Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Monday, January 20, 2020

Science Night : Space Suits 

It's actually like a small spacecraft for one person. The space suit is designed to protect astronauts when they are in space, but outside the space station or other spacecraft. When we see astronauts in these things, we don't realize what goes into making them, and the kinds of problems that they have to address. As we contemplate the development of new kinds of spaceships, the space suit remains one of the most extraordinary technological developments in aerospace history. I still don't get how a suit like this can protect against the hideous extremes of temperature in space. The range is five hundred degrees (250 degrees above zero to 250 degrees below zero). But they manage to do it. Another problem in space is that, since there is no atmosphere, astronauts can be hit with tiny particles travelling at very high speeds. It all just seems very risky. But to this day, no astronaut has ever died in a space suit in space.

Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Ming & Qing : Lessons for a Dying Culture from Two Dynasties in China 

Years ago, the faculty at the Software College (Beihang University) where I was teaching bused us to a retreat near the place where the Qing Dynasty began. It is called "Shanhaiguan" or "Shanhai Pass" (pictured above), and it is very near where the Great Wall meets the sea at Laolongtou (Old Dragon's Head).

The story I was told at the time was that the government minister from the Ming Dynasty opened the gate to let the Manchus in because the Ming had become so corrupted. The real story is a bit more complicated, and there is some dispute about the details, but one thing is beyond dispute: For the entire Qing Dynasty, China was ruled by the very people the Great Wall was built to protect them from. But lest you think that this means "walls don't work," it is important to note that, as one of my students pointed out to me, "you can't say that the Great Wall never worked." He's right. If the Wall had never worked, there would probably not have been a Ming Dynasty, or at least you could safely conclude that it would not have lasted nearly as long:

Ming Dynasty (1368 ? 1644 A.D.)
Qing Dynasty (1644 ? 1911 A.D.)

You see, the downfall of the Ming was not due to the failure of the wall. It was due to a failure of the culture. The point is that the best wall in the world cannot protect you from yourself. So the Manchus came in and the Ming Dynasty was over. As I said, the Manchus ruled China throughout the Qing Dynasty. But who were they? The Manchus were descendants of the Jurchen people, who ruled the Jin Dynasty. Chinese dynasties can be confusing, because, for example, the Jin Dynasty did not rule all of China, just a portion of it in the Northeast, so it ruled concurrently with the Song Dynasty and therefore is often not listed separately as a dynasty in China. The Jurchen were overthrown by the Mongols, and I guess it can be assumed that there was some intermarriage between the Jurchen and the Mongols. The Manchus were the descendants of the Jurchen, but really the Jurchen just changed their name, although it is true that the people group had changed too, as it became, although predominantly Jurchen, probably a mixture between Jurchen and Mongol. So I guess you could say that the Manchus were essentially Mongolized Jurchens. I say this to emphasize the the Manchus were not irrelevant barbarians who came out of nowhere. Both the Jurchen and the Mongols had been intimately involved with China. The Mongols, you remember ruled all of China under Kublai Khan. Kublai Khan was the first emporer of the Yuan Dynasty. You may not be as familiar with the Jurchen, because their dynasty was actually sort of a sub-dynasty, as I mentioned earlier.

At any rate, after Shanhaiguan, the Manchus were in charge. The corrupted and decrepit Ming had been replaced by the Qing. But was the Qing Dynasty really an improvement? Listen to this lively debate presented by the Sinica Podcast and decide for yourself:

This debate was held at the Beijing Bookworm which is (or was) over in the Sanlitun (expat bar street) area on the east side. It's interesting, but as you might expect, it focuses on the comparison between the two dynasties. I am more interested in the transition. But not just the transition from the Ming to the Qing. The end of the Qing Dynasty is also of interest. So maybe the grand question could be phrased as: "What is the end of a Dynasty like?" or "What makes a dynasty rise and fall?" This is a question most Americans do not understand well, because America has only had one dynasty, and Americans do not read history much, so they tend not to be aware that no dynasty in history has lasted forever. Dynasties rise and fall. If you look at Chinese dynasties (especially the Ming and Qing) you see that they both lasted just under three hundred years. The American dynasty will be 300 years old in 2076. If the American dynasty lasts no longer than either the Ming or the Qing, it has less than fifty years left. Can a dynasty last longer than that? Yes. The Zhou Dynasty lasted longer than 800 years. But the Zhou Dynasty went into decline in the latter half. It's a separate subject for a different time, but I believe that the writings of Confucius may have extended the Zhou Dynasty far beyond what might otherwise have been likely.

