Assorted links

by on March 28, 2011 at 1:06 pm in Uncategorized | Permalink

1. Here is Arnold Kling’s proof that Baron Holbach was right.

2. Julian Offray de La Mettrie’s “Man a Machine.”

2. More on QaddafiGate.

4. Which political views are most and least fluent with science?

5. 15 websites that forbid you from linking to them.

6. Is Arizona a failed state?

7. Karel von Wolferen assesses Japan’s response to the crisis.

Hesam March 28, 2011 at 1:39 pm

I don’t get the Holbach reference could somebody shed some light on it?

Eli March 28, 2011 at 2:06 pm

Arnold says “If Tyler Cowen still believes in stagnation after watching this video, then he has no soul.” Baron d’Holbach was a French Enlightenment atheist who would agree that Tyler has no soul. This is Tyler’s humorous way of saying he is not persuaded by Arnold’s video.

Tyler Cowen March 28, 2011 at 2:13 pm

Khan is great. I’ll ditch Holbach when Khan’s work forces down higher ed prices in this country. Higher high school graduation rates would be nice too,, though I’ll settle for those dropouts watching and mastering the content in Khan’s videos.

Eli March 28, 2011 at 2:38 pm

Right, I should have written “…not persuaded by Arnold’s video that there is no stagnation.” I didn’t mean to imply anything about your views on Khan.

Andrew March 28, 2011 at 4:41 pm

Do people really not get it, or are they just playing along?

Silas Barta March 28, 2011 at 6:12 pm

I thought we were supposed to be concerned about whether education produces skilled workers, not the raw number of warm bodies it churns through. If everyone got the appropriate skills for the new economy *without* going through the good ol’ higher-ed gravy-train-for-professors, am I supposed to cry or something?

Hesam March 29, 2011 at 1:12 am

Hmmm, can you make a page where we (=commenters here) can debate the stagnation issue? I had couple of questions I would like to ask.

Slocum March 29, 2011 at 7:09 am

Why just higher-ed prices? A reduction in K-12 education prices would be a great thing, too. Tyler is probably right that actually cutting the costs will be enormously difficult — but that will because of entrenched rent-seeking, not because of Baumol. Not because there are no more cost-effective (and more effective) approaches available. The same, BTW, applies to the traditional, inefficient ‘laying on of hands’ provided exclusively by high-priced experts at officially certified institutions (in some cases it’s the experts with the royal patent themselves who are so costly — physicians — while in other cases it’s the institutions — non-tenured lecturers are paid dirt but the lecture-hall seat remains extremely expensive).

How might this actually change? I expect the entrenched interests in the U.S. will be successful in defending their turf for quite a long time (both the AMA and NEA have enormous political power). So, for example, where methods like those of the Khan Academy are used, there will still be contractual requirements to preserve the same teacher:student ratios (and costs) as before. But there are a lot of countries in the world that desperately need low-cost medicine and education, and I’d expect the innovation to happen in those places first, and the efficiency achieved there is what will ultimately put pressure on the old regime in developed nations. That’s one guess, anyway.

But there’s also the possibility that some unhinged, tea partier state government somewhere will direct the state university system to develop certification exams that, at a fraction of the cost, confer credit equal that of having taken the corresponding courses. Something like Rick Perry’s demand for a $10,000 degree, but taken extended another order of magnitude.

j r March 29, 2011 at 9:54 am

I am curious why you think that rent-seeking is the major cause of inflated prices in the K-12 education market. I would argue that the things you cite are part of the equation, but at the same time people are generally irrational when it comes to spending on their children. From name brand name clothes for toddlers to $1500 strollers; from Baby Einstein videos to $20,000 pre-school tuition; there’s really no end to the amount of money people will spend to either give their children the slightest perceived benefit or to use their children as means to signal their own wealth.

