Archive for the science Category

BioLogos.org–seeking harmony between science and faith

Posted in Evolution, religion, science with tags , , , , , , , , , , on June 5, 2009 by airtightnoodle

Those that have read “The Language of God” by Francis Collins, former head of the Human Genome Project, will be familiar with the term “biologos”.  This is a word Collins coined to describe his perspective on evolution/science and religion as he is uncomfortable with the term “theistic evolution”. 

While I do own the aforementioned book and believe it is valuable (though more so for those of a religious persuasion that have difficulty accepting modern scientific truth), I don’t necessarily believe it was well-written.  I do applaud Collins for creating this new BioLogos Foundation, however, and hope the writing on this site will be an improvement.  The mission of the foundation, as stated on their website, is:

We believe that faith and science both lead to truth about God and creation.

The BioLogos Foundation promotes the search for truth in both the natural and spiritual realms seeking harmony between these different perspectives.

This is certainly a mission I can agree with and support, thus far.

One part of the website addresses commonly asked questions regarding faith, science, and their compatability.  For example, one of the questions addressed on the site is, “How was the Genesis creation story interpreted before Darwin?” 

I have not browsed the site in its entirety, but it is one I have bookmarked with the intent of investigating further in the near future.  I encourage others to go check it out as well.

Visit BioLogos.org.

Don McLeroy–no longer head of the SBOE

Posted in Education, Evolution, politics, religion, science, Texas with tags , , , , , , , , on May 31, 2009 by airtightnoodle

It’s a sad day in Texas.

No, wait…I’m sure it’s a sad day somewhere, but not in Texas.

On Thursday, the reappointment of Don McLeroy as head of the state board of education was blocked by Democrats of the state senate.  You may recall that McLeroy is one of the creationists on the board and has given science education a difficult time by supporting “strengths and weaknesses” and “academic freedom” movements. 

Now, don’t go crazy rejoicing just yet.  He is still a member of the board. 

It’s not often that I agree with Democrats (I realize that may shock some of you, being that at least on this one issue I do agree with them more often than the more conservative of the political arena), but I think Kirk Watson, a Democrat of Austin, summed it up nicely here:

“People have a right to be confident that the State Board of Education is putting the interests of our children above ideology, politics and everything else, including the so-called good fight.  Whether they agree with McLeroy or not, Texans simply cannot have faith in this board when it is led by a man who has so enthusiastically embraced his role in these endless culture wars.”

As a Christian, there are many things that I have a firm personal opinion on.  However, I don’t always think that those things are of the utmost importance in the political sphere, and I don’t always agree with people forcing such issues simply because they are Christian.

But I digress.  Governor Rick Perry now has the responsibility of naming someone else as chairman of the board.  Since he fully supported McLeroy, it won’t surprise me if he simply nominates another creationist on the board.  Only time will tell.

To read more about this, visit the Houston Chronicle’s article here.

Michael Shermer at the Creation Museum

Posted in age of the earth, Evolution, Genesis, religion, science with tags , , , , , , on March 23, 2009 by airtightnoodle

Michael Shermer, author of such books as The Science of Good and Evil
and Why Darwin Matters: The Case Against Intelligent Design, recently interviewed a researcher under the employment of AIG’s Creation Museum.

Here is the You Tube clip. Enjoy.

In the news…Lucy goes digital

Posted in Evolution, science with tags , , , , , , on February 7, 2009 by airtightnoodle

Lucy received some X-rays recently.Lucy

Don’t worry, folks!  The Australopithecine is ok.  A team from the University of Texas recently took some digital X-ray photos of Lucy in hopes of learning more about her internal structure.  Read more here.

Life As We Know It…well, almost

Posted in science with tags , , , , , , on January 14, 2009 by airtightnoodle

La Jolla, California…one of my favorite places on the planet…and now in the science headlines.

Researchers at the Scripps Institute have synthesized RNA enzymes that can replicate themselves.  But that’s not all.  The RNA enzymes also appeared to “breed” and even “evolve”.

Interesting stuff!  Read more about it in the news here.

Darwin 2009–Houston!

Posted in Evolution, science, Texas with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 28, 2008 by airtightnoodle

Several institutions in Houston are participating in an event called “Darwin 2009”.  Participating institutions are working together to offer events related to natural selection, evolution, and genetics.  The activities take place during 2009, which marks the bicentennial of Darwin’s birth and the sesquicentennial of the publication of “On The Origin of Species”.

A few events of interest:

  • 2/7/09–Darwin Day at the Houston Museum of Natural Science
  • 2/11/09–Politics of Teaching Evolution in Texas (panel discussion)
  • 2/24/09–Lecture by Francisco Ayala
  • And much more!

