Archive for Evolution

Literary Studies and Evolutionary Science

In the face of any looming apocalypse, imagined or not, prophets abound. For the literary academy, which has been imagining its own demise for almost as long as it has been around, prophets seem always to look to science, with its soothing specificity and concreteness. As the modern discipline of literary criticism was forming in the early 20th century, scholars concentrated their efforts on philology, a study that was thought to be more systematic than pure literary analysis. When the New Critics made their debut in the 1920s and 30s, their goal was to give a quasi-scientific rigor to literary theory: to lay out in detail the formal attributes of a “good poem” and provide guidance as to how exactly one discovered them. Later the Canadian critic Northrop Frye, in his 1957 Anatomy of Criticism, famously queried: “What if criticism is a science as well as an art?” And some of the poststructuralist thought that began to filter into America from France in the 1960s took as its bedrock linguistic and psychoanalytic theory.

More, here.

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Edger

About

Edger presents hard-hitting and reasoned news, views, and event promotion on issues pertaining to secularism, atheism, science, humanism, and the cosmos, and actively promotes and celebrates international freethought activism. Written in a youthful tone, but mature in content, Edger is sure to be a driving force in the new intellectual enlightenment.

Mission

To create an outlet for prominent young freethought leaders to express their views and get them heard. Blogs are becoming very commonplace, and alone many blogs fail, but together, with the proper direction and an engaging and professional site, these blogging leaders can come together to make an impact far beyond what they could have achieved on their own.

Example:

Congratulations on your acceptance to the International School of Highly Emotive Knee-Jerk Reactionary Hissy Fits and welcome to your first seminar, Criticizing Atheism 101! Today we will be talking about the most successful, tried-and-occasionally-true techniques for criticizing the “New Atheism” as deployed by such renowned reactionary hissy fit-throwers as David Berlinski, Scott Hahn, Alistair McGrath, and others! All of the important information for this course has been compiled below into a list of seven key points, which can easily be adapted for any critic of atheism to use in his or her particular tempter tantrum…

Go!

Turkish Creationist challenges Dawkins to Evolution Debate

From today’s Guardian, here:

Richard Dawkins is used to being provoked by loony American evangelical creationists. But his latest challenge comes from a strange Turkish figure called Harun Yahya whose lavishly produced (and frankly preposterous) four-volume tome The Atlas of Creation caused a stir last year when it was sent to thousands of academics across Europe.

Yahya (real name Adnan Oktar) has invited Dawkins to debate Darwin’s theory of evolution with him publicly. Yahya believes the theory “has lately suffered a global collapse”.

Yahya says…

Let Dawkins ask the same questions to us, and let us give our answers. Let us supply our evidence, and let him bring his – if he has any. Then let the public decide who is right. We want the public to know on a larger scale how Darwinism is a false theory and how it is the greatest deception of the world’s history. We are confident that the days are soon to come when people will laugh, asking themselves “How could we ever believe this theory?”

Renown self-publicist and Film faker is out of luck, Dawkins has consistently said he won’t take part in these debates as it lends the oxygen of publicity and an audience to those whose ideas are so ludicrous, it’s hardly worth having the argument at all. Dawkins himself explains here how the “stumped” film came about. I very much doubt whether he’d want to give this guy any more credence. Which is a shame in a way, as I love nothing more than seeing Creationists get bitch-slapped. 

Actually that reminds me of something…

The Genius of Charles Darwin – Episode 3

The final part of Dawkins’ series on Charles Darwin is now available at Channel 4 Catchup, here. Enjoy!

Purves and Dawkins: Bitch Fight!

Libby Purves of The Times on Part 1 of Dawkins’ program on Charles Darwin:

Professor Dawkins met a class of children, some of them indoctrinated by that crazily literal minority who think the world began 6,000 years ago on a divine drawing board. Instead of explaining natural selection and letting them work out that maybe the Creator works in more mysterious ways than the Genesis myth, he offered them a choice as stark as any bonkers tin-hut preacher from the Quivering Brethren shouting: “Repent or burn!”

Evolution or God – take your choice, kid! The moment one of them found an ammonite on the beach, Professor Dawkins demanded instant atheism. OK, he is provoked, as we all are, by nutters. But most believers are not creationists. Some are scientists. They reckon that an omnipotent being capable of giving humans free will is equally capable of setting a cosmic ball rolling – Big Bang, abiogenesis, all that – and letting it proceed through eons of evolution, selection and struggle. One of the oddest aspects of Dawkins’s TV programme, rich in antelope-mauling and gobbly snakes, was his emotional implication that, gee, Nature is too cruel to have been invented by God! A wet, mawkish, bunny-hugging argument.

An understandably furious Dawkins replies…..

Sir, In her article about episode 1 of my television documentary, The Genius of Charles Darwin, Libby Purves says that I offered the children a choice “as stark as any bonkers tin-hut preacher from the Quivering Brethren shouting: ‘Repent or burn!’ Evolution or God — take your choice, kid! The moment one of them found an ammonite on the beach, Professor Dawkins demanded instant atheism” (Opinion, August 7).

That is unjust, to the point of outright mendacity, and an insult to any professional educator. It was the creation-indoctrinated children themselves who made the leap: “Evolution = atheism”. I was scrupulously careful not to make that connection in the presence of the children, although I have made it elsewhere, spelling out the nuanced argument in The God Delusion.

She goes on to say, “OK, he is provoked, as we all are, by nutters. But most believers are not creationists.” I expect it’s true that the few believers Libby Purves meets over canapés are not creationists. But “most believers”? Most believers in Bradford? The Scottish Highlands? Pakistan? Indonesia? The Arab world? South America? Indeed, North America? Polls suggest that more than 40 per cent of the British population are creationists. For the subset who call themselves believers, the figure must be considerably more than 50 per cent. Please don’t say “most people”, when what you really mean is Islington and Hampstead Garden Suburb.

Please don’t say “most people” when what you really mean is the Islington and Hampstead Garden Suburb. Brilliant riposte.

The Genius of Charles Darwin – Episode 2

Second episode now available via catch-up at Channel 4 (UK only). In this episode Professor Dawkins examines what natural selection means to Human Beings, and how we struggle against our selfish genes to perform altuistic acts to those who may be unable to reciprocate. There is a brief section with New York’s Naked Cowboy, it’s funny watching RD try to keep a straight face!

Public Understanding of Evolution

Darwin\'s Magnum Opus

Darwin's Magnum Opus

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