Evolving Thoughts

John S. Wilkins

My new blog

For those who come here from old links, my new blog address is evolvingthoughts.net This blog is no longer active.

Evolving Thoughts moves

So it is farewell… I have enjoyed blogging here at Seed, who have been generally very good to me given the constraints of herding cats with string they are working under, but it is time to move on. The neighborhood became a little hostile to old fashioned fogies like me, and that’s all we need…

There’s some reorganising of my life and blogging going on. I’ll announce all the changes to links and stuff in a fortnight or less. Please excuse the dust and noise of the construction behind the plastic sheets.

In addition to the “missing link” trope that is being dished out about the new primate fossil, is another one, more subtle and insidious: it’s the ancestor of all primates. How do they know that? Consider a biologically realistic scenario: at the time there were probably hundreds of species of small bodied mammals with tails…

Alpha Fail

Philosophy and evolution

One of the problems that many people have with evolution is not religious, but philosophical. If evolution is true, they think, then we are at sea – nothing is fixed, nothing is determinate, all coherence is gone, as Donne famously lamented of the death of the two-sphere universe and physics. This is, I believe, a…

Anyone who has had to order textbooks for students knows how expensive they are. Here’s something that I hope may end up a trend amongst academics: Creative Commons licensed texts. P.D. Magnus wrote a logic textbook, forall x, which he made available under the CC license; and now David Morris of the University of Lethbridge…

The wonderful Project Gutenberg has just released a fully HTMLised version of R. C. Punnett’s (he of the famous “square”) 1911 book Mendelism, which shows how quickly the implications of Mendelian genetics, rediscovered 11 years earlier, were worked through. It’s a wonderful read, and anyone with a slight knowledge of biology and the interest to…

Quote

The custom of making abstract dogmatic assertions is not, certainly, derived from the teaching of Jesus, but has been a widespread weakness among religious teachers in subsequent centuries. I do not think that the word for the Christian virtue of faith should be prostituted to mean the credulous acceptance of all such piously intended assertions.…

Moral atheists

I find it highly ironic that the people taking the moral stand here are the atheists: It does not matter if it prevented some sort of attack. It is still a crime, it is still wrong, and those responsible for it deserve criminal prosecution. No amount of talk about 9/11 can change this. “It”, is…