My lecture on evidence for evolution: highly compressed!

September 23, 2012 • 4:55 am

Alert reader B. D. Wilson (who ran the eBay auction for Doctors Without Borders) took it upon himself to edit my talk on the evidence for evolution from the 2009 Atheists Alliance International conference, omitting needless material and speeding up my speech. It’s now twenty minutes long—a third of its original length.

As he says on the YouTube site:

This is a condensed version of Jerry Coyne’s excellent lecture on some of broad lines of evidence for evolution. Starting as a one hour lecture I edited out introductions, pauses, jokes, gaffes and the Q & A, then did some compression to fit it into a tidy, information-dense 20 minute packet. If someone you know does not believe in evolution, point them to this short video so they can become familiar with some of the evidence.

I can’t bear to listen to more than a minute or so, because my speech has been accelerated so much that I sound like Alvin the Chipmunk.  But several readers have written in (how did they locate this?) to say that they found it informative, not jarring, and useful as a short talk for those who really want to know the evidence for evolution.  So here it is; listen at your own risk.

I almost expect David Seville to yell at the end of this talk, “JerrEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!!”

27 thoughts on “My lecture on evidence for evolution: highly compressed!

  1. Yes, the sound is pretty weird – why not have it in two or three normal chunks? Nevertheless, I will be giving this link to my 600 students tomorrow lunchtime, to whom I will be lecturing on this very topic!

  2. I had to take deep breaths for you while watching. It is a bit hard to concentrate on the material even though I have heard it or read it all before. I suspect that creationists would be incapable of grasping it.

  3. Starting as a one hour lecture I edited out introductions, pauses, jokes, gaffes and the Q & A

    I think it’s very, very cool that he took the time to do this and I think it’s great to have the scientific content condensed in one place.

    Can I offer another perspective, though? I wouldn’t necessarily leave out introductions, pauses, jokes, and gaffes when talking to people who don’t believe in evolution. As bizarre as this probably sounds to the scientifically minded, I think sometimes these are as important as the facts themselves. I always believed in evolution, but I used to be a Christian (the regular kind, not the ‘symbolic’ kind.) I changed my mind in part due to facts, but in part due to exposure to atheists as people, not stereotypes. I like to read the biology posts on this blog, but I also like to know that Jerry Coyne has a huge soft spot when it comes to cats, likes holiday candy, and stands up for his friends in the comment section. I think that human side is almost as important as the educational piece.

    1. Ha, I actually got the video to load, never mind… still want to make the point above, but I don’t think this is really being used as an educational video…

  4. Life is so full of coincidences! Just so happens that we’re viewing the same (pretty sure it is) video in its entirety Tuesday night at my house for our monthly Discussion group. I found it on you-Tube a few days ago. Although there won’t be one individual present who needs to be convinced that Evolution is true, many of us would like to know more about the evidence for it. Should make for a good discussion. Am very grateful that so many great scientists give your time to educate the public!

  5. Time to utilise whatever copyright laws exist in Illinois, methinks.
    This bowlderisation, imho, debases both the original content and Professor Coyne.
    OK, maybe I’m just old fashioned.

  6. you had gaffes?

    seriously this is great. i had wanted to share the original video before but couldn’t because of that middle finger joke about creationists would just repel the friends i wanted to inform.

  7. Well, not as bad as Alvin the chipmunk, but I found this version pretty indigestible. I could only watch it for a few minutes.

    A lightly edited version sounds like a good idea.

    1. I was able to follow the video. But maybe that’s because I’m already familiar with the presentation having seen it a few times. It’s possible somebody who do not have familiarity or only casual interest would not be motivated to watch the whole thing.

  8. I actually really like this video! This way I can get the information almost as fast as reading, which is usually why I don’t watch videos.

  9. Yeah, because the only reason people don’t accept evolution is because they don’t want to spend more than 20 minutes learning about it.

    I wouldn’t be surprised if the creationists start using this video as a way to show how evolutionary theory is so “weak” that Jerry’s lecture had to be edited in order to sound good and plausible.

  10. I actually prefer to hear lectures in high speed. When I took biology, I used a voice recorder that allowed me to speed up the playback without the pitch being raised. You develop an ear for understanding things at faster and faster rates. The high speed forces you to concentrate, prevents you from getting bored (not that this lecture would have been boring at normal speed) and saves time.

    My one question after watching is, arent there more categories of evidence for evolution that you didnt have time to go through? I vaguely recall a youtube video from awhile back that summarized the evidence, and I thought there were 25 of so types of evidence. One type of evidence I remember was endogenous retrovirus. If thats not evidence for evolution, wouldnt the distribution of those genes at least be a peculiarity that can only be explained by evolution?

  11. My favorite is around 17:20 on bad design.

    “The prostate gland is a miracle of bad engineering. ONLY A MORON ENGINEER would design an organ that is prone to swelling surrounded by a collapsible pipe.”

  12. Whoa! Too fast.

    I listened to the original several time. Some edit for sure could shorten it and that would be great for sharing. It was a great talk from a great book.

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