Hey Jennifer.

Happy Darwin Day! Yes, we do have things to be happy about!  Sometimes some folks get way too wrapped up in themselves and need to hear themselves talk, or write.  My brother, a physicist and astronomer, had very distinct views about so many things and was a fascinating person to hear and discuss various issues.  The true gift he had was typically a very short discussion, then he would end the discussion and move on!  God bless him and Darwin as well.

I am indeed glad that plants are sexy, as well as insects.  Two fantastic books: "Sex On Six Legs” (a short piece on the morality of butterflies) and “The Botany of Desire” (interesting sexual practices, for/about tulips in Holland's greenhouses).

And then, my plant taxonomy professor started off a plant lab: “…today we are going to have sex with orchids…”  I think she was appealing to the prurient interest of the students.  Enough of my rye humor, oops…dry humor…

Best,  “OC” Carlisle
Still the UGA student, graduation fast approaching!


On Feb 13, 2014, at 7:26 PM, Jennifer Landin <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

Hi Everyone
I started this thread by wishing everyone a "Happy Darwin Day".
The point was simply to celebrate an awesome guy with an amazing line of research and reason.
Can we leave it at that?
I would REALLY appreciate it.
Thanks so much,
Jennifer


On Thu, Feb 13, 2014 at 7:18 PM, Barry K. MacKay <[log in to unmask]> wrote:

The theory I am about to advance is of the small “t” variety , just an idea I have, possibly entirely wrong and certainly it has not been tested, so it’s not a scientific theory.

 

It is based on a premise that could be in error for reasons I’ll give.

 

But it goes something like this:   I think we are entering, or well into, a rather dangerous era of great subjectivity.  I am driven by two things: one is compassion…and that’s easily understood, but the other is logic, and often one sees people with diametrically opposed ideas both contending that they are being logical.

 

Part of my job, when not doing the artwork part, consists in deconstructing arguments by people with far greater academic credentials than I have (I have none, in fact…I’m a high-school dropout) and again and again I find I can do so because I have not assumed things they have assumed.   In other words I have found that both in and out of “academia” people have a bad habit of not testing or checking or questioning a basic premise.

 

Darwin is therefore wrong, if we accept as a basic premise that the Christian Bible (or a wide range of other holy scripts purporting to be the true word) is literally right (and ignore any inconsistencies).

 

In fact, good science DOES question basic premises, and that’s the beauty (that word carefully chosen, BTW) of it.   It goes not where the idea leads, but where the data lead, and that will change as new data become available.

 

So here’s my small “t” and non-scientific theory:   North American (at least) society is slipping back to where I remember it being in my childhood, in the 1950s, when the intelligentsia were at best tolerated, but usually dismissed as “eggheads” or “high-brows” (I don’t think “geeks” was around back then) and the ideal man (women not being much in the picture) was characterized by doing, not thinking.  

 

But something profound happened that shook the American (and therefore Canadian) collective psyche to the core.

 

Sputnik.

 

It is hard to believe the effect I recall (perhaps not entirely correctly…I was  young) from that era, and suddenly smart was “in”, Kennedy was elected, and poetry and classical music became acceptable, and the race was on to be the most intelligent and thoughtful…question authority, challenge everything.  You can’t put a man (or woman) on the moon by acting on beliefs that are not true and tested. 

 

But I think, as I said, that we have slipped back into an era of subjectivity, if you will, where facts are not important.  I feel like I’m in a modernized version of where I started as I emerged from childhood into adolescence and then adulthood.  Here in Canada fact finding is officially frowned upon the right wing government in power…people don’t want to know facts, they want to believe that which is comforting.

 

And here’s the kicker…you can’t be critical of that state of affairs or you will again be branded with a derogatory term…now it’s more along the lines of “elitist” than “egghead”, but I think it is pretty much the same idea.

 

Darwin’s genius was not so much whether he was right or wrong in every detail, and certainly he can’t be held to account for not knowing things yet to be discovered, but it does lie in his dependence on cause and effect rationality.

