Thursday, April 24, 2014

Tell us the one about the birdies, granpa Chuck

"There are two kinds of scientific progress: the methodical experimentation and categorization which gradually extend the boundaries of knowledge, and the revolutionary leap of genius which redefines and transcends those boundaries. Acknowledging our debt to the former, we yearn, nonetheless, for the latter."
- from Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri

Intellectuals are not immune to idolatry and myth-making. Though the Darwinian interpretation of evolution was undeniably not only an advance within the biological sciences but a crucial stepping-stone to higher thought for a species which likes to consider itself "speshul" and apart from the rest of evolved life, this does not quite explain the fascination with Darwin above other thinkers.

No, what appeals to biologists is the romantic vision of a man of science braving the great unknown and gaining a flash of inspiration among the Pacific fauna. What appeals to so many making a life's work of pushing buttons on a thermal-cycler inside the same stuffy corporate-controlled lab is the time-honored fable of Noble Darwin and the Multivarious Finches of the South Seas.

Not saying it's altogether a bad thing.
But you do have to recognize it when you see it.

No comments:

Post a Comment