I previously pointed out that Casey Luskin’s “false, straw-man [version] of ID” bears a striking resemblance to intelligent design advocate Michael Behe’s actual definition:
Let me get this straight:
“life is so complex, it could not have evolved” is a “false, straw-man version” of
“Cells are simply too complex to have evolved.”
I promised that I would get to the second part of Luskin’s “straw-man version,”
…therefore it was designed by a supernatural intelligence,
and that’s what I mean to address in this post. Maybe Luskin wasn’t claiming that ID critics mischaracterize the logic that leads ID advocates to reject evolution, but rather that they mistakenly (or deceitfully) portray ID advocates as inferring supernatural causation. If so, he’s not alone. Advocates of intelligent design frequently deny that their theory has anything to do with the supernatural, and they imply that efforts to portray it as such are deceitful or, at best, misinformed.
I like to document uses of the name “Volvox” that don’t refer to the green algal genus, for example Volvox the ship, Volvox the paint, DJ Volvox, another DJ Volvox, Volvox the art gallery, Volvox the Turkish metal band, and another Volvox band (“one of the most extraordinary bands ever to emerge from Melbourne, or in fact anywhere else”).
Postdoc Katrin Schmidt recently brought a few more to my attention; I’m really not sure if they have anything at all to do with proper Volvox:
As I mentioned previously, I have a chapter in the newly published book Biological Individuality, Integrating Scientific, Philosophical, and Historical Perspectives. The chapter was actually written nearly five years ago, but things move more slowly in the philosophy world than that of biology. Finally, though, both the print and electronic versions are now available; here is the electronic version of my chapter. The book currently has no reviews on Amazon, so if you want to give it a read, yours could be the first. If you’re interested in current and historical views on individuality, there is a lot of good stuff in here, including contributions by Scott Lidgard & Lynn Nyhart, Beckett Sterner, Andrew Reynolds, Snait Gissis, Olivier Rieppel, Michael Osborne, Hannah Landecker, Ingo Brigandt, James Elwick, Scott Gilbert, and Alan Love & Ingo Brigandt.
Biologists have the option of posting preprints, articles that have not yet been through peer review, to bioRxiv. Modeled on the physics preprint server arXiv, bioRxiv is much newer, and its adoption by biologists (unlike arXiv’s by physicists) has been well short of universal. bioRxiv recently got a small boost, though, and I suspect it may be approaching a tipping point.
Some travel awards will be granted to students and postdocs attending the Fourth International Volvox Conference (Volvox 2017) in St. Louis. Applications are due July 1, 2017. If you are planning to attend the meeting as a student or postdoc, you really should apply.
Over at Pharyngula, PZ Myers has been interviewing his fellow FreeThought Bloggers, and Sunday afternoon was my turn. It was supposed to be a group chat, but no one else showed up, so I got to ramble about Fierce Roller for a full half hour. Apologies for the vertical format on my end; I’ve been having audio problems with Google Hangouts on my laptop, so I had to use my phone.
I just found out from Jim Umen, who’s organizing the Fourth International Volvox Conference, that David Kirk is planning to attend. This is great news; we’ve been wanting Dr. Kirk to come since the first meeting in 2011, but it hasn’t previously worked out.