Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Heresy, Jim, but not as we know it


A couple of posts back I noted that the cover of the latest New Scientist magazine states: Darwin was wrong.
Basically what the article in question was saying is that Darwin was wrong about a particular facet of his evolutionary theory. What I didn’t notice until today was that in the editorial the magazine basically ‘covers its back’ regarding the provocative cover headline (excuse the pun). They say:
We await a third revolution that will see biology changed and strengthened. [The first was Darwin’s original theory, the second the introduction of Mendelian genetics.]
The editorial goes on: None of this should give succour to creationists, whose blinkered universe is doubtless already buzzing with the news that ‘New Scientist has announced Darwin was wrong.’ Expect to find excerpts ripped out of context and presented as evidence that biologists are deserting the theory of evolution en masse. They are not. Nor will the new work do anything to diminish the standing of Darwin himself. When it came to gravitation and the laws of motion, Isaac Newton didn’t see the whole picture either, but he remains one of science’s giants. In the same way, Darwin’s ideas will prove influential for decades to come.
As my wife always says, the best method of defence is attack,. Seems to me that the person who wrote the editorial is getting in first, before those he/she regards as naysayers come out of the woodwork. But the interesting thing is that it’s the magazine that’s being provocative by putting such a statement on its cover. It knows it will get anti-Darwinists to read the mag to see what’s going on.
Seems to me there's an element of dishonesty here: one hand waving the marketing gimmick while the other tries to show the integrity card. Scientists like to proclaim that they're above all sorts of human foibles in their thinking; regrettably they're just as prone to them as the rest of us.

Incidentally, quite by chance I came across a book hilariously titled: Darwin's Winky. The blurb reads:
Author Joseph Druski leaves no stone unturned in his bid to overturn Evolution. From Darwin's "Finches" to Richard Dawkins' underwear, Druski leaves a trail of devastated icons of evolution in his wake in this 402 page exposé on the dirty underbelly of the Theory of Evolution.
I doubt if it's truly the scientific masterpiece the site proclaims, but it would be fun to read all the same!
The site in question, craptaculus.com, is fairly oddball: it proclaims intelligent design, but doesn't particularly seem to defend it. And very strangely, it looks as if someone has substituted a photo of Richard Dawkins for that of someone called Sam McCain. Perhaps the whole site is a joke!
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