Articles tagués science


Working during summer time in France is like being in a slow motion video with big chunks missing (on vacations). The interesting part is that you get easier access to some facilities, as long as the services are correctly organized.

Sometimes I get the same sensation as Neo must had in a slow down Matrix.

The funny thing is that it affects me directly and many of my extra-professional activities are affected as well. And blogging is part of them, with less posts and less serious stuff posted. I’m more in a planning than acting mood.

A few months ago I considered changing my blogging for several reasons.

  • I accepted to help build the labs web as far as people accept part of it to be public and that means that I’ll have to manage a (few) blog(s) and a forum and a mailing list and probably build a WebPresence portfolio. This will provide a new home for most of my reading notes and progressively I’ll not have to keep track of papers in this blog, at least not for the major part.

  • I also participate to Portable Genomics blog, which is quite amateurish for the moment, but maturity may not be far away (this or it will be abandoned at its present form).

  • My contributions to two private fora, since february 2010, have substantially reduce the time left for my personal stuff. And I repeatedly failed to convince y fellows to go public 😦

    A few weeks ago I started a cleaning session for my blogroll and RSS feeds aggregator. Just before Pepsigate. I had to slow it down, trying to catch with the people changing home and the bouquet was yesterday with the announcement of Scientopia. During this period I took out of my drawer an old project of a RSS feed aggregator which I proposed to a few people. Just two responded, the first one showing some interest and promising to think about it and the second one kindly declined my offer, engaged in another environment. With so much support I’m certain I must drop the idea and do things differently.

    The announcement of Scientopia gave me a few hours of hope that there may be a science blogs network I would like to join. Those I had considered before presenting some feature that I didn’t liked. Blogging in a network can bring great benefits but also carries responsibilities I wouldn’t like to consider for my free time activities. I read Scientopia’s code and I like it… But I wouldn’t like to have to comply. PZ Myers nailed the main problem. Too much respect over there. And I’m not prone to respect people just because we are at the same side of an argument. I already had issues with science and skeptic bloggers with too much accommodationist stances or not enough rigorous approaches of some subjects. I may respect the guys but certainly not some of their ideas and I prefer to be on my own to speak without the burden of any collective’s code. So, as much I like Scientopia and I wish them well, as much I wouldn’t consider joining (not that anybody asked me to).

    For various reasons this blog has being essentially written in French. Not very good reasons, as I evaluate them today, and thus this will change (changed already). Most of the interesting (for me) stuff of the sci-blogosphere is discussed in english. I’ll join the discussion with at least one notable exception: my local French têtes de turcs, as Tom Roud named them, the matter not being interesting for people outside the frontiers (and when necessary the discussion will be in english anyway).

    Spiritual Intrusions in Science will be probably one of the main subjects (SIiS is a nice acronym for a new category). They piss me off, and this not just to protect the Ivory Tower but much about science related and based politics. One can fear decisions made on the basis of nonsensical beliefs, ignorance (sometime willful) and irrational stances. This is a large subject and I expect the Templeton Foundation to do their best to provide matter for discussion in their efforts to promote scienligion. Biologos is already full of stuff, and then there is the HuffPost.

    Cool Science Stuff, where cool is whatever help me chill out will be the main subject. Obviously(?) this will be biology-centered, but biology is to be taken to the largest possible sense. Thus including zombies, whether you consider them still alive or leftovers of a living form. Coyne is right, being a biologist is one of the best things I ever done (even physicists are jealous).

    Beauties! There are so much beautiful things around us that I spend a large part of my day being amazed by and I sometimes dream of them. Coffee time is quite appropriate for beauty and not limited to females of my species.

    The Answer to Life, the Universe(s) and Everything Else, that is 42. Why? Philosophical musings (and this is in italics people, I’m not much of a philosopher except from some cultural imprinting, being greek). Consider this to be some kind of alternative humor section. Where I will keep searching for L2/R2 😉

    Maybe reset is not the most appropriate title for this post, but this is how I feel actually.

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    Opening minds by Sue Blackmore

    Via Richard Dawkins Net

    Sue Blackmore have a somehow weird point of view published at the Guardian. It’s not that I disagreed with opening minds of children via education, but I think evidence is the better way to consolidate understanding. It must come immediately after explaining whatever you try to educate a child to, and should help him to accept the explanation the teacher provided.

    If a teacher don’t provide evidence supporting whatever lesson he is teaching, he is not reaching for acceptance, but for belief. And that doesn’t make him better then a mere religious teacher and there is a possibility for the kid to equate science and religion and that would be the worst possible lesson to learn: then he can go lazy and bring the « God Did It » explanation (or that this is just some preexisting platonic Form which was waiting to be revealed) for whatever lays in front of him, thinking that this is good science.

    Theory and supporting evidence must come together.

    [addendum] There is another problem in the text, secondary, but worth to pinpoint.

    Once you get it that’s that! How can you go on believing that God created humans in his own image when you can see, because you really understand the principle, that nature’s cruel and wasteful selective process can create all that design without him?

    (emphasis mine)

    Cruel? Wasteful? Cruel implies that somebody, some conscious process defined morality. Wasteful that somebody defined economy.

    On the other hand, it is not the understanding of how a process works that raise incredulity about the existence of an agent supposed to make it work. It’s absence of evidence of the existence of the said agent which preclude credulity, otherwise than through an irrational belief.

    I think that Ken Miller is dead right wen he claims that God could use evolution as the process to produce and evolve life. I defended him on this point, because I know of a few intelligent agents doing so in the lab, either to produce a protein from scratch of to change more or less its characteristics. What lacks from Miller’s interpretation of the world is the evidence supporting the claim that the process was built and is supervised by God, and the evidence that his God exists. Miller chosen the a priori of the existence of God, a mere belief, and superpose it to his understanding of data, believing that there is purpose in the world and that this is enough evidence for the existence of the God of the Roman Catholic Church who created the universe.

    Who could claim that Miller don’t understand biological evolution? He demonstrated several times that he do, and done so clearly. But still, he needs his beliefs to the supernatural. He is a well known example of understanding science and still hold irrational beliefs.[/addendum]

    Sue, on this one either you lost a step or two, or you didn’t made yourself clear.

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