Paleontology

Dinosaurs, Chess, Evolution, And Wonder

Dinosaurs, Chess, Evolution, And Wonder

"Life" Issues, affirmation/s, awareness, Biology, Chaos Theory, conflict, conservatism, Cosmology, Creation, critical judgment, culture, Evangelicalism, Evolution, Fundamentalism, God, Ideology, Paleontology, physics, Randomness, Rationality, Science, Secularity, Theology, Uncategorized, Universe
I have been reading for at least the second time, maybe the third, Richard Dawkins’ magisterial book about evolution, The Greatest Show on Earth (hereafter Show). Like the other one or two times I have read Dawkins’ book, it was an exhilarating ride. Until I read the appendix, which pertains to how the theory of evolution is, to this day, received in the US and non-Scandinavian Europe. That appendix to Show is a real downer. (I reacted similarly when I first read the book.) It turns out that, even in the supposedly enlightened First World – again, the Scandinavian countries are the blessed exception -- around 80% of respondents accept a theory of evolution that accommodates some kind of supernatural explanation, e.g., God did it all according to a literal reading of Genesis, chapter 1; o
Climate Change, SETI, And Dr. Fermi

Climate Change, SETI, And Dr. Fermi

"Life" Issues, activism, Astronomy, autonomy, awareness, Big Bang, Challenge, citizenship, civics, Climate Change, community, conflict, conservatism, Cosmology, Creation, critical judgment, culture, curiosity, Current Events, Discernment, doubt, Education, Environment, Evidence, Evolution, faithfulness, Fundamentalism, Human Condition, Hurricanes, Ideology, Milky Way Galaxy, Paleontology, Politics, Rationality, Science, Secularity, SETI, The Big Blue Marble, Thinking, Uncategorized, Universe, Weather and Climate, Wildfires, Windstorm
The recent report on the findings of climatic research into the causes and probable evolution of climate change – a more accurate term than “global warming” – prompted me to consider a possible answer to Enrico Fermi’s classic question “Where is everybody?” Multiple generations of science fiction writers have projected a future in which the Milky Way Galaxy fairly teems with life, rather like Times Square on New Year’s Eve or the tavern in the first Star Wars movie  – so much so that the late Prof. Stephen Hawking has publicly counseled SETI investigators to – not literally STFU – but certainly to exercise due caution in broadcasting the existence of intelligent life on earth to every corner of the Galaxy. (Not that we have a choice by now:  earth’s electromagnetic emissions by now com
You Will Get A Real “Keck” Out Of This!

You Will Get A Real “Keck” Out Of This!

Abrahamic Traditions, Astronomy, autonomy, Biology, Change, Christianity, conservatism, Cosmology, Creation, critical judgment, culture, curiosity, Einstein, epistemology, Evidence, Evolution, final cause, Fundamentalism, God, Goedel's Theorem, Methodology, Milky Way Galaxy, Paleontology, physics, quantum physics, Relativity, teleology, Theology, Uncategorized
I write this the morning (13 February) after Diane and I had a wonderful, long, and calorie-filled dinner with two very senior people associated with the Keck Telescopes and the other telescopes atop Mauna Kea on the Big Island of Hawaii. It was a memorable evening that still resonates with me. One reason that conversation sticks with me -- aside from having discussed dark energy, blue-sky (black-sky?) projects for exploring the Proxima Centauri system, gamma-ray bursts, gravity waves, black holes, etc., etc. – is that one of the subjects we touched on banged down pretty hard on one of my hot-button issues:  scientific illiteracy in general in the US and the western world, and the need for informed, literate teaching of science to non-scientists. I mean science per se, not just astrono