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]