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Debate:  Should Schools Teach the Controversy Over Darwinism?

The San Francisco Chronicle published a written debate between Stanford evolutionist Robert Sapolsky and Discovery Institute fellows Stephen Meyer and John Angus Campbell.  The subject is whether schools should “teach the controversy” over evolution.  Both articles can be read on the Discovery Institute website.     Meanwhile, the ACLU is suing another school district, this […]

Did Martians Win the War of the Worlds?

In the H.G. Wells version, the Martian invaders with their tripod machines and death rays, wreaking havoc on Earth, were defeated by Earth bacteria.  The new scientific plot envisioned by scientists, reported on Space.com, is that the Martians had the bacteria, and invaded Earth with it to either conquer Earth life or spread it onto […]

Intelligent Design Evidence Convinces Atheist of Designer

According to an AP report on ABC News, a famous British atheist now believes in God based on scientific evidence.  “At age 81, after decades of insisting belief is a mistake, Antony Flew has concluded that some sort of intelligence or first cause must have created the universe.  A super-intelligence is the only good explanation […]

Nature Takes Note of Religious Influence

The surprisingly strong show of support for moral issues in the recent U.S. election has been the talk of the news for weeks now, and Big Science can’t ignore it.  “The voices of religion are more prominent and influential than they have been for many decades,” begins a prominent editorial in Nature1 Dec. 9, entitled […]

Did Life Begin as “Failed Mineralogy” on the Seafloor?

Exclusive  Another origin-of-life expert made a presentation to a filled auditorium at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory on Dec. 2 (cf. 11/05/2004 headline).  His scenario differed radically from last month’s.  Instead of trying to get ribose (for RNA) to form in a desert, he put his speculative natural laboratory 4 to 10 km underwater at the […]

Bacterial Flagellum Reveals New Structural Complexity

The bacterial flagellum, the unofficial mascot of the Intelligent Design movement, got more praise from the evolutionary journal Nature this week: Samatey et al.1 analyzed the hook region in detail and found that it is composed of 120 copies of a specialized protein that “reveals the intricate molecular interactions and a plausible switching mechanism for […]

DNA Coding Multiplies in Complexity

As if the discovery that DNA is a language translation system was not enough to challenge evolutionary theories, it is becoming increasing clear that DNA is a code operated by another code.  Science on Oct. 221 had a feature on gene regulation, which writer Elizabeth Pennisi termed “Genome’s Second Code.”  She began, “The genome has […]

News Nuggets

Here’s a collection of news items that deserve quick notice: Mars Rumbles:  Mars still has minor earthquakes, says Space.com, That’s without plate tectonics, “But scientists don’t know exactly how Mars is constructed.”  The Mars Exploration Rovers, meanwhile, awaking from a winter’s nap, are still gathering science data long past their expected lifetime.  Evidence for past […]

Another Thing to Worry About: Synthetic Biology

Philip Ball is no alarmist, but as consultant editor of Nature,1 he had sobering words last week about things that could go wrong in the new field of synthetic biology, where scientists are tinkering with cells to create artificial life forms: The expanding toolbox of ways to re-engineer microbes – and even construct new ones […]

Volcanic Gas Helps Link Up the Building Blocks of Life

A gas emitted by volcanoes, carbonyl sulfide (COS), enables amino acid molecules to form peptide bonds.  That’s what long-time origin-of-life researcher Leslie Orgel and colleagues at Scripps Institute have found.  The reaction is especially productive in the presence of metal ions that act as catalysts, and even better in the presence of oxidizing agents.  Moreover, […]

PBS Airs Another Evolution Series: Origins

PBS NOVA aired its latest installment on evolution, a 4-hour miniseries entitled Origins, on September 28 and 29.  The website hype describes it as follows: Has the universe always existed?  How did it become a place that could harbor life?  What was the birth of our planet like?  Are we alone, or are there alien […]

Update: Intelligent Design Paper

The controversy over Stephen Meyer’s intelligent design paper (see 09/16/2004 headline) continues.  Science printed a brief but dismissive news item claiming its publication was a mistake, but journal editor Rick Sternberg has answered the charges on his personal website.  Meyer has responded to criticisms leveled by Richard Monastersky in the Chronicle of Education.  The Discovery […]

Cell Exhibits Robust Engineering Design

An international team of biotechnologists writing in the journal Cell1 thinks biologists need to focus more on the concept of robust engineering design.  The abstract sounds like something out of an Intelligent Design Movement paper: Robustness, the ability to maintain performance in the face of perturbations and uncertainty, is a long-recognized key property of living […]

Introducing: The Spinach Cell Phone

The next spinach sandwich you hear about may not be an item at the health food bar but an electronic device powered by the sun.  According to an MIT press release, chloroplasts from spinach leaves have been successfully sandwiched into a solid-state electronic photocell that could be used before long to power cell phones and […]

Termites: If You Can’t Lick ’Em, Mimic ’Em

Termites, despite their bad rap, have something to teach human homebuilders.  Their mounds are self-sufficient, air-conditioned, environmentally friendly and cheap to run, according to a story in EurekAlert.  “The mounds incorporate a complicated network of tunnels and air conduits designed to channel air flow for the control of internal air quality, temperature and moisture levels.” […]
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