Evolving Thoughts

Evolution, culture, philosophy and chocolate! John Wilkins' continuing struggle to come to terms with impermanence... "Humanus sum, nihil humanum a me alienum puto" - Terence

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Past my use-by date

Well, I survived my 50th birthday, and celebrated it by moving house and welcoming my son to stay with me. The rest of the family move up over the next six weeks.

This means that I must lessen the amount of blogging for a while, and work on my ... umm... work. Go read Pharyngula for education and entertainment.

But a couple of points for now:
  1. Intelligent Design has been shown in court to be rebadged creationism, and its leading proponents have been, shall we say, dissembling over that point. We hope that the judge, who has shown a healthy sense of the ridiculous and humour, will rule sensibly. This will not stop the ID movement in any way. They are a political, not a theological or scientific, movement. They aim to control the minds of those who will constitute the next generation of legislators, in order to establish what can only be described as a religious society of intolerance. They haven't lost, but they are very far from winning, and we must remain vigilant to ensure that they don't. One thing that has struck me most of all about this is Steve Fuller's support from ID as "possible science". Fuller is a well-known "sociology of scientific knowledge" (SSK) academic in the UK (although he is originally from the US). His "expert witness" deposition boiled down to "we can't prove it's not science so let it in" which is, as I have said before, epistemic nihilism. It goes to reinforce my prejudices about SSK: they don't actually care about knowledge, but about power relations. It is epistemological democracy gone mad - as if being elite in knowledge production was a bad thing. On reflection, Fuller is a perfect ally for ID, because they both reject the notion that we can actually find out about the world.
  2. The other is that Gavrilets continues to inspire me. I wish that I had sufficient math to be able to follow every equation and work out the implications, but I don't. So my point here kids is: learn your algebra, trig and calculus. Not because it will help you do anything, but because it is the mark of a properly educated person. [Yes, this makes me uneducated, but I knew that already. I'm self-educated, and I blame my teacher. Seriously, I had very many good teachers late in my education, and very many poor teachers early. The reverse would have been much better.] Gavrilets will lead me to make more posts on speciation later.