Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Blog Posts That Interest Me (For One Reason Or Another)

As you may (or may not) have noticed, I have quite a few blogs listed at the right. Following what they all have to say can be quite the task. Here are some posts from the listed blogs that have caught my eye for one reason or another:

JFS Special: Eleven things you may not know about food irradiation - Junkfood Science

This blog is a personal favourite and the comprehensive post on food irradiation is one of the reasons why. Sandy Szwarc is level-headed yet not afraid to push back at the scare-mongerers.

Is evolution theory important in medical research, or not? - I'm From Missouri

I'm not a fan of the name-calling (on both sides), but this topic really needs to be looked at more closely (cue the comment flood!).

An interesting comment quoting Jerry Coyne:

"To some extent these excesses are not Mindell’s fault, for, if truth be told, evolution hasn’t yielded many practical or commercial benefits. Yes, bacteria evolve drug resistance, and yes, we must take countermeasures, but beyond that there is not much to say. Evolution cannot help us predict what new vaccines to manufacture because microbes evolve unpredictably."

Lying to Advance a Cause - Telic Thoughts
Bio Prof: "It Is OK to Use Some Inaccuracies Temporarily" to Sell Evolution - Darwinian Fundamentalism

I really hope this is only one man's opinion on teaching evolution.

UPDATE (03-Sept-2008): This is an awesome comment by Thought Provoker at TT. It's also entertaining to read his responses to this Coturnix fellow.

Why I'm not a Behe fan, Part I, Why I'm not a Behe fan, Part IIA: the malaria scam, Behe botches basic probability...how likely is that?, Why I'm not a Behe fan, Part IIB: abusing genetics - Quintessence of Dust

Me thinks Dr. Matheson is not a Michael Behe fan. Seriously, I have to read EoE and re-read these posts to get some proper perspective.

Please fire U.S. gymnastics coach and poor sport Martha Karolyi - Coincidence Theories

The U.S. got beat by 13-years olds. Neener! Neener! Nee! Ner!

Slavery Revisited: the lesson of John Newton - He Lives

An excellent post on one aspect of Christianity. A good lesson to all that once you accept Jesus, you do not magically become perfect.

Consider this an open thread to discuss any topic of interest.


  1. On his blog, Larry F opines: I don't want excuses. Is evolution theory important in medical research, or not? It looks like the answer is no.

    That is one engineer's opinion. Based on what, exactly, we can only speculate.

    Here's some real evidence. Modern molecular biology DEPENDS ON EVOLUTION. Anytime you do a gene sequence search, you are assuming that common descent occurred. Anytime you hunt down a signal transduction pathway in a model organism such as a fruit fly or a nematode, with the hope that this pathway will elucidate a similar pathway in cancerous cells in humans, you are assuming that common descent occurred. And guess what? Those assumptions are borne out time and time and time again. Evolution works as an explanatory framework, and it works as a generator of productive hypotheses. Modern medical research would be floundering if evolutionary theory was not brought to bear on these (and many many many other) research approaches.

    Here's a puzzle for you designists. If you assume design, and you don't have any clues as to the identity of the designer as to motive, methods, time and place, etc.), what can you assume about shared genes and shared pathways between organisms?

    Here's another. Public health microbiologists have found that nosocomial pathogens (those found in hospital settings) maintain high virulence levels over time. Typical pathogens in non-hospital settings may start out at a high virulence level, but almost always become less lethal after a while. Evolutionary theory has a viable and testable explanation for this observation. How does design explain it?

    In short, it is sheer arrogance for someone as ignorant about biology as Larry F to assert that evolutionary theory has nothing to offer medical research. I await his standard method of rebuttal (name-calling), as well as further evidence that he has no clue about biology, which will be immediately forthcoming.

    But I do also hope that others will think about the questions above, and enlighten me as to how ID would approach these problems, which are elegantly solved by current evolutionary theory.

  2. 1. I've disabused Larry of his mistaken ideas in the comments on his blog.

    2. There's more to irreducible complexity than mousetraps and flagella. And there're many more reasons to boot why Behe is wrong.


  3. "The U.S. got beat by 13-years olds. Neener! Neener! Nee! Ner!

    LOL. I have friends with Chinese children, and I am always flabbergasted at how young the young women/girls look. I've seen 16 year olds that look 12.

    Also, considering it is the Martha Károlyi who coached the 14 year old Nadia Comăneci who won gold in 1976 olympics, her whining about the youthful looking Chinese sounds even more like sour grapes than it already did.