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It’s Darwin Day, a Celebration of Science and Reason

Happy Darwin Day!

Is that even an appropriate thing to wish somebody? Especially so close to Valentine’s day?

Charles Darwin in 1868. The white-bearded patriarch that haunts every creationist and reason-denier. By Julia Margaret Cameron, Wikimedia Commons.

Darwin Day, according to the International Darwin Day Foundation, is “a global celebration of science and reason held on or around Feb. 12, the birthday anniversary of evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin”. The idea of the celebration arose in 1993 as part of the activities of the Stanford Humanist Community, then headed by biologist Robert Stephens. And in the intervening 21 years, it has proliferated, with hundreds of events listed in cities around the world.

I’m not normally one for celebrating birthdays. Kids' birthdays are great fun, of course. And the odd 40th or 50th gives a good excuse for a party. But I know some adults who celebrate every birthday as if it were a surprising stroke of fortune. Some grown adults even see each birthday an occasion to take an entire day off work.

So you can imagine my ambivalence at celebrating the birth, some 205 years ago, of a scientist. Even a scientist as world-alteringly important and as genuinely beloved as Charles Robert Darwin.

As an evolutionary biologist, and a scientist who finds great joy and meaning in communicating with the public, I am thrilled that there is a day around which so many events and seminars can be organised. That these activities celebrate evolutionary biology, science, and reason is particularly special.

I laud the work if the Darwin Day Foundation and all the organisations and people who make Darwin Day a highlight for curious, open and intellectually alive citizens. The Evolution & Ecology Research Centre, which I direct at UNSW, has been running a veritable fiesta of the Darwinian, with a conference and public lectures last week, and a seminar by eminent evolutionary psychologist Martin Daly on Tuesday 11th.

But it bears reflecting on the importance and modern relevance of Darwin himself.

The great naturalist ranks among the most important scientists of all time, no less significant than Galileo, Newton or Einstein. But more than that, I agree with philosopher Daniel Dennett who argues that Darwin’s Dangerous Idea - the discovery of how natural selection works, is the ‘most important idea anyone ever had’.

Darwin’s discovery revealed the very process that made us who we are. Which is why evolution, and Darwin himself gets so infuriatingly up the nose of those who have the most to lose from a genuine understanding of how the world works and how humanity came to be. Paper over the cracked relationship between science and religion all you like, but natural selection changed everything about how we understand ourselves and our world. Which is why Darwin’s Origin of Species was an instant bestseller.

To borrow Dennett’s inimitable turn of phrase once again, the idea of natural selection is a “universal acid”:

it eats through just about every traditional concept, and leaves in its wake a revolutionized world-view, with most of the old landmarks still recognizable, but transformed in fundamental ways.

Darwin’s impact on the world far transcends science. It overshadows the contributions of most of his contemporaries, including that other titan born on February 12th, 1809: Abraham Lincoln.

And yet, I’d be disappointed if this celebration of all things Darwinian began and ended with the great naturalist. Because I think a focus on the person tends to undersell the science, and the importance of science and reason in general.

Watching snippets of last week’s so-called debate between the improbably bow-tied pro-science persona, Bill Nye, and the insufferable Creation Museum director, Ken Ham, I was reminded of just how much the reality-deniers depend on Darwin.

Nye did a creditable job. With the characteristic humility of a true scientist he showed his willingness to admit what he doesn’t know. His smug opponent, of course, had all the answers, and they were all to be found in one particular book. Yet I am in the camp who believe Nye did a disservice to science by going mano-a-mano with the Ham actor, lending him false legitimacy, and implying false equivalence between reason and biblical literalism.

It irks me the way Nye, and others who engage with creationists, allow the likes of Ham to call evolution “Darwinism”, and those who can comprehend natural selecton and the overwhelming evidence for it “Darwinists”. An over-reliance on Darwin as our standard-bearer diminishes a broad and vibrant science, giving the impression it begins and ends with a guy who was born over 200 years ago. I believe the creationists and their dullard adherents go further, implying that one white-bearded gentleman is somehow being slyly substituted for another; Darwin supplanting God.

The beauty of an idea like natural selection is that it is true, whether or not you choose to believe it. It is true, even if nobody has yet had the idea or written it down. If Darwin hadn’t done so, Alfred Russell Wallace’s version might have swayed the Victorians. Or perhaps a version discovered some 50 years later.

Humanity owes a great debt to Darwin, and the history of science followed the course that it did because of him. But he isn’t the reason for the season; science does not need deities and messiahs. Darwin was merely the guy who figured it all out first and explained it to a world who were ready for the idea.

I am delighted to celebrate Darwin’s 205th birthday today. But I also think the old guy has done a good job and should not be leant upon like some deity, some final authority, the other 354 days a year.

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225 Comments sorted by

Comments on this article are now closed.

  1. Steven Crook

    Programmer and software designer at Currently resting

    I've commented elsewhere, on other subjects, that refusing to debate, talk, argue with people does nothing to help the cause. It just provides the 'enemy' with ammunition, because it's easy to claim we're afraid to debate and rude to boot.

    It's a pain having to go over the same stuff with people you know won't ever agree, but think of the secondary audience, the relatively uncommitted who will have watched and thought that Nye is reasonable, well prepared and happy to admit there are things we can't explain while having arguments that explain an awful lot.

    The opposition have an 'explanation' for everything and it relies on a contested book, faith and arguments that pretty much defy reality. I know who I'd choose.

    We should be able to debate without conceding that the oppositions arguments have equal merit. In fact, surely that's the whole point of debate?

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    1. Ross Barrell

      Aikido Student

      In reply to Steven Crook

      Hi Steven. I do agree with your comments, though I also have a lot of time for the author's views as well. The thing I think worth commenting on though is that you will find that a creationist's understanding of the science of evolution by natural selection is what I would call a kindergarten view; it is also true to say that their theology is kindergarten theology. And most theologians of any note would also agree.

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    2. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Steven Crook

      The creationists can believe whatever they like as far as I am concerned but when they seek to impose their fundamentalist bible dogma on others, as in school teachings etc, I am enraged.

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    3. Daniel Verberne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Steven Crook

      Steven,

      To be devil's advocate, I'd suggest that many people feel the opposite - that even engaging in debate with people who hold views contrary to established science (especially in the field of biology and natural selection) is to invite the perception by some that both views are "opinions" and "each equally valid", which is nonsense.

      Case in point, the recent "debate" between Bill Nye and Ken Ham. Neither side was likely to have converted those from the other side and it probably just emphasizes how frustrating it is when two people argue about the same reality and yet start from such radically different starting points.

      Speaking of which, maybe here's an idea - YES, by all means debate people with opposing views, as long as:

      1) The persons involved agree on the evidence being presented as admissable.
      2) The persons involved don't make starting assumptions that would violate Occam's Razor.

      </end rant>

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    4. Daniel Verberne

      logged in via Facebook

      In reply to Steven Crook

      Doh, sorry Steven.

      I hadn't fully read your message before my original reply.
      I agree with almost everything you said. Silly me for jumping on the Reply button.

      Most of all you raise the valid point that in a debate, there are almost always going to be bystanders who are potentially open to either side and that's where minds can be changed.

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    5. Steven Crook

      Programmer and software designer at Currently resting

      In reply to Ross Barrell

      I've spent time talking to the Jehovah's Witnesses that occasionally stop by my house. They've all been scientifically ignorant, and I suppose to an extent it goes with the territory, and often I get asked about how it's possible they eye could evolve (it's a favourite) or a frog change into a bison.

      Ho hum.

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    6. Keith Bissett

      logged in via email @gmail.com

      In reply to Steven Crook

      In general, I agree with you.

      The problem with specifically debating evolution is that the debate format is poorly suited to conveying complex ideas such as scientific theories. Debating only really works when both sides and the audience already share a good understanding of the ideas being debated.

      Scientists who want to debate these issues have to deal with an opposition (and an audience) that believes, for example, that "if man evolved from monkeys then why are there still monkeys?" is…

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    7. alfred venison

      records manager (public sector)

      In reply to Keith Bissett

      ken hamm would be kicked to the curb if he consented to debate a christian scientist like ken miller or francis collins or george coyne. but he refuses to debate with them. he is a biblical literalist - his theology is his achilles heel, not his ignorance of evolution.

      the answer to ken hamm is as old as darwin.