Here's my point: I believe that the American dynasty has entered a period of decline. I don't see the American dynasty lasting another fifty years. No way. Because Americans have no conception of what makes dynasties rise and fall, they tend to talk about "eliminating poverty," or "making America great again." But to make America great again, Americans need to understand what makes a dynasty great. Can you guess what it is? If you said, "democracy," that's the wrong answer. The one thing above all others that makes a dynasty great is righteousness:

Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people. (Proverbs 14:34)
But as you can see, the statement has two sides to it. Sin..corruption..dishonesty..these things erode the foundation of a culture, making it extremely unstable and vulnerable to attack. So when it comes to the basic inescapable reality that all dynasties governed by sinful man ultimately decay, the Ming Dynasty and the Qing Dynasty are more alike than they are different. The Ming and Qing both had their rise, and tney had their decline and fall.

When a dynasty dies, so much goes with it. One of main casualties is language. Don't get me wrong--when the Qing Dynasty came to an end just over a hundred years ago now, that was the end of Manchu rule, but not the end of the Manchus as a people. I have known several Manchus. There are ten million of them alive today. But there are exactly nineteen native speakers of the Manchu language left in the world. It's gone.

So what about the American Dynasty? Is it more like the Qing or the Ming? I am not sure it matters. They both fell eventually, and the American dynasty will too, perhaps sooner than we think. Is there any way to forestall the decline of the America dynasty? Sure. I just mentioned the Zhou dynasty, but with many dynasties the decline is actually not a straight line. It goes up and down. God has extraordinary forbearance toward a culture and a people who want to turn from the wrong and do the right:

If I shut up the heavens so that there is no rain, or if I command the locust to devour the land, or if I send pestilence among my people; if my people, who are called by my name, shall humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land. (2nd Chronicles 7:13-14)
But when is the last time you entered a church or place where believers gather and found them on their faces before God, begging Him to have mercy on their country? Is there any place in America where you see Christians focused on praying for their country? They seem to be focused on fighting for the right to talk about politics without losing their non-profit status. America is a democracy, so it is understandable that citizens would be thinking about how best to exercise the freedom and responsibility they have been given. But even in the years since I left the United States in the mid-noughties I have seen a moral decline in America beyond what I could have imagined. Politics alone will not address this issue.

And what about China? I am often asked about this. This is perhaps the most frequent question I hear. I always say that China is a country at the crossroads, trying to decide which way it is going to go. If the people follow after truth and justice, then China will become a great country. But if they follow after money and power, then China will become a very dark place. And this direction will be shaped by the masses, not by the ruling elite. It is righteousness that exalts a nation. And it is corruption and dishonesty that bring it down.



Friday, January 10, 2020

Gospel of John 

The Venerable Bede translating the Gospel of John on his deathbed.



John 1:1In the beginning was the Word...This lesson introduces the Logos. At issue is the identification of the Logos as indeed God. Of note is the fact that the original Greek says, "God was the Word," not "The Word was God (or a god)"

Thursday, January 02, 2020

Science Night 





10 October 2019Mathematical Challenges to Darwin’s Theory of EvolutionThe book that stimulated this was written by Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute. David Gelernter of Yale was won over by Meyer's book. A noted scientist becoming a Darwin denier is not a small thing so I think it is important for you to consider watching this.
13 November 2019Atheism and Its Scientific PretensionsDavid Berlinski is an agnostic who scorns the absolutism of atheists. He does not speak as a believer, but as a mathematician who shows the unlikeliness of Darwin's idea coming to pass by chance.
26 November 2019The Origin of Life Has Not Been ExplainedJames Tour uses a unique approach here. His lecture is divided into segments, each led by a question. So a question will be flashed on the screen, and then he answers it. This is a very intense, but easily digestible approach. This does not mean to say that you will understand everything. If you have no chemistry background at all you will probably feel lost. Even if you do, you will feel challenged. But if were a reasonably good chemistry student, this will make sense to you.
30 December 2019What is a gyrocopter?It is the simple genius of the thing that attracts me to the gyrocopter. It just seems like a very clever way to create a light-weight wing. But this video is not too heavy on aerodynamics. I think it should serve as a good basic introduction to ultralight aeronautics.
20 January 2019Space SuitsIt's just kinda taken for granted, I think. But this amazing device is one of the most extraordinary developments in aerospace history, and very little that we do in space could happen without it.