If you look at what is driving the increases in higher education, almost none of it has to do with academics per se. With the amount of lecturers and adjuncts being used, I would imagine that the price of teaching hours is going down (or at least not going up at any incredible rate). Think about all of the bells and whistles that students are demanding: fancy buildings and up-to-date dorms, overseas programs, robust career development services.

Everything that I’ve mentioned plays a role in driving up the cost of education and none if it has anything to do with rent seeking or special interests.

Ted Craig March 28, 2011 at 2:37 pm

6. Aren’t they all failed states?

L March 28, 2011 at 3:21 pm

2 is down for me. Here is the Google cache link.

techreseller March 28, 2011 at 4:23 pm

On the science and politics link. In the whole list there was only one item where the difference between Republican and Democrat had a dramatic difference in “opinion”. And that was that humans evolved from non-humans. There was an almost 50% difference. Talk about a religiously driven polemic driving attitudes. All the rest tended to be within 1-5 points. Sad that evangelicals just cannot get past the whole “the bible is literally true” thing.

Andrew March 28, 2011 at 5:13 pm

That is why Democrats have 2 or 3 scientific litmus tests.

ad*m March 28, 2011 at 9:58 pm

Well, the GSS questions left out obviously politically incorrect ones such as ‘there are no differences in IQ between self identified racial groups because evolutionary selection of humans stopped at least 10,000 years ago’ or similarly human biodiversity oriented questions. Want to wager on what Democrats’ belief on that is – as opposed to the science?

Anotherphil March 28, 2011 at 5:03 pm

Talk about a religiously driven polemic driving attitudes. All the rest tended to be within 1-5 points. Sad that evangelicals just cannot get past the whole “the bible is literally true” thing.

I’m not an evangelical-most of the ones, I have no idea how humanity came to exist. I’ve never seen God. I’ve also never seen interspecies evolution. That doesn’t mean neither exists, and I don’t need to see something to know it exists (electricity, magnetism, radiation, etc) if I can make consistent replicable observations.

However, there’s as more, and more viurlent closed mindedness on the part of the secularists as their is on the other side. They are an unpleant and bitter lot. There’s something very odd about a religious devotion to nihilism, even more than a belief in a benevolent deity. People believe in a lot of foolish things, astrology, benevolent government. In any case, I think Pascal proved atheism is irrational.

Luke March 28, 2011 at 11:18 pm

Sorry, what consistent, replicable observations that god exists can you tell us about? In the same way that we have a fossil record to support the theory of interspecies evolution, of course.

Anotherphil March 29, 2011 at 12:34 am

“Sorry, what consistent, replicable observations that god exists can you tell us about?”

Try to pay attention, you seem woefully bad at that. The answer is none. I didn’t say there were any. I said “I’ve never seen God”. and I don’t need to see SOMETHING to know it exists. In short, the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

“In the same way that we have a fossil record to support the theory of interspecies evolution, of course.”

Actually, the fossil record only supports that there’s been an awful lot of species that aren’t here anymore. It also supports the inference that some, like crocodilians and insects seem to have persisted over hundreds of millions of years with almost no change.

Proof of interspecies evolution would be having recorded observations of one organism reproducing offspring that are different, and viable. Unfortunately, it’s never been observed, and major architectural deviations (differing number of chromosomes) usually produce something that is at a disadvantage, if outright unable to reproduce. Until we make such an observation, there is only a narrative that you wish to accept as the only possible explanation. One needs to be careful about such myopia-when a Pasteur or Einstein comes along-it makes one look awfully foolish.

Tracy W March 29, 2011 at 4:04 am

Proof of interspecies evolution would be having recorded observations of one organism reproducing offspring that are different, and viable..

Something that happens every time an organism that reproduces by sexual reproduction sexually reproduces. Both of my parents are different to their relevant parents, and yet my parents are viable offspring. And me and my brothers are different to them, and to each other, though whether we are viable has yet to be proved.

and major architectural deviations (differing number of chromosomes) usually produce something that is at a disadvantage, if outright unable to reproduce

An irrelevant statement. What matters is the accumulation of minor architectural deviations over numerous generations.

