I look at ancient cosmology. I ask questions like “Why did some people think their land was made from the testicles of a sky god? Was biology the only metaphor they had for creation, or did they simply really hate where they lived?” I’m interested what sort of explanations people used and why they used them. This leads to questions about what science is. I also look at change in culture. I’m keen on evolutionary schemes, but I’m not convinced by memes yet. I’m much happier with Jack Cohen and Ian Stewart’s concept of extelligence. There is some good work in this area, but there’s also some quite ham-fisted attempts to crudely bolt sociology and anthropology onto a biological framework. I often find this leads to people who are much more intelligent than me saying bizarre things because when they work in other disciplines they completely miss the point. This is why I’m rather excited by the Interdisciplinary Science course. The graduates won’t just be experts in biology or physics or whatever they choose. They’ll also have an idea of how to fit ideas from different disciplines together.
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