The Latest | Page 603

Randomness by Design

1. Introduction “Anyone who considers arithmetical methods of producing random digits is, of course, in a state of sin.” John von Neumann’s famous dictum points an accusing finger at all who set their ordered minds to engender disorder. Much as in times past thieves, pimps, and actors carried on their profession with an uneasy conscience, so in this day scientists Read More ›

Literature Survey:

Robert J. Richards, “The Theological Foundations of Darwin’s Theory of Evolution,” in Experiencing Nature, P.H. Theerman and K.H. Parshall, eds. (Kluwer Academic Publishers, 1997), pp. 61-79. Most historians of science take Darwin at his word in the Autobiography: although he believed in God and special creation as a young man, “disbelief crept over me at a very slow rate, but Read More ›

Converting Matter into Mind

In the Foundations of Cognitive Science Herbert Simon and Craig Kaplan offer the following definition: Cognitive science is the study of intelligence and intelligent systems, with particular reference to intelligent behavior as computation. Since this definition hinges on the dual notions of intelligence and computation, it remains scientifically unobjectionable so long as one declines to prejudge the relation between computation Read More ›

Danger: Indoctrination

When most of us think of the controversy over evolution in the public schools, we are likely to think of fundamentalists pulling teachers from their classrooms and placing them in the dock. Images from the infamous Scopes “monkey” trial of 1925 come to mind. Unfortunately, intolerance of this sort has shown itself in California in the 1990s as a result of students complaining about a biology instructor. Unlike the original Scopes case, however, this case involves a distinguished biology professor at a major university — indeed, an acknowledged expert on evolutionary theory. Also unlike Scopes, the teacher was forbidden to teach his course not because he taught evolutionary theory (which he did) but because he offered a critical assessment of Read More ›

molecular models classroom.jpg
Students sit in the classroom and listen to a lecture in science. Plastic molecular educational model. Soft focus background image
Photo by svetlanaz on Adobe Stock

Danger: Indoctrination

A distinguished biology professor, Dean Kenyon, was forbidden to teach his course not because he taught evolutionary theory (which he did) but because he offered a critical assessment of it. Read More ›