Saturday, July 09, 2005

Do you believe in … algebra?

Haven’t felt much like writing for the past two weeks. The scope of this blog is very narrow, and although I’ve been reading relevant news stories, it all seems to be more of the same. No great new thoughts. Just the same discouraging reports about attacks on science and valiant efforts to fend them off. And besides, it's summer in Oregon!

Then, a couple of days ago, I started spotting commentary about a piece in The New Republic Online in which author Ben Adler asks a bunch of conservative talking heads whether they “personally believe in” evolution. I haven’t had a chance yet to read the original article, which requires a login (and the site is not accepting my registration), but I have read some excerpts and plenty of commentary.

If you read my June 13 post, you’ll know I would argue that asking about whether someone believes in evolution is totally bogus. Do you believe in gravity? Do you believe in algebra? SCIENCE IS NOT ABOUT BELIEVING!

The best commentary I saw is on a weblog called Societas (tagline: “Proud member of the reality-based community”) Blogger Thom Haslam suggests a more useful question would be
“Do you accept evolution as valid science, including the claim that human beings evolved from ape-like ancestors?”

Apparently, the conservative “thinkers and pundits” for the most part danced around the “believe in” question. I really wish TNR’s Adler would go back and ask them – and some liberal talking heads – the improved version of the question. Less tap dancing and more serious discussion.

Lots more insightful discussion in Haslam’s posting. Recommended reading.

1 Comments:

Anonymous ThomH said...

Thanks for the link, and the favorable notice. Always glad to have more voices in the conversation.

I trust you know the usual science blogs that deal with similar concerns-- but let me please recommend Evologen--not as famous as the Panda's Thumb or many others but still some really good stuff. He's also got a great collection of links.

Best regards, and have fun!

7/9/05, 10:05 PM  

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