Thursday, May 3, 2007

Time 100

The latest Time 100 list of 100 men and women whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world is out.

Richard Dawkins made the list at number 73. The interesting thing about this, other than the fact that he's clearly making an impact in bringing the debate about religion to the mainstream, is that the writeup on him was by Michael Behe, one of the leading proponents of intelligent design. Here's a quote:

It is a measure of the artful way Dawkins, 66, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Oxford, tells a tale and the rigor he brings to his thinking that even those of us who profoundly disagree with what he has to say can tip our hats to the way he has invigorated the larger debate.
While the piece was by and large respectful, I have to call him on this point: Debate? There's a debate? Only in his mind and the minds of his cronies at the Discovery Institute. Evolution is the single most tested theory in science, and while there's certainly healthy debate as to some of the mechanisms at the detail level, no-one with any standing in the scientific community disagrees that process of Evolution is a fact.

Even more impressively, Dawkins made #3 on the Time poll of readers. Now, part of this may have been due to a concerted effort by fans to vote (Rain #1 anybody? Sanjaya #6? Who's Dane Cook?), but it's clearly a statement that he's now well know out in the real world. It's a positive sign, I think.

I'll have more comments about the rest of the list later, but these are the "scientists and thinkers" who caught my attention (not a creationist among them!!):
  • Al Gore (politician)
  • Neil deGrasse Tyson (astronomer)
  • Lisa Randall (Physicist, Harvard)
  • John Mather (astrophysicist)
  • Svante Paabo (evolutionary biologist)
  • Paul Allen (ex-microsoft founder, philanthropist)
  • Frans de Waal (primatologist)
Most of these folks are doing real, important science, or popularizing science and inspiring the next generation - a vital role in today's climate (excuse the pun). I'll talk about each in more detail in the next posts.

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