Until we make such an observation, there is only a narrative that you wish to accept as the only possible explanation. One needs to be careful about such myopia-when a Pasteur or Einstein comes along-it makes one look awfully foolish.

It is rather amusing that someone who has failed to notice that human children differ from their parents is warning others about myopia.

Anotherphil March 29, 2011 at 9:27 am

“It is rather amusing that someone who has failed to notice that human children differ from their parents is warning others about myopia.”

Yeah children are different from their parents, but unless they are afflicted with Downs syndrome or a similiar condition, they have the same number of chromosomes and are THE SAME SPECIES.

Different species have a different number of chromosomes. The number of chromosomes isn’t analog and subject to “minor architectural deviations”. At some point, there has to be a whole number change. That’s usually a “bad” mutation.

So where is the observations? Why do some species give rise to spontaneous changes that allow them to change and others don’t? Why don’t we see modern trilobytes or dinosaurs, but crocs still exist in much the same form? These are the same types of inconsistencies that made “scientists” adhere to Newtonian mechanics for a couple centuries until a Swiss patent clerk eviscerated the universality of those immutable laws.

Until then, its the THEORY of evolution and unproven. It may be exactly how speciation occurs or it may not. People who refuse to consider there’s another cause, perhaps an unknown or unknowable one are close-minded, and religious(ly intolerant).

Tracy W March 29, 2011 at 12:12 pm

Anotherphil, one of the main arguments Darwin made for evolution is the lack of bright dividing lines between species.

I don’t think you have thought through your proposed definition of a species. If different species have a different number of chromosomes, then a pig is the same species as a cat, and there many other such problems. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_organisms_by_chromosome_count). I find this proposed definition of yours un-useful.

As for observations, is there any observation that could convince you of evolution? I mean after all, you’ve managed to live long enough to learn to read and write full sentences and yet failed up until now to observe that children differ from their parents, so you’re clearly not exactly the most acute observer out there.

Why do some species give rise to spontaneous changes that allow them to change and others don’t?

Which species are these that don’t give rise to spontaneous changes that allow them to change? And how do you know that these species don’t give rise to such spontaneous changes? Isn’t it entirely possible that a species could spontaneously change, but as it happens there is no possible change that would improve its overall fitness in its current situation, and thus it doesn’t change on an overall basis (obviously, any species that sexually reproduces is changing with each individual).

These are the same types of inconsistencies that made “scientists” adhere to Newtonian mechanics for a couple centuries until a Swiss patent clerk eviscerated the universality of those immutable laws.

Well, actually, the fundamental problems with Newtonian mechanics became really apparent with the Michelson-Morley experiment in 1887, several decades before Albert Einstein’s year of miracles. What Einstein provided was the resolution.

People who refuse to consider there’s another cause, perhaps an unknown or unknowable one are close-minded, and religious(ly intolerant).

How about people who propose a definition of species that imply that cats are the same species as pigs? Or people who failed to notice that children are different to their parents?

Tracy W March 30, 2011 at 4:15 am

AnotherPhil, I think you’re being way too harsh on yourself. I really don’t think that you were completely insane to propose “Different species have a different number of chromosomes.”, I just don’t think that you had thought it through properly (as I said at the time). I agree with you that your statement that “Different species have a different number of chromosomes” was indeed insane, because it lends to the absurd result that a pig is the same species as a cat, but hey, no need to beat yourself up about it, we all say silly stuff from time to time. Insanity would be sticking with your proposed definition of a species once you’ve had the absurdity pointed out to you.

