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Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Three remarkable men

These three men have been inspirational in the Life of Maalie

Richard Dawkins

is an evolutionary biologist and geneticist who gained scientific acclaim for his innovative work The Selfish Gene. In addition to his biological career, Richard Dawkins is well-known for his views on atheism, evolution, creationism, intelligent design, and religion.

His clarity of communication and his extensive writing have been a constant source of recommended reading for my own students.

Creationists do not like Richard Dawkins; they accuse him of arrogance. Even if that is true, that is an ad hominem argument, an argument that attacks the person, not the evidence, in an attempt to draw the discussion away from the point.

Let me put it this way: would you rather fly with an arrogant but experienced airline pilot, or with a humble novice? Or have your surgeon be competent but arrogant, or humble and ham-fisted?

This clip shows Professor Dawkins delivering a lecture: "Aren't we all atheists?"

Kris Kristofferson

I became acquainted with the music of this country-singer when I worked in Antarctica in 1972-73 and his words and music have lingered with me ever since.

Here, Kris is singing one of his greatest hits Me and Bobby McGee

"Freedom's just another word for nothin' left to lose"

Sir David Attenborough

Biologist and broadcaster, whose enthusiasm and professionalism is something I have aspired to through my own teaching career. Here, Sir David is telling us about fossils: " seemed to me then [as a boy], and to be truthful it still seems to me now, to be moments of magic..."

Do biologists ever "grow up"?


Blogger Magdalene said...

Great videos Maalie. I remember the David Attenborough one. His infectious enthusiasm is as always unsurpassed.

I haven't read 'The Selfish gene', but the video made me smile. Scary but oh so true!

8:52 am  
Blogger simon said...

brilliant brilliant brilliant! and OH SO true... bravo mate... I ALWAYS learn so much with you as a mate!

12:51 pm  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

I think David Attenborough suffers from 'boyish enthusiasm'.

I prefer Kris Kristopherson to Mr Dawkins.

1:09 pm  
Blogger Martin Stickland said...

Some good You tube clip choices there! Have you seen the one of the lady with the big ..... Oh, sorry, I forgot this site was before the watershed.

Hope you are well and thanks for the funny comments, you do make me laugh (they are meant to be funny right??)

1:49 pm  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Quite fascinating from Sir David Attenborough! And Kris Kristofferson and ihs guitar make good music. And Richard Dawkins is an intelligent chap.

I haven't read Richard Dawkins and I don't believe you have to be a person of faith to be a good scientist. But I do believe you have to be a person of faith either way. If you insist there's no god, or as atheists really do, that the evidence in their minds weighs against it, then that's your preroggative. But faith on either side is not without its evidence, nor without its proponents who are gifted in the mind.

Dawkins has a strong faith and he may think it's settled and well grounded. Hopefully though we can all be honest in affirming that we really don't know for sure, unless there is a way of "knowing". And for me in my own faith, that's a key.

3:05 am  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

you have to be a person of faith either way- I meant either as an atheist or a believer in god.

3:07 am  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Let me add to that that my faith involves evidence as found in the gospels and in the New Testament. But it also involves a sense of calling, that like Abraham this is what it means for me in my life.

And my faith is ultimately grounded in Jesus. God is Jesus.

If you get into the Christian stream to read, you'll find quite intelligent people who have submitted themselves to God's revelation in nature/creation as well as in the Book/Scripture. Rather than the Enlightenment view which insists that humankind is the end-all, be-all- shown in the insistence to stand in judgment over everything.

But reason is to be the servant of revelation, as my faith teaches and works it out.

Maalie, Thanks for sharing what men have impacted you. Interesting idea, and maybe one day I'll blog on it.

3:15 am  
Blogger Magdalene said...

Oh dear. Here we go again...... ;-)

*sound of Maalie's hands rubbing together with glee*

(though personally I find Nivea more effective.)

11:25 am  
Blogger Ted M. Gossard said...

Thanks for not erasing my comments, Maalie. You're a gentleman and a scholar.

3:38 am  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Actually Magdalene, Astral is quite as good as Nivea and cocoa butter is even better. Poor Maalie's hands are indeed getting very chapped from all the glee rubbing as you rightly pointed out!

7:38 am  
Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

I loved Sir David Attenborough's video. Thanks for sharing it!

I especially liked the part about amber as I am fascinated by it. My daughter wears a ring that I bought her on a business trip, so I had to laugh when he said that only the clear amber was prized for jewelry! I stood quite a while going through all the rings, holding them up to the light, looking for one that actually contained a recognizable insect before I would purchase one for her!

Do biologists ever grow up - no, I think we all suffer from "boyish enthusiasm"!

When do you leave on your Madagascar trip? I could easily be sinfully green with envy of your going there!

3:33 pm  
Blogger Maalie said...

Greeting to all from Vienna.

Will reply to comment when I get home.

1:25 pm  
Blogger simon said...

You runcible fellow you!

8:25 am  
Blogger Maalie said...

Magdalene: The best cure for a tired hand is simply the touch of another's, don't you think?

Ted: All more-or-less 'on-topic' comments are welcome. I could not agree however that scientists have "faith". The essence of science is an 'open mind'. Science does not purport to have answers, so there is nothing to have faith "in". Science merely offers the most parsimonious explanation to account for the observable evidence. Unlike fundamentalism, science is ready to modify an explanation when new evidence (or a better understanding of existing evidence) comes to light.

Halfmom: I agree, any true biologist will be excited when new fossil evidence comes to light that contributes to our understanding of the evolution of life on earth.

Simon: Runcible is my middle name.

Lorenzo: Nothing quite like a dollop of maalie puke to care for the skin.

10:47 am  
Blogger lorenzothellama said...

Faith by it's very nature is a belief in something that cannot be proved.

1:16 pm  
Blogger Maalie said...

Lorenzo: Exactly so. Scientists don't "believe" anything. They observe evidence and attempt to explain it. They constantly revise their attempts in the light of new evidence.

Contrary to popular opinion, they do NOT "believe there is no God". They can simply find no convincing evidence to support a case that there is one.

1:27 pm  
Blogger Halfmom, AKA, Susan said...

It is particularly nice when they turn up in lovely colored resin! But they are fascinating wherever they turn up!

11:18 pm  

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