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my big book of little catastrophes
I ate WHAT?
another few moments of my 15 minutes 
16th-Nov-2004 04:17 pm
Yesterday Dr. Richard Dawkins was a guest on KQED's Forum call-in show. I was lucky enough to be the first caller on the show, and got to talk with Dr. Dawkins about the link between evolution and parasitism.

I hope the good Professor doesn't suffer from our conversation. Back in the 90s I called in and spoke to Carl Sagan, and he died shortly thereafter. But Dr. Sagan disagreed with my point, and Dr. Dawkins agreed, so he's probably safe.
16th-Nov-2004 07:37 pm (UTC)
neat! you'd best be careful though -- no more dead scientists, and i think you've already used more than your fifteen minutes. ;)
16th-Nov-2004 09:49 pm (UTC)

So what was your point with Sagan and with Dawkins?
16th-Nov-2004 10:31 pm (UTC)
I called to talk to Dr. Sagan about his opinions on alien civilizations. He thinks that any aliens we might encounter would be as socially and spiritually advanced as they would be technologically. My point to him was that every ecology we knew of comprised various species in competition for limited resources. I suggested that the galaxy might follow the same rules, and any alien civilizations we encounter would not be kindly disposed toward us. What can I say, I'm naturally paranoid. Dr. Sagan never quite got what I was saying, and refused to acknowledge that there might be any possibility that alien life would be hostile.

My conversation with Dr. Dawkins was about the role of parasitism in evolution. I'd heard something about that, but I wanted to hear from an authority on the topic. He agreed that parasitism seemed to be a common cause of evolutionary change, and was probably responsible for the development of sexual reproduction. I referred to Dr. Thomas Ray's work on artificial life, which Dr. Dawkins was familiar with. It was pretty fun. I miss the richness of an academic environment.
17th-Nov-2004 09:46 am (UTC)
Cool. now that you mention it, I do remember you telling the tale of your conversation with Sagan before. I think your natural paranoia is equally balanced by Sagan's over optimism.

Interesting points with Dawkins. I'm glad you had the opportunity to talk with him.
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