Archive for January 13th, 2007

Shame on you, Hindu!

January 13, 2007

Radhakrishna in today’s Hindu draws attention to an article by P A Wahid published in the Hindu two weeks ago, and notes,

P.A. WAHID’S article (Open Page, December 31) refers approvingly to the theory of ID or intelligent design, as an alternative to Darwinian evolution. ID is a politically correct term for creationism, which invokes the action of supernatural forces or beings, creating material objects including life forms.

Though this is not the first time that the open page carried articles of questionable quality (see the last link of this post, for example), Wahid’s article seems to achieve the nadir of stupidity (or, at least one hopes that it does — but, there is no saying how stupid the IDiots can get).

He first asks the question:

Why should the scientific community be worried about the ID movement?

And, then goes on to answer the question thus:

Is the theory of evolution too weak to stand up to ID? Maybe yes.

Take a look at the following passages from the article:

The basic mistake committed by the scientific community is the outrageous declaration that the theory is a scientifically proven fact. This is as false as the claim of Hwang Woo Suke in stem cell research. If evolutionists are telling the truth, where are the key papers that proved the theory? If someone had proved the theory, s/he would have certainly been `naturally selected’ for the Nobel.

But until now they have not identified a single identical phenotypic character in both species. The flying fish is supposed to have evolved into perfectly winged animal through gradual change. Our superior intelligence evolved because of our weak jaw muscles! All these stories are mere speculation which even the authors who wrote them will not believe. It is the literature so accumulated that the evolutionists hold aloft as the unquestionable proof of evolutionary theory. In fact the natural evidence is overwhelmingly against the theory.

Then, a passage like this,

Over 35 journals have been listed in Science Citation Index (Institute for Scientific Information, U.S.) in the field of evolutionary biology apart from the non-specialty journals such as Science, Nature, open-access online journal PloS Biology, etc. These and several hundreds of other journals have been spewing out evolutionary information from every corner of the world for long.

Every paper that is published in this field assumes evolution had taken place and the results are interpreted to suit that assumption.

is followed by sentence like this:

The critics of Darwinism are mostly scientists and not clerics as is generally believed.

For a newspaper which claims itself to be committed to

the core values of serious, quality journalism — truth-telling, freedom and independence, justice, humaneness, and contributing to the social good.

and which has access to such science popularisers as Prof. D Balasubramanian, to publish such a “junk” article which implies “evolutionary literature is junk” is deplorable, to say the least.

On three books!

January 13, 2007

Here is a review and here is (possibly) an excerpt from Voices within; here are the authors on the book. By the way, the coffee table book entry in wiki forgets to mention (what I think) one important aspect of such books — they cost a fortune — Voices within, for example, costs Rs. 1900! In India, where it is difficult to get such books from the libraries, I do not know how many rasikas will have a chance to read it. Anyway, if you are the lucky one who can afford, or has access to it, you might enjoy.

Here is a write-up on the memoir called Plain speaking; a sudra’s story.

Here is S. Ramachander on RKN’s style (with specific reference to his memoir My days); unfortunately, however, here is a part of the first paragraph of the article which is anything but “simple, easy”, or “delightfully chatty”:

Here he meets a famous writer who has a lifelong handicap. For one who tried unsuccessfully to be one in the formal sense, Narayan can be an example of an English teacher for foreigners, hence the title of this article (and also one of his earliest, partly autobiographical) novels.

But, let that not stop you taking a look at the piece, though!

On testing for falsification

January 13, 2007

As software engineers have realised lately, one of the important aspects of the scientific process is falsification. Much is to be gained by pushing a concept/law (or software for that matter), to the extremes.

Cosmic variance, in a recent post tells us about one such important experiment–to test for the smallest length scale at which Newton’s inverse square law for gravity still holds— and the answer happens to be down to 56 microns! Take a look!