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Thursday, November 09, 2006

Free media resources: Royal Society's archives

Apparently, the Royal Society is making resources that go back to 1665 available free, but only until December. So if you are finances challenged, be sure to act now.

Robert Colvile of the Telegraph notes
Readers will be able to browse through countless papers of incalculable historical importance, including Halley's description of his comet, Watson and Crick's unravelling of the double helix structure of DNA and the first paper published by Stephen Hawking.
Prof Martin Taylor, the Royal Society's vice-president, said the archive documents "the foundation of the modern scientific method". He added: "It puts you in touch with the great scientific masters in a really direct way."

I bet. Go for it. Later it could cost you the way it would cost you at Nature - US$30 to view some boffin's letter, grousing about intelligent design. You could make up three of them yourself in half an hour for free.

Science and the ultimate unknowability of nature

In "Searching for the Truth About Nature", Eric Ormsby reviews The Intelligibility of Nature: How Science Makes Sense of the World by Cornell historian of science Peter Dear, and asks some key questions:
Scientists were once happy to be known as natural philosophers. The title implied not merely that they studied nature but that they thought about it in such a way as to discern its hidden laws. They weren’t concerned only with the how of things but with the why. The beautiful line of Virgil, Happy is he who can recognize the causes of things, epitomized the endeavor. Causation in all its forms, from the collisions of solid bodies on earth to the remote arrangements of the First Cause beyond the empyrean, underlay natural laws. Goethe’s Faust, the mythic prototype of the philosopher-scientist, was driven to despair, as well as near-damnation, by his passion to know what holds the world together in its deepest core. But Faust represents the end of an ancient tradition; for all his knowledge, he’s tormented by the world’s ultimate unknowability. And that bafflement scorches his heart.

Is nature finally unintelligible? Even more disturbing, is nature intelligible in itself but beyond the power of humans to comprehend?

Well, yes. For example, there are some aspects of nature that my cat will always know better than I do. No doubt it is wise for me to be content with that. After all, the alternative would be to spend sixteen years with my face about five inches from the floor ... as he has done.

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Interview: Intelligent design converts atheists to theist

Anthony Flew, one of the world's best known and most academically serious atheists, became a theist on account of the evidence for intelligent design of the universe , and he gave an interview to journalist Lee Strobel, who had a similar experience:
It was the evidence from science and history that prompted me to abandon my atheism and become a Christian – and now biological discoveries have caused the world’s most famous philosophical atheist, Dr. Antony Flew, to declare his belief in a Creator. An account of my rare interview with Flew is below, and you can find free video clips at
. Flew also accepted the Phillip Johnson award.

Could Flew have discovered a big secret? The ID folk are actually cool and fun to hang out with? Well, it makes sense because cannot imagine wanting to grow old with the anti-ID folk.
If you like this blog, check out my book on the intelligent design controversy, By Design or by Chance?. You can read excerpts as well.

Are you looking for one of the following stories?

My U of Toronto talk on why there is an intelligent design controversy, or my talk on media coverage of the controversy att he University of Minnesota.

A summary of tech guru George Gilder's arguments for ID and against Darwinism

A critical look at why March of the Penguins was thought to be an ID film.

A summary of recent opinion columns on the ID controversy

A summary of recent polls of US public opinion on the ID controversy

A summary of the Catholic Church's entry into the controversy, essentially on the side of ID.

O'Leary's intro to non-Darwinian agnostic philosopher David Stove’s critique of Darwinism.

An ID Timeline: The ID folk seem always to win when they lose.

O’Leary’s comments on Francis Beckwith, a Dembski associate, being granted tenure at Baylor after a long struggle - even after helping in a small way to destroy the Baylor Bears' ancient glory - in the opinion of a hyper sportswriter.

Why origin of life is such a difficult problem.
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Denyse O'Leary's new blog - The Mindful Hack

Check out my new blog on the neuroscience issues that border on the intelligent design controversy, the Mindful Hack:

the Mindful Hack

First two stories:

1. Blindness: Spiritual blindness worse than physical?

2. Sigmund Freud ... fallen so far and so fast?

Note: The Post-Darwinist (this blog) will continue as before, and I continue to contribute to other blogs as well. Mindful Hack tracks the subjects of interest in my latest co-authored book, The Spiritual Brain (co-authored with Montreal neuroscientist Mario Beauregard), currently in copy editing.


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