Visit http://www.darwin2009houston.org/ for more information!

Do-it-yourself genetic engineering

Posted in science with tags , , , , , on December 25, 2008 by airtightnoodle

There’s an interesting article in the news today about amateurs attempting their own genetic engineering at home.  A quick excerpt from the article:

In her San Francisco dining room lab, for example, 31-year-old computer programmer Meredith L. Patterson is trying to develop genetically altered yogurt bacteria that will glow green to signal the presence of melamine, the chemical that turned Chinese-made baby formula and pet food deadly…

…But critics of the movement worry that these amateurs could one day unleash an environmental or medical disaster. Defenders say the future Bill Gates of biotech could be developing a cure for cancer in the garage.

You can read the rest of the article here.

Merry Christmas!

Obama names picks for top science posts

Posted in environmental science, politics, science with tags , , , , , , , on December 20, 2008 by airtightnoodle

John Holdren (physicist) and Jane Lubchenco (marine biologist)  have been named to top science posts by president-elect Barack Obama.  Both are considered to be experts on climate change. 

Read more here.

The Night Before Christmas–cell style!

Posted in science with tags , , , , , , , , on December 20, 2008 by airtightnoodle

The Night before Christmas in a Cell

(found at the AP Bio list-serv)

Twas the night before Christmas and all through the cell,

Not a creature was stirring, not even an organelle.

The chromosomes were hung in nucleus with care,

In hopes that mitosis would soon take place there.

The genes were all nestled and snug in their beds,

While cells in their pj’s and vacuoles of sap,

Had just settled down for their Interphase nap.

Then in the nucleus there arose such a clatter,

The chromosomes sprang from their beds to see what was the matter.

They flew from the nucleoplasm in less than a flash,

Hit the nucleolus and made quite a crash.

 

The light on the center of the newly formed cell

Gave the excitement of metaphase to the objects beheld.

Then what to the scientist’s eye should appear,

But a division – how odd!- with a haploid now here.

With a nod, he said, “This is strange for mitosis.”

Then he knew in a moment it must be meiosis.

More rapid than eagles his excitement came,

And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

Now eggs! Now sperms! Now X’s and Y’s!

On, diploids! On, haploids! On, Gametes and XY’s!

To the top of the cell! To the top of the ball!

Now dashaway! dashaway! dashaway all.

 

Now into the middle the chromosomes flew,

With a sleigh full of Genes and DNA too.

And then in a twinkling they precisely did start,

The duplicating and changing of each little part.

As the scientist moved his head and was turning around,

Suddenly meiosis came with a bound.

They were all double up from their head to their feet

And spread through the cell in one great sheet.

And their outside were all mingled with bluish and green;

A bundle of colors was all that was seen.

The strands how they twinkled, Their movements how merry!

The reds were like roses and red as a cherry!

The small bits of black were like that of a crow,

And the white on the ends was as white as the snow.

 

The strands, still held by the centromere,

Were through crossing-over, but still very near;

Each part looked to him like a little round belly,

That would shake, if it could, like a bowl full of jelly.

They were chubby and plump, a right set of each,

And he sighed when he saw them, for none he could reach.

A quick divide and untwist of a strand

Soon let him know he’d seen nothing so grand.

 

They stopped once again, but went straight to work,

And filled all the new cells, then turned with a jerk,

And laying the membrane ‘round the nuclear glob,

And giving a nod, they finished their job.

They sprang to their sides, their teams gave a whistle,

And away they all flew like the down of a thistle.

But he heard them exclaim as they went out of sight,

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

Miller-Urey experiment revisited

Posted in science with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2008 by airtightnoodle

The famous Miller-Urey experiment, frequently attacked by creationists, appears to have produced more intriguing results than the original scientists first suspected.  The experiment is famous for producing amino acids from an apparatus filled with methane, hydrogen, and ammonia–the conditions that were once believed to represent the early Earth’s atmosphere.  Eventually these conditions were considered to be inaccurate.

Jeffrey Bada, one of Miller’s former students, found that Miller had done more work on this issue that was never published when he inherited Miller’s possessions after his death.

Miller had left samples in a box:

…from a device that spewed a concentrated stream of primordial gases over an electrical spark. It was a high-powered variation on the steady-steam apparatus that earned him fame – but unlike that device, it appeared to have produced few amino acids, and was unmentioned in his landmark 1953 Science study, “A Production of Amino Acids Under Possible Primitive Earth Conditions.”

Bada and his team analyzed these samples that Miller left behind and found no fewer than 22 amino acids.

This should comfort all the packrats out there.  Don’t throw anything away!  🙂

You can read more about this here.