Saturday, September 29, 2007

Homosexuality gone wild

Interesting that homosexuals, who seem to be so disgruntled that Christians do not support their choice of lifestyle, carry on in such a manner that it provides support for the biblical view that homosexuality is a perversion.

Either that, or morals are relative and these type of events provide normal/acceptable entertainment for the masses.

If we actually evolved minus any divine intervention or personal involvement on the designer's part, then this type of behavior may just become acceptable at some point in time. thing we know, paedophiles will be granted access to our children.

Young Cosmos

If you find that my posts are a bit sparse for the next month or so, you can pop over to Young Cosmos where I'll be guest blogging for a time.

With Salvador leaving public debate to continue his education at John Hopkins, they are minus a blogger, so I've been asked to participate for a while.

I intend to post at both blogs and cross post at times as well. Two venues to feed my obsession with this just doesn't get better than that!

[Edit: Typo. Thanks goodness I have such a good editing team at AtBC! Much appreciated.]

Transparent Frog

Where you one of those kids who got squeamish during lab when it came to dissecting those slimy frogs?

That certainly wasn’t the case for me as I remember my partner and I getting in trouble for tossing part of the little froggie at the kids at the next table...too much fun really. But, then I was only in 7th grade, and dissecting frogs was more entertaining than a learning experience. Anywhoo...maybe all that frog dissecting will be made a little easier in the future. Check it out!

September 28, 2007—For high school students everywhere, this revealing amphibian may be a cut above regular frogs.

That's because the see-through frog does not require dissection to see its organs, blood vessels, and eggs.

Masayuki Sumida, a professor at the Institute for Amphibian Biology at Japan's Hiroshima University, bred the frog to be a humane learning tool.

"You can watch organs of the same frog over its entire life, as you don't have to dissect it," Sumida told the news agency Agence France-Presse. The scientist announced his research last week at an academic meeting.

Dissecting animals for science has sparked controversies worldwide, even prompting some companies to create computer simulations as cruelty-free alternatives.

Researchers bred the sheer creature—a type of Japanese brown frog—for two recessive genes that make it pale.

Though not yet patented, the frog is the first four-legged, see-through animal to be bred by scientists. Some fish species are also clear.

Only 1 in 16 frogs end up see-through, and Sumida's team has not yet figured out how to pass on the transparent trait to offspring.

I'll have to tell my son about this one though it doesn't appear that these little guys will be circulating to the schools any time soon. He's about the age where I'll get to start hearing about frog dissection.


In Moscow, recently a woman delivered a 17-pound baby! I'm having sympathy pains for the women even as I'm writing this post. Both of my boys weighed less than half that at birth, and I though I was going to die.

At least she had her daughter by Caesarean section, but the kicker was that she is as old as me...42 years old and delivering a 17 lb. baby. It sounds horrendous, IMHO.

Tatiana Khalina, 42, delivered the girl by Caesarean section at a maternity clinic in Aleisk, a town of 30,000 in the Altai region in southern Siberia, Svetlana Gildeyeva, a nurse at the clinic, said Thursday.

Gildeyeva said the birth on Sept. 17 went smoothly and both the mother and the child were fine. She said the baby, Nadezhda, was transferred from the small Aleisk clinic to a maternity hospital in the bigger city of Barnaul which had better conditions.

The girl was feeling well and developing normally, said Irina Kurdeka, a doctor at the Barnaul hospital.

Again, all I can say is OUCH!!

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

DNA Unraveled

DNA is so freaking cool it gives me goosebumps...

The science of life is undergoing changes so jolting that even its top researchers are feeling something akin to shell-shock. Just four years after scientists finished mapping the human genome - the full sequence of 3 billion DNA "letters" folded within every cell - they find themselves confronted by a biological jungle deeper, denser, and more difficult to penetrate than anyone imagined.


In any event, lots of basic biological beliefs are going out the window these days as new discoveries come so rapid-fire that the effect is almost more disorienting than illuminating.

The discoveries have one common theme: Cellular processes long assumed to be "genetic" appear quite often to be the result of highly complex interactions occurring in regions of DNA void of genes. This is roughly akin to Wall Street waking to the realization that money doesn't make the world go 'round, after all.