      " it does not seem to me to follow that creation is denied because the creator, millions of years ago, gave laws to matter. he first created matter & then he created laws for it…

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    8. Steven Crook

      Programmer and software designer at Currently resting

      In reply to Keith Bissett

      I agree that it's not easy. I've seen creation literature that suggested that the speed of light had changed in the 6000 years they think accounts for the creation of the earth etc, and that this is why things like RC dating give ages that are much older than biblical times.

      That alone opens so many cans of worms you could spend a week dealing with it.

      So I sort of agree, but I think we need to make the effort. If you've not see it, then read this: https://theconversation.com/can-schools-find-way-through-creationism-meets-science-minefield-in-the-classroom-22807.

      No-one said it was ever going to be easy.

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  2. Paul Rogers

    Manager

    Here's to Darwin (and the equally amazing Wallace).

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    1. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Too many people have neither read Darwin's tome nor heard of Wallace who sparked the publication by independently forming the same theory from field work in the wilds of the East rather than as self indulgent prognostications in the gloomy comfort of England, surrounded by contemporary academics.

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    2. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Wallace wasn't as convinced as was Darwin. He, for instance, didn't see how the eye could evolve through natural selection and conceded a role for a designer.

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    3. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Chris Harper

      HI Paul, and as you remember from your reading of "Origin of Species", Darwin acknowledged the role of a Creator ... at about page 974 of my old student copy of the First Edition. The second or third last page, from long memory.

      Wallace was a working biologist, of necessity interested in earning an income rather than prognosticating at length.

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    4. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Ultimately, I consider the emphasis and notoriety about right -- Darwin then Wallace. Even so, I agree with Jack that Wallace, for his place in the world at the time, was a remarkable man, adventurer and naturalist.

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    5. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      "Wallace was a working biologist"

      I had heard of Wallace's Line before I ever heard of Wallace.

      The original paper was a joint presentation by both Darwin and Wallace, but the paper was all Wallace had. Darwin was close to ready with a complete book detailing 30 years research. That is why everyone, including Wallace, gave priority to Darwin.

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    6. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Actually Chris, at that time there was considerable consternation about Wallace's theory, because it was more advanced that Darwin's theory.

      So, bring in the cavalry ... Wallace admired Darwin and wrote to him for an opinion on his theory. Darwin's academic mates ensured that Darwin's years of prognostication were recognised by requiring a joint publication. Later scientific authors chose to drop Wallace from the authorship and he passed almost into obscurity, especially during his life time.

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    7. John Harland

      bicycle technician

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      This reads like self-indulgent judgement. Most of history, science, philosophy and art could be written off as "self-indulgent prognostication".

      Both Darwin and Wallace came to their ideas through both investigation and consideration.

      Life for Wallace in the European colonies of Southeast Asia may have been quite different to the way you imagine it, and England does not always live up to Australian sterrotypes of it.

      As to the people around them, creative thinking might have been much easier for Wallace, away from contemporary academics.

      Wallace deserves credit but there is no need for the slur of Darwin.

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    8. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      The Voyage of the Beagle was confined to the gloomy comfort of England?

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    9. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Chris are you suggesting at ID has any validity by raising the eye as an example of "irreducible complexity" as the creationists (or more in recent guise, Intelligent Design proponents)?

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    10. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      From what I know Alfred Wallace was not given his due in the role he played in the formulation of the theory of natural selection.

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    11. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      You said:"at that time there was considerable consternation about Wallace's theory, because it was more advanced that Darwin's theory."

      This is the first time I have heard this claim. Can you provide, or point to, more information to support this?

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    12. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      You said: "are you suggesting at ID has any validity by raising the eye as an example of "irreducible complexity"

      No. I am merely pointing out that Wallace did.

      From day one the eye was a point of contention between creationists, as we now call them, and proponents of natural selection. Darwin held to natural selection as an explanation, although he felt that there was a difficulty in explaining the pathway, and Wallace accepted creation as the explanation. What these days is called Intelligent Design.

      Bear in mind that Intelligent Design is not young Earth creationism. It accepts the geological timescales, and acknowledges a role for natural selection, but it also argues for a designer interfering from time to time.

      To save querulous responses, I am not advocating for ID, but I have made the time to understand the arguments.

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    13. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      You said: "From what I know Alfred Wallace was not given his due in the role he played in the formulation of the theory of natural selection."

      Because he came second.

      There are no prizes for second. Science and engineering is a dog eat dog world. I refer you to Elisha Gray (who?).

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  3. Chris Harper

    Engineer

    The two most influential books in all human history, changed all human thinking, across all cultures, for all time - Philosophiæ Naturalis Principia Mathematica, and On the Origin of Species.

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    1. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Then Chris, of course there is that little 1 1/2 page contribution in Nature by Watson & Crick about the structure of DNA ...

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    2. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Jack,

      And?

      Watson and Crick improved the state of knowledge about the mechanism behind Mendelian inheritance. They did not alter the paradigm behind human thought, or redefine the nature of the universe. Darwin and Newton achieved both these things, to the extent that these days few people understand just how our mode of thought have shifted.

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    3. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Chris, as an Engineer you obviously do not recognise the importance of DNA to life. That is understandable. Contemporaneously,Newton also was well known for going bust in the South Sea Islands bubble, but that is another story.

      The impact of "Principia"and "Origin" was hardly immediate on the whole contemporary uneducated population. Rather, it is better seen retrospectively by later generations of 'adoring' educated scientists aspiring to exceed those great heights of reputation.

      The mechanism of "Origin" was only 'discovered' in about 1910 by de Vries reading Mendel in an obscure Australian scientific journal, and giving the monk credit for his work rather than purloining the idea, as Darwin has been shown to have done with Wallace. Hence, the so called 'joint publication' by Darwin & Wallace.

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    4. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Oops!!! ... my error ... "obscure Austrian scientific journal" (about 1860 perhaps). Sorry.

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    5. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      You said: "as an Engineer you obviously do not recognise the importance of DNA to life."

      1, that is a rather insulting presumption. It is possible for an individual to be informed outside their career specialty.
      2, I was originally trained as a, um, zoologist, at ANU...

      Elucidating the structure of DNA was a great technical achievement, but it shattered no worldviews.

      It is true, Darwin did not know the mechanism of inheritance - It is a pity that Mendel never corresponded with him…

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    6. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Hi Chris, thank you for your prompt and inclusive reply.

      1. The recently published evidence (2014) was broadcast on Radio national Science Programme or in the Saturday MSM from memory.

      2. The Linnean Society was full of Darwin's cronies as you observe.

      But ... have you read "Origin of Species"?

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    7. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      "have you read "Origin of Species"

      Not for many decades.

      Any yes, for such a renowned and meticulous scientist Darwin was, in this matter, a procrastinator. But, then, he foresaw the fuss it could cause.

      Explain me this, you acknowledge that Darwin was a procrastinator and he had failed to publish for years, but you also claim that he purloined Wallace's idea, which he had recently been introduced to. How do you square those two positions?

      You said:"That dubious honour goes to the finance industry."

      You are introducing your political bias into this matter.

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    8. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      "1. The recently published evidence (2014) was broadcast on Radio national Science Programme or in the Saturday MSM from memory."

      That doesn't help your case.

      "2. The Linnean Society was full of Darwin's cronies as you observe."

      So what? It was a joint presentation regardless.

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    9. Henry Verberne

      Former IT Professional

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Chris,

      merely an opinion but I suspect that DNA is an evolving story in the sense that the ramifications for our lives of DNA are only gradually being realised. I have recently read J Craig Venter's book "life at the speed of light" and though I found it conceptually difficult, I could see the incredible potential for the technology of DNA to utterly transform humanity.

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    10. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Henry Verberne

      Henry,

      Sure, DNA can actually self assemble itself into shapes other than the double helix, potentially providing a scaffolding for nano structures, or even the framework for nano machines.

      In this it has the benefit over protein structures in being both potentially an order of magnitude smaller, and self assembling.

      And that is ignoring all the issues around genetic modification.

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  4. Michael Hewitt-Gleeson

    Principal and Co-founder

    The author seems, on the one hand, to agree with Dan Dennett's claim that Darwin's idea is the ‘most important idea anyone ever had.

    On the other hand Brooks claims that "a focus on the person tends to undersell the science". However, he fails to give any evidence at all to support his claim. Evidence to the contrary is the the wide global support of Darwin Day and the interest it has generated in science.

    As a scientist perhaps Brooks could provide a little evidence to support his bold and unsubstantiated claim.

