All Darwin's works now on line
Posted: 18 October 2006 04:33 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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Darwin fans can find his complete works on line thanks to Cambridge University.

http://darwin-online.org.uk/

Dave

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Posted: 20 October 2006 05:38 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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[quote author=“dmcr35”]Darwin fans can find his complete works on line thanks to Cambridge University.

http://darwin-online.org.uk/

Dave

I’m thrilled.

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Posted: 20 October 2006 08:43 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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[quote author=“TheChampion”][quote author=“dmcr35”]Darwin fans can find his complete works on line thanks to Cambridge University.

http://darwin-online.org.uk/

Dave

I’m thrilled.

What a pitiful sentiment.

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Posted: 20 October 2006 08:49 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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Thanks for the information, Dave. The Origin of Species is still well worth reading, all these years later. It works both as science and as literature. An incidental but real pleasure in that reading is annoying fundamentalists. I was struck that Darwin devoted the bulk of the book to careful observations of nature, observations that anyone so inclined could confirm for himself—unlike transubstantiation or the Divine Three-in-One Oil ™ , say.

I could not find a reference there, so I am going just on memory here, having read the book more than forty years ago. Darwin includes criticisms of his theory that show his biological insight and open-mindedness. That contrasts sharply with the comments of the bibliolaters. For example, Darwin advanced this criticism of his own theory: Some species of ants show highly specialized worker castes such as warriors. All these castes consist solely of sterile individuals. Because of their sterility, they cannot pass on their qualities, whether well adapted or not. Consequently, natural selection cannot explain their existence. Darwin answered that criticism by observing that having well adapted sterile worker castes is beneficial to the queen of that colony and her mate. They pass on their genes which include the capability to produce highly specialized sterile worker castes.

The Voyage of the Beagle, on the other hand, I found less fascinating. The famous section on the Galapagos Islands is worth reading, even out of its original context.

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Posted: 20 October 2006 08:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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Here is part of the reference from The Origin of Species that I sketched just now:

But we have not as yet touched on the climax of the difficulty; namely, the fact that the neuters of several ants differ, not only from the fertile females and males, but from each other, sometimes to an almost incredible degree, and are thus divided into two or even three castes. The castes, moreover, do not generally graduate into each other, but are perfectly well defined; being as distinct from each other, as are any two species of the same genus, or rather as any two genera of the same family. Thus in Eciton, there are working and soldier neuters, with jaws and instincts extraordinarily different: in Cryptocerus, the workers of one caste alone carry a wonderful sort of shield on their heads, the use of which is quite unknown: in the Mexican Myrme-

[page] 239 CHAP. VII. NEUTER INSECTS.

cocystus, the workers of one caste never leave the nest; they are fed by the workers of another caste, and they have an enormously developed abdomen which secretes a sort of honey, supplying the place of that excreted by the aphides, or the domestic cattle as they may be called, which our European ants guard or imprison.

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Posted: 20 October 2006 09:11 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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[quote author=“Ted Shepherd”]

I could not find a reference there, so I am going just on memory here, having read the book more than forty years ago. Darwin includes criticisms of his theory that show his biological insight and open-mindedness. That contrasts sharply with the comments of the bibliolaters. For example, Darwin advanced this criticism of his own theory: Some species of ants show highly specialized worker castes such as warriors. All these castes consist solely of sterile individuals. Because of their sterility, they cannot pass on their qualities, whether well adapted or not. Consequently, natural selection cannot explain their existence. Darwin answered that criticism by observing that having well adapted sterile worker castes is beneficial to the queen of that colony and her mate. They pass on their genes which include the capability to produce highly specialized sterile worker castes.

Yes that is quite open minded. There seems to be a problem with the sterile warrior ants. Although there seems to be a problem, evolution still answers the problem because the genes are just passed down from the queen. I don’t see this as open mindedness it just seems to be addressing a problem with the theory.

Let’s see if you consider the fundamentalist argument as “open-minded”. There seems to be a problem with the many and seemingly contradictory accounts of creation that are found in the Bible. Yet they are not contradictory at all they just explain a complex event (creation) from different points of view. The first story is a story of God’s power and the second of His personal realtionship with us. If I were to say such a thing Ted would you praise me as open minded for acknowledging a problem that exists even though I answered the objection while acknowledging it? I’d venture a guess you wouldn’t.

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Posted: 20 October 2006 12:56 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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I hate to interfere here but have a few minutes. Frank, the assemblers of the Bible did indeed display openness to criticism by including diverse accounts of occurences such as creation, the crucifixion, and others.

Were they concerned about the veracity of what they were saying, as apparently Darwin was? Were they perhaps drunk that day? (My guess is that they were only a bit tipsy.) Were they confident that the history-recording methods of their day would be understood by future readers (i.e., fictionalizing events of the past and strong reliance on authoritative interpretation)?

Ted, I wish I could remember after two weeks half as much as you can after 40 years.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 20 October 2006 07:05 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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frankr: Yes that is quite open minded.

Ted: You know how hard it is for me to see whether you have your tongue in your cheek yet again. Call me naive, but I think you meant what you said there just as you said it.

frankr: There seems to be a problem with the sterile warrior ants. Although there seems to be a problem, evolution still answers the problem because the genes are just passed down from the queen.

Ted: I agree with this on a literal reading, but I would change “seems” to “seemed”. Darwin’s resolution of the seeming problem is adequate.

Frankr: I don’t see this as open mindedness it just seems to be addressing a problem with the theory.

Ted: What is open-minded is mentioning a potentially serious objection to the theory, rather than just ignoring it. A further manifestation of open-mindedness is Darwin’s constant reference to observation of living things and willingness to learn from that.

frankr: Let’s see if you consider the fundamentalist argument as “open-minded”. There seems to be a problem with the many and seemingly contradictory accounts of creation that are found in the Bible. Yet they are not contradictory at all they just explain a complex event (creation) from different points of view. The first story is a story of God’s power and the second of His personal realtionship with us. If I were to say such a thing Ted would you praise me as open minded for acknowledging a problem that exists even though I answered the objection while acknowledging it? I’d venture a guess you wouldn’t.

Ted: Your analysis of scriptual passages proceeds from your faith that the texts are divinely inspired. Your church forbids you to be open-minded about the possibility of errors in the Bible.* I grant, as I have before, that within that context you may legitimately apply formal reasoning and consideration of alternatives. The conclusions you reach that way are nevertheless vitiated by the root premise—the infallibility of scripture. This faith is the antithesis of open-mindedness. Biologists, on the other hand, proceed on the strong working hypothesis that the way to learn about the history of life on Earth is to study living things and the traces of themselves they have left in the rocks. As scientists, their minds remain open to new data and better interpretations of old data.

* I reject the following quotation entirely, but it serves to verify my opinion of what it is that the church teaches. Frankr has asked us to evaluate the church teachings by looking at what the church actually teaches rather than some distortion of that that has its basis in ignorance or malice. In this, he and I are in agreement. (My rejection of Catholic teaching is informed and benign.)  http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/08045a.htm

Those who first recognized in the Bible a superhuman work had as foundation of their opinion the testimony of the Prophets, of Christ, and of the Apostles, whose Divine mission was sufficiently established by immediate experience or by history. To this purely rational argument can be added the authentic teaching of the Church. A Catholic may claim this additional certitude without falling into a vicious circle, because the infallibility of the Church in its teaching is proved independently of the inspiration of Scripture; the historical value, belonging to Scripture in common with every other authentic and truthful writing, is enough to prove this.

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