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Posts Tagged ‘Charles Darwin

I like to portray myself as an agnostic, a rational doubter

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Charles Darwin
Cover of Charles Darwin

Today I learned that if that’s really what I am, then I belong to a reputable cohort of serious and estimable people, to wit: Confucius, Socrates, Jesus, Wang Ch’ung, Hypatia, Maimonides, Galileo, Elizabeth Cady Stanton, Charles Darwin, Marie Curie, Emily Dickinson, Ludwig Wittgenstein, and Margaret Sanger – who drove history forward by challenging the powers and conventional wisdom.

The one big surprise in that list Jesus. I wonder if he doubted his God the Father, or the Holy Ghost, or just the whole RC religion thing!

Fancy my being any part of that set, even if only in my own mind! This I learned by reading the book note in Google online Bookstore for Jennifer Michael Hect’s DOUBT!

So Google Book Store has done more for me in a few short minutes than stores where I have browsed the minutes and even hours away! I’m going to spend time there, not every day but maybe every other other day!

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Lewis Lapham is an authentic intellectual treasure

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Portrait of Friedrich Nietzsche, 1882; One of ...
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His comments on religion are so evocative for me in my present agnostic state of mind:

I brought the same qualities into the apostate lecture halls where it was announced that God was dead. The time and cause of death were variously given in sophomore and senior surveys of western civilization—disemboweled by Machiavelli in sixteenth-century Florence, assassinated in eighteenth-century Paris by agents of the French Enlightenment, lost at sea in 1835 while on a voyage with Charles Darwin to the Galapagos Islands, garroted by Friedrich Nietzsche on a Swiss Alp in the autumn of 1882, disappeared into the nuclear cloud ascending from Hiroshima on August 6, 1945. The assisting coroners attached to one or another of the history faculties submitted densely footnoted autopsy reports, but none of the lab work brought forth a thumbprint of the deceased.

The one thing I rue about living in China is that it seems problematic to get copies of Lapham’s Quarterly and other collections of serious writing.

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Olivia Judson is the most interesting biologist I know

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Francis Galton laid the foundations of behavio...
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Who else tells us stories about Francis Galton, a British polymath and cousin of Charles Darwin.

Now that we are told about the availability of personal genome analysis, she reminds us that we are not only our genes but also the nurturing those genes are subjected to as we grow in families and out.

We evolve subject to our genetic makeup and the effect of the nurturing we get from parents, family and other environments we live, learn and work in. Here’s the link!

Francis Galton was the first scientist to propose theories of heredity for all animal species. At least, that’s the message I got here!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2010/06/09 at 04:05

Men meet a seal on loosely packed ice

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HMS Beagle at Tierra del Fuego (painted by Con...
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Members of the crew of Clipper Stad Amsterdam are encountering all kinds of things and fauna during their 12 month replay of Darwin’s cruise on HMS Beagle more than 175 years ago. Here’s an intriguing sample of what men have to do to survive in the seal’s natural environment!

The crew of the Clipper Stad Amsterdam are regular posters to their Facebook page.

 

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/11/30 at 06:42

Then there’s Olivia Judson reminding us about a deadly aspect of evolution by natural selection

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Olivia JudsonOlivia Judson on the influence of science and biology on modern life.

Yesterday, Tuesday, Nov. 24, was The Big Day: it was exactly 150 years since Charles Darwin’s “On the Origin of Species” was first published. In this book, Darwin described how evolution by natural selection works — and presented a huge body of evidence, drawn from every field of biology then known, that evolution can account for the patterns we see in nature.

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An evolve-by-date or become extinct! Wow ain’t that a concept? Of course no wonder that it’s Olivia J reminding us about our evolutionary existential reality!

Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/11/25 at 08:08

With the 200th anniversary of Darwin’s birth Edge published this great image of Sunrise over Beagle Channel

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This narrow slice of seawater is in the middle of the Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego and on the eastern side of it. Go to edge.org and you will find a complete set of videos of discussions during a conference in Chile titled Darwin in Chile.

That conference is described in this note copied from Edge.org:

The Seminar, which ran for two days, attracted an audience of 2,200 people on each day…

“Our intention is to illuminate and discuss how Darwinian thought influenced the disciplines that focus on the study the individuals (biology, neuroscience, psychology); the individual within their social interactions (anthropology, sociology, economy, political science); and how these concepts pertain, in general, to a moral philosophy.”

“We wish to explore how, from Darwinian thought, there emerges a vision of what it is to be a human being. And that this vision is fundamental and coherent with the entire body of accumulated scientific knowledge. With reverence for the details of their application, it is the impact of Darwin’s ideas that is the reason we are celebrating Darwin’s anniversary.”

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/10/01 at 06:46

American culture is dumb and dumber

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Charles Darwin.
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Today there is going to be a mad stampede in most large cities as American nitwits apparently want to get a copy of Dan Brown‘s latest trash lit, The Last Symbol.

But apparently no US distributor is interested in distribution rights to “Creation” a film biography of Charles Darwin. American cultural sensibilities, which deal with guns in public and covert and overt racism toward their President, can’t deal with the story of Charles Darwin. The crassness of this makes me want to puke literally. I wonder does that mean that I won’t get to see that film?

Dan Brown’s trash lit along with JK Rowling‘s is fine, but real people and an authentic story about a renowned scientist are just too “controversial”. Sometimes I lose all hope about a better and freer tomorrow when a key part of Western civilization is dominated by childish fantasy. For F..ks sake get over it. Evolution is approved by the Vatican and 99% of the cardinals and bishops. But Dan Brown’s trash lit is not~

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/09/14 at 07:40