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  5. Jack Arnold

    Director

    I find this article a little confusing. For example, is the author expounding Creationism from the bowels of UNSW, a covert apostle for the Religious Right intent on returning NSW to the convict regime of old?

    To be serious though, I suggest that "Origin of Species", one of the most boring books in Science history (IMHO), was most important for challenging the established social order of a stagnating European society where birth was everything and change was repulsed without mercy.

    So, it was the misrepresentation of "Origin" by the educated landed classes looking to protect their social positions that sent Darwin back to studying earthworms, a much more readable book that remains a classic source.

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    1. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Jack,

      You have just relegated Origin from science to being just another political tome. I would further argue that your claim of its political effect is questionable, and trivialises its real influence.

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    2. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Chris Harper

      No, no, no Chris ... Have you read "Origin"?

      [Notes aside - Engineers were remorselessly beaten if caught reading a book and failed out of the faculty if discovered in the Library during my uni days].

      The true impact of "Origin"is seen in the eugenics movement of the late 19th century that led Isaac Isaacs CJ to disinherit Australian Aborigines in 1906, that provided the vehicle for "Mein Kampf" to preach anti-sematicsm that ultimately became German state sponsored genocide; that today is being exploited by the "Ratbag Right" in US and Australian politics.

      The rejection of "Origin" by some upper class members of the protestant Anglican church created the Anglican High Church, a minor variant of the Roman church, that disowned transubstantiation but accepted the geocentric universe, the divine right of kings and the omnipotence of the Pope.

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    3. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Jack,

      I realise that politicians used the book to advance agendas, but that is a side show, not a central issue as you make it out to be.

      The true impact of Origin is the final removal of superstition and religion from the scientific worldview, and the final establishment of science as the central worldview. Newton did this with the physical world, Darwin completed Newtons work by doing the same with the biological world.

      You said: "Engineers were remorselessly beaten if caught reading a book and failed out of the faculty if discovered in the Library during my uni days"

      We must have gone to different universities.

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    4. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Yes Chris, most likely different unis ... but ... HAVE YOU READ "ORIGIN OF SPECIES"????

      "[T]he final removal of superstition and religion from the scientific worldview, " did not occur with "Origin" because medical science still believed that disease was caused by miasmas floating through the atmosphere. That took Pasteur's s-bend experiment after 1859 (forgotten the exact date, but it occurred in France so it was likely unimportant to English science of the time).

      Indeed, creationism and other religious fairy tales to explain and impose world orderliness remain with us today. Science is far from the "the central worldview" in the 21st century. That dubious honour goes to the finance industry.

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    5. Jack Arnold

      Director

      In reply to Chris Harper

      "I realise that politicians used the book to advance agendas, but that is a side show, not a central issue as you make it out to be."

      Uhm ... try telling an Australian Aborigine that the Australian state sponsored policies deliberately aimed at Aboriginal genocide are a "side show".

      Then, I am sure that the Jewish community do not consider the German Nazi "Final Solution" a "side show".

      It was High Church Anglican clerics who refused to accept that man was related to primates that had the greatest impact and kept the world talking about evolution for the passed 150 years.

      More this evening if necessary.

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    6. alfred venison

      records manager (public sector)

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      anglican high church dates back to the 17th century. high church anglicans do not accept papal infallibility. are you thinking of anglo-catholics? -a.v.

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    7. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Engineers have their own very extensive and expensive specialist libraries called text books usually written by their professors.
      What, engineers have professors?
      ( there is a rumour going around that engineers are actually scientists, don't tell anyone!)

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    8. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Though to be fair, racists existed before Darwin's publications, didn't it?
      Eugenicists were at work on bloodlines in animal husbandry as Darwin noted.
      Might go all the way back to Nimrod, the hunter turned grazier, and the consequent worship of the Bull?
      Nah, it's all Darwin's fault.

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    9. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Jack, High Church Anglicanism pre-dates Darwin's birth, let alone the publication of "Origins".

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    10. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to James Hill

      In a way, eugenics is as old as agriculture and animal husbandry.

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    11. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      The whole notion of "race" is pretty iffy scientifically - there is in the overwhelming majority of cases a greater diversity of inherited characteristics within a "race" than between them. Of importance only to those who judge books by their covers really.

      Different with cows and chooks ... where we are looking to identify and introduce desirable and observable genetic traits and exclude undesirable traits ... more eggs, less meat, longer lifespan, more muscle less fat, tick resistance.

      What was being "observed" in human eugenics were often anything but observable, seen only to the prejudiced and ignorant eye, anything but genetic and anything but undesirable. Dodgy indeed.

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    12. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      You said: "Australian state sponsored policies deliberately aimed at Aboriginal genocide"

      I am aware of policies which had the effect of genocide, but I am unaware of this being a deliberate aim, or of any where Darwinism was a stated justification. Can you expand on this?

      I am also aware that Social Darwinist type arguments were cited by the Nazis, but again, I don't see how that twaddle can be blamed on Darwin. Herbert Spencer, with his 'survival of the fittest tautology', would be a better…

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    13. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter,

      You said: "The whole notion of "race" is pretty iffy scientifically"

      Andrew Bolt was taken to court for saying pretty much the same thing. I never thought I would see you agreeing with him.

      You said: "What was being "observed" in human eugenics were often anything but observable, seen only to the prejudiced and ignorant eye, anything but genetic and anything but undesirable. Dodgy indeed."

      No, slippery slope argument. The other side of that argument is that if the 'observed' characteristics were objective then eugenics could be acceptable. Now, I know that is not what you are saying, but it is what your argument could with ease be twisted into.

      The argument I make is that no one has the right to make any such decisions about anyone, regardless of the justification. No one may use the law to dictate anothers right to survive or to cooperatively seek to breed, for any reason. A much more libertarian stance...
      :)

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    14. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      High Church Anglicanism is more about wanting to hang onto all the pagan aspects of Catholicism, rather than the austerity of Protestantism.

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    15. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      True, but I'm not sure how much the original socialist eugenics was so much focused on "race".

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    16. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      "The whole notion of "race" is pretty iffy scientifically"
      Quite true, but most of the modern meaning and use of "race" doesn't come from the boffins, but from the Cultural Studies department.

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    17. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to alfred venison

      I have always understood the term 'anglo-catholic' as the bells and smells wing of the Anglican Church. This is as opposed to English Catholics, English members of the Roman Church.

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    18. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Sorry, one more point. I wonder how relevant it is to talk about "Darwinism/evolution" in the modern world, where we our discovery has led to our ability to so manipulate and redirect natural selection. Today, we are quite the opposite to practising eugenics. We use science to keep ALIVE, people whose "natural" characteristics would see dead, and not pass on their genes.

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    19. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      No, that's not why Blot was sued and certainly not why he lost. You really have a knack for grabbing the wrong end of the shovel.

      Blot claimed that these folks were too white to be blacks ... were posturing in order to get money and sinecures. He also did slipshod research, got his facts wrong and ignored any facts that didn't fit with his allegations.

      This is in fact what Mr Cassar here is saying - that one can tell an Aboriginal person by skin colour or by the frizzy hair. You can spot…

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    20. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Andy,

      You said: "I wonder how relevant it is to talk about "Darwinism/evolution" in the modern world, "

      Extremely. Natural selection continues apace outside the human controlled populations, and even within them to a lesser extent.

      There are more types of evolution than Darwinian Natural Selection. There is genetic drift, which can be a real problem in limited populations, and the artificial selection you note here.

      BTW, to save arguments, the definition of evolution I am most comfortable with is - A change in gene frequencies within a population.

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    21. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Not Blot's opponents - the court. Not opinion, not spin ... just the facts. It is why indeed the HWT didn't appeal this "travesty". If they'd been a real newspaper they'd have sacked him on the spot. If they'd been decent darwinists they'd be chasing him down the street with a set of tin snips.

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    22. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Hear hear.

      If it is iffy, why are progressive academics and politicians so god damned obsessed with it?

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    23. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Chris Harper

      They needed a substitute for "class", once Marxist-Leninist Socialism was revealed as an incurable failure. They chose 'race' to replace' class, so they could continue the same leftist rhetoric.

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    24. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Andy what is a 'boffin' - do forgive my ignorance. Tis clear to all that you have awesome knowledge of all things within the grasp of the human mind. Kind of like a modern day Renaissance Man, it seems but I'm not like that and I wonder about your idea that the use of 'race' comes from some 'boffins'. Please explain more about this.

      The other thing you suggest, that cultural studies are the source of the idea of race is just so original! Amazing insight. I am speechless with amazement that you have a problem with cultural studies. Who woulda thought?

