Evolving Thoughts

Tag archives for darwin

There is no missing link

Again, the press are talking about “the missing link“. Let’s get one thing clear. There is no missing link. Rather, there are an indefinite number of missing branches. To have a missing link, you need to visualise evolution as a chain. If there’s a gap in the chain, then you have a missing link. But…

One of the things I don’t like about the Darwin Awards is that it presumes the only way to gain one is to remove yourself from the gene pool directly by dying. But that would be a Wallace Award. Darwin knew, as do we, that there are many ways one can avoid contributing to the…

Darwin conference at U Chicago

Yes, I know there are thousands of these this year, and by October we’ll all be tired of them, but this one looks like the main game: Darwin/Chicago 2009. I am, of course, upset not to be invited to speak, but there are a few good names there to make up for my absence…

Michael Ruse lecture

A talk Michael Ruse gave recently in Sydney for the celebrations of Darwin’s 200th birthday is now available as a podcast from the ABC (Australian Broadcasting Corporation) here. Or here:

There’s been a highly publicised conference at the Vatican about evolution. There are good and sensible things being said there, and silly ones.

Darwin’s Dangerous Idea, according to Daniel Dennett in the book by that name, is natural selection. This is often referred to as “Darwin’s theory”. But Darwin did not always think evolutionary events or processes were due to natural selection.

Actually, this one is better called “Darwin was a racist”, but as the text concerned is from the same source as those claims, I thought it might be easier to evaluate a single claim and generalise from that. Our gospel for today is chapters V and VI of The Descent of Man, published in 1871.

This myth says a lot about the default views of western thinking, rather like the issue of teleology.