I also notice a contradiction here. You say: ” I think evolution is POSSIBLE, but I want observable EVIDENCE” But in response to my question “As for observations, is there any observation that could convince you of evolution?” you just go on about “why do I need to be convinced?” You of course don’t need to be convinced, in the famous words: “The only thing you gotta do in this life is live until you die”, but it’s rather telling that you said that you want observable evidence, but are not willing to say what this observable evidence is. Methinks that you don’t actually want observable evidence.

I also notice that you admit that you don’t have any examples of species that are incapable of change, despite claiming, without a hint of qualification or self-doubt, in the previous comment that such existed.

As for the rest of your claims, for someone who criticises others about being too confident, you show a remarkable lack of self-doubt yourself. Even though two days ago you had yet to notice that children differ from their parents, you now are convinced that you have the perfect ability to see inside my head. You advise self-doubt to others, but show no ability to practice it yourself. I suggest that’s something you should work on, rather than beating yourself up just because you proposed an absurd definition of species.

CHILDREN ARE THE SAME SPECIES AS THEIR PARENTS-

Of course, and I speak English like my parents do, and like their parents did. So is Shakespearean English the same as the English I speak, or is it a totally different language?

JTW March 29, 2011 at 12:07 pm

Evolution is more easily visible in food plants which humans have cultivated and forced to evolve over only a few thousand years. Furthermore, chromosomal changes happen all the time in these crops – modern corn, for example, is either diploid or tetraploid.

I suggest you read up on the history of Brassica oleracea (the parent of kale, cauliflower, cabbage, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, and broccoli) or oranges (pomelo x mandarin). Both are, fortunately for us, fertile species and quite distinct from their progenitors.

Anotherphil March 29, 2011 at 3:31 pm

“Anotherphil, one of the main arguments Darwin made for evolution is the lack of bright dividing lines between species.”

Look, I get it, you really, really, really believe in evolution and nothing will ever consider any other possibility. Its been drummed in your head and considering it might just be a narrative makes you terribly uncomfortable. “The Origin of the Species” is your scripture. On the other hand, I think evolution is POSSIBLE, but I want observable EVIDENCE, not narrative INFERENCE and epistemic arrogance. It still makes you closed minded and intolerant since for you the abstractions of a man dead decades are beyond question. You really should read Taleb’s “Black Swan”, especially the parts about how we love a good story and impute them to a whole variety of physical and social phenomona.

“I don’t think you have thought through your proposed definition of a species. If different species have a different number of chromosomes, then a pig is the same species as a cat, and there many other such problems. (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_organisms_by_chromosome_count). I find this proposed definition of yours un-useful.”

Actually, you aren’t thinking and that fact that you find something “un-useful” (the word you are looking for is “irrelevant” and you inadvertantly demonstrated Orwell was right about truncating language and then creating negatives by attaching prefixes) isn’t convincing. Seriously: did you really write this? Yes, you did. “If different species have a different number of chromosomes, then a pig is the same species as a cat,”. That is such a patently absurd and convoluted statement that refutation is impossible because you have to be completely insane to propose such a thing.

“As for observations, is there any observation that could convince you of evolution? I mean after all, you’ve managed to live long enough to learn to read and write full sentences and yet failed up until now to observe that children differ from their parents, so you’re clearly not exactly the most acute observer out there.”

Why do I need to be convinced? Why I can’t I just say “its possible, but”? Let me put this in caps so you can imagine it being screamed at you by a drill instructor because you obviously don’t get it- CHILDREN ARE THE SAME SPECIES AS THEIR PARENTS-VARIATION WITHIN A SPECIES IS NOT (PROOF OF)INTERSPECIES EVOLUTION (BY VIVIPAROUS REPRODUCTION). Or are you a new species because you have red hair and your parents were blonde?

“Which species are these that don’t give rise to spontaneous changes that allow them to change? ”

I already gave you examples of remarkably stable and durable phenotypes.

“And how do you know that these species don’t give rise to such spontaneous changes?”

See above. I don’t know that they don’t, I only know they’ve been able to persist.