 

What he “got right” was a methodology that depended on being able to explain each step of the way, how he got to where he wound up.   The facts were there…Wallace was on to them, and Gregor Mendel was inventing the science of genetics, apparently unknown to Darwin (he had Mendel’s book, but apparently never got around to reading it).  

 

My theory is not one I’d advance in any serious way without research, and really it does not matter in any productive way what I think, but I do very greatly admire Darwin for developing a real theory that is based on observable, measurable, cause-and-effect relationships.

 

It’s dangerous because it allows bad things to happen because they were done based not on facts, but premises, and it can apply to everything…engineering projects, food, medicine, international politics, human relations…everything.  Of course if  you loved the 1950s, you might like it that way (but chances are you are not black, female, gay, left-wing or non-Christian<G>). 

 

Barry

 

 

Barry Kent MacKay

Bird Artist, Illustrator

Studio: (905)-472-9731

http://www.barrykentmackay.ca
[log in to unmask]

 

 

 

From: SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Smith Will (Toowong)
Sent: February-13-14 6:01 PM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [SCIART] TAN: Happy Darwin Day!

 

I agree that Darwin most probably got it right. I just think that if you say that reasoning is the way to go, you should criticise people using logical arguments and not name calling. I don’t know of anyone swayed by the argument that “ you should agree with me because I’m smart and you are stupid”

 

Will Smith

Project Officer (Botanical Imaging)

Queensland Herbarium

Science Delivery

Department of Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts (DSITIA)

 

Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha

Mt Coot-tha Road, Toowong, Queensland, Australia 4066

Phone: (07) 38969508

 

From: SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Barbara Harmon
Sent: Friday, 14 February 2014 8:14 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [SCIART] TAN: Happy Darwin Day!

 

You are right there Will!

I guess I did let my little opinion show didn't I?

 

I am probably opening a can of worms here, but...  Darwinism, and the Theory of Evolution itself does not preclude the existence of a deity or deities. I just don't agree that the world and everything in it was created in six days.... (and poor God if we are created in His image!)

 

Apologies to the Creationists out there.

Barb

 

On Feb 13, 2014, at 4:44 PM, Smith Will (Toowong) wrote:

 

I think if you disagree with someone’s opinion “absolute craziness” is not a tolerant or reasoned response.

 

 

Will Smith

Project Officer (Botanical Imaging)

Queensland Herbarium

Science Delivery

Department of Science, IT, Innovation and the Arts (DSITIA)

 

Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha

Mt Coot-tha Road, Toowong, Queensland, Australia 4066

Phone: (07) 38969508

 

From: SciArt-L Discussion List-for Natural Science Illustration- [mailto:[log in to unmask]] On Behalf Of Barbara Harmon
Sent: Friday, 14 February 2014 12:14 AM
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: [SCIART] TAN: Happy Darwin Day!

 

I wonder if anyone has seen the HBO documentary "Questioning Darwin"...? I saw it last night... a bit disturbing (OK a lot disturbing).

I'm well aware of the annoyances of academic snobbery and hate to be that way but... wow. 

Since college I have always been interested in (the absolute craziness of) Creationist thinking, especially these days, and the arguments they pose. Anyway the show is very good with lots of insight to the man Darwin himself and the times he lived in. I recommend it if you are able to watch.

Barb

 

On Feb 13, 2014, at 8:55 AM, Linda Feltner wrote:



Hear, Hear!

L.

_____________________

Linda M. Feltner Artist, LLC
P.O. Box 325
Hereford, AZ 85615
(520) 803-0538

 

 

 

 



 

On Feb 12, 2014, at 1:04 PM, Jennifer Landin wrote:



Have a Happy Darwin Day, everyone!

 


--

Jennifer Landin, Ph.D.

Department of Biological Sciences

114 David Clark Labs

NC State University

Box 7617, Raleigh NC 27695

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--
Jennifer Landin, Ph.D.
Department of Biological Sciences
114 David Clark Labs
NC State University
Box 7617, Raleigh NC 27695
919-513-0241

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