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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Apes R Not Us, and we have to get used to it

In a beautifully written article in the New Yorker, Ian Parker describes how he shared the hot, damp work of studying the elusive bonobo (lesser chimpanzee) - long lauded as sexy and peaceful - with one of the only people in the world who actually knows much about them in the wilds.

Well, people who actually studied the "hippie ape", came away with a different view.

The Gospel According to Frank Tipler: O'Leary's review of The Physics of Christianity

When I asked a gifted Canadian physicist what he thought of Frank Tipler's The Physics of Christianity, he said, "in one word: wacky".

But readers will expect more than one word from me, and I think there is more than that to be said for Tipler's book.

Frank Tipler is in an unusual position. He is a Christian physicist who is an exponent of "many worlds" theory. This theory, according to which new universes are constantly generated by each choice that we make, is typically shunned by Christian physicists (including my friend, mentioned above). Apart from its dizzying implications, many worlds theory seems to make life's choices meaningless. (Tipler does not appear to see it that way.)

Now, one good thing about Tipler, he is no pussyfoot. He is NOT afraid to take on the implications of whatever he espouses. For example, he writes ... (For the rest, click the link.)

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O'Leary's review of Weikart's seminal work From Darwin to Hitler

I first determined to make a point of reading historian Richard Weikart's meticulously researched book, From Darwin to Hitler because Darwinists were very clearly upset by the implications of his work.

Some seemed obsessed with proving Weikart, who teaches at California State University (Stanislaus) not only wrong but dishonest and irresponsible - which he certainly isn't.

I am glad I read this magisterial work, because I now understand much better the relationship between 19th century Darwinism and the rise of Hitler. Weikart unearths so many old, almost buried 19th and early 20th century German sources. Indeed, one can only wonder at his patience, systematically reading through the many, many articles and books of long-dead eugenicists, imperialists, pacifists, socialists, and such.

Weikart unearths several lines of evidence that are critical for understanding what happened. (Clicking on the link gets you the rest of the review.)

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