Monday, January 26, 2009
Just So Stories
I've just finished watching British television's latest homage to the Genius of Darwin...
What Darwin Didn't Know
Documentary which tells the story of evolution theory since Darwin postulated it in 1859 in 'On the Origin of Species'.
The theory of evolution by natural selection is now scientific orthodoxy, but when it was unveiled it caused a storm of controversy, from fellow scientists as well as religious people. They criticised it for being short on evidence and long on assertion and Darwin, being the honest scientist that he was, agreed with them. He knew that his theory was riddled with 'difficulties', but he entrusted future generations to complete his work and prove the essential truth of his vision, which is what scientists have been doing for the past 150 years.
Evolutionary biologist Professor Armand Marie Leroi charts the scientific endeavour that brought about the triumphant renaissance of Darwin's theory. He argues that, with the new science of evolutionary developmental biology (evo devo), it may be possible to take that theory to a new level - to do more than explain what has evolved in the past, and start to predict what might evolve in the future.
It was essentially no more than the usual collection of fibs, half truths, fantasies and non sequiturs but it made a nice change having someone other than Richard Dawkins presenting the same old fundamentalist bullcrap
And, no, Armand didn't fill in any holes but he did attempt to pass off some absolute whoppers whilst pretending to do so
There was one slightly novel element. It was I think the first time I've ever heard a TeleDarwinevangelist admit that this most beautiful and truthy of scientific theories is currently capable of predicting absolutely bugger all and only 'works' retrospectively
Ah well, it's only a century and half old. Give it time
You can only imagine how far Newton would have got trying to pull that kind of shit