It’s a busy weekend coming up. On Sunday, 12 August, I’ll be speaking at the St. Paul Critical Thinking Club, at The Kelly Inn (off I-94 at the Marion St exit) from 10:00 AM to noon. Well, it’s scheduled for two hours, but I promise not to babble on for that length of time. There is a $10 fee to cover the buffet breakfast, and you need to rsvp to Lee Salisbury if you want to attend.
Progress and Opportunities in Evolution
Scientists are a pragmatic bunch who typically don’t worry too much about the deeper philosophical meanings of their vocation: the important property of a good theory is that it allows them to formulate experimentally testable hypotheses and leads them on to intellectually fruitful pursuits. I’ll summarize some of the reasons good scientists have found and are still finding evolutionary theory eminently useful, to the point that many of them take evolutionary conclusions for granted. There is almost no argument about the major ideas of evolution within biology because of its utility — the argument is entirely between a few representative members of the scientific community and scientifically ignorant and religiously motivated leaders of backwards ideology.
And then I talk to the Stillwater Critical Thinking Club on Monday, 13 August, from 7:00-9:00 pm at The Family Means Building on 1875 Northwestern Ave.
Complexity and Order in Evolution
One of the most common arguments for Intelligent Design creationism is that organisms are “too complex” to have evolved. This is fallacious: complexity is a natural consequence of evolutionary processes. It reflects a fundamental confusion in creationist thinking — they use complexity where they mean order, and order when they mean intent. I’ll be discussing these three different words, complexity, order, and intent, and their relevance to evolutionary biology.
And then I get to come home for a few days before my next out-of-state trip.