"It's a radical concept, one that a lot of scientists aren't very happy with," said Francis S. Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute. "But the scientific community is going to have to rethink what genes are, what they do and don't do, and how the genome's functional elements have evolved.

"I think we're all pretty awed by what we're seeing," Collins said. "It amounts to a scientific revolution."


"The picture that's emerging" of how living cells actually operate and evolve "is so immensely more complicated than anyone imagined, it's almost depressing," Rigoutsos said.

HT: Rob Crowther, EN&V

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Behe Interview

Found here...

Two questions from the interview:
Q: Why is intelligent design science? Isn’t it just giving up on finding a scientific explanation for something that we don’t yet fully understand?
A: Intelligent design is science because it is based completely on physical data — the molecular machinery of cells — plus ordinary logic. Whenever we see systems in our everyday world of a certain degree and kind of complexity (like clocks), we always have found them to be designed. Now, much to our surprise, science has discovered similar systems in the cell. I see no reason to withhold the conclusion of design for cellular components. So the design of cellular machinery is an inductive argument based on physical evidence — a scientific conclusion.

When the motions of the galaxies away from the earth was first observed in the 1930s, that led to the Big Bang hypothesis. Many scientists of that time hated the idea of a beginning to nature, because it seemed to have theistic overtones. What if they had said that the Big Bang hypothesis was simply giving up on finding a scientific explanation for something that we don’t fully understand yet? If they had, physics would have missed out on a lot of progress. Science has to follow the evidence wherever it leads, or it ceases to be science. Right now the biological evidence is leading to the conclusion of design.

Q: But that’s how they might have phrased it - “a beginning to nature” not “a designer got things started.” Do you appreciate the concern that many people have about introducing a “designer” into science textbooks?

A: Yes, I do appreciate people’s concerns about explicitly talking of a “designer” in textbooks. Nonetheless, science is supposed to be a no-holds-barred search for the truth. Throughout the history of science we’ve had to get used to a lot of ideas that people thought were odd. There’s no reason to shy away from the concept of a designer just because it makes some people uneasy.[my emphasis]

Science is a search for truth...there should be no materialistic gatekeeper hell bent on blocking the path.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Baylor takes Lilley to task

Well, it looks as though Baylor is becoming a bit put off with their President. Yesterday, I posted an article from the Baylor Lariat which was written by the producer of the upcoming movie, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed. Apparently, his film crew was on it's way to interview President Lilley in regard to the Evolutionary Informatics lab fiasco, but it looks as though he refused to meet with them.

From an editorical in today's Baylor Lariat, it appears that the student body is asking for answers...

Editorial: Lilley's two cents are missing

Sept. 20, 2007

Being Baylor's president is not an easy job. Between managing a staff of professors and administrators and fundraising enough to finance Baylor 2012, President John Lilley has a lot on his plate.

But one of the most crucial roles a university president must play, especially during times of dispute, is to act as the face of the university. By virtue of his job description, Lilley is the voice of Baylor. Lately it seems he has laryngitis.

When Baylor was thrust into the national spotlight for shutting down distinguished professor Dr. Robert Marks' intelligent design Web site, representatives from media relations answered questions, not Lilley.

Of course, the public could hardly expect anything less, considering Lilley's absence from the initial meeting between Marks and a handful of Baylor administrators.

It's understandable that the president is a busy man and can't attend every single meeting with a faculty member, but certainly one with a distinguished professor and his legal counsel could merit his coveted attention.

This is not the first time Lilley has been missing in action for a crucial meeting. Let's not forget the controversy surrounding the book Baylor Beyond the Crossroads, now known as The Baylor Project -- it was another national stage for Baylor and another silent moment in Lilley's presidency.

Not only was Lilley notably absent from meetings with the book's editors, director of media relations Lori Fogleman said he was unable to comment at all because he had never seen any version of the book, even though manuscripts and galley copies are available.

There really is no excuse for this type of detachment from issues so close to the heart of Baylor.

Even former president Robert B. Sloan Jr. is easier to get ahold of than Lilley. When The Lariat called the office of the Houston Baptist University president, we were patched right through.

However, when trying to reach our own president, we run into a string of red tape that media relations proudly declares is "the same treatment we give the New York Times." This is nothing to brag about.