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    25. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      If you spend a bit of time in those United States of America you will find the public administration's obsession with "race" most noticable. The notion is embedded in everything from the education system through to health, tax and driving.

      Historical really ... some of it came about in part from LBJ's war on poverty - and the ethos of the time - where "race" was (still is) a huge determinant of welfare, education, health and income. It also reflected a history in which there was very little…

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    26. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Chris Harper

      The academics I know, in the psychology are obsessed with the people on the right who claim that race is an important and valid cateogry. It is the right wing people who want to increase the IQ of the gene pool and worry about the stupid and lazy and those we are 'keeping alive to breed".

      It is the right wing people, like Charles Murray who are obsessed with race as a way of accounting for the fact that there is no other way to account for the differential outcomes between black and white people except racism.

      Academics have been appalled by that idea and have taken a lot of effort to show that these ideas are wrong.

      All the other 'obsession' that some people see in the dreaded cultural studies is all about showing that this idea is crap, in as many interesting and creative ways that cultural people do think about things.

      This hatred of cultural studies by a particular type of person is a phenomena that is being looked at in a couple of PhD's I am sure.

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    27. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Yopu get over there in Tien an Min Square and tell those red devils that Marxist Leninist Socialism has been revealed as an incurable failure. The last lot that tried that didn't fare well.

      Tell it to your TV, your washing machine, anything with an electric motor lying about.

      As to your notions about a continuation of rhetoric - substituting race for class - you obviously haven't been reading any of it. Quite different rhetoric, less confident and certain - less economically predictive and certainly more subtle.

      But given that you don't appear to read much beyond Blot or the IPA newsletter or whever you get these slogans, it's unlikely you'd be familiar with marxist notions on class let alone notions of "race".

      I must stop interfering with facts ... delusions amongst one's opponents should be encouraged.

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    28. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      Julie,

      I laughed myself silly the first time I read that article. I fared no better when I just read it again. Sophistry, pure sophistry.

      Sum it up in one sentence - other people have done nasty things in the past, therefore communism, despite being a murderous ideology of slavery, is aok.

      Sorry, that doesn't wash.

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    29. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      "This hatred of cultural studies by a particular type of person is a phenomena that is being looked at in a couple of PhD's I am sure."
      Julie, I consider myself a passionate student of culture!

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    30. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      That doesn't come across to me Andy. You seem to be a passionate hater of anything that comes out of cultural studies since C19. It was psych PhD's I was talking about.

      It would be a useful exercise to investigate what characteristics correlate with the particular set of behaviours that males like yourself exhibit. I can already think of the experimental design and what factors one could vary.

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    31. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Oh Peter, I am also a participant in culture, whether I like it or not. When I have my "student" hat on I am also more than aware of the Heisenberg-effect.

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    32. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      Julie, you need to be very careful with academic Psychology, especially Social Psychology, which over the past decade has been shown to be very dodgy.

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    33. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Again Andy bewilders us with his amazing insights into each and every academic discipline.

      Social psychology has always been people finding out a reason for something that everybody understands. It is no more dodgy than any other area of psych however. As usual you read looking for things to criticise about academics and academia and fail to understand anything.

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    34. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      You said: "Well I wish you would demonstrate how well informed you are rather than pissing everyone off by pretending to be a stupid right wing person. "

      Ah, ad homs.

      I guess that means I lose.

      Have you read the rest of my comments on this thread? About Darwinism? The main topic?

      I take pride in being an informed non progressive, if that is what you mean.

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    35. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Okay, you have said intelligent and non-pissing off things on the topic. But on the off topic things you do fail.

      I'll try and stay on-topic. :)

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    36. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter, I'm not sure what the Chinese have got to do with western academics - particularly in Cultural Studies - have got to do with China.

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    37. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Either way, in fact, it was precisely those Marxist academics who switched to Maoism - post-1968 - who REALLY started emphasising race over class. For example in the 1970s-1990s, Australian historiography was rewritten to paint the working class as racist, petit-bourgeois anti-revolutionaries.

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    38. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      As for the students at Tiananmen Square in 1989, they were commemorating the death of one of China's most notorious Neoliberals - Hu Yaobang - a protege of Deng Xiaoping, not Mao, or the Gang of Four.

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    39. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Memory issues?

      Up aove you provided us with a curious bit of socio-political analysis: "They needed a substitute for "class", once Marxist-Leninist Socialism was revealed as an incurable failure."

      I'm just making a margin note here that some 1 in 5 people on the planet are currently living in one of these incurably failed states. You'll know them ... they make 80% of the stuff in your house,

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    40. alfred venison

      records manager (public sector)

      In reply to Chris Harper

      hi Chris Harper - check wikipedia under "anglo-catholicism". not sure i fully understand all the differentiation but it seems to be other catholic and other than high anglican. i could be wrong. i recall its was t.s. eliot who said "i am an anglo-catholic in religion, a classicist in literature and a royalist in politics". cheers. -a.v

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    41. alfred venison

      records manager (public sector)

      In reply to Chris Harper

      i am disinterested too. there seems to be some overlap in the terms anglo-catholic & high-anglican but they warrant different entries at wikipedia:-

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/High_Anglican

      i used to peruse this late at night:-
      http://books.google.com.au/books?id=p2mUxxxGt_sC&printsec=frontcover&dq=christian+confessions&hl=en&sa=X&ei=81_7UvDjKcilkQXV3IGYDA&ved=0CEAQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=christian%20confessions&f=false -a.v.

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    42. Michael Rogers

      Retired

      In reply to Jack Arnold

      Ever read Plato's proposals regarding the state controlling selective breeding of the population in order to improve the human race? It didn't need 'Origin of Species' to begin this sort of thinking.

      You should also read about the 'Oxford Movement' unless "The rejection of "Origin" by some upper class members of the protestant Anglican church created the Anglican High Church" is just an attempt at satire.

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  6. alfred venison

    records manager (public sector)

    bill nye the science guy is basically an entertainer - or edutainer - as he says. this debate was about entertainment & securing ratings for the pbs.

    if they seriously wanted to confront ken hamm where it matters - his creationist religious inspired denial & dodgy theology - they would oppose him with someone like ken miller or denis o. lamoureux. not bill nye, the science guy entertainer, but practicing religious scientists & science educators who can confront hamm where he is weakest & not…

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  7. Miles Ruhl

    Thinker

    Good article Rob.

    I myself am in the same camp as you when it comes to celebrating scientists and other academics, in particular Darwin, as some sort of deity, as if by virtue of being an atheist (or agnostic really, as Dawkins said, you can't be 100% sure either way) I somehow 'worship' at the feet of Darwin. As if because they have the need to worship a higher power, that everyone has that crutch - the need to deify.

    Darwinism: preposterous notion really. Would I then be a 'Newtonian' because I keep my feet on the ground? Or an Einsteinian because I will never move at the speed of light?

    As a side note though; what the hell is wrong with taking my birthday off work!?! I do every year :-)

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    1. alfred venison

      records manager (public sector)

      In reply to Miles Ruhl

      the term "agnostic" was coined by t.h. huxley in 1869 to describe his position on religion. -a.v.

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    2. Miles Ruhl

      Thinker

      In reply to alfred venison

      I did not know that Alfred, cheers.

      I was referring to where Dawkins had, in response to a question about whether he was an atheist or an agnostic, said something to the tune of:

      "I'm an atheist, however really I am an agnostic, as one cannot know for sure either way. That said, I am agnostic in the same way I'm agnostic about the fairies at the bottom of my garden. Do I believe they're there? No, definitely not, but there is always a chance that there very well could be fairies at the bottom of my garden."

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  8. James Hill

    Industrial Designer

    A Celebration of Science and Reason!!!
    Heresy!
    Abbott and company are gathering wood for the cleansing fires as we write.

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  9. Peter Ormonde

    Farmer

    I think Darwin's birthday coinciding (enough) with Valentines Day is most apt Dr Rob ... a celebration of our most unnatural selection process.

    I too watched Bill Nye's debate with that ratbag ... infuriating and sort of missed the point I reckon ... it's not science that will sort these folks with their imaginary friends out - it's the art of psychoanalysis and possibly medication.

    It's like taking "climate skeptics" seriously ... not genuine informed critics with an understanding of the issues ... but these DIY shed-sciency folks who reckon they can second guess the science without the benefit of study or expertise. We must stop taking cranks and ratbags seriously ... evolution will sort them out. One hopes so anyway.

