North Carolina Visit

I’m now in Chapel Hill, North Carolina for the Carolina Law Review Symposium on Religion in the Public Schools. Dan Feldman kindly picked me up at the airport and transported me to the Carolina Inn in Chapel Hill, which will also be the site of the symposium.

Richard Katskee is in another session of this symposium. We were able to meet for dinner at the Carolina Crossroads restaurant in the inn. I got the grilled salmon, which was delicious. In between bites, we ran over our respective presentations and made comments, to the betterment of both.

I need to keep this short, because stuff gets going early in the morning and runs on a tight schedule all day. There are a few fifteen minute breaks and an hour off for lunch, but otherwise it is sessions, sessions, sessions. I don’t even see a proper drinking opportunity in the schedule, which doesn’t quite mesh with the history of “symposium”.

I’m in a session about the scientific legitimacy of “intelligent design”. The person advocating for intelligent design is Prof. Scott Minnich. The whole session is a mere 50 minutes long. There’s five minutes budgeted for the moderator introduction, five for me to present evolutionary biology (!!!), five for Scott to present intelligent design, thirty for a series of questions that Scott and I submitted for each other to be given, and five for questions from the audience. I’m going to suggest to Aaron Young, the moderator, that we alter the format and alternate between the prepared questions and questions from the audience, or at least shift some time from the prepared questions to the audience question period. Five minutes looks way too short for that.

Wesley R. Elsberry

Falconer. Interdisciplinary researcher: biology and computer science. Data scientist in real estate and econometrics. Blogger. Speaker. Photographer. Husband. Christian. Activist.

4 thoughts on “North Carolina Visit

  • 2006/02/23 at 11:08 pm

    At what time is your session? Perhaps I can make it.

    How long are you staying in CH? Any socializing plans?

  • 2006/02/24 at 12:54 pm

    Sorry… 2:30 PM at the Carolina Inn. I’m planning on staying with relatives Friday night. My flight back is Saturday afternoon.

  • 2006/02/25 at 12:50 am

    I dug around that website and found it was on 2:30 which was not the time I could make it (picking up the kids from school etc.).

    Like the talk you posted above – but how was the “debate”?

    Well, hopefully we’ll meet some other time….

  • 2006/02/26 at 1:22 am

    The “debate” went reasonably well. There were prepared questions that we took for about 15 minutes, and then questions from the audience. I’ve been thinking of ways to counter the masses of quotes used by Minnich in his responses. There was a plain misquote, an assertion that Daniel Dennett had advocated taking children away from parents who advocated creationism. I said I was skeptical that Dennett said any such thing, noting Dennett’s actual stance that not all beliefs deserve protection and respect, where his idea of quarantine was made in the context of talking about belief systems that advocated violence or murder. I was able to look up stuff about Dennett and found that William Dembski had made a similar statement in 2000, which he then “clarified” (Billy Grassie called it a retraction). I mentioned this to Minnich following the end of the symposium, and he said that perhaps he was thinking about something Dawkins said.

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