Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Edinburgh, Scotland

This is our first visit to Scotland. We rented an apartment in the top floor of this house in the middle of the city. It's a 20 minute walk to the port (Leith) and about the same distance to the old city (Edinburgh).


We'll be staying for two weeks in Scotland.

Our first meal in Scotland was at a pub in "the shore" near the main port.



64 comments :

  1. Make sure you eat salmon - IMHO, Scottish salmon is the best in the world.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You forget that I'm from Canada. I've eaten salmon from British Columbia. ;-)

      Delete
    2. I, too, have eaten BC salmon but still hold out for the Scottish variety.

      Delete
    3. To all those singing the praises of BC and Scottish salmon - then why is Nova (Scotia) lox the most expensive?

      Delete
  2. There's a good bus system too. And lots of very fine evolutionary biologists at the University of Edinburgh.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We're learning about the buses ... bought weekly passes. Charles Darwin went to the University of Edinburgh.

      Yesterday we took a bus tour and saw several of the buildings designed by William Henry Playfair, my wife's ancestor.

      Delete
  3. Larry,

    Can you tell your audience about what convinced you the most to become an evolutionary biologist and an atheist?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I am not an evolutionary biologist. I'm a biochemist/molecular biologist with an interest in evolution.

      I did not "become" an atheist. I was never convinced to believe in any of the gods. I was born an atheist, just like everyone else, and never changed. It's believers who "become" theists after being convinced by others (usually parents) that one of the gods is real.

      Delete
    2. "I am not an evolutionary biologist. I'm a biochemist/molecular biologist with an interest in evolution.
      Pardon me for making an observation but what gives you the authority to challenge evolutionary biologists at the Royal Society Meeting since you are not even an expert on evolutionary biology? I'm just curious.

      "I did not "become" an atheist. I was never convinced to believe in any of the gods. I was born an atheist, just like everyone else, and never changed. It's believers who "become" theists after being convinced by others (usually parents) that one of the gods is real.

      I was born neutral, I believe. I didn't know people are born with a belief system in their genes or something. (I think that if you can prove this claim, you will get more than a Noble Prize.)


      I can't seem to remember my beliefs being challenged (whatever they were) until my uncle turned out to be a santa...

      My parents were sort of religious but they let me research and make up my own mind and my beliefs.

      You seem to be saying that you have 'never been convinced to believe in any gods' so you settled on one of the alternatives-atheism. Why not on other alternative (s)? There are more. Why haven't you settle on one of those?

      Since you are not an expert in evolutionary biology, you took 2 risks to make up your mind about your beliefs without checking them out, it seems. Why?

      Delete
    3. Velhovsky,

      Atheism is neither a belief, nor a belief system. Gods have to be described to someone before they can start believing in them. That's why the natural state is atheism. People aren't born with beliefs in anything they're yet to learn about or to encounter.

      I wonder why some creationists have such a hard time understanding something this simple.

      Delete
    4. @ Velhovsky

      Many of the arguments of the people at this conference (few of whom are even scientists, never mind evolutionary biologists) are based on biochemistry and molecular biology, Larry's area of expertise. Their understanding of these topics appear to be woefully inadequate, so Larry is quiet within his rights to correct them.

      Delete
    5. Slight correction: It may not be that only a few of them are scientists, but a number of them are philosophers, so by your reasoning they should have nothing to say about evolutionary biology.

      Delete
    6. Velhovsky asks,

      Pardon me for making an observation but what gives you the authority to challenge evolutionary biologists at the Royal Society Meeting since you are not even an expert on evolutionary biology? I'm just curious.

      There are very few evolutionary biologists at this meeting. Those few who are evolutionary biologists don't seem to have a very good understanding of evolutionary theory. (Doug Futuyma is an exception.)

      I don't have a very good track record when I challenge real experts in evolutionary biology. (Read this blog.) I'm not very worried since the real experts aren't showing up at this meeting.

      BTW, do you have the same qualms about other non-experts like Michael Behe, Bill Dembski, and Stephen Meyer?

      Delete
    7. What are your parameters to define who is a expert on the matter ?

