Tag Archives | Aside

Herman Miller Mirra chair

I needed a new chair to use at my desk. After much research I settled for a Herman Miller Mirra. It’s good. Still tweaking the various settings but so far it’s very comfortable and should help prevent back issues due to spending a lot of time at the desk writing, typing and computing in general. Click picture for larger view.

Talk Science discussion group

A new discussion group has been set-up on Yahoo groups to provide a place for the discussion of various science topics.

The group is an off shoot of the DebunkCreation group. Any science related topic is suitable for discussion. Some things are off-topic however as they usually lead to flame-wars. The list description gives details but basically politics, religion& ethics are off-topic. We stick to the how questions of science not the why or should we questions.

You can join the group here.

Fundie shuffle

Unsubstantiated nonsense spouted on BBC “Thought for the Day”.

“Thought for the Day” is a ring fenced religious slot broadcast on BBC Radio 4 each weekday morning. Mostly it is meaningless platitudes. Every now and again there is some nonsense that is even more stupid than usual. The one broadcast on 11th March 2003 is a good example. A transcript is available on the BBC site.

Some comments on this nonsense.

Mr. Das rehashes the old canard that evolutionary theory is as much of a faith based system as religion. This is just nonsense. Mr Das opines –

processes inside the brain. Often, philosophical ideas involving a “ghost in
the machine” are dismissed as mere fantasy or “untestable hypotheses”. But, I

The reason these “ghost in the machine” ideas are dismissed is because there is no evidence to support them. Mr. Das is free to present supporting evidence that can be tested whenever he feels like it.

Mr. Das continues –

feel there is as much dogmatic belief, some of it quite irrational, in the
fields of neuroscience and evolutionary theory.

He should then be able to present supporting evidence to back up this assertion. Both areas of scientific theory that he mentions are well supported by both direct observation and current theory. Evolution for example has supporting evidence from fields such as comparative biology, biochemistry, genetics, palaeontology and others. There is no more “dogmatic belief” in the theory of evolution than there is in the theory of plate tectonics or gravitation. All scientific theories are tentative and subject to revision in the light of new experimental data. Evolutionary theory is a very successful theory for explaining the biodiversity we see on Earth today.

I note that Mr. Das acknowledges the publication of Crick and Koch’s data and conclusions in a peer reviewed journal. Namely –

However, the evidence published in Nature Neuroscience by DNA discoverer,
Francis Crick and his co-researcher, Christof Koch was not so clear cut. In

At least they are willing to have their ideas challenged by their peers and not delivered via an unchallenged monologue from the safety of a ring fenced religious slot.

I think the BBC should seriously consider if the “Thought for the Day” slot is past it’s sell by date if this is the sort of misinformation it serves up.

War of the Worlds – H. G. Wells

The classic alien invasion story.

I bought a copy of H. G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds” as one of about 10 books I picked up with book tokens that I got as Christmas presents. I finally started reading it last night. I’d forgotten how well written it is ( I read it about 25 years ago). Wells’ writing style is really clear.

It’s also interesting to note the scientific topics that Wells touches on in the first few chapters. He addresses evolutionary theory, geology, physics, astronomy and planetary science. Not to mention the biological aspect that comes at the end. Wells did do a degree in Zoology (and studied under the supervision of T. H. Huxley) and taught biology for a while. Interestingly he had to give up teaching when he was injured by a pupil during sports.

This book was published about 100 years ago. It’s sad to think that the vast majority of people today know less science that Wells and his audience did 🙁

Rules for Revolutionaries – Guy Kawasaki

How to change business behaviour to differentiate your company from your competitors.

This is an excellent book. Kawasaki brings together novel and innovative methods used by a diverse range of companies to acquire, service and retain customers. A lot of the info is obvious when you see it written down but this book allows you to think about these subjects outside the day to day frantic work place.

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