Saturday, March 25, 2006

Science Rules

If you're one of the few people in the tiny sliver of the Venn diagram of people who read me but not Daily Kos, Darksyde's "Science Friday" (emphasis is self-explanatory) is an excellent ongoing blog series. Great writing, great topics, awesome visual aids. Here's a bit from this week's offering, "The Stand-up Philosopher," an interview with Dr. John Wilkins, a philosopher specializing in "the history and epistemology of biological science":
DS: The DI [Discovery Institute] seems to be insisting that science unfairly excludes supernatural or magical processes, what the heck would qualify as a supernatural processes?

JW: I've never received a sensible answer to this. The history of science since the pre-Socratic Milesians, in the 6th century before the common era, has assumed that there is a nature that can be uncovered. Science depends on this. To introduce some cause that cannot be anticipated, or investigated, or manipulated, is to add nothing to science, and to take away what makes science work. Now one is entirely free to deny that science is knowledge at all, and proceed that way, but if you grant science is a way of knowing - and in fact the most successful way of knowing - then you have to be a naturalist, no matter what your theology may say about things that are not science.

And check out these other recent nuggets from the series: The Science of Deception (on hurricanes, global warming, and censorship and intimidation of government scientists), Swamp Things (an interview on the degradation of the Florida Everglades), What Dreams May Come (on why does E.T. never call?) and Is There Anybody Out There? (on the Fermi Paradox).

Also, don't miss Google Mars.

Pretty cool. See also Google Moon.

Finally, here's a link to Chance and Regularity in the Development of the Fly Eye, by evolutionary biologist P.Z. Myers at Pharyngula, where, incidentally, I found the pic of the mutated fly eye at the top of this post.


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