    Just stop marrying them and don't send any ratbags a Valentine's card. Send it to a scientist instead ... lord knows they need the love.

    So - happy Valentines Day Rob.

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    1. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter,

      You said:"It's like taking "climate skeptics" seriously ... not genuine informed critics with an understanding of the issues ... "

      And if I rise to that bait this entire thread will be hijacked to cries of "Failed hypothesis" and "Denier".

      While we both acknowledge the existence of the cranks and ratbags you refer to, there is little agreement as to who they are...

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    2. Cory Zanoni

      Community Manager at The Conversation

      In reply to Chris Harper

      'And if I rise to that bait this entire thread will be hijacked to cries of "Failed hypothesis" and "Denier".'

      Good man. I'd like to avoid that happening.

      I do, however, endorse sending Valentine's Day cards to scientists.

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    3. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Cory Zanoni

      You said: "I do, however, endorse sending Valentine's Day cards to scientists."

      Hey, while I am enamored of science as a philosophy, that doesn't mean I want to shack up with scientists.

      Well, not all of them. The well proportioned female ones maybe.

      Or even the not so well proportioned female ones, so long as I find their mind exciting.

      Actually, any female ones who have exciting minds. After all, that is the most important bit.

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    4. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Chris there might be more agreement than you think about who are these cranks and ratbags.

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    5. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      You raise an interesting ponderable Mr Harper ... is there some evolutionary advantage to be had from maintaining a pool of ratbags in our midst?

      My initial response is that from my albeit limited observations, nearly all fully fledged ratbags are well past breeding age... they become ratbags later in life after the wife (in most cases, wives) have found something better to be doing elsewhere and in more amenable company.

      Disappointed in love and with expectations dashed, they retreat even…

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    6. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      You said:" is there some evolutionary advantage to be had from maintaining a pool of ratbags in our midst?"

      Absolutely. If you are planning on slicing off variation on one end of the Bell shaped curve for a given characteristic what effect will this have on other characteristics?

      Lets wipe out sickle cell anemia world wide, shall we? Oops, there goes the malaria infection rate...

      Wipe out the genetics possessed by that group of people most capable of operating outside the collective, and what do we get? Ants?

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    7. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Oh ratbags are all individuals ... escapees from the "hive mind" ... that's why they all agree with each other so vehemently ... it's a shared independence.

      Don't conflate independent thought with ratbaggery Mr Harper. Independent thinking is always handy ... ratbags on the other hand are useless ... an intellectual appendix looking for a purpose in life.

      Independent thinkers don't have to invent their own physics, their own history, their own medical science, their own plots, their own…

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    8. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Chris Harper

      People are working on that Chris. What does a conservative think of this?

      " the world’s scientists focus with increasing intensity on transforming the genetic codes of every living creature into information that can be used to treat and ultimately prevent disease, Shenzhen is home to a different kind of factory: B.G.I., formerly called Beijing Genomics Institute, the world’s largest genetic-research center."

      http://www.newyorker.com/reporting/2014/01/06/140106fa_fact_specter

      Is the New Yorker okay?

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    9. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      You said: "Is the New Yorker okay?"

      Of course. I will read anything. I judge by the content of what is said, not by who is saying it. After all, I read Salon and The Conversation, don't I?

      Although I sometimes do feel tempted to draw the line at Independent Australia and RT.

      And don't forget, I am not a conservative, although I would make an informed assumption that they, in general are somewhat hesitant about engineered changes to the human genome, although I don't know anyone who would object to the activities as laid out in that article.

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    10. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      You said: "that's why they all agree with each other so vehemently"

      Well as, in general, a fully paid up member of the collective, I suspect you actually believe that. It is called projection.

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    11. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Aw heck ... a freudian... now that's a surprise.

      It's a difficult diagnosis to dispute in the hands of a skilled engineer ... bit like - nah that's you not me. The obvious retort is an identical diagnosis ... next we're busily projecting at each other with clubs and pointy sticks. You are... no it's you ...

      In short - abused in this context - a diagnosis of projection ends discussion. Pity I thought we were having fun. I must have said something too close to the truth. Whoops.

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    1. alfred venison

      records manager (public sector)

      In reply to Danny Hoardern

      body & blood? bread & wine? belgian (chimy) beer? benedictine liqueur?

      christian religion does not forbid "intoxicants". are you thinking of islam? -a.v.

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    2. Danny Hoardern

      Analyst Programmer

      In reply to alfred venison

      My apologies, this was an early law where Christians were not meant to consume anything that could cloud judgement, or something along those lines (need a Christian expert here...). But Reefer Madness turned a medicine into a menace and since then it's been mistakenly labelled as a hazard. Nowadays most of us drink alcohol anyway which is known to cloud judgement. Nothing against religion, the 10 commandments were a breakthrough in law and order, and plays an important (yet seemingly outdated…

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  10. Dale Bloom

    Analyst

    I find it difficult to understand how evolutionary biologists can reconcile the theory of natural selection with GMO, which is obviously intelligent design.

    It could reach the situation where someone in a building is carrying out genetic modification of an organism, while someone else in the same building maintains that everything occurs because of natural selection.

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    1. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      It may be intelligent design, but only time will tell. Does it provide a survival advantage?

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    2. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      I suppose the success or not of genetic modification depends on why it is being done, or the aim of the exercise.

      I also can understand how the theory of natural selection can be applied to a coniferous forest where most trees belong to the same species, but the theory falls down when applied to a tropical rainforest, which contains numerous species of trees growing in the same soil and climate.

      Just today I saw a milky pine growing feet away from a red cedar which was feet away from a euodia.

      According to the theory of natural selection, only one species of tree (the best and fittest species) should grow in a rainforest.

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    3. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      ???

      Natural selection is just one mechanism of evolution, but by no means the only one. Artificial and guided selection has been going on for centuries, and no biologist denies that reality. Ditto GMO's. There is no conflict.

      Hell, Darwin, in studying selection, became an expert on pigeon breeding, and acknowledged the difference between natural and artificial selection.

      As to whether producing GMO's is playing God, well why not? It's not as if anyone else is carrying out that role...

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    4. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Chris Harper

      So how do you know no one "else is carrying out that role"?

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    5. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      You know that chat we were having before you went all freudian ... about ratbags and their blind faith in what is obvious ... exhibit n ... Dale Bloom and the obvious weakness in Darwin's stupid theory.

      I rests me case M'Lud.

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    6. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      Dale,

      You said:"According to the theory of natural selection, only one species of tree (the best and fittest species) should grow in a rainforest."

      The best way of dealing with this is to examine the reasoning which lead to your coming to this conclusion.

      Can you tell us what you understand by 'natural selection' and how you reached that conclusion?

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    7. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter,

      Right now, Dale has asked questions that could be good faith, although if they are coming from an ID 'questions to ask Darwinians' cheat sheet that will come clear in short order.

      Over the years I have met very few people who actually understand Darwinism. Even those who claim to believe in it usually don't understand it, even if they think they do. The use of the word 'belief' is often a giveaway in itself.

      Dealing with those who think they understand, but don't (most people BTW), can do a lot to improve my understanding. Just as dealing with IDers does.

      It is like climate change in that respect. Talking to the opposition rationally, and in good faith, can result in improved understanding on all sides, in a way that spitting insults never can...

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    8. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      Dale,

      I have no need for the 'personal God' hypothesis in my world view.

      I could be wrong, but Occams Razor and all that.

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    9. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      I've also dealt with ID'ers operating from their list of questions designed to trip Darwinists. They are usually pretty uninformed, both the questioners and whoever designed the list of questions.

      Answers aren't argued, they just go on to the next question in a 'yes, but', kind of way. As Dale already did here.

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    10. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Yep ... let's pretend like they know something about it rather than reading from a cheat sheet ... like a shedful of ratbags equals the Bureau of Meteorology in intellectual firepower and expertise or 100 kilos of folks with invisible friends equals half a scientist.

      But gee Mr Harper if you can change the mind of a true believer (actually a committed disbeliever) I am willing to be shocked and awed.

      I shall watch this evening's discussion with wild-eyed enthusiasm.

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    11. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Yes I've come across this very phenomenon amongst a class of ratbag that I am under starter's orders not to mention by name.

      It's an odd business this compulsion amongst ratbags to overturn a system of scientific thinking and analysis that one doesn't understand. At least these oxymoronical IDers ask questions, the unmentionable class of ratbag just make assertions and run off.

      Up up Rosinante and away!

