I’m the one sitting on the beach, reading about the philosophy of science

Family holiday time this week (from the 9th to the 16th of January) up in sunny/windy/rainy Merimbula, a coastal town in New South Wales, less than 100km from the Victorian border. It took us about eight hours to drive here from Melbourne – a couple more and we could have reached Canberra, and a few more after that and we’d be in Sydney. But capital cities are far too busy and noisy for my holiday tastes, so quiet coastal town it is.

The Merimbula back beach. Note the overcast skies - it had been raining a few hours previous.

I have a confession though: I really hate beaches. Sand is annoying and gets in your shoes and clothes, swimming is overrated, and sunburn and my skin go together like a cliché and a bad writer. So, to protest my being forced to spend time around them, I’ll just be reading some of the numerous books I’ve acquired, both recently and a while ago. The priority at the moment is Stephen C. Meyer’s Signature in the Cell, which was sent to me in March last year by Paul Nelson.

Analysing Signature has actually been rather easier than I initially thought it would be. Not to spoil the eventual review, but the book reads like an autobiography crossed with a popular science book crossed with an undergraduate philosophy essay. I don’t say this to be inflammatory (although doubtlessly it will be perceived as such – hello Evolution News & Views, if you’re reading), it’s legitimately what I thought whilst reading it again, in the unfamiliar, yet architectural, kitchen of our rented holiday house. Meyer lays out his entire argument within the first twenty pages (something that was supposed to be saved for only two chapters much, much further in) and then spends the rest of the book regaling the reader with personal anecdotes, unsound analogies and plenty of rhetoric.

Signature in the Cell on the right, my trusty notebook on the left.

But enough about Signature. I’m not sure if I’ll get the review done this week, because there’s just so much questionable material in there – plus, I have at least four other books of interest to sink my teeth into. Oh, and potentially some beach walking too, if my family really wants to be mean to me.

Various echinoderms, cnidarians and algae clinging to rocks at the Merimbula Bar Beach. Biology!

So, I’ll be posting regularly after I get back. Internet access is weirdly sporadic up here, and it’s been pretty difficult to even get this simple post up. Hopefully I’ll also have some exciting things to announce after I get back, too, with any luck.

Now, you must excuse me, I have to see a man about a barbecue…

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