Posted by: Mark Nielsen | September 27, 2008

Obama, Darwin, Baseball & the Scientific Fascists (Part 1)

Let’s see… what culture war casualties came across my desk this week?

Ah, here’s one: apparently Michael Reiss, [www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/science/article4768820.ece]
a highly accomplished British biologist and educator, was forced to resign from leadership in the Royal Society of Science this week, for daring to suggest that some parts of Intelligent Design theory might actually be worthy of discussion. Apparently in post-Christian England, birthplace of Charles Darwin, scientists demand strict acceptance of evolution (the supposed “mechanisms” of which keep changing slightly, in case you had not noticed, even though good science is supposed to be static, provable and repeatable).

Here in the U.S., one of the biggest and most popular scientist/historians in the U.S. on the subject of Darwin’s work was paleontologist Stephen Jay Gould http://www.mesothel.com/profiles/gould.htm . But for all you Joe Lunchboxes out there, you’d probably recognize Gould first as one of the interview subjects in Ken Burns’ terrific Baseball series of documentaries.

What put me in mind of Gould this week, however, was not the Yankees (so long, you overpaid suckers!), nor the shrillness of the evolution/creationism debate, but news about the suicide on Sept. 12th of another leading American author and academic, David Foster Wallace.

[continued in Part 2, also dated 9-27]


Responses

  1. “good science is supposed to be static, provable and repeatable”

    Fail. Have you never heard of the term ‘theory’? Face it: Darwin was remarkably prescient for his time and although he didn’t get everything right or think of everything, the majority of his work has been vindicated countless times by science since.

    Creationism (“intelligent design” is an disingenuous irony) is a crackpot ‘theory’ that has nothing to offer the world, yet still won’t stop harping on as though it deserves consideration. To claim that there is no evidence for evolution, or conversely that there is any evidence for creationism, is a crime against science and reason.

  2. There’s plenty of great evidence for evolution. I’m basically a believer in natural selection and Darwin’s principles, as I have said in other blog entries here, and in at least one essay at the site Quantum Pork. But the majority of good scientists ALSO advocate an almost religious, dogmatic exclusion of a deity from any part of actual existence. I’m merely criticizing that exclusionary bias, one that would make them force out somebody who is trying to integrate religious theory with scientific theory… scientific theory which then runs to the high ground claiming to be fact, and is allowed to get away with it in an increasingly liberalized version of academia which refuses to admit its own non-scientific (aka political or anti-religious) biases. Reason is a wonderful thing, and Darwin was brilliant. But he started out as a clergyman-in-training, and up to the end, *never* painted a picture with no room for God to take part. It’s ahistorical and nonscientific to claim evolution=atheism. Do your homework.


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