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Unread December 17th, 2005, 03:45 PM
James Brody James Brody is offline
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Cool Per Bak on Intelligent Design and Why Not

Bak is a Dane, he's also a physicist who pushed the idea of "self-organized criticality" but with mixed success among his peers.

I recently got Bak's 1996 (a VERY good year for books on evolution) and found this quote that made me think of Fred.

P. 86. Re conservatism in science:

"I once raised this issue among a group, not of geophysicists, but of cosmologists at a high table dinner at the Churchill College in Cambridge. "Why is it that you guys are so conservative in your views, in the face of the almost complete lack of understanding of what is going on in your field?" The answer was as simple as it was surprising. "If we don't accept some common view of the universe, however unsupported by the facts (emph added), there would be nothing to bind us together as a scientific community. Since it is unlikely that any picture that we use will be falsified in our lifetimes, one theory is as good as any other."

As Pinker (2002) remarked, our reasoning can be a spin-doctor.


Bak, P. (1996) How Nature Works: The Science of Self-Organized Criticality. NY: Springer-Verlag.
Pinker, S. (2002) The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. NY: Viking.

Last edited by James Brody; December 17th, 2005 at 04:55 PM.
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