Isn’t it entirely possible that a species could spontaneously change, but as it happens there is no possible change that would improve its overall fitness in its current situation, and thus it doesn’t change on an overall basis (obviously, any species that sexually reproduces is changing with each individual).

Yes and if it doesn’t change on an “overall basis” where is the new species. A new species in sexual reproduction also implies the simultaneous existence of at least one other of the new species.

“Well, actually, the fundamental problems with Newtonian mechanics became really apparent with the Michelson-Morley experiment in 1887, several decades before Albert Einstein’s year of miracles. What Einstein provided was the resolution.”

No kidding. People were QUESTIONING Newton’s laws for a long time, but many obstinately refused to consider another possibility until Einstein provided the ANSWER, or at least a better answer, but even now they are still conducting confirmatory experiments. As it was, science knows of Einstein because Max Plank was open-minded enough to consider his work and others considered it because of Plank. You would no doubt be one of those who refused to consider the issues in the Newtonian framework and persisted chanting “Newton argued” because you had no other answer.

Anotherphil March 29, 2011 at 3:32 pm

“which humans have cultivated and forced to evolve over only a few thousand years”

That’s selective breeding, not evolution.

lena March 29, 2011 at 2:25 pm

Anotherphil,

the reason you dont need to see something to know it exist is because a theory that tells you it exists can make “consistent replicable observations”. where is this theory for god that relies on “consistent replicable observations”?

Anotherphil March 29, 2011 at 4:13 pm

Second Time: See my comment to Luke above.

Try to pay attention, you seem woefully bad at that. The answer is none. I didn’t say there were any. I said “I’ve never seen God”. and I don’t need to see SOMETHING to know it exists. In short, the absence of evidence is not evidence of absence.

Ron Potato March 29, 2011 at 8:09 am

Why do you believe your memories of past observations, and that they predict the future? Where is the evidence that the world has universal laws of nature, everywhere consistent and constant?

We lack more solid reasons to anticipate that there will be a tomorrow than to believe that there will be another life.

Science is a powerful system, which ignores the fundamental questions.

Ron Potato March 29, 2011 at 8:30 am

What’s more, most people believe in the science and its professors, from the hardest physics to the most mental psychology, though they themselves do not know the science.

Why do you trust the wisdom of the carnal hominids in the ivory tower?

Why do you seek Truth from Robin Hanson if he only believes in Status?

Anotherphil March 28, 2011 at 5:05 pm

Errata: most of the ones I know believe In creation, but can imagine that being a gradual process using natural means over geological timeframes.

Tom March 28, 2011 at 8:29 pm

Someone had to cause the big bang.

Cliff March 28, 2011 at 11:17 pm

The big bang has zip to do with evolution

Cliff March 28, 2011 at 11:17 pm

If they believe in a creation that involves a change in the distribution of alleles in populations over time, then congratulations they believe in evolution.

Todd March 28, 2011 at 5:13 pm

The science “knowledge” poll appears to me to be constructed to make conservative viewpoints on science seem as (relatively) knowledgeable as possible. There are a number of basic science questions in biology, ecology, geology etc… where conservatives would have faired relatively poorly against liberals and moderates. Off the top of my head, I cannot think of basic hard science questions where liberals and moderates would fare significantly worse relative to conservatives.

That only 39% of conservatives polled can correctly answer a basic question of biology is not the insignificant outlier that the other very simple questions make it seem to be. It most likely represents the thin edge of a wedge of relative (willful) ignorance that this poll goes out of its way to ignore. Entire wings of the modern American conservative movement are centrally devoted to denying several important hard scientific discoveries and principles.

Sigivald March 28, 2011 at 6:24 pm

Todd: So, you assert that somehow the GSS is slanted to make conservatives look good… on the basis that you could pick questions that they’d do poorly on?

Please explain to me these “wings” of American conservatism that deny those “several” discoveries and principles, and what they are? Because in my experience with people who are Americans and self-identify as Conservatives, I haven’t really come across many of ‘em.

