March 31, 2007

South Africa

Greetings from Cape Town, South Africa! Jen and I bundled the kids onto an airplane for the 20+ hours of flight time it takes to get here. It's a lot of travel, but the first day here in Cape Town made it all worthwhile!

Things we've done already:

Things we still plan to do:

Lessons learned:

  • Order alcohol on South American Airways -- they don't charge extra, like they do in the States!
  • Leave a lot more time to clear the passport line when you arrive in country! We had a connecting flight scheduled two hours after our arrival in Johannesburg, and only made it by some aggressive line jumping!

More to come, I'm sure!


March 1, 2007

A well-established scientific theory by any other name...

Evil Darwin I was surprised at Amy Radil's choice of words in her NPR piece on All Things Considered yesterday. In a story on a Somali immigrant-turned-ambassador, she described the Seattle-based Discovery Institute as "promoting 'intelligent design' as an alternative to Darwinism."

I was surprised, because the term "Darwinism" is commonly applied to the theory of evolution by creationists and ID proponents, but not by the scientific literature, the educational curriculum, or the media. Compare and contrast the pages in Wikipedia for the two terms (Evolution, Darwinism), or the Clusty search engine results for them (evolution, Darwinism).

As others have pointed out, calling the theory of evolution "Darwinism" is as absurd as calling the theory of gravity "Newtonism," or the theory of relativity "Einsteinism." The term "Darwinism" is used intentionally by creationists because

  1. it isn't a well-defined, scientific term, like "evolution,"
  2. it has an association with "atheism," and,
  3. it implies that people who accept evolution as fact are motivated by an ominous cult of personality around an old, dead guy who looked like a depressed Santa Claus.

Why is NPR using the term? I have no idea. I hope it was just a goof