By making itself unavailable to the press, the Lilley administration has forfeited its voice in major conversations. Even though representatives from media relations eagerly give statements to newspapers across the country, nothing has the same effect as a word from the president.

While the weight of his speech may be the very thing that's causing Lilley to hold his tongue, few statements could be as damaging as this current silence.

Often, people refuse to speak out of guilt. By choosing silence, Lilley has unwittingly thrown himself under these suspicions, even though this may not be the case.

In an article by the Baptist Press, former Baylor professor William Dembski infers that Lilley is the culprit behind the changes to Marks' Web site due to his absence at the August meeting. If Lilley had only been there, Dembski couldn't make such an argument.

Now the Lilley administration is declining to meet with the producers of Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, a documentary following intelligent design issues in higher education.

By hiding out, it's beginning to look like Lilley's got something worth hiding.

Nothing would silence the conspiracy theorists like undeniable physical presence. Show up to meetings, make public statements, maybe even hit up the Bear Trail while you're at it.

As your student body, we'd like to hear from you once in a while.

Hmmmm...not looking good for Lilley.

Natural or Designed?

You decide...

September 19, 2007—Not far from Taiwan, Pacific waters engulf stone structures just off the coast of the tiny Japanese island of Yonaguni Jima, part of the Ryukyu archipelago in this undated photo.

The structures maybe the ruins of a 5,000-year-old city that featured a castle, several temples, and a stadium, according to a Japanese researcher who has been diving at the site for past 15 years. (Read full Story.)

"The largest structure looks like a complicated, monolithic, stepped pyramid that rises from a depth of 25 meters [82 feet]," said the scientist, Masaaki Kimura of the University of the Ryukyus. Kimura recently suggested that the site might have been sunk by a massive tsunami similar to the one that hit the island in 1771.

But other experts who have dived at the site, which was discovered in 1986, are equally convinced that the formations are natural.

"It's basic geology and classic stratigraphy for sandstones, which tend to break along planes and give you these very straight edges," said Robert Schoch, a professor of science and mathematics at Boston University and a leading critic of the theory.

"Expelled" goes to Baylor

Looks like they haven't finished final editing for the much anticipated movie Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed.

Evidently, the executive producer of the film submitted a letter to the Baylor school news in regard to the recent squabble over the Evolutionary Informatics lab at the university, and they actually published it! Check it out...

BU administration silencing science by design

Sept. 18, 2007

It may sound like a crazy question, but it needs to be asked: Does the administration at Baylor believe in God?

This is a legitimate question in light of the university's heavy-handed actions in shutting down the research Web site of Dr. Robert Marks.

As many of you have heard, Marks, a distinguished professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been conducting research that ultimately may challenge the foundation of Darwinian theory. In layman's terms, Marks is using highly sophisticated mathematical and computational techniques to determine if there are limits to what natural selection can do.

At Baylor, a Christian institution, this should be pretty unremarkable stuff. I'm assuming most of the faculty, students and alumni believe in God, so wouldn't it also be safe to assume you have no problem with a professor trying to scientifically quantify the limits of a blind, undirected cause of the origin and subsequent history of life?

It would seem this kind of research would be praised and encouraged at Baylor.

But the dirty little secret is university administrators are much more fearful of the Darwinian Machine than they are of you.

I've spent the last two years of my life researching the widely accepted Neo-Darwinian theory and the theory of Intelligent Design.

My team and I (including lawyer, economist, actor, game show host and social commentator Ben Stein) have interviewed dozens of the world's top experts in biology, astronomy, physics and philosophy.

What we have uncovered in our documentary film, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, is an attack on freedom of speech and scientific inquiry that is as frightening as it is appalling. And it's happening right here at Baylor.

Last month Dr. Ben Kelley, dean of engineering and computer science, shut down Marks' Web site. He apparently had the blessing of President John Lilley. Why? The university put forth a bunch of phony-baloney procedural explanations that don't stand up to scrutiny.

The truth however, can be found in an e-mail sent to Marks by Ben Kelley in which he told Marks, "I have received several concerned messages..." about his Web site. These complaints have been kept anonymous. How convenient.

Here's what's going on: Somebody within the scientific community let Kelley know that Marks was running a Web site that was friendly to Intelligent Design.

