Philosophy Talk and Intelligent Design


It’s not quite “Car Talk,” but it’s not ter­ri­bly far away. Phi­los­o­phy Talk, a week­ly pub­lic radio pro­gram pre­sent­ed by two Stan­ford phi­los­o­phy pro­fes­sors, offers a “down-to-earth and no-non­sense approach” to phi­los­o­phy that’s engag­ing, if not enter­tain­ing. The show, which can be streamed from the web site, tends to range wide­ly. In recent weeks, they’ve tak­en a look at neu­ro­science, Amer­i­can prag­ma­tism, quan­tum real­i­ty, war crimes, belief in God, and dream­ing, each time inter­view­ing a lead­ing thinker in the field and also post­ing help­ful, relat­ed infor­ma­tion on the The Phi­los­o­phy Talk blog.

To get a feel for how Ken Tay­lor and John Per­ry run their show, you may want to check out an episode that deals with intel­li­gent design, a the­o­ry that has emerged out of Amer­i­ca’s cul­ture wars to com­pete philo­soph­i­cal­ly or ide­o­log­i­cal­ly (depend­ing on how you see things) with evo­lu­tion. Here, the hosts are joined by Daniel Den­nett, the Direc­tor of the Cen­ter for Cog­ni­tive Stud­ies at Tufts Uni­ver­si­ty and the author of Dar­win’s Dan­ger­ous Idea. Togeth­er, they tack­le the essen­tial ques­tions: “Is there any rea­son to
think the cause or caus­es of order in the uni­verse bear an even remote anal­o­gy to human intel­li­gence? Even if they did, would that mean these intel­li­gent caus­es had the benev­o­lence and sense of jus­tice required of a Chris­t­ian God? Is this whole issue one of sci­ence, reli­gion, or phi­los­o­phy?” You can catch the episode on iTunes or stream it through Real Play­er. (Also check out the resources at the bot­tom of this page.)

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