Richard Dawkins seems to be promoting a new form of public discussion with minimum moderation. This gets away from the adversary type of public debate which often provides more heat than light. At the same time it can allow for presentation of different viewpoints in a non-antagonistic way. The video on my post Richard Dawkins in Inverness is an example of how effective this can be.
Richarddawkins.net has now put up another inspiring example of this form of discussion. They are videos taken when Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss sat down for a public discussion at Stanford University on Sunday, March 9th 2008. The focus was on Science education, but the discussion also covered religion, physics, evolution and more.
Issues discussed include:
- the question of utility or knowledge of scientific research;
- Darwins place in science history;
- quantum mechanics;
- the issue of evolution teaching schools;
- “teaching the controversy” propaganda;
- the “seduction” apporoach of Krauss vs the “abrasiveness” of Dawkins;
- incorporation of science into culture, TV and films, and
- the intimidation of teachers into downplaying evolution education.
Two quotes I liked:
Dawkins’ response to “teach the controversy” ploy- “The purpose of education is not to validate ignorance but to overcome it.”
Krauss’ belief that in science education all students should have “an experience where a firmly or profoundly held belief is proved to be wrong.”
Discussion part 1 (23 min)
Discussion part 2 (30 min)