Monday, May 28, 2007
Friday, May 11, 2007
- 'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
- Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
- All mimsy were the borogoves,
- And the mome raths outgrabe.
- "Beware the Crocoduck, my son!
- The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
- Beware the Jubjub bird, and shun
- The frumious Bandersnatch!"
Unfortunately they are not joking.
Thursday, May 10, 2007
Tuesday, May 8, 2007
Monday, May 7, 2007
Sunday, May 6, 2007
In light of the recent discussion of the topic of 'Framing Science' on the blogosphere I noticed that the experts in the field, most notably Matthew Nisbet, seemed to give the impression that the success of scientists was in no small way linked to their exposure to the public. That said, I have done a quick survey by way of our friend Google that indicates the number of hits returned after typing in a few notable scientists names - in quotation marks.
59 000 - google hits
Professor of Molecular
Co-discoverer of RNA interference technique and biological pathway.
Nobel Prize for Medicine 2006
31 800 - google hits
27 100 - google hits
Introduced the neutral theory of molecular evolution in 1968
26 700 - google hits
Determined the amino acid sequence of insulin in 1955 – Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1958
Developed dideoxy chain termination DNA sequencing technique – Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1980
16 600 - google hits
Professor of Molecular Biology at the
Developed one of the first recombinant DNA-based vaccines
Renowned expert on non-coding RNA
15,900 - google hits
Discovered that the cellular structures known as Barr bodies were in fact inactivated X chromosomes.
Pioneered the idea of evolution by gene duplication
Coined the term “junk DNA”
Wrote the 1971 landmark paper “Genetic implication of karyological instability of malignant somatic cells” describing cancer as a genetic disease and putting forward the two-hit hypothesis of mutation-induced tumors.'
9, 820 - google hits
Discoverer with Francis Crick of frame shift mutations
Advocate of C.elegans as a model system for genetic analysis
Nobel Prize in 2002
“The Goth teenager is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fashion: pierced and proud of it; a petty, unwashed, unforgiving freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty and infrequent cleanser; a misanthropic, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent oik. And have you ever listened to the music ?”
Friday, May 4, 2007
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
It has become clear over the past number of years that certain sections of society are involved in a campaign aimed at undermining the beliefs and credibility of the Christian church.
One such group, the Seattle based Discovery Institute, above all others is involved in a stealth campaign involving the spread of a blatantly anti-Christian philosophy termed the theory of ‘Intelligent Design’ .
In their own words “The theory of intelligent design holds that certain features of the universe and of living things are best explained by an intelligent cause, not an undirected process such as natural selection.” At first glance such a statement may seem innocuous enough but the underlying implications for Christian dogma are devastating.
At first glance such a statement may seem innocuous enough but the underlying implications for Christian dogma are devastating.
The identification of coded information contained in the nucleotide sequence of DNA is frequently compared by ID advocates to human derived computer code, clearly implying that the intelligent design inherent in computer coding is analogous to that seen in DNA. If one takes at face value the theory that identifying something that shows clear design means that this design must be the work of an intelligent agent then one must follow the logic through.
As recently pointed out by Nick Gisburne the problem arises due to the essential feature of all structures that we know are designed, this being that unambiguous design is an incremental process. For instance take a watch, found on a hilltop while one is out walking.
Is this structure random? No.
Is it the result of design? Yes.
Who is the designer?
Herein resides our dilemma.
A watch, in common with all other unambiguously designed structures, does not have a single designer.
It has had a multitude of designers.
In order to produce a watch one needs the accumulated inventions of countless metallurgists, glassmakers, jewellers and engineers.
And even then we need improvements to the original working model, stylistic alteration to vary its aesthetic appeal, tinkering to improve its timekeeping accuracy.
Fred Hoyle once made a comparison of a hurricane tearing through a junkyard and leaving behind a fully assembled 747 jumbo jet as an example of the improbability of complex life beginning through a random assembly of organic molecules. Carl Sagan, characteristically, turned this metaphor to his advantage by pointing out that the first plane was not, in fact a 747, but a cobbled together contraption made of cloth and bicycle parts and a home made engine that looked, not like the pinnacle of modern engineering, but pretty much resembled something thrown together by just such a storm.
Since the debut of that 1903 flyer there has been much progress in aeronautical physics and more than a few advancements in aircraft engineering and production.
Whatever else has caused the 747 to exist it surely wasn’t a single designer.
In the case of computer code we are left with the same problem. The code we find today is the result of decades of alterations and improvements by a myriad of designers starting with an original barely functional prototype code.
The design inference clearly infers the accumulated work of multiple designers.
It is plain that the Discovery Institute, in advocating a hypothesis that necessitates multiple designers, are paving the way for a polytheistic metaphysical world outlook.
Unfortunately for those Christians mistaken in their belief that the design hypothesis supports a single creator model for the origin of life, it is in reality an implicit call for the rejection of monotheistic viewpoints in favour of those such as the Hindu, Viking or Greek religions who actually have enough ‘Gods’ to carry the process to completion.
Those Discovery Institute blighters.
Have they no shame!