Such a thing is completely unacceptable in today's university system -- even at a Christian institution. Kelley was probably told to have the site shut down immediately or suffer the consequences.

What are those consequences? The ultimate penalty is to have Baylor marginalized by being designated as not a "legitimate institution of higher learning." So designated merely for the "crime" of allowing Neo-Darwinism to be questioned, since conventional elitist wisdom holds it's no longer a theory but an inviolable truth.

Do you think this is some kind of fanciful conspiracy theory? Google the names of Richard Sternberg, Caroline Crocker, Guillermo Gonzalez, Dean Kenyon and Bill Dembski and see what you find. These distinguished scientists have suffered severe consequences for questioning Darwinian theory and there are hundreds, if not thousands, more.

We want to speak with President Lilley about this academic suppression, so we are going to give him one more chance. Mr. Stein is sending a crew down to knock on President Lilley's door Thursday, September 20.

Will he talk? We hope so. But even if he doesn't, the actions of the Baylor administration will be in our film.

Walt Ruloff

Executive producer, Premise Media

Yikes....wonder how that little meeting went? Ya think they got Lilley on film?


Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Why Whales Developed Sonar

Speaking of just so stories...

When whales first took the plunge into the ocean from land about 45 million years ago, they lacked the ability to echolocate—that is, to find and identify objects by emitting and bouncing sounds off them, much as bats do.

About 7 million years later, toothed whales (sperm whales are a type of toothed whale) developed this ability, fossils show.

Some marine biologists think that sonar in toothed whales came about as a better way to find food in the darkness of the deep ocean. But how did the whales, which primarily ate fish, know there was a large supply of food down in the dark?

Researchers at the University of California, Berkeley, suggest that giant squid would bump into the whales as the squid migrated from the dark depths to the surface at night, something they've been doing for about 200 million years.

“When whales developed sonar," explained researcher Nick Pyenson of the University of California, Berkeley, "it allowed them to dive deeper and follow the squids into the very dark ocean depths, where they discovered a rich food source that was accessible 24 hours day.”

Cephalopods, such as squid, are the most abundant and high-energy resource in the ocean and are eaten by 90 percent of all toothed whales.

The researchers detailed their idea in the European journal Lethaia.

The development of echolocation in whales and bats are strong examples of how two very different species evolved similar adaptations to their environment and passed it down to succeeding generations, a process known as convergent evolution, Pyenson noted.

“With convergent evolution, we see the same solution for being able to chase after your prey in the dark," Pyenson said, "whether you’re a bat or a whale.”

Before they come to any conclusions about how echolocation evolved, they might try working out all those nasty little details that will help us better understand how those "whales first took the plunge into the ocean from land".

If anyone has access to the above mentioned article in the European journal Lethaia, I'd be interested in reading it...

Paging Jeremy

[post removed...control regained...I think]

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Egnor hits the nail on the head... regard to some of the inane speculation being published in regard to evolution, yet...

Nature recently published an editorial asserting that the inference to design has no place in our effort to understand the origin of the genetic code or the origin of the intricate nanotechnology in living cells.

But, they certainly seem to be interested in spit...

Now, a few months later, Nature lauds a research paper that asserts that groundbreaking insight into the origin of the human brain can be gained by extrapolating from the comparative biology of spit.

Evolutionary biology can't be satirized. It can only be described.


Monday, September 17, 2007

The Edge of Evolution - An Honest Review

Cameron Wybrow's review of Behe's Edge of Evolution is unlike several reviews we’ve seen in the past. He actually addresses the science rather than concentrate on needless ad hominem attacks.

In his conclusion:
The response to Behe has been predictable. The editors of the major print media have assigned known enemies of ID to trash the book - Richard Dawkins for the New York Times; Coyne for the New Republic; Miller for Nature; Ruse for Toronto's Globe & Mail. A large part of each review is ad hominem, concerned with Behe's alleged religious agenda, his minority status among biologists, and other irrelevant matters. In Dawkins' review, the science is barely touched, and it's not clear from Ruse's review that he has even opened the cover of the book. Behe deserves better. The Edge of Evolution makes a serious, quantitative argument about the limits of Darwinian evolution. Evolutionary biology cannot honestly ignore it.[My emphasis]

HT: Denyse O’Leary

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Southern Methodist University teaches ID too!

