Science History

 

An advocate for gene-centrism recently wrote that the concept is a reductive mechanism for the understanding of evolution.
The first part of that statement is correct; it is reductive, and is therefore lacking those qualities that are necessary for properly understanding a “big-picture” process such as evolution.

The second part of the statement is not correct. Gene-centrism did not develop as an explanation of evolution; it began as, and has remained a political movement within evolutionary biology, the goal of which is to destroy group selection as a credible evolutionary process.
If you've been in science media for any length of time, there are two arguments you will hear invoked to support almost any questionable position; that Einstein did his best work while he was a patent clerk and that Galileo was oppressed by the Catholic Church.

One of those is wrong; Galileo was not actually oppressed by a Church, he was really oppressed by fellow scientists(1) , the Pope was actually quite supportive of Galileo but fellow scientists were looking for ways to torpedo him. Yet colloquially, Galileo is held up as this sort of 'religion against science' example in a way that shows many people believe it was some sort of unscientific Dark Age prior to his arrival.  Not true at all.
 
The first man to walk on the moon passed away today, a few weeks after heart surgery. He was 82. 
Prior to World War II and dating back to the 1890s, the phrases “social technology” and “social engineering” carried strong connotations of central planning. This became particularly true in the Soviet Union, where the terms appeared in various tracts.
For about a day I had been trying to read Real Clear Science, particularly the article linked Evolution Debate: Blame Atheists.  Alas, every time I visited the site I got a message:
This site is temporarily down and we are working on restoring service. Sorry for the inconvenience.
It’s now back up, but in the interim I have taken the opportunity, since I run on OScar from Sesame Street Systems, to have a Grouch.  Fear not, North Americans, it is directed at my fellow Brits.
Bill Bryson edited a very good book in 2010 titled, “SEEING FURTHER – The Story of Science and the Royal Society”.



This is interesting, on the BBC website:

Before the telegraph was invented, messages could travel as fast as the fastest mode of transport available. Today, however, advanced communication technologies have changed the scenario to a great extent. Messages now travel at the speed of light through cables and optical fibers, and are delivered in the least time possible. Mobile phones have made communication an on-the-go process. Messages, emails, news, videos, status updates, tweets are all just a click away.

“It is said, with prefect truth as regards many matters, that ‘a little knowledge is a dangerous thing’, but there is no doubt in my mind that even a little knowledge – provided it be sound knowledge – of allied sciences is of the very greatest value to engineers of all sorts.”

A trunk-load of maps and letters reveals Marco Polo’s greatest secrets. He served as a “field agent” for the Polo Brothers’ Spy Team.

Sent to observe and infiltrate the government of Kublai Khan, Marco participated in Chinese explorations in the Canadian Arctic and along America’s West Coast during the 13th century. Examination of the documents by researchers at the New World Discovery Institute in Seattle was completed in October of 2011.