26 September 2008

Manchmal reicht auch ein Link (6).

Das Disco Institute hat ein "Lehrbuch" über Evolution geschrieben, 'Explore Evolution'. Es gibt vor, die Beweise für und gegen die Evolutionstheorie zu betrachten und es den Schülern zu überlassen, sich selbst eine Meinung zu bilden - passend zu den Gesetzesänderungen, die das Disco Institute beispielsweise in Louisiana erfolgreich durchsetzen konnten. Nicht überraschenderweise waren sie dabei so unehrlich, wie man es von ihnen kennt und mittlerweile auch erwartet.

Ars Technica hat eine Review von Explore Evolution. Geht und lest es. Außerdem an dieser Stelle mein Beileid an den Autor der Review, der das Buch tatsächlich gelesen hat.



13 September 2008

Während alle über Spore reden...

Derweil, in der nicht-virtuellen Realität, ist die Gruppe um Szostak, über die ich hier schon einmal berichtet habe, anscheinend einen weiteren Schritt näher an die Herstellung künstlichen Lebens gerückt:

Szostak's protocells are built from fatty molecules that can trap bits of nucleic acids that contain the source code for replication. Combined with a process that harnesses external energy from the sun or chemical reactions, they could form a self-replicating, evolving system that satisfies the conditions of life, but isn't anything like life on earth now, but might represent life as it began or could exist elsewhere in the universe.

While his latest work remains unpublished, Szostak described preliminary new success in getting protocells with genetic information inside them to replicate at the XV International Conference on the Origin of Life in Florence, Italy, last week. The replication isn't wholly autonomous, so it's not quite artificial life yet, but it is as close as anyone has ever come to turning chemicals into biological organisms.

"We've made more progress on how the membrane of a protocell could grow and divide," Szostak said in a phone interview. "What we can do now is copy a limited set of simple [genetic] sequences, but we need to be able to copy arbitrary sequences so that sequences could evolve that do something useful."
[Quelle: RichardDawkins.net, Wired]

Auf den nächsten Artikel dieser Gruppe kann man gespannt sein.

Und noch viel mehr bin ich darauf gespannt, was man in 10 oder 20 Jahren zu künstlichem Leben schreiben wird! Artificial protocell evolved ..?.. in long term evolution experiment wäre eine Schlagzeile, die ich gerne einmal lesen würde.



12 September 2008

Grayling erledigt Fuller.

Noch schnell ein Tipp: Vielleicht habt ihr Sahotra Sarkars Review von Steve Fullers* Buch 'Science v. Religion? Intelligent Design and the Problem of Evolution' schon gelesen, die mit diesem herrlichen Abschnitt endet:

These excursions into fancy allow me to end on a positive note: the lack of depth or insight in this book is more than compensated by the entertainment it provides, at least to a philosopher or historian of science. No one should begrudge us our simple pleasures. I'm happy to have read this book, and even more so not to have paid for it.
Fuller hat auf UD darauf geantwortet (tl;dr), vor gemeinen Kommentaren durch WA Dembskis Verbannungsmächte geschützt ("I’m paying special attention to this thread so that only civil, thoughtful comments are entered. “Physicalist,” whoever s/he was, is no longer with us.").

Nun gibt es eine Review von Fullers neuem Buch 'Dissent over Descent' von AC Grayling für The New Humanist.

Grayling kann Fullers neues Buch nicht wirklich lustig finden, dazu hat er offensichtlich beim Lesen zu sehr gelitten. Sein einleitender Absatz:
It is sometimes hard to know whether books that strike one as silly and irresponsible, like Dissent over Descent, the latest book from Steve Fuller, are the product of a desire to strike a pose and appear outrageous (the John Gray syndrome), or really do represent that cancer of the contemporary intellect, post-modernism. I suppose putatively sincere extrusions of the post-modern sensibility might henceforth deserve to be known as “the Steve Fuller syndrome”. For this offering by the American-born sociologist is a classic case of the absurdity to which that sensibility leads.

Auch darauf hat Fuller geantwortet [The New Humanist], mit dem üblichen Geheule, Grayling hätte sein Buch weder gelesen, noch verstanden.

