For 25 years, Miller had kept it as cold as Jupiter’s icy moon Europa—too cold, most scientists had assumed, for anything to have happened. What Levy found was that seven different amino acids and 11 types of nucleobases had formed.
“What was remarkable,” Bada says, “is that the yield in these frozen experiments was better, for some compounds, than it was with room-temperature experiments.”
A young scientist named Alexander Vlassov may have accidentally found the answer of how tiny snippets of RNA became longer, well-crafted chains that could have acted as the very first enzymes. Vlassov was working at SomaGenics, a biotech company in Santa Cruz, California, to develop RNA enzymes that latch on to the hepatitis C virus. But his RNA enzymes weren’t behaving. They normally consisted of a single segment of RNA, but every time he cooled them below freezing to purify them, the chain of RNA spontaneously joined its ends into a circle, like a snake biting its own tail. As Vlassov attempted to correct the “glitch”, he noticed that another RNA enzyme, called hairpin, was also acting up. At room temperature, hairpin acts like scissors, snipping other RNA molecules into pieces. But when Vlassov froze it, it ran in reverse: It glued other RNA chains together end to end.
quote:In the past 250-300 years a major paradigm shift has taken place regarding the history of the earth. It would be safe to say that prior to this time period a large majority of practicing scientists either held a strong belief in a biblical account of origins or at least were not antagonistic to such a concept. Parallel to this belief was the development of geology, a separate discipline or science. Observations that showed similarity of rock and fossil types over large geographical ranges were begun to be appreciated as well as the uniqueness of certain strata with respect to the presence or absence of various life forms.
These studies resulted in various theories which attempted to explain the geologic picture.
A major influence early in this time of new models was A. C. Werner (1749-1817). Werner held that the various rock layers were formed by precipitation of materials from turbid seas. Werner and his followers (the Neptunists) presented a major diversion from the traditional interpretation. James Hutton (1726-1799) recognized the true nature of some rocks as being volcanic in origin and overemphasized this source of material in the fossil record. The concept of erosion and deposition was also developed by Hutton with the slowness of this process recognized.
William Smith (1769-1839) recognized the widespread occurrence of various layers and his work implied major geologic changes over wide areas.
In addition to the stratigraphic studies, analysis of fossil remains also began. Dominant in these areas was the work done by Georges Cuvier (1769-1832). A comparative anatomist, Cuvier was able to make identifications of fossil fragments and place them into taxonomic groups. With these studies came the realization that fossils might be used as indices in identifying similar but widely separated strata. Cuvier also developed the concept that the geologic record is the result of short catastrophic bursts with long, quiet intervals between. These forerunners provided a milieu in which the future formulators of the geologic column could now work.
quote:In Part I (ORIGINS 8:59-76) of this series on historical interpretations of the geologic column, the author discussed the early developmental stages in the science of geology. After the basic concepts of geological principles were formed, a period of reinterpretation of the earth's crust followed. Part II discusses these times.
Notable geologists, including William Buckland, Adam Sedgwick, Roderick Impey Murchison, and Charles Lyell, began to view the earth's formation in terms of very long ages. Though none would accept an atheistic origin for the earth, all felt compelled to believe that Scripture was an inadequate guide to aid their interpretation of the features in the geologic column. God was still considered to be the founder and originator of life. The uniformitarian principle postulated by Hutton years earlier became nearly universally accepted, and the Noachian flood was not considered to be a suitable explanation for the geologic column.
In order to answer the problem of increasing complexity within the geologic column, a multiple-creation hypothesis was developed by a number of geologists. God was still actively involved, but the six-day creation week was substituted with a form of progressive creation. The concept of Darwinian evolution which involved gradual change from one species to another was not widespread, and the diversity seen in the geologic column was attributed to multiple-creation events.
Realizing that these concepts damaged a literal interpretation of Scripture, conservative Christian scientists reacted understandably in vigorous defense of more traditional views. A time of heated debates and discussions ensued. These exchanges resulted in a polarization of views concerning earth history, a legacy that our current generation continues to inherit.
The main pages go into considerable detail.
Somewhat odd in that they were written by a biology, not geology professor. Regardless, it seems to be a pretty good overview of the geologic column historical perspective. And it's from a YEC (young Earth creationist) organization.
Although they still have plenty of YEC peculiarities, GRISDA has long struck me as making the best YEC effort to connect things up to an honest study of geologic reality.
Professor, geology, Whatsamatta U Evolution - Changes in the environment, caused by the interactions of the components of the environment.