(And, sorry – while I’m an atheist who believes evolutionary speciation is the best theory we have for the origin of species, I also know that that particular belief is not very important. Effect it has on outcomes in every branch of science apart from biology – and even then, not actually in most parts? ZERO.

The only one “discovery” I can think of that various conservative “wings” might contradict is evolution via their belief in “creation of mankind in God’s image”, which, again, isn’t actually important for doing almost any sort of science in general*. And even that isn’t central to conservatism at all – Christianity is central to various strains, but like the Catholics, one can easily accept both divine creation and evolution as its means of operation. The Catholic church, for example, hasn’t had a problem with Evolution in general in about a hundred years. (e.g. here, written before 1918, rejecting only the evolution of the soul, not the body. Which is fair, of course, since souls are extra-scientific.)

* By which I mean, unless one is doing work in early anthropology or perhaps “evolutionary psychology”, that simply doesn’t matter much. Almost all the applied sciences, any sort of theoretical physics, etc.? No bearing or relevance at all. Astronomy, chemistry, even genetics itself [since even creationists don't deny that genes exist and do things; they only deny that the ultimate origin of man's genes is evolution from lower life in the past], all completely unrelated to accepting evolutionary speciation as the explanation of man’s existence.

Todd March 28, 2011 at 7:09 pm

How do you think conservatives win national/state/local elections? You know, they do win about 50% of the time. How do you think that happens? Have you seen a Republican political debate in the last handful of election cycles? I feel no responsibility at all to outline for you the number of serious issues (just in the last ten or so years) where the accepted views of the vast majority of scientists have been opposed by the collective efforts of conservative politicians, policy-makers, think tanks, religious organizations, business lobbying groups and the rest. These anti-science efforts are often successful, because conservative politicians are good at getting elected and re-elected by a large number of conservatives. Conservatives voting for conservatives is a big part of conservative election strategy. Is it your (or anybody’s) contention that conservatives do not like the scientific illiteracy often displayed by their chosen representatives? Or are they scientifically literate but just willfully blind? Or is it a reasoned value judgement along the lines of: well, we’re denying basic science, but this will lead to a greater good down the road? Is that type of conspiracy better or worse than willful blindness? Better or worse than actual illiteracy?

Nic Smith March 28, 2011 at 8:20 pm

What does any of that have to do with the study design of the GSS?

Todd March 28, 2011 at 9:20 pm

What does the survey have to do with the scientific literacy of a significant portion of conservatives on a host of important scientific/policy issues that the survey chose not to address?

Ron Potato March 29, 2011 at 8:41 am

This vast majority of scientists, these are physicists prescribing economics, economists prescribing philosophy, and everyone else agreeing with them, right?

Todd March 29, 2011 at 9:04 am

?

bbartlog March 28, 2011 at 9:21 pm

All that dirt on Khaddafi consultancies, bribes and prestige-for-cash would look a lot less like mere propaganda if it had been published prior to our decision to bomb him. I might add that all of these folks (including also John McCain) clearly felt, as of three or four years ago, that Khaddafi was someone that you could legitimately try to do business with, eccentricities and that being-a-dictator thing notwithstanding. *Now* it seems that, while Khaddafi has not changed much, we are supposed to believe that he’s really always been beyond the pale.

Todd March 28, 2011 at 9:22 pm

“The Catholic church, for example, hasn’t had a problem with Evolution in general in about a hundred years.”

Really? Someone should tell the leadership of the Catholic Church:

http://www.nytimes.com/2005/07/07/opinion/07schonborn.html?_r=1

Roy March 29, 2011 at 12:26 am

Cardinal Archbishop Schonborn is not the leader of the church, he is merely Archbishop of Vienna. He was specifically criticized for his comments by the Vatican’s Observatory. Also in his belief is that humans are descended from other animals, he just disputes the theory of natural selection, believing that evolution was a divinely guided process.

