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About Odin

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    TGL Apprentice
  • Birthday 04/28/1986

Odin's Activity

  1. Odin added a post in a topic "Liberating Science from Politics"   

    Science will never become divorced from politics because the results of science will affect other areas. Science will inevitablly come into conflict people whose agenda is threatened by the result of it.
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  2. Odin added a post in a topic What can ID contribute to biology?   

    God-in-the-gaps arguments like ID contribute nothing to science, they are a result of a lack of imagination. That life was started by a race of super-advanced sentient beings is legitimite speculation since it does not rely on supernatural mechanisms. IDers always tactly never say who the intelligent designer is (so the establishment clause in the 1st amendment can't be invoked), but anyone with a brain knows they are saying "God did it" othrwise they wouldn't have support from fundies.
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  3. Odin added a post in a topic What is Chopra's Problem with Evolution?   

    Chopra seems to be pulling one of the creationists's oldest tricks, use lay people's ignorance about the subject, as well as use misconceptions about evolution amoung lay people (misconceptions often spread by the creationists own propaganda), in order to create a strawman to attack. Thier game is rediculous; one minute they forget about natural selection and blather own about monkeys at a typewriter, the next minute they forget about mutations and start yapping about how evolution is wrong becouse natural selection only decreases genetic diversity.
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  4. Odin added a post in a topic Agriculture vs Progress   

    Yeah, I know it is hard to define "quality of life," but that is hardly a reason to reject the idea, after all, the definition of happiness is subjective, but that hasn't stopped Utlillitarianism.
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  5. Odin added a post in a topic Agriculture vs Progress   

    There is nothing wrong with the concept of progress per se, it's when it becomes infused with Western-centrism, Western Universalism, and the fallacy of the Unchanging East, and the use of Genesis to legitamize enviromental distruction in the name of progess that the we run into trouble. I define progress as technological advancement and how that advancement is used to increase the quality of life of the average person, independent of the cyclical pattern of rise and fall of individual civilizations. Over-exploitation of the enviroment is anti-progress IMO since it will eventually cause a decrease in the quality of life. some Green philosphies attack technology as the cause of all our problems. I disagree, instead I follow the Technogaiast position ( that technology is the only thing that will get us out of the mess we made.
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  6. Odin added a post in a topic The 30th Aniversary of Dawkins' book "The Selfish Gene&   

    I don't know any good websites on the topic, but Peter Ward and Don Brownlee invoke Lovelock's ideas in thier various books deaing with Astrobiology (such as Rare Earth and The Life and Death of Planet Earth). Lovelock's Ages of Gaia is quite dated now, and most recent evidince points to the "weak" or "co-evolutionary" form of the Gaia hypothesis instead of Lovelock's "strong" view, but the book is still a good read.
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  7. Odin added a topic in Explore   

    The 30th Aniversary of Dawkins' book "The Selfish Gene&
    I'm suprised there is no thread about this yet. I think, quite frankly, that gene-only selectionism sent evolutionary biology through a fool's errand. Mayr and Gould have harshly criticized Dawkins's gene-only selectionism and hyper-adaptationalism for various reasons. Gould criticizes gene-only selection on grounds that for something to act as a unit of selection it must interact directly with the enviroment, and that genes usually are only the book-keepers of selection. Gould then, as is well known, criticizes hyper-adaptationalism with his famous spandrel argument. Both Gould and Mayr also attack it on grounds of being overly reductionist. I also think Dawkins' criticsm of the Gaia Hypothesis also shows a rediculous amount of overly reductionist thinking and a lack of proper understanding of Lovelock's views which lead Dawkins to declare Lovelock's hypothesis telological (an assertion which Lovelock refuted with his Daisyworld model). Now Lovelock has had the last laugh since his views have become an important part of astrobiology, ecology, historical geology, and climatology.
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  8. Odin added a post in a topic Enrst Mayr: What Evolution Is   

    That book is one of my favorates. It should be required reading for every student in high school biology. In one of his other later books I read he also defends some forms of group selection (what he calls "hard" group selection, such as tightly knit social groups, as opposed to "soft" group selction), the supposed discrediting of which was influential in the rise of gene selectionism in explaining altruism (I am not a big fan of Dawkinsian gene selectionism, BTW).
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  9. Odin added a post in a topic Biology and ET   

  10. Odin added a post in a topic Biology and Extinction   

    Yeah, the enviromental collapse thing has the stink of a passing intellectual fad. It is my opinion that self-inflicted enviromental trouble only causes a society to collapse when a society is already in terminal decline. In ancient greeks there were people complaining about the soil in Greece getting warn out from farming. What did the Greeks do about it? they established colonies in locales with good soil, and the mother city states specialized, like Athens did with wine production. When a society is still either young or mature, a challenge will only make it stronger.
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  11. Odin added a post in a topic Biology and ET   

    That article is just depressing.
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  12. Odin added a post in a topic Biology and ET   

    Holy crap, GRBs are worse than I though!
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  13. Odin added a post in a topic Has blaming the media gone too far?   

    I don't mind bias as long as it's kept where it belongs, in the editorials. Another problem I see is that when a reporter rejects a BS viewpoint on non-political grounds, you'll still have morons supporting the BS viewpoint screaming "bias" and this encourages the media to just give both sides of the issue no matter how BS the opposing viewoint is. IDers and global warming denialists are an example of this; the media treats both as legitamate posittions, making Joe Shmoe think there is a contraversy where there is none.
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  14. Odin added a post in a topic Biology and ET   

    Interesting, I'll have to read that stuff. Another thing I heard is that intellegent civilizations finding each other are rare is because the chance of 2 civilizations gettind radio technology at the same time is rare and that civilizations only stay radio-transmitting for a short period of time, either because they blow themselves up or have become advanced enough that radio has become obsolete for them.
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  15. Odin added a post in a topic Biology and ET   

    Very true, We really don't know exactly what forms of life are possible, although it is helpful, IMO, to try to get a good definition of life, however ad hoc and possibly geo-centric it may be, as a starting point for speculation and (eventually) study of extraterrestrial life. I may be totally wrong about the possibility of Lamarkism. My view is that, even though we only know about one biosphere, there is enough diversity of habitats and species on Earth, and enough knoledge of complexity theory and organic chemistry to make some fairly general predictions possible, at least about water-based life.
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