While academic freedom is being stifled for some, as I noted in an earlier post, others are free to teach courses that claim ID is pseudoscience.

Southern Methodist University is offering a course entitled, “The Scientific Method-Critical and Creative Thinking (Debunking Pseudoscience)“. Intelligent Design will be included in this course along with “aid deniers”, “flat earthers“, “astrology“, etc., etc.. The course will include parodies from "The Onion", “Evolution for ID-iots” on YouTube, and several other like items that are aimed primarily at ridiculing ID and providing a one-sided argument in order to convince students that ID is something to laugh at rather than to be taken seriously.

At some point, these type of courses are going to backfire. Students who are interested enough in this controversy will eventually attend a lecture given by an ID proponent such as Dembski or Behe, and find that what they’ve been sold is not an accurate portrayal of ID in many cases. I saw this happen at both Behe and Dembski’s lectures here in Kansas. I questioned and listened to several students after Dembski's lecture, and they appeared to be surprised by what they heard as they seemed to be expecting a religious argument. Behe’s lecture also had those I talked with interested in learning more about ID.

Back to this particular course at SMU...

This link provides the class schedule for the course being taught by Professors John L. Cotton and Randall J. Scalise. That site links to another site which lists information about the ID portion of the course.

I am actually more than a bit shocked at the choice of words and snide remarks used in the course outline that I’m assuming, as seems to be indicated, is meant for use by the students.

The term BS or bullshit is used throughout. For example, consider the course description:

This course will provide you with an understanding of the scientific method sufficient to detect pseudoscience in its many guises: paranormal phenomena; free-energy devices; alternative medicine; intelligent-design creationism; and many others. You will learn to think critically and to question outlandish claims, hype, and outright BS. Expect to do a lot of reading, writing, and, most of all, thinking.

I certainly don’t remember my college professors using that type of language in their course descriptions. My how things have changed, and to think this is a *Methodist* university.

Let me share a few more little gems...

You don't have to teach both sides of a debate if one side is a load of crap.

He repeatedly uses the word “Id(iots)” when referring to ID supporters. He puts the initials ID=BS at the bottom of the link, and when referencing a list of ID books, he includes a heading that states “or read these and get stoopider“, along with a section titled, “Quotations from ID proponents (IDiots)”.

He references PZ Myers' blog, Pharyngula, along with which both cater to atheists and agnostics. PZ Myers, as most readers know, is a self proclaimed “militant atheist” who rants about religion and ID, as well as conflating the two on a daily basis at his website. My concern is not that these are atheist sites, but rather if they can be considered unbiased, reliable, open-minded sources. Will the students be asked to critically analyze these topics or, as seems to be indicated, will they be told *exactly ~what~ to think about ID?

Do you suppose SMU monitors these course description websites? This one is more than a little over the top. If my child brought home a course description with words like “bull shit", “stoopider”, “IDiots”, etc., I’d wonder if the Professor of the course had lost his mind. Honestly, when I first glanced at those links, I thought perhaps this was some kind of parody website!

Now I understand why there was such a ruckus over the Darwin vs. Design conference that was held at SMU. The science department had a fit over the fact that the conference was being held at their university, and when asked if they would like to participate in a debate over the issues, they flat out refused rather than give their students the chance to consider both sides in an open debate. It would seem that if they have such solid arguments against design, they'd show up to debate the ID proponents into the ground. Evidently, their case against ID is not as reliable as they would like to have us believe.

HT: Casey Luskin, EN&V

Remembering those we lost on 9/11

"In this time of need, it is the greatest of heroes who step up to meet the challenge. Never forget 9/11/2001."

Please keep the survivors in your prayers today.

Monday, September 10, 2007

Britney’s performance at the MTV Video Music Awards

After listening to the news this morning, my heart really went out to Britney. I can’t help but think that the best choice she could make would be to put her present lifestyle to rest and get out of the entertainment industry altogether.

I’ve been reading a book by Philip Yancy, titled Where is God When it Hurts. It’s an excellent book, and ties in with the ID debate quite nicely.

