6 posts

An Interview with Michael Ruse

“I do not think it appropriate to teach non-science in a biology class – especially non-science that is really a form of literalist Christianity in disguise. Even if it were appropriate, I would not want the kind of conservative evangelical religion taught, that I think ID represents. But it is not appropriate and in the US is illegal.”

The Greatest Show On Earth: The Evidence for Evolution by Richard Dawkins

The unit of measure is a “Darwin,” so named by famed geneticist J. B. S. Haldane. One of the architects of modern Darwinism, he served with great courage in the Scottish Blackwatch Regiment during World War I, then continued his research. At that time, there were some 350,000 known species of beetles. When Haldane was asked by a theologian what he learned of the nature of God from his study of science, he replied, “That He has an inordinate fondness for beetles.”

The Best American Science Writing 2007

Jonathon Keats’s article from Popular Science recounts the work of the guru of artificial intelligence, John Koza, an adjunct professor at Stanford University. He developed a system of linked computers that he calls an “invention machine.” The machine has been awarded a United States Patent (!), the “first intellectual property protections ever granted to a nonhuman designer.”

Out of Thin Air: Dinosaurs, Birds, and Earth’s Ancient Atmosphere by Peter Douglas Ward

In an age when ad agencies regularly apply “revolutionary” to new car models and digital toys, it is wise for the rest of us to avoid the word, but Peter Ward’s Out of Thin Air comes as close to meriting the label as anything I’ve seen of late. Paleontology does involve a lot of detail work, from tiny picks and toothbrushes to radioactive dating; however, some details may not only inform but overturn and reinvent the much bigger picture.

Gen·e·sis: The Scientific Quest for Life’s Origin by Robert M. Hazen

In all the recent noise over the higher steps of evolution and the proper way to teach them in American schools, it’s easy to forget that science hasn’t established the first big step: how the basic building blocks of life—the nucleotides that make up Watson and Crick’s celebrated reverse spiral staircase—organized into life proper.