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Why Evolutionary Biology Embraces the Bogus (Part 1)
“Recently quite a few stories have appeared in the media touting new explanations for such diverse things as altruism, generosity, and music. These complex matters, we are told, can be traced to the brain, which is dependent upon genes, and genes in turn dependent upon evolutionary biology. Thus one reads articles with headlines like “Are You a Giving Person?”
“A neurologist holds up an MRI of the driver’s brain and locates impaired activity in the motor cortex. A cell biologist detects minute alterations in sugars and enzymes in the liver. A quantum physicist calculates the amplitude of the probability curve that collapsed to produce neurotransmitters in the synaptic gaps of the driver’s cerebrum.”
I had quite a nice breakfast sandwich and a coffee this morning. It’s certainly not earth-shaking news, but it happened.
Oh, wait, that happened in the past and no one was there to actually witness it, therefore I can never prove that it took place. Dammit…my delicious breakfast is just a stupid “theory”.
Some people are saving babies:
While others are goading them to fight:
An undergrad I know is taking a class in religious studies in which the professor assigned a book which contains some of what could be characterized as “the usual Creationist BS.” When she raised objections about the quality of evidence, she was told, “I don’t care about evidence. I find Intelligent Design to be emotionally comforting.”
Steve Watson says
And others are making sure they continue to grow up ignorant and hungry, for their own enrichment:
(This is the first time I’d heard of “vulture funds”. Honestly, these people are the worst kind of human vermin. My wife commented that they should be called “blowfly funds”. This is obscene.)
Yep, classic Deepak in that Huffington Post column (see comment #1, above):
“Explaining why someone is a giving person used to come down to culture, human values, religion, and philosophy.
As someone who cherishes that endangered worldview, but who at the same time wants to see valid scientific progress, let me take one issue, the claim of evolutionary biology to explain something as complex as generosity, altruism, or music. Such claims are thoroughly bogus. They do not invalidate the whole field of evolutionary biology. They simply step over the boundary of believable explanations.”
He then proceeds to offer up really bad analogies about cats, depressed unemployed men and drunk drivers, which naturally leads him to conclude that “evolutionary biology embraces the bogus”.
Who hears these cases? How could any of these people ‘win’ a vulture case?
Blake Stacey says
Good grief, Deepak Chopra is depressing. Could there be a more self-pitying way of whining that Big Bad Science is blowing down the walls which protect his precious mysticism?
It’s a bit on the sad side, but a few weeks ago I attempted launching a peer-edited weblog about evolution for Rutgers undergraduates called Darwin’s Beagles. So far I’ve only had interest from one RU student, one student in Texas, and one faculty member. Even my Principles of Evolution professor didn’t seem to care, so needless to say I’m a bit pissed off at the apathy about evolution going on at Rutgers right now. The blog is at http://darwinsbeagles.wordpress.com if anyone cares to visit (there’s nothing more than an intro up at the moment)
More on cargo cult and the return of John Frum:
‘A Christian youth worker told me how he thought the cult was childish. “It’s like a baby playing games,” he insisted. “Those people are holding on to a dream that will never come true,” he said.’
ivy privy says
CALL FOR PREDICTIONS
The Design Paradigm, a blog run by members of the Cornell IDEA Club, is asking for testable predictions made by “Darwinism” (i.e. evolution via the mechanism if natural selection). Your contributions welcome!
Keith Douglas says
Steve Watson and ERV: Democracy Now! had a program with some stuff on them a few days ago, with reference to a documentary, as I recall. Might be worth looking into.
ivy privy: Someone should take advantage of what is no doubt quite a reliable biology department …