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    12. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      "I find it difficult to understand how evolutionary biologists can reconcile the theory of natural selection with GMO, which is obviously intelligent design."
      Whattha? Among the ID crowd, the *I* is GOD.

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    13. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter,

      I know you have difficulty with this concept, but sometimes people can disagree and still both be acting in good faith.

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    14. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Chris Harper

      “A process in nature in which organisms possessing certain genotypic characteristics that make them better adjusted to an environment tend to survive, reproduce, increase in number or frequency, and therefore, are able to transmit and perpetuate their essential genotypic qualities to succeeding generations.”

      http://www.biology-online.org/dictionary/Natural_selection

      According to this theory, a species that is best fitted to the abiotic factors of an environment should predominate over other species, similar to a coniferous forest containing mainly one species of tree.

      But the theory does not hold up with a rainforest and many other (or most other) biomes, which means the theory needs modification, or should be discarded

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    15. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Yep ... sometimes folks can have genuine discussion and reach common ground and even agreement. They we have ratbags. Ratbags read cheat sheets to get their genuine questions, invent facts, conjure conspiracies and "project" venal motives, incompetence and stupidity onto their opponents while demanding their own delusions merit respect.

      I'm waiting for you to convince Dale that Darwin wasn't as stupid as he reckons. Demonstrate the efficacy of this equality theory.

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    16. alfred venison

      records manager (public sector)

      In reply to Chris Harper

      " list of questions designed to trip Darwinists "
      would that be "answers in genesis"? or have they moved on. -a.v.

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    17. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      So, you didn't have a definition before you drew your conclusion. Cutting and pasting someone elses ex post facto is a bit of a cheat.

      You said: "According to this theory, a species that is best fitted to the abiotic factors of an environment should predominate over other species, similar to a coniferous forest containing mainly one species of tree."

      Can you rephrase this without the spencerian 'survival of the fittest' tautology? Bear in mind that natural selection, and survival of the fittest…

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    18. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      So the theory of natural selection (or the best and fittest survives and reproduces the most) only accounts for organisms within a species, but does not account for different species living in exactly the same environment, such as different species of trees living side by side in a rainforest.

      I wonder why Darwin missed that?

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    19. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      How did he miss it? If the species is 'fit' for that environment, or a mutation within any species is fit, then it survives and thrives.

      If you are considering competition between species, then the fittest survive; the dreaded 'social Darwinism', no?

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    20. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Chris Harper

      The somewhat formal definition of natural selection comes from a website that has many biologists contributing.

      But according to the theory, a species wants to survive, and it should try to eliminate competition for resources.

      That means the best species at competing against other species should win and predominate in that environment.

      The theory does not take into account many species that do live in the same environment, and have been for a very long time.

      Nature is much too complex to be included in a theory.

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    21. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      Dale,

      You said:"But according to the theory, a species wants to survive, and it should try to eliminate competition for resources."

      Sigh. Collectivist thinking huh? A species doesn't 'want' anything. There is no mechanism by which a species can want. Individuals want, and seek, not the species. Especially animals. I am not sure how a plant wants anything.

      You said:"That means the best species at competing against other species should win and predominate in that environment."

      Yep, and…

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    22. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to Chris Harper

      According to the theory of natural selection, a species should adapt to live in most environments (similar to a cockroach).

      And, after eons have passed, there should only be a few species on the planet.

      They will be the “super species” that are so well adapted they have forced out most other species, and will now predominate in most environments.

      But instead, the opposite has actually occurred, and there are a multitude of species on the planet, often living in harmony and coexistence…

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    23. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      So there would be a lot of species to start with and gradually one would spread itself like the buffalo grass in my lawn to the exclusion of all others. Yep. That makes sense ... um .... that'd be humans then I guess ... hell's bells he's right!!!!!

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    24. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      Destroy those rainforest species with fire, and the one tree which will replace them all will be a eucalypt, which will use fire and poison to kill off all competition.

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    25. Dale Bloom

      Analyst

      In reply to James Hill

      Bushfires do not naturally occur that often, and most are purposely lit by people.

      Fire will kill many (but not all) species of rainforest trees, and eucalypts can take over, but pioneering species of rainforest trees will gradually come back in, and with minimal fire, the rainforest will gradually re-establish itself.

      And that rainforest contains many different species of trees living in coexistence (and not necessarily in competition).

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    26. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I like "shed full of ratbags" as the accepted, international default standard of "intellectual fire power".
      At least there is an encouraging degree of basic self-organisation, ( necessary for further evolution) provided there are no flammable substances inside capable of supporting a spontaneous conflagration.
      (Perhaps some paint thinners to go with the incendiary speeches inside the Cabinet Room).
      Now there's a "shed full of ratbags" against which all other "sheds" might be calibrated.

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    27. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      The seed distribution in a rainforest is mediated mainly by flying foxes. and if one or more seeds ends up next to eachother, each far away from the parent tree then....?

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    28. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Dale Bloom

      Dale,

      You said:” According to the theory of natural selection, a species should adapt to live in most environments”

      Who has been feeding you this guff? Seriously, if there are links I would like to have a look at it.

      Natural selection makes no such prediction. Quite the opposite in fact. Darwin observed specialisation in nature and sought to explain it, and his theory does just that.

      You said: “And, after eons have passed, there should only be a few species on the planet.”

      So, you…

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  11. Rudi Kelle

    logged in via Twitter

    Darwin was right - no contest ... I like swinging from trees .
    God saw the kiddies of man were fair , and gave them an immortal soul - no problem .
    We can Measure Darwin ... we don't have the gadgets to measure God - or his Angels - or his 'acceptance' by half the population .

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  12. Paul Rogers

    Manager

    Apologies for disturbing the political exchange, but a question for Rob (or anyone). Who in particular gets credit for establishing the fact of mutation of DNA as a cornerstone of natural selection and evolutionary theory?

    Perhaps after Crick and Watson, Wilkins and Franklin elucidated the structure of DNA, but is there an iconic scientist who gets credit for the mechanism of DNA mutation and the evolutionary consequences?

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    1. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to alfred venison

      You said:"& for doggedly remaining a communist when its unpopular"

      Not in academia it isn't. Being a communist in academia is about as brave as being a Christian in the Vatican.

      Tell me, would you be equally supportive of someone remaining a fascist, communism's sibling system, despite that also being unpopular?

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    2. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      Paul,

      Thanks for that. I have never asked that question before, and I should have. I look forward to your answers.

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    3. Paul Rogers

      Manager

      In reply to alfred venison

      AV, not exactly the same category, but I get the picture. And no doubt Rose and Gould as well?

      I'll nominate Ed Wilson in that category, and I'd have to say, for the most part, nature won over nurture. And yes I do understand some of the subtleties of that debate.

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    4. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Chris you haven't been near academia in years have you? There was no way a communist would have survived in either of the psych faculties that I worked in.

      Facism and communism are not the same. What you are calling communism was not communism but totalitarianism.

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    5. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      Julie,

      There are a number of ideologies that can be categorised as totalitarian, communism amongst them.

      As to fascism and communism, well, fascists and communists will argue over details about which books should be burnt (banned), which opponents should be shot, and the mechanism by which the state takes control over the economy and civil society, but on the matters of real principle, whether books should be burnt, whether opponents should be sent to murder camps, or whether the state should take total control of the economy and civil society they are in full agreement.

      That's good enough for me.

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    6. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Again I am off topic so you can have the last word on this off topic topic.

      What is good enough for you is not good enough for me. You 'individualists' seem to have a different standard for what is good enough. Collectivists and group thinkers like me apparently have higher standards.

      I want to know the real truth and it is so not true that the Soviet experiment was Communism. There is also a big question as to how much the war on 'Communism' waged by the US on this regime was one of the reasons that it failed.

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    7. alfred venison

      records manager (public secotr)

      In reply to Paul Rogers

      thank for the reply Paul Rogers - of course, and, strictly speaking, that should be rose & rose. -a.v.

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    8. alfred venison

      records manager (public secotr)

      In reply to Chris Harper

      i studied fascism at university, Chris Harper, and in my post-grad years i was asked by the lecturer to help him deliver the course: i tutored, i led seminars, i helped compile the examination, i helped mark the exams and i marked seminar papers. fascism is an anti-enlightenment ideology; capitalism and communism aren't. –a.v.

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    9. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to alfred venison

      Alfred,

      Sure, Nazism, and to a lesser extent Fascism, were products of romanticism, while Marxism and Fabianism were more products of the enlightenment, but so what? The victims of each are no less dead for that.

