One of the banes of my existence are new earth creationists. Another wrench has just gotten thrown into one of their arguments, and science, as it always has, proves that an all seeing, all knowing magical being with all power isn’t needed to explain the order of the cosmos. I have had the chance to converse with a multitude of people all of whom believe that the world was created around six thousand years ago. One of their pillar arguments is the existence of life, claiming that a divine spark is needed to give matter….life. In the last few years, scientist have been able to play the role of god and create the building blocks of life in a test tube. They created RNA base pairs by and through chemical processes; these RNA strands were able to replicate and more importantly mutate (key ingredients of life).
Unfortunately, for the replication to occur, scientists had to assist the splitting of the RNA pairs by adding enzymes to their environment. Now scientists have been able to achieve synthetic life that self replicates. They did this through several complex procedures, and they used an already existing cell structure. While not creating life completely from scratch, we are so close we can taste it, and we are doing it without magic or god.
These videos and picture are among the most beautiful things I have ever seen—they really speak to the transhumanist in me. As learn more about other animals, we are constantly having to redefine what makes us humans unique.
The second clip is from the PBS documentary Ape Genius. Watch it, and watch it soon.
And finally, here is a haunting picture of chimps mourning the death of their friend “Dorothy.”
I just got this email from the computer science mailing list:
This Friday, the College of Science is hosting Dr. Robert Lang, who
will be visiting USU to talk about the connections between
mathematics, science and art through origami folding. Robert is a graduate of Caltech in engineering and applied physics, and the recipient of their Distinguished Alumni Award.
While he is here on campus, we’ve arranged for some informal time for students and faculty to visit with Robert and talk about his career and current activities. It should be of interest to students and faculty alike. Please join us:
—> Dr. Robert J. Lang
—> FRIDAY, 2 April 2010
—> 3:00 – 4:30pm
—> College of Science Conference Room, ESLC 245D
On the much cited phrases in the leaked e-mails—”trick” and “hiding the decline”—the Committee considers that they were colloquial terms used in private e-mails and the balance of evidence is that they were not part of a systematic attempt to mislead.
Insofar as the Committee was able to consider accusations of dishonesty against CRU, the Committee considers that there is no case to answer.
The Committee found no reason in this inquiry to challenge the scientific consensus as expressed by Professor Beddington, the Government Chief Scientific Adviser, that “global warming is happening [and] that it is induced by human activity”. But this was not an inquiry into the science produced by CRU and it will be for the Scientific Appraisal Panel, announced by the University on 22 March, to determine whether the work of CRU has been soundly built.
We may have one-third less oil globally than previously thought.
The Telegraph reports that OPEC (the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) over-reported their reserves in the 80′s. This means that world oil reserves, previously thought to range from 1,150bn to 1,350bn (billion barrels) may actually be between 850 and 900 billion barrels. Supply could outstrip demand for oil as soon as 2014, especially considering Asia’s growing thirst for oil.
Also, many public statistics have started to incorporate unusual sources whose costs are uncertain, such as shale and tar sands. These sources may never be economically sound to develop.
Professor Kleiner for some time now has presented us student atheists a challenge to explain morality in non theological bases. In the video by Sam that was just posted by Jon it talks about how some things are more morally acceptable than others and that there does exist a basic moral right. The problem I have with the video is that it doesn’t explain how humans have come to the conclusion that there are some things that are wrong and that there are some that are right.
To deal with these challenges and issues I turned towards evolution. The reason I did so is because if any state of mind exist it first (as shown by a plethora of evidence) must have evolved that way.