The Loom

Farewell, Ernst


  1. #1 the bunyip
    February 5, 2005

    It is difficult to offer appropriate comment on the loss of such a giant in our field. Mayr’s books have been an inspiration to me for many years. We need more such minds – with his ability to express what’s in them.

    He’ll be missed sorely.

  2. #2 charlie wagner
    February 6, 2005

    Carl Zimmer in Discover Magazine wrote:
    “The Avida team makes their software freely available on the Internet, and creationists have downloaded it over and over again in hopes of finding a fatal flaw. While they’ve uncovered a few minor glitches, Ofria says they have yet to find anything serious. “We literally have an army of thousands of unpaid bug testers,” he says. “What more could you want?””

    The fatal flaw is that this simulation bears absolutely no resemblance to what actually goes on in nature. It’s an exercise in nothing. It’s no different than when Ptolemy proposed a theory for the motions of the bodies in the universe that placed the earth at the center and then derived a complex system of epicycles and built mechanical orreries to simulate these proposed motions and to *prove* that this is what was really happening.
    It seems self-evident to me, and it should to all other observers that living organisms are far more technologically advanced and organized than any machine that humans can build. It stands to reason that an intelligence greater than human intelligence was required to construct them. In what dimension can random chance and accidental occurrences produce what the human mind is incapable of producing?
    It just seems so incredibly simple to me.

    Christopher Zeeman. quoted by Ian Stewart in “Does God Play Dice?” wrote:
    “First came the astronomers observing the motions of the heavenly bodies and collecting data. Secondly came the mathematicians inventing mathematical notation to describe the motions and fit the data. Thirdly came the technicians making mechanical models to simulate those mathematical constructions. Fourthly came generations of students who learned their astronomy from these machines. Fifthly came scientists whose imagination had been so blinkered by generations of such learning that they actually believed that this was how the heavens worked. Sixthly came the authorities who insisted upon the received dogma. And so the human race was fooled into accepting the Ptolemaic System for a thousand years.”

  3. #3 charlie wagner
    February 6, 2005

    On the death of Ernst Mayr:

    As John Donne wrote, “every man’s death diminishes me, because I am involved with mankind”. Mayr lived a long and full life and should be applauded for his accomplishments.
    This does not diminish the fact that he was an intellectual tyrant who was wrong in just about everything he said.
    I was so glad that Barbara McClintock lived to see her views vindicated and her colleagues to admit they were wrong. Likewise, I’m glad for Mayr that he didn’t live long enough to see the day that his theories would be shown to be incorrect.
    While I mourn the passing of any man, I also hope that his views on evolution die with him.

    Charlie Wagner

  4. #4 PvM
    February 6, 2005

    I am saddened to see how Charlie is not only using Mayr’s thread to present his ignorant comments on Avida but also his viewpoints of Mayr. There are times Charlie where it is wisest to just keep your mouth shut lest you like to portray yourself in a very negative light here.

    Sad but elucidating nevertheless… It shows us what kind of ‘man’ Charlie is.

  5. #5 ceibatree
    February 7, 2005

    Booo to you charlie, you ignorant pile of feces! I hope your jebus infests your bowels with a million hungry varmints. Seriously, if you want to put forth your’ never-ending nonsensical arguments, there are better ways.

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