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

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Intelligent deceit

The real ID is the shady Designer who impels IDevotees to propose a really stupid idea as science, according to Richard Palmer of the University of Alberta in a letter to Nature. I blogged it on Panda's Thumb. Check out the comments - some of them are really funny and clever.

Friday, November 25, 2005

One eyed? Moi?

I am a little bit monomanic. For the past decade or so I have been obsessing about ontology (of biology, mostly, but with a healthy - if that is the word - dose of Aristotelian metaphysics). So when I go to the confirmation seminar (thesis proposal talk) of a really smart student, I actually forgot it was about moral philosophy, and started in on type-token distinctions. When he replied, "but that doesn't affect the moral claims" I wondered to myself, "what's that got to do with it?

Sometimes one forgets there are other topics than the one you like the most...

Update on Wilkins

For those of you who follow what I write professionally, I just updated my Publications page, with links to the texts where copyright permits. You need to go to my website www.wilkins.id.au which is a University of Queensland site, so it's going to tell you this isn't an official site and any and all stupidities contained therein are the fault of the party of the first part, sub judice, res ipse loquitur. I think somebody let the lawyers out...

Then click on the side link to Published Papers.

Wednesday, November 23, 2005

What makes scientists mad?

Bad science, mostly. People like Behe don't help, but there are Good Guys out there ready to stomp on bad science. One of them is my good friend Paul Z Myers (I occasionally have trouble spelling his name, but that's just an in-joke). So it does my heart a power of good, as Dennis Bloodnok might say, to see a really good article on Paul in CityPages.com. Even if he does have a cephalopod fetish. Read it and see what a Real Scientist is like.

And why do I hold Dr Myarz in such high esteem? He once drove 1000 miles (that's a lot more in real measurements) to have dinner with me and a bunch of Canadians in Toronto. Oh, and he does a wicked science blog...

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Do they know it's Christmas?

One of the long recurring urban myths you will see in the press about this time is the claim that "secularists" want to ban Christmas and replace it with "Holiday" or "Season".

Ed Brayton, at Dispatches from the Culture Wars, has a summary of an article by Michelle Goldberg in Salon, which traces the history of this meme back to the 1920s. It is an anti-semitic myth that has been repurposed, largely by white supremacists, against the "secularists" and the UN today.

I wouldn't mention it except I've seen it in our media too. Personally I think we should do what they say, and replace it with the Solstice of the appropriate hemisphere. Give the buggers something to really worry about. Happy Summer Solstice all you Antipodeans...