      Delete
    8. "What are your parameters to define who is a expert on the matter?"

      How about personal preference?

      Delete
    9. Larry,

      The meeting is about the extending of the evolutionary theory. Who do you think is going to show up there? Firefighters?

      Delete
    10. lutesuite,

      If Larry is an expert in the field or sub-field, why wasn't he invited? I have a friend who got invited. He could be considered and expert but he is definitely not an evolutionary biologist.

      Delete
    11. photosynthesis,

      Don't lecture me on what atheism is and is not! OK? I very well know what it is and what it should be. If you have a problem with the comprehension of the official definition and the reality of atheism, complain to wiki. I won't.

      Delete
    12. "BTW, do you have the same qualms about other non-experts like Michael Behe, Bill Dembski, and Stephen Meyer?
      Why would you even mention those people? To make you feel better? How about more secure? Those men mean nothing to me in the relation to the subject we have been discussing. If you feel they are, give me a really good reason because I don't really now who they are. Am I supposed to know them? Why?

      Delete
    13. Velhovsky,

      The entry in wikipedia starts with these words:

      Atheism is, in the broadest sense, the absence of belief in the existence of deities.

      Other definitions follow, but that should suffice to make my point.

      If we search with google this comes out at the very top:

      disbelief or lack of belief in the existence of God or gods.

      See you little imbecile? Since atheism is a lack or absence of belief it cannot be a belief, and it cannot be a belief system.

      If you have a problem with an atheist explaining to you why it is not a belief or a belief system, or why atheism is the default position, take it with your own ass.

      Delete
    14. Velhovsky

      ahm...

      look at our friends nice quote mine. Then wiki goes on with this:

      "In an even narrower sense, atheism is specifically the position that there are no deities ".

      And THAT is a belief.

      https://borne.wordpress.com/tag/lack-of-belief/

      Absence of belief is not a position. It’s a passive psychological state. Strong atheism is position, it is achosen position, not the natural one. Atheism, as denial of reality, is a form of insanity, therefore it is doubtful we will ever cease having to deal with atheist nonsense.

      In my book, a good biologist, one that specially deals with origins, must also be a good philosopher, which is able to

      1. to practice good science, and be able to advance scientific discoveries

      2. extract the best possible inferences in regard of where the scientific evidence leads to , when it comes to origins.

      I have yet to see ONE good reason based on the scientific evidence that leads to natural mechanisms as best explanation of origins of the natural world, therefore biologists that infer naturalism are bad philosophers. But when the prejudice and bias is set, and only one outcome is desired, can we expect much rational thought and sane judgement ? Unfortunately not.

      And that is what we see here. Good arguments are replaced with name calling, pseudo science, just so stories, and Dunning Kruger effects on a serial basis. Sad. Really sad.



      Delete
    15. Despite OG's extensive verbage, for many athiests, "a lack of belief in deities" is an accurate and sufficient statement to describe their own attitudes. And athiests should know what they think better than OG does.

      Delete
    16. Otangelo,

      As bwilson295 said.

      Also, seems like you think that a "narrower sense" trumps the broadest sense of a word. You seem to think that "narrower sense" means that such is the one and only meaning of a word.

      You're authentically an idiot.

      Delete
  4. While in Edinburgh, do not under any circumstances miss the National Museum. Or the haggis.

    ReplyDelete
  5. The most disappointing part about Larry's statements is his mindset and beliefs. What struck me the most was that he never, ever said that he found evidence for the origins of life (even some), molecular evolution and the the evolution of species that ultimately convinced him that there are not gods because there is no need for them. And I can name names with the same views. How is this nonsense allowed in the civilized society? Who pays for it and, most of all, why?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Velhovsky was MOST disappointed that Larry didn't say what V wanted and expected. What a disappointment! Larry was an athiest before he studied evolution. So sad! (Sad for V.)

      Delete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. There's a few notable statues of local lads. Google will guide you. James Clerk Maxwell, David Hume, Adam Smith and....Sherlock Holmes(his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, doesn't get this honour).

