In “France Sounds Like a Good Place to Do Science” (Evolution News & Views, March 7, 2012), David Klinghoffer reflects on the recent news of the Darwin-doubting French scientist who discovered the Mimivirus,
At the very least, this is a man and a scientist who is thinking and who is sensitive to the fact that the questions he finds interesting have a long history in philosophical (and literary) thought. They are not easy questions to ask and even more difficult to answer.
If he spends much time in the U.S., he must be surprised by the narrowness, intolerance and nastiness of prevailing Darwinian thought, its vile tone of sneering sarcasm. Evidently there are no Nick Matzkes in France, no Larry Morans, no Donald Protheros, no PZ Myers. This alone would make France a fine place to work.
The thing is, Darwinism isn’t native to France. The best-known French scientist, Louis Pasteur, killed off the idea of spontaneous generation of life forms in famous experiments. Yet the current origin of life schtick – mostly using Darwinism to explain origin of life – depends on spontaneous origin.
As an experimentalist, Pasteur had little time for Darwin’s hand-waving. And every time we buy a carton of “pasteurized” milk (free of tuberculosis), we can thank Pasteur’s approach for the benefits it has brought.
Every time we listen to some televised airhead lament the decline of science because kids are not taught, in some places, that they are “just an accident”, we can thank Darwin’s approach for the benefits it has brought.
Here at UD News, we’re breaking with tradition and putting our money on the French.