Dan Dennett is disappointed that theists in general, and theologians in particular, don’t take science seriously. They are more interested in immunization strategies. They retreat into faith assertions, deny (or don’t understand) evolution, and show little interest in philosophical arguments. Presumably Dan will be making some of these claims when he speaks at Scripps, one of the Claremont Colleges, on February 16th.
In the spirit of empirical feedback, it would be great to put some of these claims to the test. So I suggest that Dan join me in a brief, one-hour debate on some of these themes while he’s here on campus. Albrecht Auditorium is available, and Claremont Graduate University is ready to make special arrangements for live online streaming of the discussion, so that it can be available to everyone.
There’s a little history behind this call, which you can find here and here. When we were both at the big Darwin Festival at the University of Cambridge in early July 2009, Dan came to listen to my paper on Darwin and theology. Afterwards he publicly expressed his disappointment that such a topic would be on the agenda at the Darwin Fest. Later in the same session I invited Dan to enter into a public discussion with me on some of the broader philosophical and theological questions raised by biology today, even listing some of the topics where (in my view) productive discussion is possible. Dan chose not to enter into that debate. But he did post a blog on Richard Dawkins’ website a few days later, complaining about the session and claiming that “neither speaker had anything to offer.”
Since the debate that Dan calls for is one that I’m eager to join him in, shouldn’t we take a few minutes when he’s on campus here in Claremont to let it happen?
To make this invitation to dialogue more warm and friendly, Iet me close with a personal invitation to Dan: