. I stumbled a bit in my reply. I wasn’t knowledgeable in that subject well enough to be able to boil it down to a few seconds on the radio. I’m familiar with the argument only in a general sense and I tried to express what I did know as best as I could. For anyone who’s interested, a much more thorough, if somewhat complicated, explanation is here. A Google search will also turn up plenty of material.
At one point I explained that I have some actual credentials: a relevant degree and state teacher certification. Later, I tried to head off some of the creationist challenges that were coming in by saying that I’m not an academic or a scientist but rather I’ve written a book about the history of the controversy. I hope the two statements didn’t come off as contradictory. The point I was aiming for was that I know what I’m talking about as it relates to Going Ape. My purpose is to educate the public about this important and fascinating history and how it flows seamlessly into the present. I didn’t want to derail that by debating with creationists.
I’ll let you know when the show is archived online. I’m eager to hear your feedback on how it went. One thing I wish I had said at the of the interview was that all of the passionate callers today illustrate just how much interest there is in the subject, which is a great reason to buy Going Ape! I also neglected to plug Florida Citizens for Science. I wanted to but just couldn’t find the right opportunity. Oh well. Maybe next time.
(Cartoon credit to Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.)