Science and humility

Connor Wood

On this summer Saturday in Internetland, where everyone is an expert, here’s an image we could all benefit from:

Let's be humble

Source: Rob Brezsny, FreeWillAstrology.com

Everybody, myself included, loves to feel right. This extends to religious people, atheists, scientists, and pundits (especially pundits). One thing that worsens this addiction to being right is becoming an “expert” – for example, earning a PhD or gaining public recognition in a field. I’ve noticed this tendency in myself over the years in my doctoral program.

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Why the feud between Darwin and religion?

Connor Wood

Darwin

In 2009, the world marked the 200th anniversary of the birth of Charles Darwin, the bushy-bearded biologist known for being the first to articulate the theory of evolution by natural selection. His tome On the Origin of Species, published in 1859, forever changed how people think about their place in the world. But despite near-universal scientific acceptance of his theory, if Darwin were alive today he would find himself surrounded by enemies, particularly among religious believers in the United States.

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Not-so-intelligent design

Connor Wood

Peacock

Chalk up another setback for the intelligent design (ID) crowd. In a lengthy treatment of unfortunate sexual traits in Science News, writer Susan Milius explores the counterintuitive notion that evolution can sometimes produce characteristics that are, well, no good. The examples cited range from bemusing to downright gross: seed beetle genitalia that grievously injure females during the mating act, sexual apparatuses in ducks that are remarkably incompatible between males and females, and costly peacock tails that—contrary to decades of speculation about their role in mating advertisement—actually seem to do nothing to attract females. [Read more...]


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