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Also:
      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_public_art_in_Edinburgh

      I quite liked the one of Sir James Young Simpson (chloroform anaesthesia) when I say it.

      Delete
    2. My wife descends from the Playfair family. We're going to see the statue of William Henry Playfair (architect) and we've already been to the observatory on Calton Hill to see the observatory and memorial to John Playfair, the mathematician and professor at the University of Edinburgh.

      Saw Hume ... didn't rub his toe.

      Delete
    3. Don't know how fit you feel but it's possible to walk to the top of Arthur's seat. The view is magnificent. An easier alternative is Blackford Hill (2 miles to the south next to the Royal Observatory). My father in law strolled to the top when he was 80.

      Delete
    4. A few words about James Clerk Maxwell (having just watched a documentary on his life). Physicists know who he is but he's almost unknown to the wider public. Even on the streets of Edinburgh (as the documentary demonstrated). In 1865 he published "A Dynamical Theory of the Electromagnetic Field". This predicted the existence of an electromagnetic field and electromagnetic waves. His equations actually predicted the speed of propagation of the electromagnetic field - 300,000 km/s. This matched the speed of light (which was known) and he concluded that light was an electromagnetic wave. It was twenty years later (after Maxwell's death) that Hertz detected electromagnetic waves outside the spectrum of light.
      Einstein said he was the greatest physicist after Newton.

      Delete
  8. Bon voyage Laurence,

    We haven't met before. I may join in here as the circus progresses to Nov. 7-9. At least it gets you further away from that other one in N. America, if not (yet) onto Continental Europe - BREXIT looms (e.g. making Horizons 2020 grant apps now).

    "You forget that I'm from Canada. I've eaten salmon from British Columbia. ;-)"

    Yes to salmon. And I'm from British Columbia. ;-)

    But I don't think we'll make dialogue or identity into any kind of competition here, will we?

    I'll be mainly interested in Day 3 of that event, so that is in the record from 1st post here on Toronto Larry's (if I may?) Sandwalk.

    ReplyDelete
  9. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love Tantallon, my favorite ruined castle. If you're willing to go considerably further north, the Highand Wildlife Park is excellent. Considerably further south, there's York Minster and Hadrian's Wall. I also understand there are a few distilleries here and there, if that sort of thing is to your taste.

      Delete
  10. @Larry: are you reading your work email? I told a U of Edinburgh faculty member about your being in town and he sent you a message.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes. I replied. The copy to you bounced for some reason.

      Delete
    2. Hoping you got my email too. Happy to point you to places.

      Delete
  11. Replies
    1. Well, we now know how many Germans felt in 1933. It's Germany 1933 in the USA.

      Delete
  12. Why? Do you really believe that if Clinton won the 46.5 million poorest Americans would get off the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program?
    Would the banks not be allowed to damage the US economy by $ 19.2 trillion or more again as they did in 2008?

    You are not naive enough to believe that you live in a democracy do you?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. It is quite clear that, as a result of the election, the science denying Fascist ignoramuses have taken over. 1933 Germany repeated in 2016.

      Delete
    2. colnado80:

      proponents of intelligent design/creationism do not deny science. We deny the assertion that natural mechanisms explain best the origin of life, biological complexity, biodiversity, irreducible complex structures found in cells, various information/instructional codes stored in the cell etc. etc.

      We believe science has unraveled a lot of things that were unimagined 100 years ago, and today point OVERWHELMINGLY towards =====>>> INTELLIGENT DESIGN, AND CREATION !!!


      Delete
    3. The scientific method according to Intelligent Design Creationism: Write down your faith-based beliefs in GREAT, BIG CAPITAL LETTERS, followed by LOTS OF EXCLAMATION POINTS !!!!!! Ignore the criticism of those who actually understand the scientific method. Repeat ad nauseum.

      Delete
    4. Reply Otangelo Grasso

      Some people believe that the earth is flat and that it is the center of the universe. Beliefs without evidence are piffle. I don't believe in evolution, I accept the conclusions of the experts in the field, of which you are not one.