After hearing about Britney this morning, I thought about something I read from the book last night in regard to pain and pleasure and the intimate connection that link the two. I highly recommend reading the book for a better understanding of that connection, but here is a portion I wanted to share:

Jesus captured succinctly the paradoxical nature of life in his one statement most repeated in the Gospels: “Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it.” Such a statement goes against the search for “self-fulfillment” in advanced psychology - which turns out to be not advanced enough. Christianity offers the further insight that true fulfillment comes, not through ego satisfaction, but through service to others. And that brings me to the last illustration of the pain/pleasure principle: the Christian concept of service.

In my career as a journalist, I have interviewed diverse people. Looking back, I can roughly divide them into two types: stars and servants. The stars include NFL football greats, movie actors, music performers, famous authors, TV personalities, and the like. These are the people who dominate our magazines and our television programs. We fawn of them, poring over the minutiae of their lives: the clothes they wear, the food they eat, the aerobic routines they follow, the people they love, the toothpaste they use.

Yet I must tell you that, in my limited experience, these “idols” are as miserable a group of people as I have ever met. Most have troubled or broken marriages. Nearly all are hopelessly dependent on psychotherapy. In a heavy irony, these larger-than-life heroes seem tormented by incurable self-doubt.

I have also spent time with servants. People like Dr. Paul Brand, who worked for twenty years among the poorest of the poor, leprosy patients in rural India. Or health workers who left high-paying jobs to serve in Medenhall Ministries in a backwater town of Mississippi. Or relief workers in Somalia, Sudan, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, or other such repositories of world-class human suffering. Or the Ph.D.’s scattered throughout jungles of South America translating the Bible into obscure languages.

I was prepared to honor and admire these servants, to hold them up as inspiring examples. I was not, however, prepared to envy them. But as I now reflect on the two groups side by side, stars and servants, the servants clearly emerge as the favored ones, the graced ones. They work for low pay, long hours, and no applause, “wasting” their talents and skill among the poor and uneducated. But somehow in the process of losing their lives, they have found them. They have received the “peace that is not of this world.”

The Better to Hear You with My Dear

The mouse with a human ear growing on its back proved just how far science could, or would, go. The experiment saw a biodegradable, synthetic frame planted on the mouse; human cells were added to the frame and nourished by the mouse to produce, in effect, a real ear. With an ear-to-body ratio of about eighty percent, he's probably a very good listener.

Freaky...and icky.

Expelled to New York

Can't imagine a better place to do a little advertising than Time Square.

The movie, Expelled: No Intelligence Allowed, will be released to major movie theatres in February...just in time for Darwin's birthday!

Yesterday, I finally had a chance to listen to a podcast interview with the producer of the movie. It sounds like this should be a highly controversial flick.

After listening to Part 1 and Part 11 of the podcast interview, you'll be chomping at the bit to see the movie on the big screen.

February can't come soon enough...

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Teaching ID & Creation Science...can we?

Although Darwin supporters will claim that, due to the Kitzmiller case, ID cannot be taught in our science classroom, that ruling does not seem to stop ardent supporters of evolution from actually including both ID and creation science in their class schedules. In fact, it seems that there has been a push to teach both in intro. biology classes. Although, it would be questionable as to whether the students will be getting an accurate picture of the theory.

PZ Myers has adapted his biology class to include ID & creation science. From the syllabus provided at his site, it appears that the topic will be given as much time as other sections of the course. Check out his schedule for yourself. It appears that ID and creation science will be addressed during week 8:

Week 8 / Oct. 16-18

Creationism and Intelligent Design Science and culture in conflict. Social origins of creationist beliefs; common arguments refuted.

This is an interesting approach...teach ID, or rather spin it to your liking, and conflate it with creation science. This, I've been told, is legal because, although Judge Jones ruled that ID isn't science, it evidently doesn't mean that the topic cannot be broached in science classrooms.

It's interesting that it's acceptable for an anti-ID professor to use a week of classes to cover the topic, yet the Dover school district was not allowed to read these 4 paragraphs before the subject of evolution was covered in class:

The Pennsylvania Academic Standards require students to learn about Darwin’s Theory of Evolution and eventually to take a standardized test of which evolution is a part.

Because Darwin’s Theory is a theory, it is still being tested as new evidence is discovered. The Theory is not a fact. Gaps in the Theory exist for which there is no evidence. At theory is defined as a well-tested explanation that unifies a broad range of observations.

