Thursday, February 12, 2009

And another thing...

Another big debate that's been bubbling away over recent years is reaching a high point this year. Evolution - Darwinism. The Ulster Museum seem to have got into a bit of a tangle with their announcement today. The BBC are going into overdrive on the subject this year to mark the 200th anniversary of Darwin's birth

About 20 years ago I heard Prof John Lennox of Oxford University speaking in a masterful series of lectures on the subject - I still have the audio tapes in the roofspace somewhere. Like with the climate debate in the blog post immediately below, the Norn Iron MSM (mainstream media) revel in pitching an academic or scientist against a politician - just as they did on Radio Ulster this morning on the Ulster Museum thing - and all stoked up by the presenter whose job often seems to be to create an on-air storm, to generate heat but not necessarily light.

With this approach, the subtle subtext to the general public is one of fresh voice versus not yer man again / intelligent person versus professional mouthpiece / softly spoken versus one of those people that usually rants. Hardly the standard of presentation that the subject often requires, or that the public deserves.

What we hardly ever get at all is well informed discussion and debate. However, at the end of last year, John Lennox debated Richard Dawkins in the USA (an audio clip of the complete discussion is on Google Video here).

John Lennox's website is an excellent source of some short video clips where he tackles some of the biggest ethical issues of our age. Take a few minutes and have a look for yourself. And he has the added bonus of not having lost his Ulster accent!

And if you want to find out a bit about how a wee Belfast Presbyterian is to blame for Darwin's theory, this website by Rev Keith Drury of May St Presbyterian Church will tell you the story - click here for the PDF.


PS - I forgot to say that the ship on which Darwin made his famous trip to the Galapagos Islands was yet another Belfast man - Captain Robert Fitzroy (1805-1865). More info about Fitzroy is available at the top of the Google rankings here - it'll download a PDF.


Newton_Lass said...

Aye, these Ulstermen get everywhere, even if they don't always get the glory for it.

Shackleton's second surgeon on The Endurance was Dr James Archibald McIlroy (1879-1968) originally from Ballyclare, so possibly related to Arhibald McIlroy the Ulster-Scots novelist. The whole Elephant island episode obviously didn't put him off polar exploration, as he went on a subsequent expedition with Shackleton.