As David Klinghoffer reported yesterday, there’s a rather interesting job opening at Oxford University. Biologic Institute Director Douglas Axe gives us his take on the search for a mathemagician to support the claims of Darwin’s Origin of Species and Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene with, you know, actual math:
Scientists employ different rhetorical strategies to accomplish different things. That shouldn’t be surprising, perhaps, but for some it is. The reason is that while the public is very familiar with rhetorical shiftiness in some occupations, they tend to see only one side of science–the confident, assertive, authoritative, we-know-what-we’re-talking-about side. Science-speak often comes across with a hint of arrogance, but since science itself depends on the goodwill of the public for its very existence, it usually corrects itself on those occasions when it oversteps its bounds.
There are a few peculiar exceptions though, where what amounts to little more than propaganda is excused in the name of academic freedom. It’s regrettable, but it happens, and the guilty institutions become known for it.
Since Oxford University is one of them (as evidenced by the fact that I don’t need to name anyone), there is particular satisfaction in bringing to light some of the hidden rhetoric from that institution.
Read the rest here..