Repost: The Age of Wonder

HumanityInSpace

[Author's Note: I'm reposting some old favorites while I'm away on vacation this week. This post was originally from November 2008.]If you search the internet, it's not hard to find New Agers and others who think that the dawning of the age of reason was a mistake. They envision a more "holistic" approach, one that properly pays heed to the mystery and complexity of existence, and castigate science for being cold, unfeeling, heartless in its probing, reductionist scrutiny of the natural … [Read more...]

TV Review: Cosmos, Episode 6

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(I've decided to review the new Cosmos series hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson that's airing on Fox. If you missed it, you can stream full episodes online.)Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, Episode 6, "Deeper, Deeper, Deeper Still"After the last two strong episodes, there was bound to be a clunker sooner or later, and I'm sorry to say this was it. Although it elaborated on a theme of the microscopic, atomic and sub-atomic worlds, it lacked a central narrative thread to tie together all the … [Read more...]

TV Review: Cosmos, Episode 2

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(I've decided to review the new Cosmos series hosted by Neil deGrasse Tyson that's airing on Fox. I haven't reviewed the first episode yet, but I'll return to it later. If you missed it, you can stream full episodes online.)Cosmos: A Spacetime Odyssey, Episode 2, "Some of the Things That Molecules Do"If I had to pick one word to describe this episode, it'd be "overstuffed". Granted, the series has a huge amount of territory to cover; and unlike the original Cosmos, which aired on PBS, … [Read more...]

Evolution Is Still Happening: Beneficial Mutations in Humans

One of my all-time most popular posts on Daylight Atheism, "The Scars of Evolution", lists some of the kludges, hacks and jury-rigs left behind in the human genome, the telltale signature of evolution. The vestigial structures and design compromises still found in human bodies are tangible evidence that our species has a long evolutionary history and didn't just pop into existence ex nihilo. But a different line of evidence comes in the form of ongoing mutations in the human gene pool. Most … [Read more...]

Sand Grains on a Distant Shore

SandGrainsAndShell

In his book Unweaving the Rainbow, Richard Dawkins opens with an arresting analogy: "We are going to die, and that makes us the lucky ones. Most people are never going to die because they are never going to be born. The potential people who could have been here in my place but who will in fact never see the light of day outnumber the sand grains of Arabia. Certainly those unborn ghosts include greater poets than Keats, scientists greater than Newton. We know this because the set of possible … [Read more...]

Link Roundup and Facial Hair Update

As regular readers may remember, when our team of underdog bloggers triumphed last month in a fund-raising contest for Camp Quest, I vowed to grow a beard so as to prove that PZ Myers wasn't the only atheist overlord out there who could boast of manly facial hair. Well, that experiment is underway as we speak.At the end of the month, I'll post before-and-after pictures with the results. In the meantime, the beard is still in an incomplete state, and I don't want it seen by the prying eyes of … [Read more...]

Darwin’s Long Regret

Since we've been reading a lot lately about scientists pandering to religion, it's worth remembering that there's nothing new under the sun. As long as there's been science, there have been believers who fought fiercely to prevent their god of choice from being dislodged from a gap, and there have been scientists who felt obliged to placate them. Even some of humanity's greatest scientists felt this pressure, and bowed to it on occasion. Here's one example, which I first read about in Richard … [Read more...]

The Language of God: Micro vs. Macro

The Language of God, Chapter 5By B.J. Marshall Before tackling the gritty details using DNA evidence to support human evolution, Collins addresses Darwin, mutations, and the "rather arbitrary" distinction between microevolution ("incremental changes within a species") and macroevolution ("major changes in species") (p.131-2). In my discussions with Creationists, the micro- v. macro-evolution thing always comes up. … [Read more...]

Evolution Isn’t a Moral Theory (Except When It Is)

A Review of When Atheism Becomes Religion, Part IAt the beginning of chapter 2, Chris Hedges says that science is a "morally neutral discipline" (p.45) which offers potential for both good and evil. He goes on to assert:Evolution is a biological theory that helps us grasp descent, with modification, within living species. It is not a theory about economic systems, government, morality, ethics or the behavior of nations. [p.46]So far, so good - there's nothing in that paragraph that I … [Read more...]

Movie Review: Creation

Last night I had a chance to see Creation, the independent film by British director Jon Amiel that presents an account of the life of Charles Darwin and his struggle to write his great work, On the Origin of Species, while mourning the death of his beloved daughter Annie. The movie is based on Annie's Box, the biography of Darwin written by his great-great-grandson, Randal Keynes.The movie opens promisingly, with Darwin's eldest daughter Annie asking him to tell her a story. He obliges her by … [Read more...]


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