Intelligent design is an explanation of the Origin of life that differs from Darwin’s view. The reference book, Of Pandas and People, is available for students who might be interested in gaining an understanding of what Intelligent Design actually involves.

With respect to any theory, students are encouraged to keep an open mind. The school leaves the discussion of Origins of Life to individual students and their families. As a standards-driven district, class instruction focuses up on preparing students to achieve proficiency on Standards-based assessments.

I still remained shocked that those four paragraphs could lead to a million dollar lawsuit. But, regardless of that ruling, it appears that college professors are allowed to cover the subject.

Now, this is good to know because I'm certain there are teachers in other universities or even high schools who might have a different understanding of what ID actually entails. Surely not all teachers agree with PZ's spin on the facts surrounding ID. I believe it would be equally acceptable for them to include in their schedule an allotted time to cover the issues as well. Oh, and certainly after explaining the theory, they would share Jones ruling in which *he* concluded that "ID is not science". That would keep it all nice and legal. Shoot, they could even share the fact that much of Jones ruling was copied verbatim from the trial lawyer's notes.

I would think that the next teacher or school board that is taken to court due to addressing these topics in class would merely have to point to the evolutionists teaching the subject and the case should be thrown out. Both are teaching what ID entails, and both are sharing JJ's ruling that ID isn't science. For those educators who remain open to academic freedom, I believe after sharing the facts, I'd ask the students whether they agree with Jones' decision after what they've learned about the topic in class.

Yeah, I'm glad PZ has opened the door to this option...what's legal for one guy is surely legal for all.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Mice Thrive Missing Ancient DNA Sequences

I noticed this article posted at Science Daily today, and remembered someone in the comments section of Uncommon Descent mentioning this recent “knock-out” test on mice.

I was searching all over the place trying to find some feedback about it, and UP pops Davescot’s post at UD.

From the Science Daily article:
The discovery that deletion of ultraconserved elements does not render mice unviable or infertile is a major challenge to our understanding of how highly conserved elements of the genome persist and what their functions are, says Ahituv. He and his colleagues are pursuing research aimed at answering these compelling new questions.

Can anyone say front loading?

The Dawkins Delusion, Alister McGrath

Here is an interesting exchange with Alister McGrath, the author of The Dawkins Delusion.

Dawkins gives them [atheists] a simple way of looking at life: people who believe in God are mad, bad and sad; atheists are bold, brilliant, and brave. You don’t need to think about things; you don't need to read books by Christians. You can write them off in advance as the predictable rantings of deluded idiots. It’s very worrying, and shows how dogmatic and simplistic atheism has now become. [my emphasis]

I came away with that conclusion as well when I attended Dawkins lecture at KU last year. He made mention at one point that "you don’t have to read a book about fairies to know that they don’t exist".

Stellar intellectual scholar that one...

HT: Denyse O'Leary for the link.

Anthony Flew's Latest

Here’s another book being delivered to my doorstep soon....

There Is a God: How the World's Most Notorious Atheist Changed His Mind.

You can view an interview between Lee Strobel and Anthony Flew at this link.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

The Spiritual Brain

I just ordered a copy of Mario Beauregard and Denyse O'Leary's latest book, The Spiritual Brain: A Neuroscientist's Case for the Existence of the Soul.

From the review:
Most neuroscientists are committed to the view that mystical experiences are simply the result of random neurons firing, or “delusions created by the brain.” THE SPIRITUAL BRAIN takes another approach, powerfully arguing for what many in science are unwilling to consider—that people actually contact a reality outside themselves during intense spiritual experiences. Beauregard uses the most sophisticated technology to peer inside the brains of Carmelite nuns during a profound spiritual state. His results and a variety of other lines of evidence lead him to the surprising conclusion that spiritual experiences are not a figment of the mind or a delusion produced by a dysfunctional brain.

Can't wait to dig into it...

Lots of Swingin' going on....

I haven't really commented on the perverto factor plaguing those poor souls that represent us up on capital hill...basically because I don't even know where to begin.

So, I'll just say this....boys, try to keep it in your pants. Seriously...for the good of the nation. I mean what's up with this crap? ...whoops, no pun intended. Is it a power thing, or do more people hide hidden perversions than I want to know about?

