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Cornell Conference on Biological Information: Proceedings Now Available

Denyse O’Leary posted an announcement of what looks like an interesting conference proceedings: http://tbsblog.thebestschools.org/how-does-life-incorporate-information According to Denyse, the folks at the Panda’s Thumb tried to bury these proceedings but failed.

Neo-Lamarckian Thoughts

Greetings to all. I have been interested for some time in the question-begging character of the logic of natural selection. This is old hat, of course, but just in a nutshell: a new well-adapted trait must first exist in an individual before it can be selected, so while natural selection could potentially explain the proliferation of such a trait throughout a population, it could never explain its origin. Of course, the Darwinist will say, No problem, new traits are thrown up by chance due to random genetic mutation. There are two things wrong with this reply, however. The first is a conceptual point. Even if it were the case that every mutation at the level of the genome were indeed Read More ›

Nazism and Darwinism on Film

I saw a film recently that I think would interest anyone who is concerned about the moral implications of Darwinism, and who also believes that art can help us to reflect upon moral issues. The film is Germany Year Zero (Germania Anno Zero, 1947), by Roberto Rossellini, shot in the ruins of Berlin in the aftermath of World War II with non-professional German actors (albeit dubbed in Italian). Like the near-contemporaneous films of Vittorio De Sica (Shoeshine, Bicycle Thieves), Germany Year Zero paints a compelling portrait of the chaos and poverty afflicting the civilian population—especially children—immediately following the war. What makes Germany Year Zero of exceptional interest, however, is the way in which it builds to an almost unbearably sad Read More ›

Time capsule?

I am writing to draw the attention of anyone who may not have seen it to the NYT Magazine this past Sunday (March 4). The cover story, “Darwin’s God,” by one Robin Marantz Henig, takes the NYT’s usual wide-eyed, credulous approach to all things Darwinian—in this case, giving us an atrocious farrago of self-contradictory Evolutionary Psychology Just-So Stories for the origin of relgious belief. The badness of the article must be read to be believed, but just as a sample, my favorite non sequitur is on page 43. There it is recounted how 5-year-olds are already able to make the vital distinction between what people believe to be the case and what really is the case. This legitimate and very Read More ›

Alternative Darwin Awards

Bill asked me to introduce myself, and to describe an idea that came to me recently.

I am a graduate student, working on philosophy of biology (at a university that shall remain nameless), nearing the dissertation stage.

I am sure that everyone knows about the odious “Darwin Awards.” I have been concerned about this phenomenon for some time, because they seem to be catching on with the broader public. I encounter references to them increasingly frequently among the mostly liberal crowd I hang out with. I guess this is not too surprising, as their cynicism is certainly in tune with the times and the culture. Read More ›