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Monthly Archive: June 2007

Jun 29 2007

Evolution-5: How probability intuition can lead us astray

(See part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.) One of life’s ironies is that the difficulty in understanding the mathematics of Darwin’s theory of natural selection may actually be caused by natural selection itself. As we saw earlier, natural selection does not try for maximum benefit but instead works on a ‘just good …

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Jun 28 2007

Blowback

If you read some of the more thoughtful analyses of the reasons behind the 9/11 attacks, you may have noticed repeated use of the word ‘blowback’. Some may not be aware that this word is used by the CIA to denote the consequences that its covert activities abroad might cause, and the disasters they might …

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Jun 27 2007

Evolution-4: Darwin gets an idea from Malthus

(See part 1, part 2, and part 3.) In Darwin’s travels to distant lands from 1831 to 1836 on the Beagle, the different climates and environmental conditions he encountered made him aware of the weakness of the existing theory of ‘special creation’, where god was assumed to have created creatures best suited for their environment. …

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Jun 26 2007

The mixed views of candidate Ron Paul

If anyone had any doubts that the US is ruled by a single pro-war, pro-business party, recent Congressional action should dispel them. It is clear that the wheels are already being oiled for starting a war with Iran, and the Democrats are complicit in this pre-war demagoguery, just as they were before the war with …

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Jun 25 2007

Evolution-3: Natural selection and the age of the Earth

(See part 1 and part 2.) It is clear that many people find it hard to accept Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection. One reason is of course because it completely undermines the need to believe in a creator, making god superfluous when it comes to explaining the nature and diversity of life, and …

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Jun 22 2007

Film reviews: Network and Matewan

Here are two more reviews of old films that are worth seeing. Network (1976) This film is a brutal satire on the TV news business and, sad as it is to say and even harder to believe, the kinds of attitudes it satirized in 1976 has only gotten far worse in the subsequent three decades. …

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Jun 21 2007

Evolution-2: The lack of evidence for perfect design

In the first post in this series, I showed with the example of a soap spray nozzle how natural design could come up with systems whose intricacy and complexity is such that it was superior to the efforts of intelligent human designers. But what about the argument that a god-like designer would be able to …

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Jun 20 2007

Film reviews: Hearts and Minds and Medium Cool

Film reviews are usually about films that have been newly released. Since I am almost never the first to see any film, my reviews deal with very old but good or interesting films that people may have not seen the first time around but can do so now, thanks to the easy availability tapes and …

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Jun 19 2007

Evolution-1: The power of natural selection

We are rapidly approaching 2009, a year that marks a major scientific milestone that is going to be commemorated worldwide. It is both the 150th anniversary of the publication of the landmark book On the Origin of Species that outlined the theory of evolution by natural selection, and the 200th anniversary of the birth of …

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Jun 18 2007

Guest post by Corbin Covault

My two posts on Taking offense and Taking offense (revisited) generated a lively discussion in the comments. One of the responses covered many of the issues raised by those who disagreed with some or all of my remarks and I felt that it should reach a wider readership so I asked the author to write …

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