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Thursday, February 12, 2009

Yayyyy. It's Darwin Day!

This blog is not to enter into the age-old controversy. It's to celebrate the birthday of one of the greatest minds that ever lived.

Happy Birthday, Charles!
One hundred and fifty years after the publication of one of the most important books in human history, the debate rages on. The criticism or fear of something, without having even tried to understand or know about it, is hardly a POV that needs to be even considered worthy of discussion or debate. But it deserves a mention, only because it turns up often enough. The best (and most recent) example I have come across of this stubborn and disturbing attitude - disturbing because it was voiced by someone I thought was a sensible person. This is what she said: I really haven't given too much thought to this theory, I just firmly don't believe in it! Wow! I guess this is the kind of person Oliver Wendell Holmes (Jr.) had in mind when he wrote, "The mind of a bigot is like the pupil of the eye. The more light you shine on it, the more it will contract." Then there's that delightful 'just-a-theory' brigade.
JUST A THEORY? According to the United States National Academy of Sciences... Some scientific explanations are so well established that no new evidence is likely to alter them. The explanation becomes a scientific theory. In everyday language a theory means a hunch or speculation. Not so in science. In science, the word theory refers to a comprehensive explanation of an important feature of nature supported by facts gathered over time. Theories also allow scientists to make predictions about as yet unobserved phenomena.
A scientific theory is a well-substantiated explanation of some aspect of the natural world, based on a body of facts that have been repeatedly confirmed through observation and experiment. Such fact-supported theories are not "guesses" but reliable accounts of the real world. The theory of biological evolution is more than "just a theory." It is as factual an explanation of the universe as the atomic theory of matter or the germ theory of disease. Our understanding of gravity is still a work in progress. But the phenomenon of gravity, like evolution, is an accepted fact.
The other big issue - at least among many of the people around me - is the feeling that, since many of the atheists must believe in Evolution (after all, they have no one else to credit for Life), the whole Evolution enterprise, itself, must be an anti-God, anti-religious ideology and needs to be shunned offhand. Hmmm. Most atheists I know also believe that the world is round, but I don't see anyone refuting that. Well, almost anyone.
Larson's excellent book, Evolution - The Remarkable History of a Scientific Theory, opens with this quote Darwin.m4a and, thus, sets the tone for what follows in this up to date and wonderfully readable work. Listenable, too: an audio-book version is now on sale at T2F. Do buy it. And if it's sold out by the time you make it there, order it from them. It's worth every penny.
But, if you are unfamiliar with the theory (10-to-1, it's not what you've heard it is!), Google Charles Darwin and get to know more about his dangerous idea!
Among those who deny Evolution, there are Creationists, in various flavors. Some believe that Earth was created 6000+ years ago, some who think that humans and dinosaurs lived concurrently and even interacted, and some who believe that fossilized bones were 'created' as is, in order to test us.
None of these clowns, however, convinced me of the flaws in Darwin's ideas as did this part of an email from someone (who, admittedly, reads a lot of Harun Yahya): The question I have is then for all Darwin's greatness and stories why has this evolution stopped all of a sudden? If it was a continuous process then that factor should not have gone away - it should have kept occuring. Then why do we see natural births and not have babies coming to us as apes or from apes ????
Damn! Damn! Damn! Why didn't I think of this? 

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Anonymous Shanth said...

=) The am I my keeper's brother just cracked me up ...

fun stuff

21 February, 2009 08:57

Blogger Sidhusaaheb said...

Hmmm...Mike Huckabee should be reading this...

BTW, I think some folks still do happen to have a certain Australopithecus touch, especially when it comes to the jaw-line. :P

21 February, 2009 20:35

Blogger Zakintosh said...

In case some of you are wondering about sidhusaaheb's reference, is the page to go to.

21 February, 2009 20:54

Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The question I have is then for all Darwin's greatness and stories why has this evolution stopped all of a sudden? If it was a continuous process then that factor should not have gone away - it should have kept occurring. Then why do we see natural births and not have babies coming to us as apes or from apes ????"

Dear Mr. Zakintosh.
How does this person who mailed you knows that evolution has come to a halt all of a sudden?

Evolution changes do not take place on one birth after another scale, so obviously we dont see a child being born with thinner longer fingers adapted for keyboards or eyes with an extra layer on cornea providing protection from all the rays around, but you know what?.. various microbes that lived through their eons might have thought they are all but the same.looked what they turned out tobe eventually!

probably what we can do is to compare you and me with skeletal or whatever remains of one of us that lived sme hundred thousand years ago, and then we would be able to say whether evolution has stopped or not. ( even in that case, though, we cant really say if it has stopped altogether or the pace is too slow and would only be noticeable some millions or more years down the line!

so the bottomline is ..dnt feel bad abt not coming up with this idea. its pretty lame!

03 March, 2009 21:23

Blogger Zakintosh said...

lol @phaixa: have a heart and understand sarcasm, please! you think that the shitty idea from a harun yahya fan (aaargh!) would be worthy of anything but scorn. but i guess you haven't read my views in general.

03 March, 2009 22:08

Anonymous Anonymous said...

lol! yeah i guess i missed it; i ought to read more of your stuff i guess.

05 March, 2009 09:47


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