Radio interview

I was interviewed by Clay Farris Naff at KZUM Lincoln about the scientific evidence for evolution and my take on the current spate of “critical thinking” bills circulating in state legislatures.

My remarks, along with those of Steven Newton of the National Center for Science Education, can be found as a podcast at Star City Blog (Steve is part 1, I’m part 2).

I haven’t listened to my part, for, like many people, I hate hearing myself.


  1. Posted April 25, 2011 at 6:26 am | Permalink

    If you think listening to yourself talk is bad…well, listing to recordings of yourself playing a musical instrument are ten times worse. *Every* little microscopic imperfection comes back to haunt you, over and over and over again….



    • sasqwatch
      Posted April 25, 2011 at 7:18 am | Permalink

      I notice this, too. What makes it infinitely worse in my case is that I usually wind up being the guy that has to mix, master and author DVDs involving my performances.

    • daveau
      Posted April 25, 2011 at 8:15 am | Permalink

      Dammit, yeah. I’ve got one phrase from 30 years ago that still haunts me. I wanted to punch it in then, but nobody else could hear what I was talking about. Fix it in the mix my ass.

      I’m with JC on replaying interviews, though. I never sound as articulate as I thought I did at the time.

    • Marella
      Posted April 25, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      Huh, it’s worse having to listen to recordings of yourself singing, oh the pain. The great thing about live performance is that when it’s over, it’s OVER.

    • Posted April 25, 2011 at 8:19 pm | Permalink

      When I first heard a recording of myself, aged 5, I cried my eyes out. I grew up to be a broadcaster and heard myself so much that my through-the-head and recorded voices came to sound much the same to me.

  2. Posted April 25, 2011 at 6:45 am | Permalink

    I just finished listening to the interview, and you really did quite a good job. I’m sure it’s not easy to clearly summarize the foundation of an entire field of modern science in all of fifteen minutes…but you did so and still had time left over for some political analysis!

    What’s your secret? All that practice you get in the classroom? Or could you do this sort of thing when you were still a student, yourself? Or…?


  3. Posted April 25, 2011 at 7:03 am | Permalink

    No mention of the JC Project?

  4. Posted April 25, 2011 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    I also listened to the interview with Steven Newton. He did exactly what we’ve been asking the NCSE to do: advocate for religion-free science education.

    He did not offer any Bible study lessons preaching a particular interpretation of scripture.

    He didn’t authoritatively proclaim the compatibility of divine revelation and scientific inquiry.

    He didn’t slander anybody, including atheists.

    He didn’t even castigate any atheists for existing and therefore chasing theists away from science like scared children.

    Instead, he simply and clearly laid out the case for secular science education and explained why the current political antics are worng and unconstitutional.

    So, if Mr. Newton is capable of doing his job in an exemplary fashion, why do so many of his cow-orkers fail so miserably?



    • sasqwatch
      Posted April 25, 2011 at 7:19 am | Permalink

      cow-orkers. I need to remember that, intentional or no.

      • Posted April 25, 2011 at 7:25 am | Permalink

        My use was intentional, though apocrypha would suggest the original might or might not have been….


        • Posted April 25, 2011 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

          I’ve very fond of “cow-orkers”. Has there been a study of cow-orking, cow-orkology?

      • Posted April 25, 2011 at 7:25 am | Permalink

        My use was intentional, though apocrypha would suggest the original might or might not have been….


  5. Grania Spingies
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 7:15 am | Permalink

    I thought you sounded most distinguished, like a Learned Statesman.

    On a side point, Ireland has a non-religious anti-evolutionist, he’s widely regarded as a figure of fun, but still he managed to bring shame to the then current Minister of Science who apparently “endorsed” his writings until the general public kicked up a fuss.
    for an analysis of the Argument from Ignorance.

    • Posted April 25, 2011 at 7:49 am | Permalink

      Did you mean a ‘gnu statesman’?

      • Grania Spingies
        Posted April 25, 2011 at 8:03 am | Permalink

        You are of course correct.

