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Saturday, August 05, 2006

Never bored!: Fun from nearby blogs

There are two stories below this one, but I'm now headed out of town for the rest of the day, so here's some fun as well from nearby blogs:

Australian biologist Steve Jones details the late Steve Gould's dance around the question of Darwinism and Darwin's stretcher about where and how he got his theory.

Lawrence Selden's blog, Darwinian Fundamentalismoffers a peek at the contestants in the Darwin look-alike contest.

At Real Physics, Lawrence Gage offers an account of the religion of Star Trek. Yes, it's relevant because secular religions that are anti-traditional religion are often allowed and encouraged in schools, where they are subsidized by all taxpayers. Have a look.

Telic Thoughts notes the demand that scientists start raising cain with traditional religious folk about their beliefs, presumably to protect materialism, whose book of Genesis is Darwinism. I wouldn't care about this except for this: When the government passes the collection plate, you MUST give big time. Why should any of it go to people who want to use it to raise cain with other taxpaying citizens about their religious beliefs?

If you're still bored, it's your own fault. Go for a walk. Talk to a butterfly.
THERE was never a Queen like Balkis,
From here to the wide world’s end;
But Balkis talked to a butterfly
As you would talk to a friend.

There was never a King like Solomon,
Not since the world began;
But Solomon talked to a butterfly
As a man would talk to a man.

She was Queen of Sabaea—
And he was Asia’s Lord—
But they both of ’em talked to butterflies
When they took their walks abroad!

- Kipling

If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

The latest from evolutionary psychology: Hungry men prefer plump women for "evolutionary" reasons

Men who are hungry are more attracted to
plump women and men who are well-fed are more attracted to thin ones, according to a recent study published in the British Journal of Psychology, which offers an explanation:
... although modern western cultures are dominated by images of skinny models, men still have an evolutionary preference for more rounded women.

The results indicated that this preference can still be triggered by pangs of hunger. Viren Swami, a psychologist at Liverpool University's Department of Public Health, said: "Hungry men are much more tolerant and rate obese women more positively than men who have eaten."

Maybe that's simply because the hungry men suspect that plump women know where the kitchen is, but the satiated men don't really care. Strictly speaking, the hungry men could have tumbled to that one if they had evolved only twenty-five years ago.

Culturally, this story is an interesting entry in the annals of evo psycho because it riffs off two key Western cultural values (not just one):

1. The cave man stereotype (the average guy "really" thinks like a Paleolithic cave man, so everything he thinks about reflects that bias. Why so?).

2. You have to be "much more tolerant" to hang out with someone who is "obese". Oh? So everyone in the world is and always has been as obsessed with body shape and image as anorexic, white, middle-class American/European girls?

The article notes the interesting cultural fact that some African women are force-fed milk to fatten them. I'm not surprised. Afrocentric cultures don't glorify anorexia - but then few cultures have. Kathy Shaidle, the "relapsed Catholic" once mentioned on a Behind the Story segment we taped together that the African American girl's cultural equivalent of anorexia was "hair-orexia." She accepts her natural body shape (good for her!), but may focus too much of her life and self-esteem on hair management. Good thing that external hair is biologically dead anyway, so the African American girls have chosen a much safer focus for neurosis.
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

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Anti-ID science broadcaster: Body odor and bad breath shows there's no ID!

Bill Dembski’s post on an Australian anti-ID tract, "Creationism’s belligerent cousin", quotes the science broadcaster Robyn Williams in an interview with scijo Deborah Smith, regarding the alleged defects of the human (and marsupial) body:
And the technique appears to have been slapdash or confused: “Halitosis, farting, vaginal discharge, reflux, snoring, rheumatism, warts, smelly armpits, varicose veins, menopause, brewer’s droop … these are not the marks of a designer at the top of his game.” Koalas, Williams also notes, have a pouch that opens downwards. “Was God intending the babies to fall out and crash to the forest floor?”

To me, this is fascinating because, once upon a time, it was mostly effete literati who made these kinds of comments.

Today, in defense of Darwinism, a science broadcaster is allowed to pretend to the general public that the practicalities of biochemistry in real time and space are somehow a defect of the system - much as if a car’s exhaust system were identified as a defect of engineering.

In the eighteenth century, satirical author Jonathan Swift writes of a lover who expresses a sense of pain that his sweetheart, like other life forms, needs to visit the water closet now and then ...

Read more.
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?

A summary of tech guru George Gilder's arguments for ID and against Darwinism

A critical look at why March of the Penguins was thought to be an ID film.

A summary of recent opinion columns on the ID controversy

A summary of recent polls of US public opinion on the ID controversy

A summary of the Catholic Church's entry into the controversy, essentially on the side of ID.

O'Leary's intro to non-Darwinian agnostic philosopher David Stove’s critique of Darwinism.

An ID Timeline: The ID folk seem always to win when they lose.

O’Leary’s comments on Francis Beckwith, a Dembski associate, being denied tenure at Baylor.

Why origin of life is such a difficult problem.
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