Tuesday, December 31, 2019

A Brief Look Back and a Glance Forward 

Last year on this date, I said the three most important issues of 2019 would be the South China Sea, the trade war, and human rights.

The South China Sea is still an issue, but it has really been on hold all year, so it is not an immediate issue.

The trade war definitely stayed up front all year. And they are talking about the first phase being ready to sign now, but I am skeptical. It does look like Trump is winning, although winning slowly, but this really needs to be a win-win situation. If one side loses, they both lose. But I guess it must be said that the trade war has not become the disaster some predicted and most feared.

Human rights is still very much an issue because of Xinjiang. There is some talk that the camps may be closing, but I am not confident. But the BBC sattelite photos put a lot of pressure on the Chinese government. Their initial denials became ludicrous and they were forced to develop other rationalizations.

The one I missed, of course, was Hong Kong. Nobody anticipated it. If they had, they never would have introduced that extradition bill. I personally do not see the introduction of the extradition bill as a malicious act. But it was definitely clueless, and points to the perpetual insensitivity of the Hong Kong government.

For those of you who don't follow Hong Kong politics, the Chief Executive in Hong Kong is sorta elected, but in a lopsided way that basically ensures that Beijing is in control. The people who get picked for the job are not Communists per se. But they tend to be pro-Beijing elitists. So far, not one of them has left office without being roundly condemned by the common people. It is not a good situation and not entirely fair either to the common people of Hong Kong, or to the Chief Executive. What I mean is that most of the time, the Chief Executive is actually not a bad administrator. But the ones who get chosen are often viewed as "out of touch." For example, when C.Y. Leung was C.E., he remarked at one time that if democracy were more direct, there would be people voting who only made 1000 (Hong Kong) dollars a month. In other words, he was concerned that minimum wage people would actually have a part in choosing the chief executive. It's the sort of thing that makes you say, "That's what democracy is about, C.Y." I really don't think he meant it maliciously. But it was a stupid thing to say.

But what happened last summer really was the ultimate faux pas for a Hong Kong leader. How Carrie Lamb could have thought people would accept an agreement to extradite Hong Kong citizens to mainland China just boggles the mind. Pandemonium. As I have said before, I do not justify the violence of the young people. But she lit the fuse. And it's not over. That could slowly get better or get much worse. And the involvement of ignorant uninformed American members of Congress does not help.

So I thought I would let you hear from a unique group of young people. Four Hong Kong students at Columbia University share their thoughts. They are not ignoramuses like American members of Congress, but they are also not as one-sided as the demonstrators who have lived all their lives in Hong Kong and tend to be very self-centered in their thinking.

This will be the defining issue at least in the first part of the year. But the trade war is also ongoing because it is not finishing up quickly the way Trump anticipated. I think the South China Sea is probably going to stay in the background for the foreseeable future. Regarding Xinjiang, if China gets those camps closed down very quickly, they may survive this, because most people realize that there were, in fact, jihad Muslims in Xinjiang and something had to be done. But the actions of the government have been way, way too heavy-handed, so it really needs to end now, because the situation is precarious in terms of China's reputation before the watching world. It is not fun to live a world where everybody hates you and your own best citizens are embarrassed to admit that they are from China.

Monday, December 30, 2019

Science Night - What is a gyrocopter? 

What is a gyrocopter? It is probably the most misunderstood aircraft. Gyrocopters came into the news a few years ago when a postal worker from Florida landed a gyrocopter on the White House lawn. I was amused to see news personalities refer to the craft as a "small helicopter." A gyrocopter is not anything like a helicopter. It looks like a helicopter. But that is where the similarity ends.

A gyrcoplter does not fly like a helicopter. Everyone knows how a helicopter flies. A giant rotor spins and creates lift. But a gyrocopter could never fly like that. Why? Because the rotor on a gyrocopter has no motor attached to it. It is free-wheeling. What good is a rotor that doesn't even have a motor? If you look at a gyrocopter closely, you will see that there is a propeller behind the airman that pushes the craft forward. The forward motion of the aircraft causes the rotor to spin, and once it starts spinning, it essentially becomes a wing. So a gyrocopter flies just like a fixed-wing aircraft. But why would you want to use a spinning rotor as a wing instead of a regular wing? Because a wing made out of a solid sheet of metal (even aluminum) with that kind of wing space would be much heavier.

