7/18-20/2006 - Of People, Pandas and Pawns
Those who know me (including the 4 of you who read my blog - OK 5 counting JW4) know that I have been gradually drifting rightward since moving to Cambridge. Maybe it's that I'm getting older and the base of my politics is relocating from heart to brains. Maybe it's my naturally contrarian reaction to the "moderates" in the People's Republic of Cambridge. But either way, my opinions have changed on many subjects, from those of the undergraduate I once was.
But if there's any subject that can drive me immediately back to my erstwhile comrades, it's the subject of Intelligent Design. For those of you who haven't been following this issue, there are those who strongly disagree with the basic tenets of Evolution. Simplified, evolution is essentially the theory that the current set of animals descended from some common ancestors. So that even though octopi don't look a whole lot like elephants, you can probably find something, far enough back, that gradually evolved into each, via different routes.
Intelligent design, alternately suggests, that animals "were designed" pretty much as they are. Sure, you can see "micro-evolution" over various time periods, but genetic material doesn't really have the ability to engender such large scale changes.
Were that all, I would have sympathy with the proponents of Intelligent Design. I also believe a lot of things which aren't true (that markets are efficient, that I might win the lottery, that we can still do some good in Iraq). And evolution really is offensive to some who, for whatever reason, would like to believe that humanity was put here for some higher cause. However, they have engaged in some tactics that I just can't accept and really hurt their cause in several significant ways. Whenever I read about the ongoing debate between ID and the Darwinists, the Liberal in me grabs a lantern and rides from Charleston to Concord…
As much as I'd like to talk more about ID (and I probably will in upcoming posts) what I really meant to say was this. In the interest of learning more about the science and the debate, I asked Google to find me a blog on the subject. And Google did, a blog called http://scienceblogs.com/evolutionblog/. The funny thing is the author of the non-anonymous blog (hey, it's even got a photo). It's a guy who graduated from high school with me. And not just any guy from high school. This was my vice president of math team! I was his vice president of the chess team! OK, I was a big-time dork in high school. (Of course now I'm an actuary, professional walker and part-time blogger, so I've left the past behind me).
I'm just psyched to have reconnected.
51,500 web-footed steps today. Cheers,