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Censorship Science

Censored Religious Debate Video Released After Public Outrage 717

First time accepted submitter tkel writes "On October 12, 2011 Theologian John Haught publicly debated prominent evolutionary scientist and atheist Jerry Coyne at the University of Kentucky. Although both agreed to a videotaping of the event, Haught later prohibited its release because he felt he had been treated unfairly. Coyne released blog posts addressing the matter as an offense to free speech. Reviewing their new status in the blogosphere, Haught and his associates at the University of Kentucky have decided to release the video."

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Censored Religious Debate Video Released After Public Outrage

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  • by LwPhD ( 1052842 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @02:09AM (#37930758)
    While I'm in favor of piling onto Haught, he isn't a creationist. []
  • by MachDelta ( 704883 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @02:43AM (#37930962)

    You've made the tragically common mistake of believing that a scientific "theory" means that it has no support.
    Rather, it is the opposite - a scientific theory is something which has overwhelming support.

    And while science may not yet (or ever) know the exact details of man's origins, we at least have something concrete and observable, unlike theologies wild-ass-guesses. And something is greater than nothing.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 03, 2011 @03:05AM (#37931078)

    Christians are sinners too my friend and forgiveness is hard for all. Otherwise we wouldn't need God at all. Christianity isn't based on Christians being perfect...

  • by dell623 ( 2021586 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @03:08AM (#37931088)

    My initial views about this were similar to the popular sentiment on slashdot.

    However, it is a shame that the person at the receiving end of the criticism wasn't given a chance to present his version of things, and now that he has, it has still not received the same attention that the original controversy did here on slashdot.

    Here is John Haught's own version of the events: []

    I am sure I will disagree with his views if and when I do read about them. And I have no idea how accurate his version of the events is, but he damned well has the right to be heard.

  • by meerling ( 1487879 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @03:35AM (#37931216)
    I think that is usually referred to as "the god of the empty spaces". It's the delusion where anything that isn't already explained by science is declared to be the realm and hand of god.
  • by David Gerard ( 12369 ) <slashdot.davidgerard@co@uk> on Thursday November 03, 2011 @04:02AM (#37931340) Homepage

    Creation science is one of the greatest sources of really concentrated stupidity to be found anywhere.

    Ladeez gemmun, I give you: baraminology [].

  • by perpenso ( 1613749 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @04:10AM (#37931388)

    I'm still wondering when major religions will not just stop questioning, but actually declare a part of their religion, things like evolution and quantum mechanics. It seems the closest they can get is dragged by public outcry into making some sort of declaration not to talk about it anymore.

    The roman catholic church operates an observatory, supports academic research into cosmology and works with leading observatories and cosmologists around the world. They seem to be actively researching the evolution of the universe, quantum mechanics, etc. Regarding the evolution of life I believe the church says there is no conflict with faith and the scientific findings regarding evolution. They teach evolution in their science classes. They don't take the book of genesis literally. I believe various other churches have similar perspectives.

    I am aware of churches that are quite admittedly progressive, but thank you, I'll still take the word of actual scientists on matters of science.

    I'm just pointing out that some folks with a deep faith are also actual scientists. A bishop, Grosseteste, helped lay out the framework for the scientific method and also did early work in optics. Another bishop, Saint Albert, did early work in chemistry and biological field research. Copernicus was a clergyman. A friar, Mendel, did early genetics research. A priest, Lemaitre, revolutionized cosmology is recent history. []

  • by qeveren ( 318805 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @05:07AM (#37931620)

    Uh... religion and science ARE fundamentally at odds. One is based on empirical study, the other is the rejection of the empirical in favour of what is effectively make-believe. And it's nice to quote Einstein, but just because he's famous and was a brilliant scientist doesn't mean that nugget of his wisdom is particularly correct.

  • by icebraining ( 1313345 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @05:08AM (#37931626) Homepage

    The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. ⦠For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions.

    -- Einstein.

  • by JackDW ( 904211 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @05:29AM (#37931730) Homepage

    Do we actually know Haught's side of the story? When this topic was last discussed, we only heard what Coyne and his supporters were saying about the refusal to release the video.

    An open letter [] has been posted in which Haught says "I never gave permission before or after the panel to post the video". If this is true, then the whole matter needs to be seen in an entirely different light. In particular, I'm not sure exactly what Haught needs to seek forgiveness for? Unless thought crimes such as Christianity are themselves a sort of sin?

  • by beelsebob ( 529313 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @05:49AM (#37931808)

    Having watched the video though, that's not what is done here. At no point is the phrase "you're an idiot" used, or any synonym for it. Instead, a very reasoned argument is given – religion is predicated on the idea of accepting things that you "know" to be true, or "want" to be true, or "feel" to be true no matter what evidence you're given against them. Science is predicated on immediately dismissing things as false if you're given evidence to show that they're false. These two points of view are mutually incompatible. Ergo, religion and science are not compatible things.

  • by PCM2 ( 4486 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @06:17AM (#37931934) Homepage

    As I said, religion is arbitrary, you can claim whatever you want

    Some try, but not all do. A lot of theological thought is well-grounded in classical philosophy (from Plato and Aristotle straight through to the modern day), which itself laid the foundation for the scientific method.

    String theory is also considered to be unfalsifiable -- hence, arbitrary and non-scientific -- by many physicists, yet rational people don't try to argue that the only way to discuss and debate string theory is to ridicule it. That's the tactic of a schoolyard bully, not an intellectual.

  • by Fished ( 574624 ) <> on Thursday November 03, 2011 @08:20AM (#37932538)
    I suggest you watch the video. As I suggested in a previous post, Jerry Coyne is rather childish and launches a horrible, sneering, ad hominem argument. Haught's argument is much better reasoned and much better -- regardless of who "won."
  • by Kjellander ( 163404 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @08:35AM (#37932706)

    You obviously didn't watch the video particularly closely. Coyne (and me and all the rest of the scientists) are telling you exactly the type of things that would change our minds. Human fossils in the precambrian, any anachronistic fossil for that matter, whole amputated limbs regrowing just because of some prayer and not modern medicine, things in the bible like predictions about electrons or something else that couldn't have been written by men in the bronze age, things like that. That is not blind faith. It is falsifiable.

    Why not use a tool like science, when it is there, and it makes predictions about the world? Something religion never has done.

  • by LordLimecat ( 1103839 ) on Thursday November 03, 2011 @11:13AM (#37935026)

    Anyone who doubts this, would be well served to read Coynes initial post, and Haughts response. Coyne has been going off about "censorship" (and shame on you slashdot for reiterating it), despite admitting that there was never an agreement to post the video. His entire beef, the reason he stirred up his fanbase to attack Haught and other UofK professors with hatemail, was that he ASSUMED it would be released and was disappointed when Haught decided that the video was too obnoxious (adhominems, etc) and unprofessional to release.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday November 03, 2011 @03:20PM (#37939086)
    Both parties agreed in advance to be taped. Talks given in the Boone Symposium series are routinely posted. After the debate Haught demanded the video not be released, and Rabel complied. Coyne requested Haught's email from Rabel to try and find out why Haught made his demand. Rabel refused. Coyne requested that his portion of the debate--each gave 20-25 minute talks followed by 45 minutes of Q&A--be released. Rabel refused. Coyne requested the tape so that he could remove and post his portion, and Rabel refused. It's easy to connect the dots when they're in a straight line.

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