Steve Steve Down Under

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G’Day mate! Struth! Crack open a tinnie and chuck another bamboo shoot on the barbie, she’ll be right! As you can see, I’ve mastered the local dialect, or ‘Strine’, pretty quickly thanks to my strong linguistics background. Parted company with that Wilkins fellow in Canberra. He can philosophise at the drop of a hat, but can’t read a bus time table to save his life! After 3/4 of an hour actualizing the concept of the non-bus, I left him contemplating the concept of the taxi. I hear he made it hope, but goodness knows how. My primary reason for being in Canberra was to visit with a couple of t.oers from the “good old days” of (when t.oers were really geeks, Ted was really Ted, and communication was via pigeon), Chris Nedin and Jim Foley. I left the Wilkins at the taxi rank and went to visit with Chris Nedin (pictured below), where a welcome, and generous, glass of fine Irish whiskey was waiting to fight off the winter chill (panda fur only goes so far you know).


Chris used to be a palaeontologist, but I won’t hold it against him (he couldn’t have been very good because he can’t even spell it correctly). Of course I gave my opinions regarding the standing of palaeontology within the more rarefied biological sciences. I’m sure my point was taken, although the Irish whiskey refills became rarer after that. However, it soon became clear why I was here, as an outbreak of ID suddenly occurred. One minute everything was fine and dandy and tinged with Irish whiskey, suddenly uneducated Education Ministers and newspaper religion journalists were out singing the praises of ID, as only the scientifically uneducated can. Even the local public broadcaster was falling over themselves to give a plug to ID. Clearly, this country needs a good talking to on the subject of ID that only a panda of my standing can deliver. However, I am a guest in the country, so for the moment I will leave the educating to that nice Dr Musgrave in Adelaide. However, as luck would have it, this week is Science Week here, and there is one event that I, as a graduate of the U of E and a contributor to PandasThumb, must attend - Science in the Pub! More to follow.

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Panda's Thumb Updates from Dispatches from the Culture Wars on September 15, 2005 2:54 PM

I've been remiss in keeping up with events at the Panda's Thumb, the group science blog I helped found a year and a half ago. I'm happy to say that it has become one of the blogosphere's most widely read.... Read More


How about a visit to Brisbane, Professor Steve Steve, while you’re in Oz? You’ll find the weather warmer up here than in miserable Canberra! And if a panda had a sweet tooth then there is plenty of sugar cane just up the road. I’m sure that we could sort out a seminar or two for you to talk at - we could even invite Carl Wieland. I hear that he has a theory or two on how koalas made it here after the flood, which I’m sure that you could add too.


Just don’t mention the cricket. I did but I think I got away with it…

Aye, if you visit Adelaide I would love to see you to talk about the troubles of back home, I’m from Boston. Glad you have had fun down under.…just remember…leave the women alone, it would be unfair of you to hit on them…you have an accent, your smart, and soft and cuddly…how am I supposed to compete with that?!?!

Welcome to Australia. I take it you may be using public transport, but if not, careful regards drinking and driving, especially if you are accustomed to driving on the wrong side of the road. Keep away from me, will you, if you come direct out of that pub and get direct behind the wheel? Now that you are here you might look at the Australian Site that terminated the Origins Debate (back in 2,000) and which is now developing the first directly downloadable teaching lessons which enable teaching of the unfolding of life without idealogical rancour whilst addressing the hitherto unaddressed questions. Our science-minded Federal Education Minister, Dr. B. Nelson, has wisely given an implicit green light in matters such as these, although he can scarcely be expected to publically endorse anything more specific than general enquiry in such an emotive field. In the interests of educating us antipodeans, would you be good enough to specifically name any errors in fact or shortcomings in presentation at I specifically have need of advice re. the exact chain of events at species transformation (see Explanatorium);and in an unrelated field I have not come to a full understanding of why Entropy is measured in heat content per degree Kelvin. (See Why the Universe Can’t Make a Rose.)

Other things you might consider whilst here: you might visit the Australian Sceptics Society, an organization which finds itself unable to find any words when addressed by me on this topic (and that may be a sign of wisdom on their part): the Australian Science Teachers’ Association, which appears to be in the same boat as the Sceptics; and the Australian Museum, which completes a mute trio. I further take the liberty of suggesting you research while you are here the works and manners of the late and lamented Prof. Dorothy Hill, a contributor to THE TREATISE ON INVERTEBRATE PALAEONTOLOGY, (was that edited by Moore, Lallicker and Fischer?)probably Australia’s greatest anatomist operating in that field. Find out if she could do world-class palaeontology with or without putting in a plug for Neo-Darwinism at every opportunity.