      That communism was a product of the enlightenment makes it no less murderous than the numbers illustrate.

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    10. alfred venison

      records manager (public sector)

      In reply to Chris Harper

      read what Julie Thomas says - the soviet union was not a communist state. marxism is a philosophy. fabians by definition are not revolutionaries. -a.v.

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    11. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to alfred venison

      "Read what Julie Thomas says - the soviet union was not a communist state."
      Ahistorical and just plain wrong.
      "The Union of Soviet Socialist Republics abbreviated to USSR (Russian: СССР, tr. SSSR) or the Soviet Union (Russian: Сове́тский Сою́з, tr. Sovetskij Soyuz), was a socialist state on the Eurasian continent that existed between 1922 and 1991, governed as a single-party state by the Communist Party with Moscow as its capital."
      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soviet_Union

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    12. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to alfred venison

      "standing up against sociobiology & for doggedly remaining a communist when its unpopular"
      Both these positions stand AGAINST Lewontin. He was wrong on both accounts. His childish Marxism sadly clouds his legacy as a scientist.

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    13. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to alfred venison

      "strictly speaking, that should be rose & rose. -a.v"
      Alfred Hilary Rose is a feminist Sociologist, about as far from being a scientist as is possible. First, you reject Maths (PDEs) as essential to understanding climate change. Now you get your knowledge of genetics from feminist sociology!

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    14. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Strewf ... it's in Wikipedia like so er it's gotta be you know True ... beyond question ... like China is. Or Poland was. Norf Korea too that'd be another one ... I wonder if it's named after "Greg Norf" ... probbly.

      Who knew history was so easy?

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    15. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to alfred venison

      Alfred, am looking forward to hearing your qualifications to dismiss the status of the former Soviet Union as "Communist", over those who built, ran, and lived there.

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    16. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      I worked out Chomsky was a crank in 2nd year university in the 1990s. If you seriously think I'm taking reading lists from you in 2014, you're nuts. But one thing. Again, you are privileging a bourgeois American New Englander book-worm over actual Communists and their societies.

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    17. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      And it is very much on topic, given just how appalling Communism was in perverting Science, ESPECIALLY genetics.

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    18. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      I bow before your obvious brilliance Mr Cameron ... try Red Emma ... don't get more authentic than her.

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    19. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      How do these "isms" do such things Mr Cameron? These ideas floating about doing things ... all a bit magickal innit?

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    20. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Hardly brilliance. All you are doing is the equivalent of white people telling Aboriginal/black people they are not.

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    21. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      With "The Inquisition" as the template.
      Lest we forget the nature of our Science Minister-less federal administration, which has subcontracted some of those" inquisitorial functions" to its state counterparts, such as Queensland, with secret evidence, crime by association and the persecution of minorities.

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    22. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Ah yes the certainty of 2nd year students ...

      So how do these isms act in the world Mr Cameron ... or is that Professor Cameron ... how do they affect change - leaping from the pages of books and pamphlets to change the world. All by themselves?

      It's a strange business this "fighting ideas" caper - ideological struggle? Do they punch and kick and spit these "isms" ... do they overrun their neighbours, set up gulags, do evil things ... all from the page?

      Do you understand the question?

      Here's a clue - just because someone says they are something - cloak themselves in isms - doesn't make it true. What sort of rulers did Russia have before 1917 ... what would change? Same for China... continuity and change in history ... ideas do not control the world - but vice versa.

      You obviously weren't studying history. You approach it in exactly the same way as Dale here understands evolution... upside down.

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    23. alfred venison

      records manager (public sector)

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      thank you, Peter Ormonde, i'm surprised some people take communists at their word. -a.v.

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    24. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      And "when the people take control of the means of production, the state disappears".
      The state didn't disappear, ergo, it wasn't Marxist.
      It was a reactionary state, fighting fire with fire.
      As was revolutionary France, forced to fight external enemies, which it did with a conscript army.
      Fascism needs external enemies, the Romans had a whole class of priests called fetiales, who hurled spears and imprecations across an artificial boundary on the Roman Wall into "enemy" territory.
      The Soviets served as the enemy for fascism and nazism, in the most recent manifestation of "Eternal Rome".

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    25. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to James Hill

      James, er the State disappeared alright, on December 26, 1991.

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    26. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Because the people took control of the means of production?
      A few "Oligarchs", who took control of some the means of production, seem to come off badly in a battle with the new "state", a state apparently sympathetic with a resurgent "opiate of the masses" and persecuting some minorities along the way.
      The more things change the more they stay the same?
      Er, eh?

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    27. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Jings ... did it? What's that Putin bloke doing then?

      You really don't understand this stuff do you Mr Cameron... what leftists actually mean about the state "withering away", what the state does, why it is indeed the enemy?

      Now let's get back to evolution.,,, I'm hoping you might be better equipped to discuss that and set old Dale here straight - respectfully of course.

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    28. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to James Hill

      "Because the people took control of the means of production?"
      Nope. Marxist-Leninism merely showed its inevitable internal logic - collapse.

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    29. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Tell that to the Ukrainians.

      Tell that to Pussy Riot.

      Tell it to the gaoled or murdered journalists.

      Tell them how different it is ... how much happier and better off they are ... now that they are truly free and the state has disappeared.

      Do you want to talk about evolution at all?

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    30. Andy Cameron

      Care giver

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      My role here isn't to inform the Ukrainians or Pussy Riot. I am here to educate YOU.

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    31. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Thanks for the er offer Mr Cameron but that might involve some superior familiarity with the subject matter ... not just a sense of superiority.

      Nothing personal but I'm afraid you are equipped only with opinions rather than understanding or actual learning on these political matters.

      Do you know much about genetics or evolution at all? ... perhaps you could educate me there - my understandings are only undergraduate, mostly concerned with plants and a tad dated.

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    32. alfred venison

      records manager (public sector)

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Andy Cameron - they called themselves communists - they weren't. if you believe they're communists because they said they were you've been suckered. -a.v.

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    33. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      You only read things that support your view of history Andy. There are many texts and first hand experiences that offer a more objective and informed analysis of what went down back then and how it was not communism.

      Those who built, ran and lived there do not agree on the truth of their experience as far as I can tell, so how do you reconcile the disagreements among these stories? Answer, you use your personal preference to decide which narrative is the true one.

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    34. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Yes I came across people like you in my Uni classes also. Men who thought that they could think better than other people who had proved their ability to think better than most of us.

      As Spinoza says "To see the truth one must hold no opinion at all'. But some people think that to be opinionated and believe in one's superiority is to see the truth.

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    35. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      Really Andy? Do you have a reference for this claim?

      There actually was some good research done but mostly the totalitarian regime - not communist - did deny scientists the right to be scientists but it is argued that again this tendency has to seen in the context of the war that the US waged against them.

      Vygotsky did some interesting research.

      http://psychology.about.com/od/zindex/g/zone-proximal.htm

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    36. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to alfred venison

      Alfred,

      You said:” - the soviet union was not a communist state”

      No, of course it wasn’t. It failed, and if it failed it couldn’t possibly be communism, right? We all know that communism is the most wonderfullest idea ever, in all history, and if ever it was tried, I mean really and truly tried, it would be the most wonderfullest time in all history and everyone would run to embrace it and we would all join hands and sing kumbaya and no one would have to die ever and all the children would…

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    37. alfred venison

      records manager (public secotr)

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      thanks for that link, Julie Thomas, i look forward to reading it later. and what's craftworker doing with such a sophisticated understanding of political theory & spinoza already? ;-) that's a yoke. thanks again - long may you flourish! -a.v.

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    38. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to alfred venison

      Alfred I don't know what happens in my head but I am loving this internet thing. I just wander around and read things and some things make sense and others do not. That is all I know. :)

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    39. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Chris surely it is the same thing that communism/socialism and free market capitalism are both just wonderful theories and would work perfectly if we humans had perfect natures. Apparently we do not have these natures.

      The difference between the theories that don't work is there and there is an argument that even if we did have perfect natures, the communist/socialist ideas will work better with the nature that it seems we do have.

      Evo psych knows lots about how humans really think these days - and the just so stories are more interesting and nuanced - and the way we humans naturally behave. It seems clear to me that the argument now a days is in favour of cooperation as the better system to manage ourselves. If you are interested in 'self-organisation' as many libertarians are, we are more likely to achieve 'self-organisation' through building a social system that works on community interest rather than through an economic system that works on self-interest.

