Servant of the Secret Fire

Random thoughts on books and life in the reality-based community

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The name I've chosen comes from "Lord of the Rings," when Gandalf faces down the Balrog in the Mines of Moria. My Hebrew name is Esther (which is related to the word for "hidden" or "secret") Serafina (which means "burning"). This seems appropriate because although I don't usually put myself forward, I do care very passionately about a lot of things. Maybe through these blogs I can share some of these passions, as well as less weighty ideas and opinions, with others.

Friday, February 24, 2006

THIS is what science is about

Click on link or title to read complete article.
Beaver or Otter, It Lived in Dinosaurs' Time
...Thomas Martin, an authority on early mammals at Senckenberg Research Institute in Frankfurt, said the find pushed back "the mammalian conquest of the waters by more than 100 million years" and "impressively contradicts" the conventional view.
"This exciting fossil," he wrote in a commentary accompanying the report, "is a further jigsaw puzzle piece in a series of recent discoveries, demonstrating that the diversity and early evolutionary history of mammals were much more complex than perceived less than a decade ago."...
If something comes along that really contradicts what they thought before, and for which there is legitimate evidence, good scientists will abandon the previous views - maybe not without a backward look, especially if it was something they had an investment in, but they will abandon it. Look at "continental drift." When it was first proposed it was pooh-poohed because the theory for the mechanism wasn't convincing. Continents don't float on top of the ocean. When plate tectonics made its appearance, it was eventually accepted.

Creationism, on the other hand, never changes or evolves. (You should forgive the expression!) It undergoes cosmetic revision, name changes, etc., but essentially is still the same as it was 20, 50, or a hundred years ago.

Update: I'm reading a very interesting book called Finding Darwin's God which goes over the basic anti-evolution arguments. I will have to concede that, to continue the analogy, creationism does mutate somewhat in response to outside threats, to the extent that there are now three different varieties. It's still the same species, though.

Here are a few excellent evolution-related websites: Talk.Origins, Understanding Evolution, The Panda's Thumb, the National Center for Science Education, Pharyngula.

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