"Do not meddle in the affairs of cats, for they are subtle and will piss on your computer." - Bruce Graham
"The modern conservative is engaged in one of man's oldest exercises in moral philosophy; that is, the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness." - John Kenneth Galbraith
"As democracy is perfected, the office of president represents, more and more closely, the inner soul of the people. On some great and glorious day the plain folks of the land will reach their heart's desire at last and the White House will be adorned by a downright moron." - H.L. Mencken (1880-1956)
"Nixon was a professional politician, and I despised everything he stood for — but if he were running for president this year against the evil Bush-Cheney gang, I would happily vote for him." - Hunter S. Thompson
"I know a little about a lot of things, and a lot about a few things, but I'm highly ignorant about everything." - Moose
quote:ID (‘intelligent design’) is not science, but a form of creationism; both are very different from the simple theological proposition that a divine Creator is responsible for the natural patterns and processes of the Universe. Its current version maintains that a ‘Designer’ must intervene miraculously to accomplish certain natural scientific events. The verdict in the 2005 case Kitzmiller, et al. v. Dover School District, et al. (in Harrisburg, PA, U.S.A.) was a landmark of American jurisprudence that prohibited the teaching of ID as science, identified it as religiously based, and forbade long-refuted ‘criticisms of evolution’ from introduction into public school classes. Much of the science of the trial was based on biochemistry; biochemists and other scientists have several important opportunities to improve scientific literacy and science education in American public schools (‘state schools’) by working with teachers, curriculum developers and textbook writers.
Nova has a section covering the Dover trial which includes this rather lengthy and illuminating interview of Phillip Johnson, author of the Wedge strategy.Those who would sacrifice an essential liberty for a temporary security will lose both, and deserve neither. -- Benjamin Franklin
We see monsters where science shows us windmills. -- Phat
quote:One of the great frustrations of science journalism is its tendency to sensationalize every small advance into a worldview shattering revolution. As a case in point, consider this article, from the current issue of New Scientist magazine.
Quoting the beginning of the SANDWALK article:
quote:The cover is this week's issue of New Scientist is sure to get your attention.
I happen to believe that the science of evolutionary biology has moved on since 1859, and I happen to be a proponent of evolutionary processes that Darwin new nothing about. Nevertheless, proclaiming that "Darwin was wrong" is a different story. That's an egregious example of journalistic hype and it's unacceptable in a magazine like New Scientist.
The main article is Why Darwin was wrong about the tree of life. The author is science journalist Graham Lawton.
The essence of the story is that the early history of evolution is probably characterized by a net of life and not a traditional tree. The "net" metaphor is due to many example of lateral gene transfer.
Currently Conservapedia has a link to the article in question at the top of their "In the News" column:
quote:Evolution is dead. Long live evolution! It looks like a "central tenet" of evolution—the evolutionary "tree" of life"—is being discarded. But does this evidence mean that evolution is wrong? Of course not! We just invent a new version of evolution, because we can't have those "blinkered" creationists being right!.
quote:For those of you who have not heard of the Jesus Project (or the massive write-up Richard Carrier did of one of their meetings), it is a secular attempt to reconstruct who Jesus probably was and the events in his life (if indeed there was a Jesus, which is a question which will be addressed). Here's an excerpt from the Jesus Project's Intro:
quote:"We believe the mixing of theological motives and historical inquiry is impermissible. We regard previous attempts to rule the question out of court as vestiges of a time when the Church controlled the boundaries of permissible inquiry into its sacred books. More directly, we regard the question of the historical Jesus as a testable hypothesis, and we are committed to no prior conclusions about the outcome of our inquiry. This is a statement of our principles, and we intend to stick to them."
In that paragraph, AIG Busted refers (directly or indirectly) to a couple of Richard Carrier Blog articles:
Short Evolution/Creationism Debate on Anderson Cooper
I've watched a fair number of evolution/creation debates, and from my point of view the one thing they share in common is that the creationists always come out on top because they succeed in confusing the issue. This short debate between Robert Boston of Americans United for Separation of Church and State and Charmaine Yoest of the Family Research Council is one of the rare exceptions. It's only five minutes long, but watch how with a simple question Boston cuts through the fog, gets to the core of the issue, and completely destroys Yost's credibility.
I poked around at Cafe Press for a couple hours one night about four years ago and then gave it up for lack of time, and because my lack of artistic talent was woefully obvious. If you view the magnified versions you'll see the resolution is horrible, particularly the name "EvC Forum" itself that appears in gold.
I had no idea that what I'd done was publicly accessible. If any have been sold, I'm not aware of it.
Challenge for anyone interested: if you've got the time and the talent, I can give you access to the EvC Forum area of Cafe Press and you can design some decent T-shirts and coffee cups.