Grayling hat eine Erwiderung geschrieben und dabei nun wirklich die Glacé-Handschuhe ausgezogen: 'Bolus of Nonsense' [The New Humanist]. Mir hat vor allem dieser Abschnitt gefallen, aber es ist in seiner Gänze lesenswert (wie auch seine ursprüngliche Review):
Fuller's endeavour turns in important part on trying to show that science is the child of religion, that its styles of thought are religion's styles, and that the very coherence of the scientific enterprise owes itself to the grand narrative of the religious world-view. Still wishing to spare those forests threatened by the epigones of ID theory and the time-wasting involved in rebutting it, I offer the words of no less an authority than Cardinal Bellarmine, written in 1615 to Paolo Antonio Foscarini, who had tried to show that Copernican heliocentrism is consistent with Vatican doctrine: "As you are aware," so Bellarmine wrote, "the Council of Trent forbids the interpretation of the Scriptures in a way contrary to the common opinion of the holy Fathers. Now if you will read, not merely the Fathers, but modern commentators on Genesis, the Psalms, Ecclesiastes, and Joshua, you will discover that all agree in interpreting them literally as teaching that the Sun is in the heavens and revolves round the Earth with immense speed, and that the Earth is very distant from the heavens, at the centre of the universe, and motionless. Consider then, in your prudence, whether the Church can tolerate that the Scriptures should be interpreted in a manner contrary to that of the holy Fathers and of all modern commentators, both Latin and Greek."

"Consider in your prudence": indeed. This was a decade and a half after Giordano Bruno was burned to death in Rome's Campo dei Fiori for having among his many alleged turpitudes an adherence to the Copernican view; four years before Cesare Vanini died at the stake in Toulouse in 1619 for the same reasons; and just less than another decade and a half before Galileo escaped their fate by denying that the earth moves. (Such are just the salient names.) Copernicus's De Revolutionibus found its way onto the Index of Forbidden Books.

The Vatican, by the way, formally apologised for its prosecution of Galileo on 31 October 1992. The apology came four centuries late; science had long since moved far on. Yet Fuller thinks that science springs from religion. Before you think this is mere absurdity, remember it is because Fuller has to bend and muddle things round so that an ancient creation myth can be fitted into jeans and a t-shirt and made to look hot. This is not ignorance and stupidity: this is trahison d'un clerc.

* Steve Fuller ist der neue Liebling der IDler und besonders der UDler, die sich freuen, mal wieder einen neuen Deppen gefunden zu haben, der auf ihren Blödsinn reingefallen ist.


Da werde ich sowas von hingehen!

On Thursday, 16 October 2008, the University Philosophical Society of Trinity College, Dublin — the world’s oldest debating society (founded 1684) — will sponsor a debate on evolution, creation, and materialism. The debate will occur at 7:30 pm in the Debating Room of the Graduates’ Memorial Building (that’s the building in the photograph above), just off the College’s Front Square.
[Quelle: UD]

Als IDler werden David Berlinski, Paul Nelson und Stephen Moore da sein. Die ersten beiden sind "Fellows" am Disco Institute, der letzte gehört zu der Bande von Volltrotteln, die sich im "Causeway Creation Commitee" zusammengefunden haben. Die wollen ernsthaft, dass in einem neuen Besucherzentrum am Giant's Causeway als alternative Entstehungsgeschichte dieser Formation auch die Entstehung während der Sintflut [das ist ein Link zu "Creation on the Web"; DO NOT GO THERE UNPREPARED! Use your tinfoil hat to reflect brain death rays.] vor ein paar tausend Jahren genannt wird:
Dunluce Christian Fellowship sponsers the Causeway Creation Committee. The Causeway Creation Committee desires that any new visitor centre at the Giant’s Causeway should include a display and information concerning its origins from a Biblical perspective.

Not only do we desire to see this at the Giant’s Causeway but we want to see it replicated across museums and other tourist sites throughout Northern Ireland. We also desire to see ”Creationism” being taught alongside the “Theory of Evolution” in our local schools.
[Quelle: Dunluce Christian Fellowship]

Yupp, und außerdem wollen sie natürlich Kreationismus an Schulen unterrichten.

