Thursday, February 12, 2009

All the Darwin's Birthday Articles Are Starting to Look Familiar

Darwin's 200th predictably is unleashing a flood of articles, some of them good, some of them not. I feel some empathy for these scribblers: each one has to write something on Darwin and s/he wants to do something more original than "Darwin was cool and had a massive impact on science". Ironically enough, in the attempt, these articles often end up spouting the same unoriginal nonsense. Even worse, this one was written by Simon Conway Morris, who is a paleontologist and should know better.

The main nonsense thus spouted is neatly rendered as Darwin Didn't Explain Everything (subtext: and I'm so smart for seeing through the ivory tower's facade). In this case, Morris says that scientists have a sense of "unfinished business". True enough - and don't you, Simon? It's what scientists live for, and is not, as he suggests, something that neo-Darwinists are uneasy about. No no, he says, stop the presses! Darwin didn't explain everything! Of course he didn't. Evolution is an incredibly well-supported scientific theory about one part of nature. It's not a religion. It doesn't have to pretend to explain everything.

2 comments:

Dan said...

You should know better, Mr. Caton. This guy is eye doctor #3.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Conway_Morris

They fellow seems to have less than a complete understanding of the incompleteness of any consistent set.

I sincerely hope that Kurt Godel's ghost beats him up and takes his lunch money.

Michael Caton said...

My point (with this cat and the 3 eye doctors) is that, while I would go to any of the 3 who were trained and accredited and had a good track record, I would rather go to #1. He has no additional ideology to confuse him and get in the way of delivering care to patients.

PZ Myers isn't as nice as me where this particular dude is concerned:

http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2009/02/convergence_schmonvergence.php