Yes, it’s a drought-stricken and topographically worn-down old country, and it does have some educated inhabitants. The ones who admit they don’t know anything I have found to be the most intelligent. Make sure you re-visit the remarkable platypus. P.H..

I don’t suppose you’ll be coming to Western Australia? I’d love to show you around the University of WA and talk about our native flora. Did you know we have a globally recognized biodiveristy hotspot here?

I don’t have a TV so i didn’t see our Education Minister making comments about ID. It is good that he recognized that discussion of ID does not belong in science classes. I still hate him (and the rest of the Australian governent) for what he has done to Australia education funding. I am heading to Canberra in three weeks for an awards night dinner he was supposed to be attending. I have just found out he won’t be there, luckily for him.

Dear Prof. Steve Steve,

Would you care to exchange some frequent flyer miles for Bamboo ?


That Irish whiskey induced frozen smile will be seen as yet again vindicating: “How can Nedin be trusted?”!

The way creationists seem to be targetting politicians rather than biologists lately seems oddly like the way scientology targets celebrities rather than psychiatrists. It’s still creepy hearing about it making waves in non-US countries.

Dr Heywood, knock yourself out. In general though the CreationTheory site a.) lacks a scientific theory and b.) has a very confused, seemingly saltational view of evolution.

Speaking of very confused, the coelacanth is a ‘living fossil’ in the sense that the two known contemporary species belong to a very old subclass, previously thought to be extinct. It isn’t because they’re the same species as their extinct relative (in fact they belong to a different family) with identical DNA and morphology. The fish alive today are as ‘ancient’ as you and I; comparing DNA complexity between modern Coelacanth and anything else would prove nothing about the genetic complexity of the Cretaceous fish. The deep homology between their DNA and other animals, and the fact that their DNA is going to be more similar to other fish than to mammals or birds, should suggest a few things to you.

And Dr Hill didn’t talk much about biology at all, which is why she didn’t mention evolution much; she was a geologist first and foremost. Your comments remind me of the way creationists used to talk about David Attenborough before they bothered him one time too often and he spent several documentaries discussing how evolution had shaped entire ecosystems.


This doesnt have anything to do with the post but I didn’t know where else to put it. Must see TV The Daily Show with Jon Stewart on Comedy Central all this week “Evolution-Schmevolution” an investigative report.

Hey, don’t shock people like that, someone came up with what could be a usefull piece of information. Keep it up. I’m not a Dr., only an amateur. Prof. Hill to my knowledge did what I say above - describe fossils, with the skill of a surgeon. To describe once-living animals requires expertize in biology. An amateur sees that. Her opinion re. what shaped “entire ecosystems” I can’t say, because she didn’t try to control other people’s thinking with her view of the world. The serious student of will bye-and-bye see that Attenborough’s observations (as distinct from his personal religion, whatever it is) are compatible with Owen’s UPDATED Archetype Notion. Go ahead and ask Attenborough, if he’s still around. While you’re at it, bring Galileo, Newton, Joule, Thompson & co. back from the grave and ask them whether they should “knock themselves on the head” because they were “creationist”? However there is a statement that stands the test of objective investigation; the living Coelacanths to my limited knowledge are classified different species to fossil forms: if so, how much difference is there between them and their nearest fossil relatives? Is their any doubt that they are not the same as the Devonian rellies? Do these living reps. have any known fossil record? Thanks.

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I’m not a Dr., only an amateur.

Um, then why on earth should anyone pay any attention at all to your uneducated uninformed opinion on the matter?

In the interests of educating us antipodeans, would you be good enough to specifically name any errors in fact or shortcomings in presentation at

Philip. You’ve bowled six times - and a wide, every one of them it’s been. Sorry it’s time to get off the field. We don’t enjoy scoring sixes off lousy bowling. You could try a grubber if you want to stop us from scoring.

I hope you’re having a good time Down Undah, those two are definitely enjoyable company and good conversation.

It’s spelled “strewth,” by the way, do not let our funny dialects confuse you.

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This page contains a single entry by Prof. Steve Steve published on September 13, 2005 12:16 AM.

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