28 thoughts on “My book talk in D.C.

  1. Very much worth a listen. The audio quality is quite good, the content as good as to be expected of Jerry.

  2. There’s a TRIGGER WARNING at the beginning.

    I’m now pre-triggered. In the future, please warn in advance that you’re going to trigger warn by providing a pre-trigger warning.

    And thank you Ben G. for the recording.

    1. I too am glad there was a warning there was a trigger warning! I would have been a bit shocked otherwise, and may have been too distressed to listen properly. 🙂

      Good talk Jerry – I enjoyed it. As dargndorp says above, it’s worth a listen. The audio quality is good, which it often isn’t in these things, which helps a lot.

      The person who asked the last question, who was obviously a reader of this website – you have a very nice voice! (Don’t worry, I’m not the weirdo stalker type!)

  3. Great talk and recording. I was surprised at the rabbi’s response and challenge to your religious knowledge. He seemed to have really hurt feelings over the interpretation of the “sacred” word – faith, but basically sounded like a humanist, himself.

    1. Yeah, the rabbi sounded like he was still struggling to reconcile religion and science, no matter what, and so was compelled to demand that Jerry support that reconciliation. I felt sad for the rabbi. Jerry really handled the situation very well, though — and all the other challengers very well, too.

  4. Really enjoyed the talk. Couldn’t download the audio file, and I had to reload the page (kept freezing) about 20 times to get through it, but it was worth the effort. I think it was better than you characterized it earlier, and better than Jason Rosenhouse’s review.

  5. I listened to the whole thing. This talk reminded me why Jerry Coyne is one of my favourite people, I always get excited whenever I find new Jerry Coyne content on the internet 😀

  6. Listening right now and enjoying it.

    Getting some good laughs from the audience, so that’s a good thing.

    Only slightly critical thing I can say is sometimes you sound like you’re rushing a bit. Are you being held to a time constraint?

    I have a question though. Is there any place we can check to find out ahead of time where you will be speaking? (other than here, of course)

    1. Yes, there was a time constraint (30 min max), and I had a lot to say and knew I’d have to rush to get through it. I wanted at least a half hour for Q&A. No, you have to read here to find out where I’ll be speaking. Where else would it be?

      1. Maybe through your publisher’s webpage or something, I dunno, I’m not used to rubbing elbows with famous authors! I just didn’t know if there was some list of engagements already posted somewhere that I’d either missed or forgotten about.

  7. I just finished listening to the talk at the bookstore. I only have one piece of advice – stay the hell away from the north shore of Lake Michigan. 😎🌊

  8. Thank you Ben Goren for finding it and thank you professor for putting it on your website!

  9. “There’s a TRIGGER WARNING at the beginning.”
    Did you say anything even remotely triggering through the presentation? :/

  10. I thought you handled the questions in a perfectly reasonable manner. The rabbi’s position was incoherent. I couldn’t figure out what his point was, unless he just wanted to claim that you don’t know as much about Judaism as he does. He as much as said that he had no faith in the supernatural.

    A persistent theme is that people conflate the different meanings of “faith”: faith in the supernatural vs. faith in your doctor or faith in scientific facts, which are entirely different things. It might be useful to address that up front to pre-empt such questions.

    1. Agreed! I listened with, at times, astonishment as the Rabbi and others went off on diatribes that, I suspect, served no useful purpose to either Jerry or other attendees. I’ll add that, and please pardon the expression, our web site host showed the patience of Job while suffering those rants. I would have cut them off much sooner, which may or may not be a Good Thing: sometimes when your philosophical opponents are busy digging a hole it is better to let them keep digging.

  11. Around 49 minutes, the rabbi asserts you can have judaism without supernaturalism. Well, what’s the point of following jewish rules (i.e. not eating pork) if there is no God that gets angry if you don’t follow the rules? Judaism without the supernatural makes no sense.

    1. Pork aside, Judaism has a New Year for Trees! It has laws requiring, for example, that you feed your animals before you feed yourself, because you’ve taken them out of the wild, forced them to depend on you, so you must be responsible, laws against cutting down trees (again, a tree thing — I’m such a tree hugger!), and there’s a tremendous emphasis on education, particularly through questions challenging authority. Before germ theory, Judaism required hand washing at times we now require it, too, like before sitting down to eat.

  12. Glad to hear a reference to the Bible prophet (Elisha?) who did the world’s first recorded controlled scientific experiment, demonstrating the impotence of Baal (1 Kings 18:25).

    Elisha challenged priests of Ball to see if Baal could start a fire in a wood pile with a slaughtered ox on top of it, and Baal failed. According to the Bible, Yahweh could do it just fine. The methodology was defined in advance, carefully described, rigorously carried out under controlled conditions and eventually published in a peer reviewed journal.

    The experiment could easily be replicated today, and priests should accept the results. (Though not be slaughtered as in Elisha’s day.)

    The thing is this shows that scientific thinking and experimental procedures are as old as the hills, and are a part of human nature.

    (Still waiting for Amazon Germany to send out the book. There’s been a postal strike. It should have arrived last week.)

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