Fr'instance, who in their right mind feels the need, in a public restroom mind you, to ask the nearest stranger to get it on???? I mean, if one is experiencing a serious problem, perhaps self service might be more appropriate (and a heck of a lot safer).

That kind of crap is not about sex, it's about something else altogether.


This is gonna get ugly

Dr. D. James Kennedy passed away today.

While there were things about Dr. Kennedy's approach that could, at times, cause me to cringe, his passion for the gospel of Christ was strong, and he cut straight to the heart of many issues that plague our society. My heart goes out to those close to him.

My hope is that those who so strongly oppose Kennedy due to his faith take a good look at themselves as well before they cast the first stone. He was a good man, but like all of us, he wasn't perfect, and I don't think he ever claimed to be.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Baylor’s Evolutionary Informatics lab shutdown

In June, I mentioned that Baylor University had a new lab where it appeared that the design inference may be considered in respect to the research being done.

As reported at Uncommon Descent, the lab has been shut down due to complaints that the work was perceived as being linked to ID.

This whole episode is so puzzling...

It seems to me that allowing this type of research would give those who oppose ID a better footing in their objections to ID. If nothing were being produced by Marks that would advance the design inference, they would be able to *show* the world that ID is worthless to the advancement of science.

As a lay person, this latest saga certainly seems to suggest that ID must be a *much* bigger threat to Darwinian evolution than it’s supporters are willing to admit.

If what Dembski says is true, Lilley knew that he was involved in the lab. Lilley signed off on the grant that was advanced to the lab, so he must have been well aware that Dembski was involved as his name was on the grant. It doesn’t appear that Dembski was sneaking into the lab in some devious fashion.

What’s really puzzling is that it didn’t seem to me that what was going on in that lab was a threat to fact, I would think that any research in regard to the information observed in nature would be of great benefit to the ToE.

One would think that by placing Dembski or other ID theorists smack dab into the mainstream scientific environment, provide them with grants and demand that they produce results which will answer questions that have yet to be answered in regard to the design inference, it would allow the Darwin supporters to put more pressure on them to produce results. If no results were forthcoming, their case against ID would be solid.

Mainstream scientists in these debates tell us that that ID must produce results, and that the research must be considered in mainstream peer reviewed journals, yet every time it looks as if there is a minute chance of that happening, the plug is pulled. Why?

It only took a few months in this case before the complaints were strong enough from those who were in opposition to the lab to come forward. I wonder how having Dembski on the campus could be that threatening? What were they worried would happen as a result of his involvement? Was it just the matter of the reputation of the school? Would that reputation lend to less grant assistance, or what?

Just as in the aftermath of the Gonzalez case, the sciencebloggers are claiming that ID advocates will be crying “persecution” or “censorship”, yet what else can this be called other than censorship? I don’t know what other explanation would apply.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Reasonable Atheists...

...delight me!

This review of "The God Delusion" was written by someone with a good head on their shoulders.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

Interesting Observation

Yup, Interesting...

I'm Back!!

Whew....just finished up the last few things I wanted to do to my blog before making it public again.

So sorry about the sudden shut down, but I kinda pulled the plug on a whim - or a rant?...whichever.

As I've said in the past, I sometimes lose my patience when I keep getting asked the same questions over and over. I've wanted for some time now to try to put together several links to others posts I've written which I could refer people to so that I don't have to keep writing about the same topics over and over. So, I finally took the time to put together a short FAQs list. I had to completely shut down to do it or I knew I'd never get it done, but rather keep blabbering here.

So, you'll find the link to the FAQs list on my side bar along with a few other new additions. I'll add to the list as time allows.

Please note that your comments will not post publically to that list, but I will be able to read them and consider your opinions and decide whether I need to change the answers if you think I've misunderstood something or if I seem misleading. If I've made errors in my understanding of the science, I certainly want to correct those issues as well. But, I may not agree with you, so don't hold your breath waiting for me to change something to your satisfaction.

It was the perfect time for me to do this because last month marked the completion of my first year of blogging. It seems I wrote just under 450 posts last year...jeez, that's a lot of blabbering. Oh, well... it's a great outlet to let off some steam or have some fun.

I hope my readers from the past will stumble their way back in here and not think that I've deserted you forever!