Tag Archives: Dawkins

on ENCODE & telivision sets, apes, silence and Dawkins

It is rather an odd title for a blogpost, but I felt like it needed that. Last months were busy months and it really was not that I did not like my readers anymore, but just that it was a busy period with a lot of finishing of projects and things like that.

But in fact I think that an update is needed desperately on this blog. Do not expect new content in this blog, but it will most certainly be about what others have blogged about and about what I have thought about related to existing posts on this blog.

  1. Encode revisited: Last year I blogged about the ENCODE results which showed that presumably a large part of the genome was functional (according to their definition), and I want to point out to an paper that was published in February which tries to debunk the claims the the ENCODE project made. I don’t agree with all of the paper, but that is something which is more suitable to a stand-alone blogpost. 
  2. Similarity between chimps and humans: In the Answers Research Journal (ARJ) a study was published that genomic similarity between chimps and humans is only 70% instead of the 98% to 99% which is assumed by most of the scientific community. Dr. While (YOUNG-earth creationist) has blogged about it. But that’s also more for another blogposts, because I tend to almost agree.. (again)

That were the pieces where I did not completely agree.

  1. On the Colossian Forumreflection article was published by Daniel Camacho who wrote about the virtue of silence based on the works of St. Thomas Aquinas. This article has my recommendations.  
  2. Some time ago a debate was organised between Rowan Williams and Richard Dawkins.The subject of the evening was whether religion has a place in the 21st century. I believe it does, as does Rowan Williams.

Judging Judging

And this is for fun (at least boring fun)

In a few weeks I will have more time to blog, but those posts will still be irregular.

[edited: Dr. While is not an old-earth-creationist, but firmly in the young earth creationists camp.]

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Overview

It has been a while since my last post. Last week I had some re-exams and I could not find some time for blogging. Still, I managed to find some interesting stuff on the internet.

First of all I want to give attention to the old and currently revived debate about group selection that is going on between the multilevel group selection theory scientists and the scientists that are admiring the gene-centered view of evolution.

The basic of the controversy lies in an article that was written by Nowak, Tarnita and co-authored  by renowned evolutionist E.O. Wilson.  The article about the evolution of eusociality states that the famous theory of kin selection (proposed by E.O. Wilson himself) was not longer plausible as an explanation of the evolution of eusociality and that instead group selection was the mechanism that caused the evolution of eusociality.  I am not going to explain the concepts that they illustrate, and I refer you to the article in nature for a thorough explanation.

This disagreement has caused several strong reactions from the academic community and in that reaction they say thatthe points made by Nowak et. al. are a misunderstanding of evolutionary theory and a misrepresentation of the empirical literature. Moreover several reactions from notable scientists are very personal, which was expected because many of the scientists involved have built their whole career about this. Richard Dawkins even exploded, not in a literal sense by the way, and accused Wilson of ‘wanton arrogance’. Wilson replied and said that he does not think that Dawkins is actually a scientist. In other words: Shut up and let me and my scientific peers do the thinking.

And that is really interesting. Scientists accusing each other that they have committed intellectual dishonesty, even if they are respected among peers and have performed thousands of experiments. I think it is a very natural process that a scientist becomes offended when his views, on which he has built his whole career are washed away (though I am not saying that Wilson is right). Moreover it raised the question when people can be called scientists. On which criteria can we call somebody a scientists. I am thinking about it now and probably will say something about it in the future.

Second, I found an interesting story about a preacher that was converted to atheism and because of he de-conversion he has lost his job, wife and house. It illustrates the fact that religious communities which are very close together do not know how to handle de-converts.