Monday, January 05, 2009



Here is something of a rarity: a transcript of an interview that does not include the questions. The subject is Edward O. Wilson and here are some of his answers (guess the questions yourself):

If someone could actually prove scientifically that there is such a thing as a supernatural force, it would be one of the greatest discoveries in the history of science. So the notion that somehow scientists are resisting it is ludicrous.

The intelligent-design folks say, "You haven't explained everything." What they don't appreciate is that that's what biologists do for a living. And, one by one, the things that can't be explained are explained. ...

What makes humanity is not reason. Our emotions are what make us human.

Religion is a manifestation of deep emotion that will out, one way or the other. Either in an atheistic political ideology or an excessive fierceness in being secular. Or the Red Sox. In other words, we constantly seek a tribe that we feel is innately superior and has the great truths, and we want to identify with them. We shouldn't deny that.

And my favorite:

Well, it's definitely the egg.

Now, if I were a good philosopher, I'd say that's an unanswerable question. But I'm a biologist, and I say it's answerable. It's the egg. The egg that first obtained the mutation that's manifested in the proto-chicken. That produces the next mutated egg that produces the next stage of the proto-chicken.

That's always been my answer ... with the notation that the really tough part is defining "chicken."

I thought the biologist's answer was, "The Rooster."
I think biologists (nerds that they are) use a technical term for that function which does not lend itself to such confusion.
When I first heard the famous puzzle that's the answer that I gave. It wasn't well received, as I recall.

BTW, what is the answer given by the anti-evolutionist? Is omphalism the only alternative known?

Tom S.
BTW, what is the answer given by the anti-evolutionist?

Did the Bible say "And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl eggs that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven"?
The chicken or the egg question really depends on whether we are examining breakfast or dinner.
Dave S. said...

Dictionary answer...chicken of course, as 'c' comes before 'e'. :)
Post a Comment

<< Home

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?

. . . . .


How to Support Science Education