National Geographic‘s pro-evolution articles sometimes come off like advertisements for Darwin (for an analysis of a prior ad, see here). Its November, 2006 issue has an article, “From Fins to Wings,” by Carl Zimmer which quotes Harvard microbiologist Howard Berg saying “The basic idea of evolution is so elegant, so beautiful, so simple.” With such a ringing endorsement, I expected the article to urge me to buy evolution at the local grocery store! Zimmer’s article, however, was better than many past evolution-endorsements in National Geographic. Past articles used icons like Haeckel’s false “ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny” concept and antibiotic resistance to sell evolution. While Zimmer’s present article retains the fallacious “the human eye was poorly designed” icon, it improves the treatment Read More ›
I find myself in yet another odd alliance. I guess NRO‘s John Derbyshire would side with me over Leon Kass (whom, once again, I greatly respect for the solid anti-reductionist arguments he has made). Scientific observation can and should affect one’s view of what it is to be human. (Derbyshire and I simply disagree about the strength of Darwinian claims.) He lists “Biology” as one of the major things shaping his view of “the human condition.” He writes:
This past Thursday, October 26, Dr. Leon Kass, learned intellectual and former Chairman of the President’s Council on Bioethics, presented a paper before an excellent group of intellectuals at the American Enterprise Institute (Stephen Barr, Eric Cohen, Joseph Bottum, Charles Murray, and Marcello Pera, among others). Dr. Kass had many good things to say about the false nature of scientific reductionism and how it goes against everything we know about reality from everyday life. He also denied that random mutations and natural selection were the whole story to life’s evolution. That said, I took umbrage with one major point Kass made.
This past Tuesday, Richard Dawkins spoke at DC’s famous Politics & Prose bookstore, reading from his new book “The God Delusion.” One philosophically astute questioner, American Enterprise Institute’s Joe Manzari, had the following exchange with Dr. Dawkins:
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.