Saturday, December 12, 2009

How Corn supports Evolution

Corn, aka Maize, is a rather interesting and unique supporter of modern Darwinian Evolution.

Corn literally can not exist with out human kind, and specifically, humans with agriculture. The mutation that created the original spexies known as Maize requires deliberate intervention and preparation by another species (namely, humans) in order to continue to successfully reproduce.

Which means that Maize could not have come into existence until after humans had started farming.

either it evolved from other grains at a lucky place and time, quite possibly one of a multitude with corn being the only one we know about because it's the only one that was in the right place at the right time.

Or, it was placed via some direct but undocumented visitation from an intelligent designer at just the right point. in time, and there were never any similiar genetic variants that simply died off. Yeah, that's a magic man did it argument.

"Expelled", Darwinism, and ID.

Humans being what we are, we like absolutes in 'wrong' and 'right'. It's to bad that such absolutes are often rather misleading, even destructive.

So let's start off with my view point. I'm a 'Darwinist' in the sense that I find biological evolution from a single celled organism to be the most likely explanation for the origin of life, with the assistance of some form of intelligent intervention to be very unlikely. As previously discussed, I am an atheist as well.

Now, I'm quite willing to talk and discuss and argue with people who are interested in discussing Intelligent Design in a scientific manner. Of course, the greatest challenge to that idea that needs to be overcome is the necessity for direct physical evidence of a Designer, and to the best of my knowledge, we have none. A supposedly simpler explanation for how biological mechanisms were formed is far from direct enough. Leaving it up entirely to the evolutionary mechanisms that are in place that we know exist is simpler from the view point of not adding another agent of unknown qualities into the mix. And I have a whole slew of other arguments, that would continue to distract from the focus of this post

Scientific debate of ID is hindered by two things. First, and in my mind primarily, is the section of ID that is creationism trying to masquerade as something scientific. That approach is "and of an Intelligent Designer seems possible, why couldn't it be God! and if it's God, then look at this bible..."

They screw up the real ID scientists who find aspects of microbiology to be more easily explainable if there was some one who designed it.

That combines with the animosity between science and the church (which is ironic due to many famous scientists such as Galileo and Newton being religious, but is the church's own fault for attacking the early scientists so harshly) to create a backlash against any one who mention ID in a scientific publication or paper.

This backlash is itself unscientific. Unfortunately, humans are flawed creatures, and often in vigorous defense of an ideal, we act like those whom we originally set ourselves against. Loosing tenure for the slightest mention of researching the possibilities is not a good way to run things. Let them do research, bring up their evidence and arguments, then proceed in a proper, scientific method, using critical thinking skills, to hash it all out.

Go watch Expelled. Truly, it's not as one sides as many claim. It's flawed, and I'd love to get into that in another, very long post sometime, but all pro-ID siding that it may be taking aside, the primitive blackballing of IDers that the documentary seems to expose is not something any one who considers themselves a scientist should take part in.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Downsides to equality.

Something I was reading brought this up, and it didn't take long for me to decide where I stood intellectually, even if my emotional reactions do not quite match. It has to do with violence between genders.

of course, first a disclaimer, in general, violence is the wrong solution to most problems. Moving on...

"It's never OK to hit a woman." This is part of the code of being a gentleman, or being chivalrous, or various other codes that put the man in the position of protector over the weaker woman.

Yet it is also the cry of many feminists and other groups that push equality...

the problem is, any time you specifically say something is not right to do against women, you imply it is OK against a man. and this is not equality. Saying 'it's never OK to hit a person." is at least not hypocritical.

Under circumstances where it is OK to hit a guy (say, a mugger, or attacking you with a knife, or what ever.) , it is OK to hit a woman. This is not abuse, or at least, not any more abusive than it is against guys. True equality comes with bad things sometimes too. The gentleman who would never hit a woman, is also the same guy who assumes that a woman is a delicate creature that needs protecting. It's a built in assumption to the phrase "never hit a woman".

My emotional reaction is such that I'm still going to be 10 times more reluctant to hit a woman than a man, due to my upbringing, but for true equality, any phrase that treats women differently than men needs to be dropped or modified, as we continue moving forward.