Archives for September, 2006

Coming to Life

One of the nice things about being a big shot science blogger is that publishers frequently send you free books to review. In fact, lately they’ve been arriving a lot faster than I can read them. One book that turned up recently in my mailbox was Coming to Life: How Genes Drive Development, by Nobel…

The Miller-Myers Kerfuffle

It all started when Pat Hayes, of Red State Rabble, posted this blog entry describing a recent talk given by Ken Miller at the University of Kansas. Miller, you will recall, is the author of Finding Darwin’s God. The first half of this book is brilliant in explaining some of the evidence for evolution, and…

Blunt Talk From Connelsville

From the Connelsville Daily Courier, a Pennsylvania newspaper, comes this blunt assessment of the merits of evolution. The essay is by guest columnist Rosemary Fike: The United States of America no longer can be called a Christian nation. In fact, we could be called a nation of fools. We are quietly allowing our schoolchildren to…

The Trouble With Moderation

Another point made in the Newsweek article mentioned in the previous post is that Harris et al are as hard on religious moderates as they are on the fundamentalists: It is not just extremists who earn the wrath of Dawkins and Harris. Their books are attacks on religious “moderates” as well–indeed, the very idea of…

Adler on Atheism

Via Afarensis, I came across this Newsweek article about atheism. It focuses mainly on Sam Harris, RIchard Dawkins and Daniel Dennett. Overall I think it’s a pretty good article. Here are a few highlights: This was not a message most Americans wanted to hear, before or after 9/11. Atheists “are seen as a threat to…

It seems the big evolution confab in Rome has ended. The verdict? No change: A participant at the Pope’s closed door symposium on creation and evolution, Jesuit Fr Joseph Fessio, has denied speculation about a change in the Church’s teaching on evolution, saying nothing presented at the meeting broke new ground and that American debates…

Is Evolution Practical?

Jerry Coyne has a review of the new book The Evolving World: Evolution in Everyday Life, by David Mindell, in the current issue of Nature. The ID folks are crowing over this remark: To some extent these excesses are not Mindell’s fault, for, if truth be told, evolution hasn’t yielded many practical or commercial benefits.…

Still More on Poincare

The August 28 issue of The New Yorker features this magisterial article about the Poincare conjecture. The focus of the article is on the priority dispute between Grigory Perelman on the one hand, and a team of Chinese mathematicians led by Harvard’s Shing-Tung Yau on the other. According to the article, Yau believes that the…

Paulos on Creationist Math

Mathematician John Allen Paulos offers these worthy thoughts on the subject of creationist arguments based on probability theory: But there’s another contributing factor to this opposition to evolution that I’d like to discuss here. It is the concerted attempt by creationists to dress up in the garb of mathematics fundamentalist claims about human origins and…

Roughgarden on Selfish Genes

In this entry from last week I mentioned Joan Roughgarden’s recent book Evolution and Christian Faith, and praised her firm dismissal of ID. Sadly, there are many other parts of her brief book where I believe she has missed the boat. One such part concerns her criticism of Richard Dawkins’ idea of the selfish gene.…

Evolution Meeting in Rome

The New York Times reports on the big evolution meeting in Rome: They meet every year, the eminent German professor and his old doctoral students, for a weekend of high-minded talk on a chosen topic. For years it was nothing more than that. But now the professor, once called Joseph Ratzinger, has become Pope Benedict…

Steve Irwin, RIP

I was watching Steve Irwin before it was cool. I discovered him by accident, channel surfing. Commercial, commercial, Law & Order, infomercial, holy crap is that guy picking up snakes by the tail?! As I recall, it was a show called, “The Ten Deadliest Snakes in Australia.” He was not a big star at this…