I always used to say that the gyrocopter is the original ultralight, because gyrcopters were ultralight when ultralight wasn't cool Ultralights became popular in the seventies and eighties. It started with hang gliding. Hang gliding became a fad during the time that I was in college. I remember when a guy jumped off of Pike's Peak with a hang glider. Later they started adding motors to them. So the first ultralights were basically motorized hang gliders. In fact, that's what I used to call them. I did not hear the term ultralight until later.

In contrast, the first gyrocopler flew the year my father was born (1923). But it must be admitted that the first gyrocopters looked more like conventional airplanes than ultralights, so perhaps it is more accurate to say that when the ultralight movement started, it was easier for the gyrocopter to adapt to that mode, since it had always been designed as a craft that could be aerodynamically efficient at slow speeds. It was a natural fit.

But I need to be clear that having a free-wheeling spinning rotor is not the only way to create a wing that is light-weight. The Rogallo wing for example, which I will talk about another time, was made of fabric, which is very light. So as the ultralight movement has developed, experimenters have found other ways to create lift with a very light wing in a way that allows efficient flight at slow speeds.

Years ago, when I was in the trucking industry, I worked for a flatbed outfit out of Fargo that had a contract with Reynolds Aluminum. I hauled many loads of aluminum out of the huge Reynolds plant in McCook, Illinois, a suburb of Chicago. One time had a load of wing skins going to Boeing in Auburn, Washington. If you saw those huges sheets of metal, you would not believe they could fly. They were very thick and very heavy. How can something like that be made to fly? The answer, of course, is speed. I heard once that you could fly the Empire State Building if you could get it going fast enough.

So speed compensates for weight. But if you want a vehicle that flies slowly, it needs to be very, very light. The gyrocopter was really an ingenious way to do this. Not the only way to be sure--as I said, as the ultralight movement has developed there have been many innovations seeking to maximize lift by minimizing weight.

Now back to the guy who landed on the Capitol lawn. Aside from being amused at how the news media couldn't resist calling a gyrocopter a "small helicopter," I was curious to see how the law would deal with a guy who was basically harmless--he obviously wasn't a terrorist--but who had violated very serious laws about flight safety and security. Landing on the lawn of the Capitol is quite obviously a breach of security that should not be taken lightly.

He got a four month jail sentence. I think the reason they gave him such a light sentence was because he was clearly not a terrorist. He did not hurt anybody and did not intend to. But I am not concerned about the threat to the Capitol. I am more concerned about the threat to general aviation. I don't know any country in the world that gives experimental airmen as much freedom to innovate as the United States. This is a privilege that should not be taken lightly. There is nowhere near that kind of freedom in China. When one person abuses that privilege, it is jeopardized for every other flyer. Countries that do not have a strong general aviation system are forced to borrow innovation from countries that do. That is just a fact. This guy was not a terrorist, I get that. But he was not a hero either. He did not really put the Capitol at risk. But he did put general aviation at risk. He should not be allowed to fly.



Monday, December 23, 2019

Lesson 1 - John 1:1 - In the beginning was the Word... 

I am beginning, with this episode, a study of the Gospel of John.

To work through this study effectively, you will need the e-Sword software. When you go to the e-Sword website, there are two things you need. First, you need to download and install the e-Sword application. Second, you need the training demos. For the training, you have two options. You can either download and install the training module on your computer as a separate installation, or you can use the online version, running it off their website. But you cannot run e-Sword itself off the website. You must download and install it.

OK. We will start, of course, with the first verse of the first chapter. This verse introduces the Logos, which in English is "word." If you are interested, you can examine the two characters that are used to express Logos in Chinese and Japanese respectively. I am not sure why the Chinese version does not use the same character as the Japanese version, but I suspect that it is because the translators of the Chinese Bible wanted to communicate to the Chinese people that the Logos is the "real" dao.

The major controversy about this verse today centers around whether the word (logos) is actually God, or just a god. Upper case G or lower case g. But I believe this debate is a distraction. When I began to examine this verse, and read it in the Bible Hub interlinear, I noticed something that is rarely mentioned, but which I think is quite significant. The syntax of the last clause of the sentence is reversed. It does not say, "the Word was God," it says "God was the Word." Take a look:

Why is this? In the podcast I discuss this matter at some length. It's not that big an issue as far as how it affects the meaning. After all, if a = b, then b = a. But I think it opened a Pandora's box, because to change "God was the Word" to "a god was the Word" would be weird and unacceptable. But changing "the Word was God" to "the Word was a God" is more subtle and easier to put over on people who are not familiar with the Scripture. Even William Barclay goes along with this idea.

