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Wednesday, 14 June 2017

Blind spot

In the letters column of the Times today (the Times is the only newspaper that I can still bear to read) Professor David Frost (former principal, Institute for Orthodox Christian Studies, Cambridge) says that evolution is bunk.

Well.

I don't know much about Professor David Frost, except from his former post, he's obviously a religionist, clearly a Christian and I suspect that "Orthodox" is what the rest of us would call "Greek Orthodox" or "Russian Orthodox". If so, this goes back to the schism of 1054, which was caused by issues such as whether leavened or unleavened bread should be used in the Eucharist. Personally, I prefer matzo, which is unleavened, but that's just a matter of taste. Anyhow, I don't think he's a biologist.

In his letter he cites Fred Hoyle as his authority. Fred was a great astronomer, and was very well known in that field. It was Fred who came up with the name "Big Bang" for the cosmological theory that we all use now, as a derogatory term. His own idea was "continuous creation", the Steady State theory. That seemed plausible until 1964, when the cosmic microwave radiation was discovered and measured. A more enduring contribution was for the theory of nucleosynthesis in stars, showing how elements heavier than helium, all the way up to iron, could be made in stars. A brilliant man, but, again, not a biologist.

Frost doesn't give his preferred theory of the origin of species, but I would guess that he's a creationist. God did it.

I'm not going to give all the evidence for evolution, there's plenty of good books. What I'd like to focus on, is how a (probably) very intelligent man, clever enough to become a professor, can be so wrong.

It's a blind spot. I've noticed that a lot of people have a blind spot, an area of thought that is totally dark to them, which they cannot see even when it is pointed out to them. If you roam around Facebook for a few days, you'll find many other instances of a blind spot by many other people. Not only can they not see into that blind spot, they cannot even perceive that they have a blind spot.

And that leads me to a scary thought.

What's my blind spot?



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