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    40. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      hmmm that middle paragraph is muddled but Chris will work it out. He is an intelligent bloke.

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    41. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter,

      Last time you sent a Wikipedia reference to me I reminded you of your propensity to take the p**s of those who did the same.

      If it's good enough for you to do it, why should anyone take seriously your objection to others following your lead?

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    42. alfred venison

      records manager (public secotr)

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      well, good on you, Julie Thomas, i've been on the verge sometimes of giving it all up. but i like what you write, i look forward to reading it. -a.v.

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    43. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to alfred venison

      Believe them to the point where they acknowledge they are communists, disregard everything after that, because of that.

      Nah, I have bought beer with my fair share. At the beer down the pub level they are just mates I argued policies and politics with, but, still, in vino veritas and all that.

      So, those Marxist friends who bemoaned the fall of the Wall, and the collapse of the Soviet Union, weren't Marxists at all? They were something else? And despite all their years of study they didn't even know this?

      Really?

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    44. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter,

      Just because the bear is no longer overtly Marxist, that doesn't mean it has become cuddly.

      Putin was raised and trained by an established Marxist state, corruption comes as no surprise.

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    45. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Yep Chris, I'd say they were Communists in the same way you are a Libertarian.

      I know heaps more about Libertarianism and the prophets of said ideology, than you do because I read what they are reading and basing their beliefs on, but you read one book and think you can call yourself a Libertarian and your Commie mates down the pub are equally ignorant or misinformed about Communism.

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    46. alfred venison

      records manager (public secotr)

      In reply to Chris Harper

      let me be clear, some assert the soviet union was a socialist state - it was not - they are wrong. i have no interest nor am i able to account for the delusions of your drinking buddies who call themselves maxists. over to you, Julie, Peter..... -a.v.

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    47. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      I'm not above using a wiki link to illustrate a point or draw someone's attention to a fact or such ... depends on with whom I am conversating and whether I reckon that's where their up to time and interest-wise. Sometimes the external links on wiki entries are useful. But in complex things most wiki entries are a bit general and superficial.

      But serious discussions with folks of substance and a passion for detailed research merit a much better diet.

      If I'm in a hurry or a bit of straight…

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    48. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to alfred venison

      Chris has come a long way since I first met him alfred, he was much more difficult to get along with than he is now and I have high hopes for him in the future, but we have to be patient and consistent.

      The research shows that the only way to achieve attitude change in humans with 'difficult' natures is to set them an example of how they 'should' behave. People with difficult natures may lack the ability to understand things without actually experiencing them not because they are stupid but because they were blessed with genes that made them good at being difficult and they were raised in environments that did not provide opportunities for them to understand that the other is not a threat.

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    49. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      Julie,

      You never heard of Lysenkoism?

      Trofim Lysenko disagreed with Mendelian genetics and got Stalin to agree with him, which resulted in his views becoming pretty universal - after all, you could be killed for disagreeing. That pretty much killed all rational genetic research, and agricultural plant breeding, in the USSR up until the '60's.

      His views were pretty much Marxist theology mixed with Lamarkianism and applied to plant reproduction. He denounced Mendelian theories as "reactionary and decadent" and declared such thinkers to be "enemies of the Soviet people". Given that the Party Central Committee had approved his speech, that was pretty much that for any rational genetics for decades.

      Lysenkoism, specifically, is his views on inheritance, and generally, is a term used to describe a state mandated viewpoint, usually, but not necessarily, in the sciences.

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    50. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      Julie,

      You said:"this tendency has to seen in the context of the war that the US waged against them."

      But in the context of the war that the USSR was also, at the same time, waging against them, the US pretty much do no such thing.

      Why one, but not the other? Could it have been a consequence of the nature of the system each operated under?

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    51. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      You said: "but you read one book"

      Damn, did I? I didn't know that. Which book was that?

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    52. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Chris Harper

      There are many ways of understanding what went on, we can agree on that Chris?

      One way that strikes me as interesting is that there was a large power differential between the fledgling Communist state and the US that took extreme and irrational exception to the attempt to have alternative social and economic arrangement. I think that an investigation of the way this played out to influence the USSR to be more totalitarian than they might have been, is useful.

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    53. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Chris Harper

      There were terrible things that went on Chris, I am not denying that so stop pretending that I am.

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    54. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      You said:"I'd be wondering why you raise it"

      Because you took the p**s out of Andy Cameron for merely doing what you have done.

      :)

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    55. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      Well it looks like evolution is destined to take the back seat to revolution despite me earnest entreaties... so I'll buy in ... and trust the Good Shepherd extends some tolerance to the inevitable...

      I'd be far more inclined to see the tendencies towards authoritarian rule as being rooted very much in Russian history and culture Julie ... true they went directly from WW1 into defending the revolution against a coalition of the imperial powers but this of itself did not necessitate an authoritarian…

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    56. Julie Thomas

      craftworker

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      Peter yes my whole point was this "Didn't help - to be surrounded by enemies confirming the paranoias and fears. :) And yes it would seem obvious that Stalin was a continuation of the pre-revolutionary politics. That period of history is so depressing :( to me.

      Perhaps in the same way that Mao was just another Emperor? But without all the attractive clothes and hats.

      Perhaps we are talking about the evolution of cultures? Would that qualify for being on topic?

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    57. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      You said:"despite me earnest entreaties... "

      And there was me about to join you in that plea.

      At least Lysenko, political as he may be, was on topic...

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    58. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Julie Thomas

      "Perhaps we are talking about the evolution of cultures? Would that qualify for being on topic?"

      Nah ... folks can sort of understand evolution a bit ... I'm not even sure that cultures evolve at all ... and they seem to be able to devolve going on current trends. We will soon see how well societies adapt to changing circumstances... the prognosis isn't all that encouraging.

      Speaking of matters evolutionary ... http://www.independent.co.uk/environment/nature/rats-as-big-as-sheep-rodents-could-evolve-to-fill-niches-as-larger-mammals-go-extinct-9105626.html

      I've started giving the rats in my shed special treats, a copy of the newspaper, teeny weeny slippers ... I'm thinking it's a prudent idea to get in their good books.

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    59. Peter Ormonde

      Farmer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Utterly concur Mr Harper ...

      Strangely Lysenko was never actually a member of the Communist Party and he was opposed to maths in science, preferring instead to base his "science" on ideological quotes from Fred Engels in particular. A Rasputin character.

      Sadly his religious posturing has become conflated with Lamarck which is a pity. As Doctor Brooks here might attest we could have been a bit hasty dismissing all of Lamarck's inheritance theories in light of epigenetics ... http://www.technologyreview.com/news/411880/a-comeback-for-lamarckian-evolution/

      Bloody science!

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    60. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Peter Ormonde

      That article put me right off in just its first two words.

      If a journalist prefaces an article with the words 'Scientists believe', then they think they can then present any old malarky as if it has the Good Housekeeping stamp of approval.

      Wot a puff piece.

      Although, it does present the rat as being a good example of Dale Bloom's super species.

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    61. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Andy Cameron

      So when "capital" took flight from Argentina, and the workers took over and continued to exploit the abandoned "Means of Production" left behind , and without any intervention by the state, then that was the exception that proved the rule that Marx was wrong?
      An internal logic collapse?
      As you wish, Andy, others might see things differently.

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    62. James Hill

      Industrial Designer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Exactly the same arguments are made about the "free market", trouble is, no-one can find one?

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  13. Danny Hoardern

    Analyst Programmer

    It is always interesting to look back in history to see our gradual progression, and wonder what's next.

    This post comes with theme music for those into that sort of thing: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jofNR_WkoCE

    The Pocket Oxford Dictionary defines Utopia: n. imagined perfect place or state of things.

    For some people, Utopia is infinite ice-cream or a house made out of candy. Imagination is a wondrous thing, but we live in a reality where time for imagination is scarce and often impeded…

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    1. Chris Harper

      Engineer

      In reply to Danny Hoardern

      To you, that may be Utopia. To me, it reads like a totalitarian hell hole, and guaranteed poverty for all.

      Have you ever read Utopia?

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    2. Danny Hoardern

      Analyst Programmer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      Nope, but I don't like the chances of theirs being identical to mine - anyway, everyone's Utopia is different so this argument is pointless.

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    3. Danny Hoardern

      Analyst Programmer

      In reply to Chris Harper

      "totalitarian hell hole"

      Ommited information can lead one to make unfounded judgements. You see, in my Utopia there is no single person in control.

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