So why did they do it? Why is the syntax in all present day English versions reversed from the original Greek? I believe it was done because some translator thought it would sound better in English. I did find a couple articles that give a grammatical explanation. I personally do not believe that it was changed for grammatical reasons, but I have posted those articles anyway, so that you can read them. The gist of the argument is that this is a predicate nominative. Again, I do not think the syntax was reversed in English for reasons of grammar, but you can take a look at these arguments and see what you think:



Regarding the tendency of translators to edit or improve the original instead of just translating it, I gave the example of the word baptizo , which is transliterated when referring to the Christian ordinance of Baptism, but translated when referring to ordinary washing. I said it was in the Gospel of Luke, but I was mistaken. It's been awhile since I looked at it last, so I should have double-checked it--it's actually in the Gospel of Mark (Mark 7:4). I don't want to get sidetracked into a discussion of baptism. My only point is that the translators took it upon themselves to use two different words, when God obviously thought there only needed to be one. And we have been arguing about baptism ever since.

Do I tend to be suspicious of translators? Yes. So I admit that I have a bias. I have a knee-jerk reaction when I see something in a translated version that differs significantly from the original. I tend to assume that the translators have taken liberties to which they are not entitled. I brought up the example of baptizo lest anyone try to tell me that translators "would never do anything like that." They clearly did in that case

Finally, today we introduce an old gospel song from the 1880s. Feel free to sing along, or just listen.

Next time we will focus on Verse 2. Do go through the e-Sword training module, either by installing it, or by using the online version. The training module is very good, and will enable you to teach yourself e-Sword even without help from your children.



Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Peaceful Protests? 


Senator Ted Cruz
404 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington DC 20510

Dear Senator Cruz,

Digging up bricks from the street, destroying punblic property is peaceful?

Spray painting public art pieces is peaceful?

Desecrating national heritage sites is peaceful?

Verbal abuse of police by demonstrators is peaceful?

Throwing bricks at police officers is peaceful?

Throwing Molotov cocktails at police is peaceful?

Starting fires and shooting arrows at police is peaceful?

Vandalizing the Legislative Council (the congress of Hong Kong) after the bill they were protesting had already been suspended is peaceful?

Joshua Wong the next day tweeting "I'm proud of what they did last night" is peaceful?

Vandalizing places of business is peaceful?

Throwing petrol on someone and setting him on fire because he disagrees with what the the protesters are doing is peaceful?

Beating up an unarmed man because they suspect him of agreeing with China is peaceful?

Setting up barricades to disrupt the lives of Hong Kong people and then beating a good citizen senseless when he tries to remove them is peaceful?

Senator, do your homework. Better yet, just stay out of it. With all due respect, Sir, your remarks look and sound ridiculous to someone who knows what's actually going on in Hong Kong.



Eric Langager
Beijing Diary




Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Science Night - The Origin of Life Has Not Been Explained 

Do you like chemistry? Did you get good grades in chemistry in high school and/or college? If so, you need to take twenty-three minutes of time and watch this lecture (below). It is, hands down, the best chemistry lecture you have ever heard.

When I was in college (Oregon College of Education), there was an announcement that we could test out of the chemistry portion of the science requirement for the liberal arts core. I took the test and passed. Later, a pre-med student was commenting about this. He said, "They let these guys balance a few equations and get out of chemistry." He didn't like the idea. But I didn't think it was bad. It wasn't a CLEP test. I still had to make up the hours. To substitute for a four hour chemistry class, I took a three hour class in computer coding and a one credit field trip. It was in the Wallowa mountains in northeastern Oregon. Beautiful.

I didn't do that because I didn't think chemistry was important. But I just knew that my life wasn't going to be about chemistry. So for me, it was a good plan. But this video is a reminder of the importance of chemistry. I didn't think about it before I watched this, but you know, most of the ideas about evolution are pontificated by biologists or zoologists who know little about chemistry. But chemistry comes before biology. We can't even talk about biology if the chemistry doesn't work.

This brief lecture blows modern theories of evolution to smithereens, not by refuting them biologically, but by showing that the chemistry just isn't there.

