Daily Archives: March 24, 2010

How to Nudge Human Evolution

Some time ago, I noted that a key human feature, the opposable thumb, might be nudged into existence simply with the emergence of the pentadactyl limb and the appearance of trees. In fact, there is evidence to support the idea that the origin of our bipedalism occurred while our genetic ancestors lived among the trees.

Now there is a new study to suggest that this bipedalism was a preadaptation:

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My Inner Felix

In the comments section of a previous entry, chunkdz posed an excellent question to me.  So let me use this opportunity to stand on my soapbox.

First, you are asserting that your approach is not science but simply “open-ended curiosity, guided by critical thinking and intellectual honesty”

But you simultaneously acknowledge Haack’s assertion that science is not limited to the scientific method but that it should include “everyday modes of inquiry”:

“…scientific inquiry is contiguous with everyday empirical inquiry. Everyday knowledge is supplemented by evolving aids that emerge throughout the process of honest inquiry. These include the cognitive tools of analogy and metaphor that help to frame the object of inquiry into familiar terms.”

Sounds like a description of your own Design Matrix. An “everyday mode of inquiry”, as the article says, which relies upon analogy, metaphor, and honest inquiry.

If Susan Haack says your approach is contiguous with scientific inquiry and therefore part of science – then why should you so vehemently disagree?

Yes, Haack’s description is very close to what The Design Matrix is all about and I am delighted that chunkdz sees this.  But I don’t think she is saying science is not limited to the scientific method but that it should include “everyday modes of inquiry.”  If she is, I am not.  What I am saying, and I think she is saying, is that the scientific method is not limited to the domain of science as the scientific method is part of everyday modes of inquiry.  That is, since we can all employ the scientific method in everyday modes of inquiry, we should not fall victim to the message of those who preach scientism  – “Either your views are part of science and of great value or they are little more than subjective fantasy and of little value.”

So why is it that I do not consider my approach as part of science?

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