Recently, I discovered that design does indeed exist in the evolution protein known as RecA. The gene that codes for this particular protein is found here, residing in the genome of Campylobacter hominis.
Archive for September, 2007
For the first time, scientists have provided concrete evidence that endosome-mediated signaling occurs in plants, not just in animals, according to a new report in Genes and Development.
"The fact that both [plants and animals] share some similarities in the endosomal signaling system means that this system is either much older than we could have ever assumed, or that plants have independently evolved the same solution to the same problem, a scenario that I favor," study author Niko Geldner of The Salk Institute in La Jolla, California, told The Scientist.
A few months ago, I demonstrated a fundamental point of confusion on the part of many critics of ID: conflation of intelligent cause with supernatural cause. Bilbo shared this essay on another forum and it elicited a couple of replies from GalapagosPete and kElvi. Since these two individuals essentially do nothing more than repeat objections floating about in the anti-ID memosphere, I suppose it's a good idea show again where such objections go astray.
Earlier, I noted that Richard Dawkins has seriously undercut Judge Jones' decision by arguing that the existence of God is indeed a scientific hypothesis. Listen to Dawkins argue that the hypothesis of a supernatural designer IS science:
The NYT article about the movie Expelled has created some buzz around the blogosphere. Here is a sample.
Recall that Richard Dawkins has identified at least two types of ID critics: the Chamberlainites and the Churchillians. Both group are culture warriors, where the Chamberlainites supposedly view only religious fundamentalists as the problem, while the Chruchillians think all the religious people ("faithheads") are the problem.
If you watch the two groups go after each other, the dispute almost always centers around tactics, not substance. In fact, Chris Mooney, a leading Chamberlainite, admits there is not much difference between the Chamberlainites and people like Richard Dawkins:
Let me explain what happened. The Chris and Matt team went into this debate with a clear strategy: Try not to fight too much over science and religion; and do not fall prey to the tyranny of small differences when basically we're on the same side as Laden and PZ about almost everything.
The Chamberlainites are "basically on the same side" on "almost everything?" Could this explain why the moment has become more than six months?
Sam Harris uses the pages of Nature to attack Francis Collins. PZ Myers uses his #1 Science Blog to attack a Yale biologist who happens to be religious. And where were the The Chamberlainites?
From ethics to pain, from engineering to Darwin Day, from SciFi to science, all with Toxic Bunnies. Where else but at Telic Thoughts! Pity your friends who don't read this site.
4. Just don't
8. SciFi and ID
[Congrats to TP for two months in a row at #1!]
For Paul's eyes only.
I see the NYT Times has given the movie Expelled some free advertising. What caught my eye was something Francis Collins said. Now, keep in mind that I like Collins, as he seems to have a lot of integrity. What's more, he is criticized by both the ID movement and the New Atheist movement. Nevertheless, he does seem to have changed his tune. In the NYT article, we read:
Mr. Ruloff also cited Dr. Francis S. Collins, a geneticist who directs the National Human Genome Research Institute and whose book, "The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief" (Simon & Schuster, 2006), explains how he came to embrace his Christian faith. Dr. Collins separates his religious beliefs from his scientific work only because "he is toeing the party line," Mr. Ruloff said.
That's "just ludicrous," Dr. Collins said in a telephone interview. While many of his scientific colleagues are not religious and some are "a bit puzzled" by his faith, he said, "they are generally very respectful." He said that if the problem Mr. Ruloff describes existed, he is certain he would know about it.
Yet consider what Collin said back in 2000:
Collins, who prays and attends church regularly, says that "In my field, biology, the standard assumption is that anyone with faith has gone soft in the head. But I don't check my brains at the door when I go to church." He finds that many scientists are biased against faith–"When a scientist describes himself as a believer, the first reaction among colleagues may be, 'How did this guy get tenure?'"–essentially for turf reasons. "Scientists are taught to believe that the data will eventually yield all answers," Collins says. "So if you tell them there are important aspects of life that cannot be understood through lab tests or data, that means their form of knowledge will always be limited, and some find that threatening."
For years, I have been trying to flesh out the conceptualization of front-loading evolution at the origin of life. A working hypothesis has been that the first cells (uni-cellular life forms) were front-loaded with information that would facilitate the evolution of multi-cellular life. One possible candidate for such front-loaded "˜information' would be the homeodomain proteins. These proteins play essential roles in metazoan development and are considered part of the developmental toolkit as outlined by biologist Sean Carroll.
A few months ago, a study was published that outlines data and arguments that perfectly resonate with my front-loading views. Let's have a look.
In previous essays, I highlighted the role that personality and serendipity has played in scientific discovery [1,2]. What's most significant is the relationship between these variables and the population size of the investigative community. A large population of investigators will likely display more diversity of personalities and more often reap the benefits of serendipity. This explains why science functions best as a community.
Yet there are other benefits that come from a community.
[Tell me More]
Should it be a surprise to anyone that it took European bureaucrats to come up with an 11,700-word document to say that science is good, creationism is bad, and thus creationism should be kept out of the science classroom?
Not surprisingly, the bureaucrats think ID = creationism (yet complain creationism is contradictory because ID accepts evolution) and represents a threat to democracy:
the Parliamentary Assembly is worried about the possible ill-effects of the spread of creationist ideas within our education systems and about the consequences for our democracies. If we are not careful, creationism could become a threat to human rights which are a key concern of the Council of Europe.
Borrowing a page from George Bush's war strategy, the champions for human rights declare a preemptive strike:
Investigation of the creationists' growing influence shows that the arguments between creationism and evolution go well beyond intellectual debate. If we are not careful, the values that are the very essence of the Council of Europe will be under direct threat from creationist fundamentalists. It is part of the role of the Council's parliamentarians to react before it is too late.
Thank goodness they acted before it was "too late," as that ever growing Creationist Threat(iness) is always on the constant march.
But this made me wonder if the Champions for Science and Civilization had written at least 10% the number of words warning about the threat from extreme animal rights groups. After all, it is in a European country where construction workers must hide their identity because they dare build a science lab. So I did some Googling and couldn't find where the Council of Europe has defended science against the animal rights extremists.
But hey, I did find this.