T  W  I  N       C  I  T  I  E  S       C  R  E  A  T  I  O  N       S  C  I  E  N  C  E       A  S  S  O  C  I  A  T  I  O  N

From a Frog to a Prince recording timeline resolves questions

This timeline (click HERE to view) based on the main camera sound track of the interview, reconciles the three accounts of the interview, i.e. the published accounts of Richard Dawkins and Gillian Brown, and the unpublished account of Philip Hohnen, given in personal correspondence with AiG during 20012003. There seemed to be discrepancies between the three accounts, but our timeline is consistent with all three accounts and with the audio tape. The key to resolving the apparent inconsistencies is the realization that

1. Dawkins was questioned about information twice, first by Hohnen (A on timeline), after which the interview was interrupted, with Dawkins upset, and later by Brown (K), from behind the camera, when Dawkins had no ready answer.

Dawkins' anger erupted at the first occasion, when he suspected he might be speaking to creationists. This is what Dawkins recalled and gave as an excuse for his silence following the question on the video, which was asked some time later. In his recollection, Professor Dawkins conflated these two events.

After Philip Hohnen had been on a tour of the house with Mrs Dawkins (section D on timeline), and then negotiated with Richard Dawkins (E), the latter agreed to make a statement for recording. In his statement (G, J) Dawkins candidly admitted that evolution had to explain the information in living things and he claimed that mutations, aided by natural selection, created all the information. These very pro-evolution statements are on the video, just as Dawkins had wanted. After these confident assertions, Gillian Brown, from her position behind the camera, slipped in the question asking for an actual example of an evolutionary process that can be observed to increase the information in the genome (K). It would have been churlish of Dawkins not to try to answer this, in the light of the confident spiel he had just given. His look (on the video) of puzzlement, even consternation, had nothing to do with discovering the nature of the interview (this discovery happened much earlier). The fact that he failed to answer the question, even given time to think, should have been sufficient for any fair-minded observer to see that the silence (L) following the asking of the question revealed a lack of an answer, not a rising tide of anger, etc., as claimed by Dawkins.

2. There was a period (DE on the timeline) which was perceived differently by the three participants because they were actually doing different things at the time (e.g. Philip Hohnen was being given a guided tour of the house by Mrs Dawkins). When Hohnen returned from the tour, he did not see any evidence of a rapprochement between Dawkins and Brown. Hohnen then negotiated with Dawkins for a continuation of the videoing, with Dawkins agreeing to give a statement.

This timeline harmonizes the recollections of all involved but it also shows that the video producer did not manufacture Dawkins' silence and nor was Dawkins' silence due to a rising tide of anger over discovering that he was being interviewed by creationists (this happened earlier). Hohnen recalls that they parted in good humour. The segment where Dawkins fails to answer the information question is fair (in fact the period of silent puzzlement was considerably shortened on the video as produced).

It may be argued that Brown pushed the boundaries by asking the question at all when she had agreed for Dawkins to make a statement. However, it was a question begging to be asked after Dawkins' confident speech about the adequacies of natural processes in creating new information.

Philip Hohnen has checked the timeline, and vouches for its accuracy.

Yours sincerely

Andrew Lamb

Information Officer