Julia Galef has been a bit quiet lately. Her YouTube channel has been dark for along time, and even her podcast, Rationally Speaking, has slowed down for a while, so it’s good to see this from her. In it, she discusses a letter from Charles Darwin to one of his critics, one that actually thanked the critic for fairly representing his work and for making valid points.
In some ways, it’s reassuring that debates from 1860 were just as contentious as many today. F. J. Pictet de la Rive’s critique sounds like it met the standard I noted in the epiphany post, one that’s also been advocated by Daniel Dennett and many others. There’s a lot to be said for describing your opponent’s position well enough that they see it as fair. And the idea that Darwin could agree with all his criticisms, but honestly note that it came down to how they weighted those factors, probably resonates with a lot of our modern debates.