      In addition to vice-president elect Pence being a young earth creationist, he also denies the link between cigarette smoking and lung cancer. Dumbkopf Donald is a global climate change denier and is also an anti-vaxer.

      The science denial of these clowns is frightening and dangerous.

      Delete
    5. colnado80

      the experts i take reference of refute the claim that mere aleatorial mutations, and natural selection, explain biodiversity.

      The difference between you and me is, despite the fact that i have no formal credentials, i have studied and educated myself in regard of the real mechanisms of biological complexity, and where it comes from, and this study has led me to different conclusions, than the ones held by the ones like you, that adopt a blind belief, usually based on no study and understanding at all, and think because X says Y, it must be true. Just because X has a Dr. or PhD. in front ot its name. I suggest you google following:

      Where Do Complex Organisms Come From?

      and educate yourself about the REAL mechanisms that explain biodiversity.......


      Delete
    6. the experts i take reference of refute the claim that mere aleatorial mutations, and natural selection, explain biodiversity.

      That's because the people you take to be "experts" are only slighly less ignorant and stupid than you are. There are exceptions, however, when you misunderstand something that an actual expert writes so that you think it supports your religious preconceptions.

      Basically, you're too stupid to understand the science you try to write about, and too prideful to educate yourself. As a result, you continue to make yourself a laughing stock.

      Delete
    7. Re Grasso

      The "experts" you take reference of present no evidence supporting the existence of a "designer". There entire shtick consists of arguments such as the one you present that mutations + natural selection and/or random genetic drift are inadequate to explain the diversity of life that we observe. This is nothing but an argument from ignorance. All the proponents of this nonsense have a religious agenda. The real scientists who do research on evolution have no such agenda regardless if they are atheists like Prof. Moran or theists like Ken Miller.

      The history of the scientific revolution demonstrates conclusively what Laplace said 200+ years ago. He had no need of the god hypothesis to explain the stability of the Solar System and evolutionary biologists have no need of the god hypothesis to explain the diversity of life.

      Delete
    8. This comment has been removed by the author.

      Delete
    9. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    10. mere aleatorial mutations

      Because the words "random" or "chance" just don't sound scientific enough for someone who's trying to impress.

      Delete
    11. Hey Otangelo,
      you wrote "I suggest you google following:

      Where Do Complex Organisms Come From? "

      Scientists look for scientific literature and references in pubmed.

      Perhaps you could try your search into *real* scientific literature, not the anti-science/ religious stuff you find via google.

      Delete
    12. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

      Delete
    13. Good old Larry vandalizing and deleting my posts, without justification.... zzzz...

      If it was because it was off topic, what about if you be at least fair, and do it with all ??!!

      But name calling keeps going strong and is just fine.
      Specially, when its directed towards proponents of ID.

      Isn't it, Larry !!??

      Delete
  13. Hey, Larry ----- friends have alerted me to a whole lot of tosh being broadcasted by evnews.com about what's been going on at the Royal Soc meeting.

    I wasn't there for the last day, but took copious notes for the first two days, so let me know if there's anything you'd like to have backed up.

    ReplyDelete
  14. The last day marks the appropriate anthropic advance over 'just naturalism'. It's more important on the humanist level. So, 'naturalists' (natural scientists) should properly take a back seat on such days, thankfully for humanity. That is, if any sense of proper proportion was found at the meeting...

    ReplyDelete
  15. Hey professor Moran!

    I think that most of visitors here on your blog are eagerly awaiting your assessment of the Royal Society Meeting you've just attended. I know I am.

    From what I gather the RSM neither provided an extension to Neo-Darwinian theory of evolution nor any novelty (mechanism) by which macroevolution could be explained. What are your thoughts on that? I'm very curious of your opinion as you seem to be one of very few people I know of who neither favours Darwinism nor creationism.
    Please provide us with your feedback, if you can.

    Thanks.

    BTW: I have heard that one thing was establish amongst the majority @RSM; no God or gods are going to be implemented into the "Third Way Philosophy" shall we call it.

    ReplyDelete
  16. BTW: How was your Scotland trip? Did you enjoy the fish and chips? They looked good.

    ReplyDelete