Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Another Oxford Urban Legend Debunked

Debunked by J. R. Lucas, here.   Compare his treatment of the Anscombe Legend here.  I have corrected the link.

8 comments:

David B Marshall said...

Steven Gould actually sifted out the story quite fairly in an essay he wrote some time ago. Oxford historian of science Allan Chapman also goes over it in our book, Faith Seeking Understanding, which came out last fall.

Jim S. said...

The links are to the same article.

Tor Hershman said...

How about the urban theory of Hay Zeus that's put outta the race by this vid...
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dLGJXo8gshg

A gas truly, yes/no?

Cale B.T. said...

Another myth:

The author of "Fred Hoyle: A Life in Science" says that Hoyle never actually coined the term "Big Bang" as one of derision.

B. Prokop said...

Have to disagree with Cale. Fred Hoyle did indeed coin "Big Bang" as a term of derision. He went on to say (of the theory): "It is an irrational process that cannot be described in scientific terms … [nor] challenged by an appeal to observation."

To his credit, Hoyle later changed his mind, and accepted the observational evidence for the Standard Cosmological Model (the actual name for what is popularly called the "Big Bang"). And still later, he reputed his life-long atheism, after concluding that the universe demonstrated evidence of design.

Cale B.T. said...

Hi Bob. As far as I can remember, I don't think that the author was claiming that Hoyle wasn't opposed to the Standard Cosmological Model, or even that he didn't coin the phrase, but that he wasn't using it as an insult when he did so.

Edward T. Babinski said...

Vic, "Debunked" is a strong word to use when referring to the Huxley Wilberforce exchange, as if anyone believes a single debate, let alone a single rejoinder was enough to prove the truth of evolution.

I read a research paper that tried to determine the exact words of Wilberforce and Huxley's exact words in exchange, and there were several varieties, but they all have the good bishop Wilberforce implying something about someone's simian ancestry and Huxley making a joke in return.

As for Hooker believing his speech was more powerful or that it moved more people than Huxley's, I suppose every speaker imagines or likes to imagine their speech moved people more.

I also suppose that in Huxley's case if he didn't have as loud a voice as Hooker, people might have been quieter and reacted less robustly during Huxley's speech so they could hear his less robust voice rather than risk drowning it out. But in either case, it appears to be been a sort of brouhaha for its day, and both sides imagined they performed relatively well, as in debates today.






Edward T. Babinski said...

Vic, As for the other lecture by this fellow, the one about C. S. "Lewis' warnings" about the future of humanity, isn't someone always warning about the future? Look at Brave New World, 1984, Cyberpunk, dystopian novels, fears that humanity is texting itself into ignoramus-ville, and all the negative environmental, population and agricultural related calamities headed our way per the scientific literature.

Ancient Near Easterners had their warnings, every prophet or reformer within every religion traditions had their warnings to shout. A thousand different religions warn us today not to dare join the others.

And in this flesh and blood cosmos, humanity is a very young species and many not last even as long as the dinosaurs did. Other stars and planets will surely remain spinning when this one is long gone.

We live on the quaking surface of a teensy planet, a sitting duck in a cosmic shooting gallery, with extinctions being the rule rather than the exception.