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Go to: Back from the grave

DNAproduct's Avatar Jump to comment 32 by DNAproduct


Thank You! I had no idea there was a British version of The Onion. I just looked at two stories and immediately bookmarked the home page.

Also, thank you for linking two of my favorite sources of skeptical information - this website and Steven Novella. (The SGU podcast may have a bit too much silliness for some people here, but I enjoy it.)

I'm sure others have noticed this, but of course for this study to be valid, the medical workers can't be aware of what the picture looks like. And if the same picture is used in all locations, that makes shenanigans more likely. (Since anyone who sees the picture at one hospital knows what the picture looks like at ALL the hospitals).

Sat, 20 Sep 2008 05:19:00 UTC | #237604

Go to: Genes might not be so selfish after all

DNAproduct's Avatar Jump to comment 53 by DNAproduct

Most of the comments here have already made the point, but here's an example from over 25 years ago showing that Times Online has set up yet another Straw Dawkins to disagree with:

"People seem to have little difficulty in accepting the modifiability of 'environmental' effects on human development. If a child has had bad teaching in mathematics, it is accepted that the resulting deficiency can be remedied by extra good teaching the following year. But any suggestion that the child's mathematical deficiency might have a genetic origin is likely to be greeted with something approaching despair: if it is in the genes 'it is written', it is 'determined' and nothing can be done about it: you might as well give up attempting to teach the child mathematics. This is pernicious rubbish on an almost astrological scale. Genetic causes and environmental causes are in principle no different from each other. Some influences of both types may be hard to reverse; others may be easy to reverse. Some may be usually hard to reverse but easy if the right agent is applied. The important point is that there is no general reason for expecting genetic influences to be any more irreversible than environmental ones.
What did genes do to deserve their sinister, juggernaut-like reputation? Why do we not make a similar bogey out of, say, nursery education or confirmation classes? Why are genes thought to be so much more fixed and inescapable in their effects than television, nuns, or books? Educational, or other cultural influences may, in some circumstances, be just as unmodifiable and irreversible as genes and 'stars' are popularly thought to be."

--Richard Dawkins, "The Extended Phenotype"

Thu, 18 Sep 2008 05:19:00 UTC | #236402

Go to: A Tribute to Douglas Adams: Towel Day May 25th

DNAproduct's Avatar Jump to comment 31 by DNAproduct

Congratulations, RamziD!

You're probably on your way to many hours of enjoyment...and understanding little references to Douglas Adams that pop up all over the place.
Keep an eye out for the Great Green Arkelseizure.

Speaking of Douglas Adams, there's one line from "The Extended Phenotype" that I put into my file of favorite Dawkins quotes because it sounded to me like something Adams would have written:

Journalists are often only too ready to pander to the unpopularity of Darwinism in some lay circles. One of Britain's least disreputable daily newspapers (The Guardian, 21 November 1978) served up a journalistically garbled but still just recognizable version of the Eldredge/Gould theory in a leading article, as evidence that all is not well with Darwinism.

In that context, doesn't "least disreputable" seem like the way Douglas Adams would have put it?

Sun, 25 May 2008 14:30:00 UTC | #175143

Go to: Richard Dawkins lecture at ASU's Tempe Campus

DNAproduct's Avatar Jump to comment 49 by DNAproduct

Clint Hollow:

No offence taken, and no...we really didn't have to clap after everything. As I said above, I'd even heard it all before, so there was nothing new for me to get excited about.
Still, it felt very good to clap, be appreciative, and just openly show agreement with what was being said.

Of course I'm not speaking for all the people there, just myself, but the great majority of my time is spent in situations where it's just not appropriate to discuss some of my very favorite writing, including that of Richard Dawkins. Not that I think his writing is offensive at all, but I don't get paid to carry on debates about evolution or atheism, and that's what I'd end up doing if I brought the subjects up. So I just avoid talking about them.

Because of that, like I said, it felt good just to be able to openly, loudly, acknowledge well-constructed arguments even though I had heard them before.

My guess is that many other people there may have been over-eager to clap for the same reason.

Oh, and the "square triangle" guy bugged everybody, believe me. Dawkins' answer to him was, to me, about the thousandth good piece of evidence that he's not the angry curmudgeon creationists want to make him out to be. Dawkins was polite, understanding, and conveyed the impression that he seriously listened to the rambling longer than most people in the audience did.

Fri, 23 May 2008 05:21:00 UTC | #174552

Go to: Richard Dawkins lecture at ASU's Tempe Campus

DNAproduct's Avatar Jump to comment 23 by DNAproduct

I was kicking myself for not going to James Randi's TAM in Las Vegas a few years ago when Dawkins was there. I thought it might be my best chance to see him speak...maybe ever. So I was ecstatic when I found out he was not only coming to Tempe, but tickets were free!

I had no idea how many people would be fans/supporters and how many would be there to see the guy their church friends have told them is evil incarnate.

My answer came when the host announced that it was the largest crowd Dawkins' largest audience ever. The reaction was overwhelmingly positive. Nearly everyone I could see was clapping enthusiastically.

I enjoyed the talk very much even though I had read/heard everything many times before in TGD, on the website, or through other skeptical/atheist links.

The only negative about the size of the crowd was the line to meet Richard after the talk. I had hoped to get either TGD or "Ancestor's Tale" signed, and would have waited for hours without complaint. But the line...I couldn't even SEE him, and it seemed clearly impossible for him to move through all these people.

Even if he was willing to stay, I was sure it would take many hours for Dawkins to get through all those people. I wanted very much to shake the man's hand, but didn't want to keep him up until 6am just for that.

It was very encouraging to find out there were so many Dawkins readers/fans here in Tempe/Phoenix. I had no idea.

Thu, 22 May 2008 14:43:00 UTC | #174381

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