    • SLC
      Posted April 25, 2011 at 11:05 am | Permalink

      Evolution basher David Berlinski purports to be a non-believer.

  6. Posted April 25, 2011 at 8:45 am | Permalink

    “I haven’t listened to my part, for, like many people, I hate hearing myself.”

    I’m listening to it now, Jerry. It’s extremely good. Try it!


  7. Posted April 25, 2011 at 10:41 am | Permalink

    Think of it this way, at least you weren’t cursed with David Berlinski’s larynx.

  8. SLC
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 11:08 am | Permalink

    I believe that Prof. Coyne misspoke in the interview. He indicated that humans have a broken gene for vitamin C while the other great apes have a functioning gene. It is my information that the vitamin C gene is also broken in the great apes, which is a strong indication of common ancestry between humans and apes.

    • whyevolutionistrue
      Posted April 25, 2011 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

      Yes, you’re right–I did misspeak. What I meant is that other MAMMALS have vitamin C-making systems; this is, I recall, in my book. But our primate relatives have the broken gene. I’ll look this up to be sure.

      Thanks for the correction

  9. Michael Fisher
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 11:55 am | Permalink

    Thanks for the link to the two podcasts ~ an enjoyable listen. Naff asked you to explain the bullet points of evolutionary theory in a few minutes ~ seemingly over the ‘phone…

    You did good

    As for Naff ~ his soporific tone doesn’t work for a 30-minute Saturday morning show & he signs off with an antara (‘orrible Andean Panpipes) backing…

    He’s just got to be a closet Deist/hippy type 🙂

    • sasqwatch
      Posted April 25, 2011 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      “…I’d rather be a hammer than a snail… yes I would…”

      • Michael Fisher
        Posted April 25, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

        Precisely ~ that Peruvian pipe ‘ambience’…

        I shudder in disgust at that tune covered & murdered by S&G, Perry Como & Julie Felix & no doubt many others

        Maybe not murder ~ I’ve never heard the original “El Condor Pasa” & maybe it was dead already

  10. Posted April 25, 2011 at 2:26 pm | Permalink

    This is the first time I have heard Jerry’s voice, and I quite like the interview. It is clear enough (over a skype line perhaps?), has good depth of content and a bit of humour in it. Very nice.
    I don’t know what fundamentalist Ceiling Catologists would think of the mentioning that dogs and cats both have goosebumps, implying that dogs and cats are related and have a common ancestor. But that is where the evidence leads us, no matter how unpleasant the truths might seem to our delicate sensibilities 😉

  11. TrineBM
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    I really liked the interview. The interviewer hardly interrupted at all, and his questions were appropriate and about the subject discussed. Wow!
    And I think you did a great job of explaining so much in such a short format. Great! very enjoyable.
    I worked as a radiohost/presenter/editor for more than 15 years, and I do not have a voice that is naturally “radio-smooth”, so I had to work on it, and I hated my own voice for the first many years. One thing that helped me getting used to my own voice (end eventually even liking it) was practising my texts with my hands cupped in front of my years (“handcups” turning backwards). That makes your voice sound more like the voice other people hear, than the one you hear. The other thing was accepting, that that hideous voice of mine was in fact MORE me, than the nice one I heard in my head. The yucky voice was the one all my friends heard … well, some even still liked me even though I sounded so awful. 😉

  12. Dawn Oz
    Posted April 25, 2011 at 3:52 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for putting it out there so clearly, and for making the point that ‘critical thinking’ is only asked for in evolution, not other areas of science. And what is science, if not critical thinking!! Its a huge game which has to be played, and played out.

  13. Posted April 25, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Permalink

    It is sad that the religious folks in this world have no idea that what they are proposing is to take us back to the bronze age. Fortunately there are enough people who are smart enough not to allow this to happen

  14. MarcusA1971
    Posted April 28, 2011 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

    Nice interview. Covered the evidence for evolution very well, particularly the evidence that only makes sense in light of evolutionary theory (foetal coats of hair, inactive genes etc). Professor Coyne speaks very well, he need not feel self concious at all.

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