This is not that much of a problem with evolution by American political standards, and he is pretty notorious, and notably criticized, for his anti scientific views in the church.

Todd March 29, 2011 at 8:04 am

To deny the core of the scientific theory of evolution, which is what natural selection is, is to deny evolution as a fact. What theory of evolution is he advocating? Larmarck? Cuvier? Intelligent Design? I certainly cannot make it out, but his statement that natural selection is “Neo-Darwinian” is a lie, and he knows that perfectly well. When the church’s second most important Cardinal publishes an article in the New York Times, I assure you it has been vetted and approved. Neither the Pope, nor any Catholic body criticized his theology, because they agree with it. He was criticized, quite rightly, and even by some official Catholics, for his lack of understanding of what basic science actually states. But the fact remains that he quite correctly stated the Catholic Church’s dogma, which, as he implicitly acknowledged, is not compatible with any scientific understanding of modern biology over the last 150+ years.

Ron Potato March 29, 2011 at 8:45 am

What theory of God are you advocating?

Why do you care?

Is it because you believe in Truth, and the state should be determined by truth?

Todd March 29, 2011 at 9:03 am

Wow, way to invent a reason to be defensive. The state? What are you talking about? I need neither church nor state (whatever it is you are referring to) to form an opinion. Why do I need a theory of god? A church, however, certainly needs one. The Catholic church is such a church. It has one. It was stated clearly in the article cited. Why do I care? Well, again, do I need to justify that to you, to anyone? An institution that purports to have one billion adherents, and clings medieval views on very important scientific matters is, to say the least, interesting. Curious. Remarkable. More curious is the institution which published the article, based on its content. More curious is the implicit defense of the article in several posts here.

Roy March 31, 2011 at 4:53 am

I think you overestimate the centralization of the church. Cardinals are not vetted and approved in what they say, heck even what ordinary priests write is not regularily censored before the fact, and a bishop’s dignity precludes this. If this wasn’t the case the church would have a lot less trouble with rogue clergy. In addition, I can not see how you can say Schonbrun is the second most important cardinal in the church.

As to the exercise of the mechanism of selection, while a teleological mechanism is in the realm of metaphysics and thus inherently both unscientific and outside the bounds of science, the Cardinal is not a scientist. The church has many scientists and many scientist priests, these do not tend to claim such things. As a Catholic scientist, a sedimentary geologist even, I can easily accept both the divine direction of the universe and evolution through natural selection. If the universe was created by a metaphysical entity, this entity also created the rules that govern its operation, functionally as a scientist I do not operate in a world any different from that of an atheist or agnostic scientist.

The whole point of the metaphysical is that it lies outside the physical, it is incumbent in my mind as a believer to discover. As the current Pope himself said in his Regensburg lecture, when faith and reason conflict, one must examine one’s faith. If ones faith requires ignorance of the actual nature of the natural world, it is a very weak faith.

lena March 28, 2011 at 10:55 pm

Anotherphil
Pascal seems to have stopped short of applying his principle to god. who created god and why cant atheists use that answer for the creation of the universe?

Tom March 29, 2011 at 7:44 am

Very good article on Arizona. I suspect in coming decades whites will start fleeing.

John Skookum March 31, 2011 at 2:05 am

“Very good article on Arizona. I suspect in coming decades whites will start fleeing.”

What makes you think they will start fleeing rather than start shooting? Tempers are wearing thin down here, especially along the border.

Noah Yetter March 29, 2011 at 9:45 am

“5. 15 websites that forbid you from linking to them.”

Sorry guys, this isn’t how the Internet works.

Steve March 29, 2011 at 11:08 am

Just out of curiosity, is the GSS the same set of questions we use to measure high school student aptitude in science and rate high schools? If so, that explains a lot.

Comments on this entry are closed.

Previous post:

Next post: