The Greatest Show on Earth

2009-11-19 08:00 (comments: 0)

I finished reading Richard Dawkins' latest book a few weeks ago and it was a great experience. I am a follower of Dawkins' writings. Yet, I still didn't get accustomed with his ways of surprising (in all the best senses), teaching, informing me, even there where I thought I had a sound foundation myself.

Before taking up this book, I pondered if I needed to read it, as it seemed to be targetted at those not knowing about evolution and those needing more proof. Thinking of myself as convinced that evolution is a fact, I didn't believe I would find new, interesting things in a book presented as a fundamental introduction. I thought I already knew those basics.

Yet Professor Dawkins managed to surprise me, proving that indeed evolution is the greatest show on Earth and no amount of learning about it would cease my sense of wonder and awe.

There is a way of presenting matters in this book that just pushes me to reflect at evolution as a cosmic phenomenon. In my reflections, the proof for evolution is the basis for the natural consequence of humans spreading to the stars. Reverie ensues...

I particularly liked the way Dawkins writes off the "gap in the fossil record" pseudo-arguments against evolution. It is a classic exercise in scientific logic and analysis. This chapter of the book in itself is worth the whole price of admission.

Not all is rosy. There are arguments that aren't as well developed, some others that might be helped with a sound debate, to counter the "weighing in from high off" effects that sometimes the academic language provokes. But these are perhaps understandable forgettable flaws in a book it such a high and perhaps frustrating goal: writing anew in support of a topic that should be self-demonstrating.

There's also the constant mentioning of the young earth creationists that could easily become annoying to more sensible eyes. But I tend to not only understand the reasoning of Richard Dawkins behind this insistence, but also strongly approve of it. It is ridiculous to think that, 150 years after proof was made, there still be as crazed a debate on this fairy tale topic of full on earth creation by supernatural hollow figures.

I loved this book and I strongly recommend it.

Surge

2009-11-11 08:51 (comments: 0)

Today, the ugly Time deity shoves down on me the answer to the great question of life, the universe and everything: 42!

Dissonance

2009-10-07 22:03 (comments: 0)

I finished the re-reading of Marin Preda's Most Beloved Man on Earth. It was strange, as relectures go, because I remembered very little of my first reading in the beginning of the nineties. Also, my brain (spirit? hmm....) seems to still digest the rather challenging imagery and thought-food Preda has put in there. All the long of the three volumes, I hated the main character for his procrastinations. But, little by little, I grew fond of the intricate humanity the author masterfully instilled into him. So much so that I regretted reaching the last page. The main conclusion is a more generic one: for all the mediatic noise about globalization and death of local cultures, having the priviledge to get one's brain steeped in such different cultures as are illustrated by the western and the central european litteratures, makes one painfully aware of the differences and dissonances, much more so than spotting the similitudes.

Evolution

2009-09-20 00:37 (comments: 0)

Sitting here and looking at the bright show put up for the latest book of Richard Dawkins, I have two things springing to mind:

  1. what a wonderful thing to see such a well oiled promotion machine pointed at education rather than money! There is hope!
  2. why isn't it even more evident for everybody that evolution of the human species (and evolution as a whole) ceased already to be a biological evolution. We are now beyond that. I can't really tell what came next, but most distinct seems to be natural selection of memes.

We live interesting times (and perhaps will for very long).

Ping

2009-09-12 19:29 (comments: 0)

Photo gallery is again functional. Now ... to add newer photos to it.