Category Archives: Krauss

Reading in retirement

Scientific research is a very creative and personally satisfying process. However, researchers often find that the inevitable specialisation and concentration on limited aspects of reality can lead to a lack of understanding and appreciation of discoveries in other fields.

Since retirement I’ve appreciated the opportunity to read more widely. I find myself returning to subjects I haven’t considered for decades, or have neglected. I’m learning about the amazing discoveries humanity has made (behind my back) in the meantime.

I was encouraged to check out, and summarise, what I have been reading by the reading lists blogged by Damian and others. The number of books I have got through (in four years) shocked me – perhaps I’m a bit obsessive, or maybe its just the freedom retirement has given me.

I can recommend most books on the list – but definitely not every one (guess which).

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Dealing with Dawkins

Over the Solstice/New Year holiday, and while blogging activity is low, I am reposting some of my previous articles. Comments are still welcome.

I used to be very critical of Richard Dawkins. This was because of his book The Selfish Gene. I had never read it, of course, but there were all those magazine articles using the book to justify selfishness in people and to provide an ethical basis for a selfish society, for capitalism. These ideas, to me, were reactionary, anti-human. My mind was made up. Despite my interest in science I was not going to waste time reading a “reactionary” book which I knew I wouldn’t agree with.

That changed a year ago when I read The God Delusion. Mind you, because of my anti-Dawkins prejudice I almost didn’t, thinking it would be a waste of time. I am grateful I made the effort because I then found out my prejudice was baseless. The Selfish Gene was about genes, not about individual humans, other animals or society. Writers and others had taken the title of the book to justify their own political and economic agendas.

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Most ideas in science are wrong!

A recent comment on my post, Isaac Newton and intelligent design, implied that scientific explanations are seen as facts. This attitude might be true for some people – after all the scientific method has a good track record in producing theories which enable humanity to understand its surroundings, develop sophisticated technology and improve the quality of life. But describing scientific ideas or theories as facts, or attributing that belief to supporters of science (as the comment did), is a misrepresentation of science.

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Debating science and religion

Richard DawkinsScientific American recently published a discussion between Richard Dawkins and Lawrence M. Krauss. This dealt with aspects of science and religion and how science should deal with religious questions. I commented on an abridged version of this discussion in Can science enrich faith? The extended version of the Krauss/Dawkins discussion has now been published and is worth reading. (Click links for pdf versions of abridged and extended discussions)

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