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Still in Florida, and my brain is saturated with retinal cell biology after day 3 of the meeting (2 more to go, my big presentation thingy is tomorrow morning). I did read your blog entry just now, and thanks for bringing it to my attention. I think the philosophical exercise of distinguishing awareness from identity is an interesting one, and I certainly don't think there's any need for you to hang your head in shame, but the biological elements of your argument are a little, er...fanciful. I have nothing against wild-assed speculation, indeed, it has inspired a number of wonderful scientific breakthroughs, but rule #1 is that you absolutely have to start with good science before you commence speculatin', otherwise you end up making execrable films like "What the *&(^ do we know?"
I would be happy to make some more specific, substantive comments if you would like me to. Maybe the best medium for this would be email. You can reach me at:
and I'll respond soon.
Got your message about the Irreducible complexity debunking--yeah, that 'idea' has pretty much gone down in flames several times over. It's so fun to watch. the UO researcher is Joe Thornton. I don't know him personally, but he's definitely one of the good guys.
I hear it's raining in Eugene. Alas, we have had glorious, sunny 85 degree days since we arrived last Wednesday. The ocean is warm, the Caribbean winds are balmy, and the sea turtles are nesting. But...there's a church on every city block, and pretty much everyone decks out their person and their cars with Christian paraphernalia of some kind. I gotta say, the big giant 'praying hands' stickers on a monster truck sporting dangly, camo 'truck nutz' is an odd combination indeed.
Ha, we have the perfect complementary set--my almost-9 year old son is the cautious one and the 6 year old girl is the harum-scarum of the family.
My presentation for the conference is complete, so I now need to turn my attention to the mundane tasks of preparing for a family vacation. This is an easy trip to make, financially, because my travel, hotels & meals are covered by a travel grant. We can feed the whole family on my meal per diem if we eat on the cheap in our hotel kitchenette.
The last minute data collection turned out to be really wild. Science is so humbling. I spent the majority of last week just marveling at how little any of us actually know about anything--this is one of those realities that the anti-reason crowd just doesn't get. They speak in absolutes, with unquestioning certainty, and somehow feel justified in accusing scientists of arrogance, when most of us are floundering in uncertainty on a regular basis. Any scientist worth his or her salt is very cautious about overstating any argument, and regularly has to shift his or her understanding of any process when new information comes to light that refines the old model of how things seemed to be, but yeah, we're the arrogant ones with unchangeable minds.
I've been alternatively engaging the antivaccinationists and the altie med proponents on Scienceblogs this week. It's uncanny how like creationists they are in the way they formulate an argument--chock full of logical fallacies and sneering disregard for methodological naturalism. Good times :)
Happy spring! Glad your girl will be unencumbered for summer fun!
Hi Derrick, nice to hear from you. Nice blog! I echo your joy at our spring weather here--my six year old and I (and our dog) hiked up the Butte together on Sunday morning, and it was just an incredible day. Alas, we spent the majority of that golden afternoon in the Emergency Room...we made it up and down the mountain without incident, but as soon as we got home she managed to tip over the spinning office chair which pitched her into the edge of the desk and opened up a bit of a gash next to her eye. It only needed three stitches, which come out Friday, and she seems to be enjoying recounting her story to anyone who will listen, so not so bad as far as these things go.
The whole family is headed to Florida next Wednesday--I have a conference in Ft. Lauderdale and we're tacking on a few days beforehand to go to Disney/Sea World. I'm in the panicky throes of last-minute experiments now, to get new pretty data for my presentation at the conference.
I'll bookmark your blog and stop back in sometime soon. I think I have a typekey account to comment--I'll have to look up the password when I have time. Cheers! jen
Great! I haven't met any of the group members in person yet, and I've only spoken to the founder, Tom, so far, by phone, but he just started the group last month so I'm hopeful that we can grow steadily until we have a critical mass for some outreach, resources for home-schoolers, or whatever.
I Hope you enjoyed your Corned Beef & Cabbage as much as we enjoyed ours. :)
Yup, just turned 41 myself, and developed all kinds of creaks and groans seemingly overnight. I'm not a runner but I love to swim and hike, and both kids are now old enough to participate and enjoy as well. If you get tired of beating your head against Comfort's wall, you might consider joining the brand new Oregon Citizens for Science (http://oregoncitizensforscience.wordpress.com/). It's very small, and we haven't done anything yet, but the principal aim is to provide science education relevant to the evolution 'controversy'. Once we get a bit more organized, I'm hoping to expand this to include other forms of pseudoscience which, as you know, plague Eugene in particular quite a bit more than Creationism at the present time. So far I'm the only member from Eugene, so it would be great to have you aboard.
Hi Derrick, thanks for 'friend'ing me. I don't spend much time in the Nexus these days, but it's nice to network with like-minded people when I can. I'm impressed that you can stomach the work of regularly commenting on Comfort's blog. You must be made of tougher stuff than I :)
PS your self-characterization as 'old married guy' does not jibe with your age group. Alas, I've had a birthday since my last trip here that bumped me into the next tier.