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June 25, 2006

Precursor to the Evolution Debate

Edward O. Wilson again, writing in Harvard Magazine last year:

In all of the history of science only one other disparity of comparable magnitude to evolution has occurred between a scientific event and the impact it has had on the public mind. This was the discovery by Copernicus that Earth and therefore humanity are not the center of the universe, and the universe is not a closed spherical bubble. Copernicus delayed publication of his masterwork On the Revolutions of the Heavenly Spheres until the year of his death (1543). For his extension of the idea subsequently, Bruno was burned at the stake, and for its documentation Galileo was shown the instruments of torture at Rome and remained under house arrest for the remainder of his life.

Posted by Mitchell Stephens at June 25, 2006 2:07 PM


The ironic thing about the growing fundamentalist reaction to the rise of the science based belief system is their use of technology to fight the system that creates that technology.

I believe this fight will intensify as machines enhance man. The Hollywood idea that the future will bring wars between man and machines totally misses the reality that we are already marrying ourselves with the machines we build.

Posted by: Jay Saul at June 26, 2006 8:45 AM

One of the books that has shaped my thinking about things is "Darwin Among the Machines" by George B. Dyson. It is a history of the belief machines themselves have intelligence. It is an idea that has been secretly held by many of the best minds for centuries and subject to the same persecution as the notGod belief.

Posted by: Jay Saul at June 26, 2006 9:28 AM


Perhaps that is why in the little Pentecostal Churches I use to go to, the ectastic gushing "Praise the Lord" and "Glory!" often accompanied testimonies of people putting their TV sets out to the curb or better yet, taking a hammer to them!

The War on machines already declared! : )

Posted by: Bonnie Kim at June 26, 2006 5:36 PM

War on machines, hardly. Look around you, how many machines do you own? Every year more and more people take care of more and more machines. We are the machine builders. Just between our words there are networks of machines, each doing their duty as good as they were made, just like us.

And, in the not-to-distant future, these conversations will send and receive from inside our heads; bio-ram, math co-processors, GPS and all the knowledge in the world accessible just by thinking for it.

On the other hand it could all go up in smoke and start all over again, just like it ever was....

The war is between the future and the past. Not between us and our machines.

Posted by: Jay Saul at June 26, 2006 9:43 PM

Yes, Jay Saul. I was being funny.
A wee bit of funny to break the stride of total dilligence.

That was not truly about War on machines. It was about the absurdity of the adherents to the religion to attempt to claim the spot of the alpha-male in The Church by devouring a machine, claiming territory in the 'Holy of Holies" by castigating TV sets.

Wasn't funny??? : (

Posted by: Bonnie Kim at June 26, 2006 9:50 PM

Over my head, which I am usually in.

Posted by: Jay Saul at June 26, 2006 10:08 PM

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