Over the past decade or so there has been much hype about computer simulations of Darwinian evolution. The most hyped is Avida at the MSU Digital Evolution Laboratory. Avida researchers claim their work is not a simulation, but actually is Darwinian evolution in action. They describe it like this: In Avida, a population of self-replicating computer programs is subjected to external pressures (such as mutations and limited resources) and allowed to evolve subject to natural selection. This is not a mere simulation of evolution — digital organisms in Avida evolve to survive in a complex computational environment and will adapt to perform entirely new traits in ways never expected by the researchers, some of which seem highly creative. According to Read More ›
The documentary Expelled keenly observes that scientific ideas begin in the academy, but if they’re to get out to the people, they must pass through a series of barriers and “checkpoints,” which means they can be hindered or stopped at any point along the way. In the film, the first checkpoint is the academy, which polices journals and controls research grants and funding. The second checkpoint is comprised of watchdog groups, like the NCSE, that work hard to organize and kindle opposition against Darwin-skeptics. The next checkpoint is the media, which carefully selects the sources of information it will broadcast to the public on this issue. When all those checkpoints fail, the final checkpoint is the courts. (This idea is Read More ›
A recent issue of the journal Science has an article entitled, “Evolution: Crossing the Divide,” which discusses the “painful transition from creationist to evolutionist” of paleontologist Stephen Godfrey. The article tells of the many difficulties Dr. Godfrey faced when he told his fundamentalist Christian family, which taught him to believe in young earth creationism, that he had become an “evolutionist.” The article portrays Darwin-skeptics as young earth creationists, painting a false dichotomy between religion-based creationism or science-based evolution. To elaborate, the false dichotomy goes something like this: Darwinists obviously say that one can accept evolution and religion, but they force a false dichotomy upon Darwin-skeptics by claiming that if you challenge evolution, then you have abandoned science and your view Read More ›
Kudos to Richard Gallagher & Alison McCook from The Scientist for being gutsy enough to do an even-handed piece on President Bush’s record on science, and for asking the question in Gallagher’s editorial, “Is Bush Science’s Nemesis?” in more than the conventional rhetorical fashion. McCook’s piece “Sizing Up Bush on Science” answers with a resounding “no,” or at least no more than past presidents, including Bill Clinton.
Friday’s Opinion Journal from the Wall Street Journal had a great piece: “Under the Microscope: When science and politics become worlds in collision.” Among other things, this piece noted that “This was a banner week for American science.”