24 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 Darwin and the Origins of Life

There is a curious parallelism between Darwin's twenty-year delay in publishing his theory of evolution and Newton's {102} twenty-year delay in publishing the Principia. And Newton's refusal to publish his cosmological speculations finds a parallel in Darwin's silence concerning the problem of the origin of life. If we are to understand in general terms the place of life in the universe, we must also understand life's origin. Darwin explicitly excluded the origin of life from the scope of ...
Folksonomies: life theories barriers
Folksonomies: life theories barriers
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24 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 Science Unifiers

Now it is generally true that the very greatest scientists in each discipline are unifiers. This is especially true in physics. Newton and Einstein were supreme as unifiers. The great triumphs of physics have been triumphs of unification. We almost take it for granted that the road of progress in physics will be a wider and wider unification bringing more and more phenomena within the scope of a few fundamental principles. Einstein was so confident of the correctness of this road of unificati...
Folksonomies: science unification
Folksonomies: science unification
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12 JAN 2015 by ideonexus

 The Evolution of the Eye

To suppose that the eye with all its inimitable contrivances for adjusting the focus to different distances, for admitting different amounts of light, and for the correction of spherical and chromatic aberration, could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree. When it was first said that the sun stood still and the world turned round, the common sense of mankind declared the doctrine false; but the old saying of Vox populi, vox Dei, as every...
Folksonomies: eye evolution
Folksonomies: eye evolution
  1  notes
"Absurd," Darwin admits, but entirely possible.
29 NOV 2013 by ideonexus

 The Meme-Unit

It is possible that this appearance of non-particulateness is illusory, and that the analogy with genes does not break down. After all, if we look at the inheritance of many genetic characters such as human height or skin-colouring, it does not look like the work of indivisible and unblendable genes. If a black and a white person mate, their children do not come out either black or white: they are intermediate. This does not mean the genes concerned are not particulate. It is just that there ...
Folksonomies: memetics genes
Folksonomies: memetics genes
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Like genes, there is no particulate unit for memes. Sometimes we must look at a whole symphony, sometimes it's just a few notes.

20 JUN 2012 by ideonexus

 The Evolutionary Unit of Measurement

The starting point of Darwin's theory of evolution is precisely the existence of those differences between individual members of a race or species which morphologists for the most part rightly neglect. The first condition necessary, in order that any process of Natural Selection may begin among a race, or species, is the existence of differences among its members; and the first step in an enquiry into the possible effect of a selective process upon any character of a race must be an estimate ...
Folksonomies: species measurement average
Folksonomies: species measurement average
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Is the species, not individuals within the species.

11 JUN 2012 by ideonexus

 Science Works from Approximation to Approximation

I have no patience with attempts to identify science with measurement, which is but one of its tools, or with any definition of the scientist which would exclude a Darwin, a Pasteur or a Kekulé. The scientist is a practical man and his are practical aims. He does not seek the ultimate but the proximate. He does not speak of the last analysis but rather of the next approximation. His are not those beautiful structures so delicately designed that a single flaw may cause the collapse of the who...
Folksonomies: science progress
Folksonomies: science progress
  1  notes

Getting better all the time.

11 JUN 2012 by ideonexus

 Mark Twain's Description of Evolution

Adam is fading out. It is on account of Darwin and that crowd. I can see that he is not going to last much longer. There's a plenty of signs. He is getting belittled to a germ—a little bit of a speck that you can't see without a microscope powerful enough to raise a gnat to the size of a church. They take that speck and breed from it: first a flea; then a fly, then a bug, then cross these and get a fish, then a raft of fishes, all kinds, then cross the whole lot and get a reptile, then work...
Folksonomies: humor big history
Folksonomies: humor big history
  1  notes

Witty.

08 JUN 2012 by ideonexus

 Science Depends on Revolutions Large and Small

Scientific development depends in part on a process of non-incremental or revolutionary change. Some revolutions are large, like those associated with the names of Copernicus, Newton, or Darwin, but most are much smaller, like the discovery of oxygen or the planet Uranus. The usual prelude to changes of this sort is, I believed, the awareness of anomaly, of an occurrence or set of occurrences that does not fit existing ways of ordering phenomena. The changes that result therefore require 'put...
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Small ones, like the discovery of oxygen and Uranus, that requires thinking in a way to uncover anomalies.

05 JUN 2012 by ideonexus

 Our Purpose is to Expand the Realm of the Known

The known is finite, the unknown infinite; intellectually we stand on an islet in the midst of an illimitable ocean of inexplicability. Our business in every generation is to reclaim a little more land, to add something to the extent and the solidity of our possessions. And even a cursory glance at the history of the biological sciences during the last quarter of a century is sufficient to justify the assertion, that the most potent instrument for the extension of the realm of natural knowled...
Folksonomies: discovery purpose
Folksonomies: discovery purpose
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Just a little bit in each generation.

31 MAY 2012 by ideonexus

 God Explains Nothing

In consequence of Darwin's reformed Theory of Descent, we are now in a position to establish scientifically the groundwork of a non-miraculous history of the development of the human race... If any person feels the necessity of conceiving the coming into existence of this matter as the work of a supernatural creative power, of the creative force of something outside of matter, we have nothing to say against it. But we must remark, that thereby not even the smallest advantage is gained for a s...
Folksonomies: evolution religion
Folksonomies: evolution religion
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There is nothing wrong with believing in God, but it serves no useful purpose.