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Posts Tagged ‘Evolution’

A Conversation With Eminent Scientists

February 19th, 2012 Comments off

I recently finished reading Lawrence Krauss’ A Universe from Nothing: Why There Is Something Rather than Nothing while on vacation. A quick and easy read for those with a decent level of scientific literacy, it was graced by an afterward from Richard Dawkins. It’s unfortunate that Christopher Hitchens’ planned forward for the book was derailed by his illness; nevertheless, a book featuring two of the four prominent American scientist-atheists (joining Neil de Grasse Tyson and Dan Denntt) still provided quite a bit of umph to it.

I still intend to get around to doing a review of the book, but in the meantime I thought I would share this outstanding talk between the two authors. It was hosted by the Origins Project headed by Krauss at Arizona State University and featured a fine discussion on science in general, atheism and a bit on American politics.

This is no debate, as these two scientists share a similar world view and the audience also trended toward the science-focused, areligious types. Perhaps as a result, Krauss tends to earn some cheap laughs at the expense of the Republican leadership. That doesn’t prevent the video being well worth the viewing time for an intelligent discussion on abiogenesis, evolution and the exciting quantum physics discussed in “A Universe From Nothing.”

Richard Dawkins’ “Growing Up in the Universe”

May 11th, 2010 Comments off

The Royal Institution Christmas Lectures for Children were founded by British natural philosopher Michael Faraday in 1825.  One hundred sixty-six years later, Oxford biologist and staunch atheist Richard Dawkins took the stage for five, one-hour lectures that touch generally on evolution in a manner best suited for children.  In a world where children are most often indoctrinated with theological explanations of man’s origin, a lecture series such as this was particularly intriguing.

Dawkins is, of course, the author of several books on evolution and atheism, most notably The God Delusion.  In this lecture, with the crowd on hand, Dawkins is not his normally abrasive self.  Quite to the contrary, he makes a concerted effort to be truly engaging.

Furthermore, while many of his demonstrations seem a bit comical due to the then-cutting-edge and now-primitive computer technology, he makes convincing and eloquent arguments to debunk the ID myths of irreducible complexity and inconceivability of chance.

As a note, I’m filing this under TED Tuesday, even though it’s not a TED lecture.

The Dawkins Foundation for Science and Reason has made all five one-hour lectures available on YouTube and I’ve embedded them after the jump.  Click through to view. Read more…

Symphony of Science – AutoTuning the Knowledge

January 27th, 2010 Comments off

If the Gregory Brothers can Auto-Tune the News, John Boswell over at Symphony of Science figured he could “bring scientific knowledge and philosophy to the masses, in a novel way, through the medium of music.”  IMO, he’s put together some really great stuff here.   While I don’t have the time to produce real content of my own, I figured I ought to provide some good entertainment that can still pique the mind.

Note that you can download the movies and the MP3s at Boswell’s site.

The Unbroken Thread, featuring Attenborough, Goodall and Sagan


The Creationism Musuem… Must… Go… There.

January 4th, 2010 Comments off

At the Creationism Museum you can teach your little ones "real" history... like the "fact" that people rode Triceratops by putting saddles on them. Yep, good science.

There is a magical land about 5 miles west of Cincinnati where the beauty of imagination meets the batshit crazy of Glenn Beck and Sarah Palin. This land is the Creationism Museum.

Back when it opened, Ed Rothstein of the New York Times did a critical writeup of it, and Wired announced it was the last straw of crazy.  I can’t say I disagree with Wired on much of anything… least of all this.

I have long sought the opportunity or reason to visit Petersburg, KY to see the Museum, but have had no excuse to go to Cincy. I initially thought the museum was in the south-central part of Kentucky, in which case I could have driven up during a trip to Nashville, but there is really little excuse to ever intentionally go to Ohio, much less Kentucky. So, alas, I have to rely on the visits of others for photographic evidence of the insanity.


My Jack Handy Moments: Alan Thicke was a crappy Dad

December 8th, 2009 Comments off

So ABC tried to convince us for eight years that Alan Thicke (as Dr. Jason Seaver) was the greatest dad in the world.  He and Joanna Kerns’ Maggie Malone raised the perfect family that dealt rationally with all the issues life faced them with.

But here’s the problem.  Little Ben had a nervous breakdown halfway through the series’ run at 10 years old and later couldn’t cut it and dropped out of USC… Benji the dog could enroll and get through USC.

Carol was a nutcase on the show and was certifiable as the poster child for anorexia nervosa in real life.  500-calorie a day diets will do that.

And Mike… good old Mike went off the deep end and became a born again nutcase who’s mission in life is to link Darwin and Hitler and to fight atheism (and rational thought) anywhere he might find it.

So my conclusion is that Dr. Jason Seaver was… and you, Mr. Alan Thicke, are… a really crappy dad (and an even worse psychologist).

Not Surprised: Palin is a Creationist

November 17th, 2009 1 comment

Sure enough, in her picture book entitled Going Rouge (oh, wait, that said Rogue?), the biggest blow to American political legitimacy since Monica was on her knees admitted that she doesn’t believe in evolution.

From Michiko Kakutani’s NYT review:

Elsewhere in this volume she talks about creationism, saying she “didn’t believe in the theory that human beings — thinking, loving beings — originated from fish that sprouted legs and crawled out of the sea” or from “monkeys who eventually swung down from the trees.” In everything that happens to her, from meeting Todd to her selection by Mr. McCain for the Republican ticket, she sees the hand of God: “My life is in His hands. I encourage readers to do what I did many years ago, invite Him in to take over.”

(via Think Progress, via Digg)

Sometimes I really doubt this country and am incredulous that so many of our citizens (and, sadly, many of our leaders) cannot reconcile science with faith. It’s not complicated, it’s just accepting that religious texts are written by men and framed by their understanding of how things operate. Whether a God inspired them is not vitiated by accepting that the Bible is not the actual, specific words used by God.

Heck, if you’re reading the Bible in English you’re reading a translation which, in and of itself, means necessarily that there is a human influence beyond the initial text. That is incontrovertible.

Click through to keep reading. Read more…