Category Archives: Philosophy

A.R. Wallace on Geology, Great Glaciers and the Speed of Evolution

When Charles Darwin published “The Origin of Species” in November 1859 geologists were still discussing the age of the earth. Deep time was an essential prerequisite to explain the recent biodiversity by gradual and slow changes in the remote past.  … Continue reading

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Newton’s Alchemy and early Geochemistry

Sir Isaac Newton (1642-1727) is today remembered for his contributions to optics, mechanics and gravity, but as a typical polymath of his time he was also interested in alchemy. And through his interest in this early predecessor of chemistry he … Continue reading

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Pseudo-science, proto-science, pre-science or just plain science?

Having posted my recent article on the history of pseudo-science and science I went off to bed. Whilst I was wrapped in the arms of Morpheus an interesting little debate was taking place on my twitter stream. One of the participants thought … Continue reading

Posted in Astrology, History, Philosophy | Leave a comment

Being wrong is not a crime; knowing what’s right and deliberately saying the wrong thing is!

Inspired or, perhaps better said, provoked by my last post mathematician and artist Edmund Harriss has written a thoughtful post on the virtues of being wrong at his blog Maxwell’s Demon. This reaction to my post has prompted me to try to explain … Continue reading

Posted in Historiography, History, Philosophy, Science | Leave a comment

Frauds, Fakes and Fossils

Almost every student of earth sciences knows the hoax perpetuated on poor Dr. Johann Bartholomäus Adam Beringer (1667-1738), often told in textbooks as warning of blind faith and argument from authority in science. However careful study of the still existing “lying … Continue reading

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Lisa commits the ‘father of’ sin.

What is wrong with the expression ‘father of’? A mild rant!

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Monday blast from the past #11 (on a Tuesday)

Who was John Ray?

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More Science than Fiction

Science-fiction stories and movies are not only entertainment for a rainy day but also mirrors of the scientific abilities, ambitions, even anxieties of a society. A short overview about tales and movies shows this evolution. The decade of 1950 to … Continue reading

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Dude, your evolutionary theory just ate my philosophy – Leopold and the evolutionary possibility of a Land Ethic

Somebody somewhere at this moment is writing a reverential essay about Aldo Leopold’s Land Ethic.  I feel a little ungenerous, I admit, to write in less than enthusiastic tones.  It seems to me though that if the land ethic, Leopold’s … Continue reading

Posted in Environmental History, Evolution, Philosophy | Leave a comment

The Ecology of Knowledge: Ecological Resilience and the Structure of Scientific Revolutions

As students of science we have all, no doubt, absorbed the lessons from the history of our disciplines that changes in thinking tend not to be meted out incrementally. The Darwinian and Wallacean account of evolutionary change through natural selection … Continue reading

Posted in Environmental History, Philosophy, Science | Leave a comment