Link blog: mechanics, lindy, biology, newton

The science and magic of Lindy Hop | Andy Connelly | Science | theguardian.com
“Great partner dancers may not know it but they are masters of space, time and Newton’s laws of motion.” Of course we know it: for example, I’ve decided my “dance name” is “The Oncoming Storm”. (I also suspect I know who the Alistair credited at the end is, as he’s a Cambridge person).
(tags: lindy physics dancing lindyhop guardian newton mechanics)
liv | Against Dawkins
Is the gene centred view (of which Dawkins is a major proponent) the best one?
(tags: genetics genes richard-dawkins selfish-gene biology science genotype phenotype)

3 thoughts on “Link blog: mechanics, lindy, biology, newton”

  1. Isn’t Dobbs, errm, just a science writer? Which means that, if he’s up against a scientist, he’s probably wrong? Dawkins reply (http://www.richarddawkins.net/foundation_articles/2013/12/6/adversarial-journalism-and-the-selfish-gene) “it’s fatally marred: infected by an all-too-common journalistic tendency, the adversarial urge to (presumably) boost circulation and harvest clicks by pretending to be controversial…” sounds terribly familiar from the climate wars. And to my ear, Dobbs stuff read much as Dawkins says. Myers seems to like it, though.

    1. I’m the OP of the article that Paul linked to (cheers, Paul). I really think in this context, Dawkins is “just” a science writer too. The fact that he was a zoologist a couple of decades ago, before he left science to be a professional atheist, doesn’t make him an expert on modern molecular genetics. I value his opinion more than some random guy with a blog, sure, but I don’t think he’s more of an expert than Dobbs in this particular domain.

      Rose is a scientist with more relevant expertise than Dawkins here. For that matter, I’m a scientist myself. In fact there are three people (to my knowledge) in that discussion who are scientists, as in people who are paid by academic institutions to do research in domains that are directly relevant to the controversy being outlined. I favour Rose/Dobbs’ interpretation but I do think he goes a bit far in his sweeping condemnation, I do see some value in Dawkins’ original model. ptc24 is a working scientist and is very much pro-Dawkins. And rysmiel is a working scientist who thinks that both Rose and Dawkins are too extreme and the most useful model is somewhere in between.

      I don’t really think Dawkins here is in a strong position to complain about adversarial, click-baity journalism, but that’s another thing. This isn’t like climate change wars, there is no denialism going on here, absolutely everybody on all sides of the discussion completely accepts evolution by Darwinian natural selection.

  2. There seems to be some back-pedalling going on:

    http://daviddobbs.net/smoothpebbles/die-selfish-gene-die-has-evolved/

    He says “The title is the same, the subtitle altered”. I don’t understand that. There is now a subtitle, “For decades, the selfish gene metaphor let us view evolution with new clarity. Is it now blinding us?” – but I don’t see one in the original, so I don’t understand his “altered”. Certainly, I’d say the addition of the subtitle substantially weakens impact of the piece, shifting the focus from actual-truth to how-useful-is-it?

    Oddly, the highlight-the-diffs PDF doesn’t even highlight the addition of the subtitle, so I don’t trust it.

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