Sometimes we hear people saying something like "It's in my DNA," when they are talking about a particular habit or way of life. If you pay attention, most of the time you will notice that they are referring to something that is culturally derived not genetically derived. But DNA is not a mystical force that influences who you are. DNA is a chemical substance. It stands for deoxyribonucleic acid. Years ago, I read that if the genetic coding in DNA were published in books, it would fill three thousand volumes. DNA is extraordinarily complex. Watch this video and see what you think. If you watch it attentively, and with an open mind, there is no way you will still believe in evolution by the time you are finished.


Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Science Night - Atheism and Its Scientific Pretensions 

In the scientific community today, there are the "new atheists," such as Richard Dawkins, there are the Christians, such as John Lennox from Oxford and Stephen Meyer of the Discovery Institute, and there are also the agnostics, who do not number themselves among the believers, but look with disdain on the new atheists, who always seem so sure of themselves in their assertion that there is no God.

I suppose you could say that the agnostics are taking the easy way out. They don't have to commit themselves to anything. They can just attack. But it is interesting to me that the agnostics tend to get along better with Christians than with atheists. I suppose I should add that among the atheists, there are the cordial atheists and the angry atheists. I am making up these categories as I am pounding this out on my laptop in the old, old factory (since made in to a youth hostel) which is my home when I am in Shanghai. So you can debate them if you like--I won't be offended. In fact, after I have had time to think about it, I may debate them myself.

But they are not pulled out of thin air, either. I have given this matter some thought, and I have engaged with a number of thinkers down through the years. Years ago, I was chatting with a colleague of mine at the university where I was teaching in Tempe Arizona. He was talking about how he would never think of driving on the freeways in the Phoenix area. He always took the streets. He was deathly afraid of freeways.

I said to him, "No, you can't live that way. You just have to get out there and do it. You'll get used to it."

He said, "That's easy for you to say. You have God on your side. You have to remember I'm an atheist."

He was never cantankerous, like Dawkins, who is the first person to come to people's minds when they think about "new ateists" since Christopher Hitchens died. But he was not a believer, either, and he did not call himself an agnostics. So I don't believe, and do not want to imply, that all atheists are ill-tempered and angry. George Will, for example, calls himself a "low voltage" atheist.

David Berlinski is a mathematician, but he also has considerable background in philosophy, and he has written several novels. In this lecture, given in 2012 as an episode of Socrates in the City, he attacks both Darwinism and atheism. Perhaps I should have featured this video before the previous one, because this lecture predates that interview by several years. In some ways, though, that one is more important, because it shows how scientists one by one are being won over to the belief that Darwin's idea just are not scientifically viable.

So keep this in mind when you are watching this video. David Berlinski does not qualify as one of these new converts. He has been a Darwin doubter for a long time. But he is important, because he and others like him are part of the reason some of these world renowned scientists are being won over. David Gelernter specifically mentions him in telling of his own conversion. And I should emphasize that this is not a religious conversion. David Gelernter did not become a Christian. He does not even say that he has been won over to the idea of Intelligent Design. His conversion, if you want to call it that, is an acceptance of the growing belief in the scientific community that Darwin's ideas just could not have happened.

Darwin doubting isn't new. There have always been people like me who, while accepting Darwin's observations of micro-evolutionary changes, do not believe that those observations justify the grandiose macro-evolutionary changes that Darwin assumes. People like me acknowledge change in nature. We just don't believe that Darwin's beliefs about single-celled organisms mutating into highly developed creatures can be justified by his observations.

But the Intelligent Design folks are going further than this. They are saying they can prove that Darwin's ideas couldn't have happened. And they are winning converts. You see, the reason Darwin is dying isn't because of a few religious people on the fringes. Darwin is dying because the scientific community is starting to reject Darwin's explanations. It will be a slow death. There are still plenty of diehards who will continue to maintain their belief in Darwinian evolution (by carefully shielding their eyes from the math). But I personally believe it is only a matter of time.

At the very end of the Q and A there was a question about Richard Weikart, and his idea that Darwin lead to Hitler. Berlinski endorsed it wholeheartedly. I have heard those kinds of ideas before, but I have no idea who Richard Weikart is, so I will do some more research before commenting on that, except to pose one question: Do you think Darwin was a racist? Look up the full title of his book and tell me what you think. You'll enjoy this lecture. David Berlinski is an engaging speaker.


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