22 July 2005

Quoted for truth

The Panda's Thumb is one of my favourite blogs, because it deals with evolutionary biology, and non-scientific alternatives to it, primarily intelligent design (ID). I loved this quote by Jason Rosenhouse, who is reporting on a recent creationist conference:

You know what scientists do when confronted with nature's complexity? First they spend five years or more in graduate school, living in near-poverty, having no life, studying all the time while being used as cheap labor by the university, just to get a PhD. Then they go out into a job market that presents the very real possibility of unemployment as the reward for all that hard work. If they're lucky they'll land a post-doc, and bounce around the country for a while struggling to find a permanent position. Even if they are lucky enough to land a permanent position they could very well find themselves in some two by nothing town in the middle of nowhere. They spend years trying to get a research program off the ground, scrapping for grant money, and fighting with ornery referees to get their research published. ...

And why do they do that? They do it because they know that's what it takes if you want to understand nature's complexity just a little bit better. That's what it takes to make the tiniest dent in the sum total of human ignorance.

Perhaps I like this quote because it so closely parallels my own experiences.

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