Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Desert Moon

I was camped below the east flank of the Steens Mountain range in southeastern Oregon last night. When I awoke early, the alpenglow from the rising sun was bathing the mountains in orange, and the moon--just a night past the full--was perched just above them. It was a breathtaking sight.

I drove out there after nightfall, with that same big moon keeping the desert fairly well-lit. I love the desert. The only downside to driving through the desert at night is that game the jackrabbits play. I don't understand it exactly, but I think it must confer some sort of status raise on a hare who runs between your wheels and lives.

Here's another insight from Powell's book. He's discussing, remember, the revolution within geology that is now a fait accompli. And I'm drawing the parallel to the revolution in biology that is occurring now (the falsification of Darwinian evolution).
Certainly the efforts of the doubters failed to discourage the proponents [of the meteor impact theory], who were growing in number. But on the other hand, those who supported the theory were equally unable to sway its firmest opponents. In fact, only a vanishingly small number are on record as ever having changed their minds on the Alvarez theory. One need read only a fraction of the vast literature on impact to predict with near certainty which side a given author will take in all subsequent papers: the same as in previous ones... Some of the reluctance to switch sides is undoubtedly due to honest convictions firmly held, but some also results from the unwillingness of scientists, being human, to admit in public that they were wrong. And the role of tenacious skeptic, adhering faithfully to the old ways that have served so well for so long, can be a proud one. Even if eventually proved wrong, one fought the good fight and can hold one's head high. The trick is not to fight too long, or unfairly.
Today's traditionalists--Darwinian naturalists--have fought unfairly in that they have so far largely succeeded in buffaloing the public and the courts into believing that the better, competing theories are not worthy of being called scientific. (And hence the talk I advertized in yesterday's post.)

1 comment:

B said...

I love the Steens, heading out there this weekend. =)