Tuesday, June 13, 2006
Practically a Necessity
- Evolutionary biology and evolutionary theory is used in artificially selecting upon domesticated animals and domesticated plants;
- Evolutionary theory suggests practices to slow development by germs of resistance to drugs;
- Phylogenetic trees have been used in courts to determine the source of infections.
What I was after there was to show people that when you have really big important ideas - there is a small number of ideas in the history of science that have had such a big impact on the way that humans see themselves, a relative handful of ideas - they have all taken a long time. It's not just evolution. I wanted to make the case that it takes some of these important ideas a very long time to percolate through society until they reach acceptance not just by people who have more of a naturalistic world view, as opposed to a supernatural world view.
[W]hen something is useful, people quit all the ideology. Ideology is generally trumped by utility. People will still remain ideologues of some sort, but they realize they just can't push it here because it's just useful. And every time it's used it vindicates all the methods that underlie it.