Monthly Archives: January 2012
There’s a new review of James Shapiro’s book here. The author, Adam Wilkins, is critical of Shapiro’s main thesis, but accepts there’s a growing body of opinion in certain evolutionary disciplines against classic Neodarwinism.
Gregory, who often posts here, is a sociologist interested in showing how the concept of evolution is misleading when applied to human sciences. Watch out for his forthcoming book on “Human Extension”. Nevertheless, the fact that evolution ought to be restricted to the field of biology doesn’t mean that it hasn’t, in reality, been applied to everything under the sun, and over it, as a global philosophy of existence. I want to look today at the interesting way in which that generalising principle has shifted since Darwin.
Prof Steve Jones’s recent column in the Daily Telegraph has a dig at Stephen Hawking’s belief that life, statistically, must exist elsewhere in the Universe. He cites Nick Lane’s biochemical case for the improbability of life arising – indeed, he says it’s unlikely that eukaryotic life exists anywhere else.
I was saddened to see the obituary of Prof Terry Hamblin in the paper today, his death occurring at the early age of 68. His name as a haematologist was still in the air at Poole Hospital when I started my medical career there, whence he had recentlydeparted to become the consultant at Bournemouth. Incidentally the Poole haematology department itself was run by Jeremy Lee-Potter, husband of Lynda Lee-Potter the journalist, and the long-haired technician with whom I dealt most, “Rog”, had not only played bass in a band with Robert Fripp of King Crimson fame, but had discovered no less than two rare varieties of haemoglobin.
Yesterday afternoon I drove over to play some tenor sax in a newly-formed band. It was a 50 minute journey to the rehearsal, but I’d decided it was worthwhile because the keyboard player is a guy I grew up with and we’ve not met up for – we reckoned – 45 years. We went our separate ways across the wide world, and now find we’ve providentially ended up in the same neck of the woods in the west country.
I found this post on a blog by someone who’s apparently an academic somewhere up in Canada. In case you’ve missed the background, William Dembski recently published a challenge to James Shapiro, saying that since they seemed to share many of the same criticisms of Neodarwinism, maybe they should work together. Shapiro issued a counter-challenge on Evolution News and Views to the effect that maybe if ID dropped its commitment to the supernatural and stuck to science, it might be possible. Both Ann Gauger and Doug Axe have posted replies – Dembski not so far. I think the atmosphere could be described as “cordial, but still far apart.”
It seems that the efforts of Richard Dawkins and national treasure David Attenborough to slay the dragon of creationism in British schools has born fruit, according to the Guardian . The actual deal, it seems, is as follows: The Department for Education has revised its model funding agreement, allowing the education secretary to withdraw cash from schools that fail to meet strict criteria relating to what they teach. Under the new agreement, funding will be withdrawn for any free school that teaches what it claims are “evidence-based views or theories” that run “contrary to established scientific and/or historical evidence and explanations”.
When Luther nailed his 95 theses to the door of the church in Wittenburg it heralded a paradigm shift in the Church (and at that time therefore the culture) of Western Europe. Once there was widespread rejection of the assumption that the ultimate arbiter both of salvation and state power was the Roman Church, everything changed.
A very interesting, and extensive, interview with Dembski here. Isn’t it interesting how little relationship what his many detractors say has to do with the man himself?
One of the things that seems to be forgotten in discussions about how God is involved in creation is the fact that he is eternal, and creation is not. I’m thinking principally of the biological aspects of creation, and of discussions about whether God set up the laws and initial conditions and stood back (essentially the Deist position, as held now by many Open Theist TEs), or whether creation is an ongoing activity, such as the admittedly rather indefinite “unfolding through evolution” picture in Kerry Fulcher’s video on BioLogos. It also impinges on questions in ID (or more often, thrown at ID) of how God introduces design into nature and … Continue reading