Where to draw the line between the right to say what we sincerely believe and the right of others not to be insulted, belittled, threatened? Where to draw the line on protecting those who post pseudonymously on the internet?
The Internet has created opportunity. The opportunity for those living under repressive regimes to communicate, to organise, to advertise the fact of their oppression internationally. But also the opportunity for oppressive regimes to trace and document this activity and track down dissidents. And the opportunity for groups with extreme views to advertise and organise racist rallies.
I’m conflicted. My conflict is between ensuring the right of anyone to speak their mind and the responsibility of owning up to those views.
Where to draw the line?
I see there are new fossil finds in Morocco which have been reported on the BBC. Here is the Nature Letter that reports the new find. What were modern humans up to prior to the flowering of human civilisation that left no mark prior to, lets say, ten thousand years ago? Why the large brains? Why the capacity for complex communication? Why the gap of over a quarter of a million years before the burst into human civilisation?
I just noticed that the Captcha on the registration form was faulty (I’m not sure how long for) which made it impossible for anyone wishing to join in discussions here to register. I’ve fixed it now. My apologies to anyone affected.
Please be assured that the site welcomes new members and I invite those who have tried and been unable to register to have another go. If you experience any difficulties, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. (Unless you are a spammer, of course!)
Andreas Wagner’s book,The Arrival of the Fittest has been mentioned many times (just try a site search as I’ve just done) since it was published. Petrushka pointed it out in a comment
For anyone interested in whether RMNS can create stuff, I recommend a relatively new book, Arrival of the Fittest. I just bought the Kindle version an haven’t finished, but it has a lot to say about how goldilocks mutations occur.
Much later Mung writes:
Reminds me of petrushka, who is always plugging Andreas Wagner’s Arrival of the Fittest, but will never post an OP on it for discussion.
So I’ve taken the hint and bought the book at last. I can see why people have recommended it. Continue reading
I’m sure the name Jerry Falwell Jr means more to US members than it does to me. A friend passed on a link where I read:
Donald Trump appoints creationist college president to lead higher education reform taskforce
According to Salon:
The focus will be on “overregulation and micromanagement of higher education,” according to university spokesman Len Stevens. This would be consistent with Falwell’s past positions, in which he has opposed federal regulations on funding and accreditation for American schools of higher learning.
Following the appointment of (Calvinist?) Betsy DeVos as Education secretary, should we be concerned for the future of public education in the US?
There’s no question in my mind the “Intelligent Design” movement has lost all its arguments with Science. Unfortunately, post Trump-it, that fact is now an irrelevance. With Trump’s appointment of Betsy de Vos as Education Secretary, it looks like religious fundamentalism no longer needs its figleaf. What concerns me much more is that a similar fate awaits climate research if his appointment of Rex Tillerson as Secretary of State is any indication of future policy on combating climate change. Continue reading
Let me clarify that by saying that I mean a theory that purports to be a scientific theory, that makes testable predictions (“if ID was correct we should observe…, if ID were not correct, we should not observe…”) and is an alternative explanation for the diversity and extent of the pattern of life we see on Earth. Continue reading
The challenge, for all and sundry but especially for “Darwin doubters”, should you wish to take it, is to submit a one-paragraph summary of the theory of evolution. The idea is to see if you understand it well enough to fairly summarize the theory so that you pass as a proponent of evolution. We also need some examples from proponents to test the null hypothesis!
To ensure anonymity, please submit your paragraph by private message to me or another admin and we will add it in edit. (Or email it to me at email@example.com if you prefer.) Continue reading
This is an open challenge to all and sundry!
Can anyone represent the views of someone he disagrees with well enough to pass the “Turing Test” and be mistaken for a real proponent of those views? Barry Arrington has recently issued this challenge for skeptics of “Intelligent Design”. He seems to have overlooked the point that the test should be anonymous and also that most remaining active ID skeptics are unable or unwilling (or both, in my case) to participate at “Uncommon descent”. Continue reading
I guess many folks here are familiar with Dr (of philosophy) Vincent Torley as a contributor of many posts at Uncommon Descent now operated by one Barry Arrington.
Vincent strikes me as a genuinely nice guy whose views are very different from mine on many issues. Possibly one of his most remarked-upon idiosyncracies is his tendency to publish exceedingly long posts at Uncommon Descent but (leaving Joseph of Cupertino in the air for a moment) lately Vincent has become a little more reflective on the merits of “Intelligent Design” as some sort of alternative or rival to mainstream biology. Continue reading