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Dawkins says he makes no clear separation between pop science writing and journals

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File:A small cup of coffee.JPG We didn’t think so, but just for the record: From the Edge:

One of the things that I’ve always done is not make a clear separation between books that are aimed at popularizing, books that are aimed at explaining things to other people, and books that explain things to myself, or explain things to my scientific colleagues. I think the separation between doing science and popularizing science has been overdone. And I have found that the exercise of explaining to other people, which I suppose I’ve been fairly successful at, is greatly helped by the fact that I first have to explain it to myself. And explaining it to myself … the biomorph program, which I originally wrote to explain to students, and I used them in student practicals … led me to think anew for myself, stimulated me to understand much better about evolution, stimulated me to understand about the evolution of evolvability in a way that I haven’t before.

Can a reader identify the last time Dawkins actually did any science? From the interview:

I gave a talk called “Universal Darwinism” at one of the Darwin Centenary Conferences, the one in Cambridge, and I based it upon looking at all the alternatives that someone might have suggested like Lamarckism, inheritance of acquired characteristics, the principle of use and disuse. The point I tried to make is that contrary to what most biologists have said, the thing that’s wrong with Lamarckism is not just that it doesn’t work in practice, that acquired characteristics are not as a matter of fact inherited. There are biologists, including Ernst Mayr who have said Lamarck’s theory is a fine theory, but unfortunately acquired characteristics are not inherited. The point I made was that even if they were inherited, the Lamarckian theory is nothing like a big enough theory to do the job of producing complex adaptations. Lamarckian theory depends upon use and disuse. The more we use our muscles, the bigger they get. That’s fine, that happens, and then inheritance of acquired characteristics, you pass on your bigger muscles to your children. Ernst Mayr said that’s a perfectly good theory. The only trouble is it doesn’t work because acquired characteristics are not inherited, which of course, is true. More.

Seems Dawkins has been too busy pronouncing against people with Down syndrome and planning to insult Muslims, and other stuff, to have noticed epigenetics, the science of the inheritance of acquired characteristics. Never mind, the pop science media still think he’s a doll.

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One Reply to “Dawkins says he makes no clear separation between pop science writing and journals

  1. 1
    redwave says:

    News. Thank you for keeping us informed concerning the many voices crying out in the wilderness of naturalism, such as Dawkins, Coyne, Krauss, Shemer, Pinker, et al. I imagine someone must be ready to answer those voices, those talking heads. One would think that with age would come wisdom, yet this appears a folkloric left over from a former time period … a time when we felt romance with science because science yielded to affection and affection grew with us in a milieu of purpose, direction, and existence. Dawkins and his ‘sort of’ cantankerous, old and failing take on reality is best left alone to die. Had Dawkins considered the consequences of his willy-nilly assaults on theology and philosophy? Subjects of inquiry with which he was ill-equiped and illeterate to address in any meaningful way? Most likely he did not.

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