In Wirklichkeit ist der Giant's Causeway vor 50 - 60 Millionen Jahren entstanden [Bildquelle: Wikipedia; Übersichtsfoto hier, noch viel mehr Fotos], als Teil einer Lavafläche, die große Teile des heutigen Irlands, Großbritanniens, Grönlands, Norwegens (die damals viel näher zusammenlagen) und alles dazwischen bedeckte.

Auf der Seite der Wissenschaft sind Bob Bloomfield vom Britischen Museum, Christopher Stillman, ein Geologe (ha, das passt!) und David Colquhoun, den der eine oder andere vielleicht durch seinen Blog DC's Improbable Science kennt. Außerdem haben sie auch den anglikanischen Vikar der Uni eingeladen.

Das sollte interessant werden. Hoffentlich kann ich es zeitlich einrichten und es kommt nichts wichtiges dazwischen, ich würde zu gerne die Leute mal "in echt" reden hören.



11 September 2008

Logik vs. Logik


10 September 2008

Da helfe ich doch gerne.

Wie Kamenin erklärt, wird die Welt heute definitiv nicht zerstört, auch wenn der Large Hadron Collider offiziell in Betrieb genommen wird/wurde (Live webcast hier). Bis zu den "richtigen" Experimenten dauert es noch ein bisschen und Kamenin fragt sich, ob die ganzen Weltuntergangspropheten nicht bis dahin die Lust verlieren:

Wäre doch doof, wenn ausgerechnet die Apokalyptiker den Weltuntergang dann doch noch verschlafen, nachdem sie die ganze Zeit so ein Bohei drum gemacht haben.
Tja, da habe ich Abhilfe. Wer wissen will, ob die entsprechenden Versuche schon stattgefunden haben, kann hier nachschauen: Has the Large Hadron Collider destroyed the world yet?
Einfach Lesezeichen anlegen und regelmäßig nachschauen.


[via Bad Astronomy]

Kleiner Nachtrag:

Auf Theolounge gefunden:
Dabei soll diese Maschine [das LHC] keine geringere Frage klären, als den Ursprung des Universums, den Urknall. Aus theologisch-philosophischer Sicht kann man aber schon heute sagen: ein vergebliches Unterfangen.
Genau. Warum auch forschen. Kann ja nix bei rauskommen, weil: Goddidit!


Immer diese häßlichen Fakten...

Bisher hat man angenommen, alle Laufvögel (Ratiten; z. B. Emus und Kiwis) stammten von einem gemeinsamen Vorfahren ab. Doch neue Untersuchungen haben ergeben, dass die Laufvögel und damit die Flugunfähigkeit mit den dazugehörigen Anpassungen mindestens dreimal unabhängig voneinander entstanden sind.

Mir hat besonders die Conclusion des Artikels gefallen, in dem dieser Befund veröffentlicht wurde:

Exhaustive analyses of DNA sequence data from 20 unlinked nuclear genes provide strong evidence that ratites are polyphyletic. We have discovered a robust genome-wide signal that is not associated with any known phylogenetic artifact. We believe this phylogeny resolves a debate on ratite origins that began in the time of Huxley and Owen. Our phylogeny implies that the numerous striking similarities associated with flightlessness had independent origins in various ratite lineages. Thus, the flightless ratites are living evidence of parallel evolutionary trajectories from flighted ancestors. The possibility that multiple, unique developmental genetic pathways underlie the ratite form should be tested in light of this new phylogenetic hypothesis. Finally, our phylogeny removes the need to postulate vicariance by continental drift to explain ratite distribution. Although that theory seemed to represent a consilience between evolutionary biology and geology, it was never completely consistent either with any published phylogeny or the existence of paleognath fossils in the Northern hemisphere. Perhaps the impact of our phylogeny should be viewed as yet another example of the phenomenon that Huxley called “the great tragedy of science—the slaying of a beautiful theory by an ugly fact.
[Quelle: Harshman et al. (2008). Phylogenomic evidence for multiple losses of flight in ratite birds. PNAS 105(36): 13462-13467]

Science, I like it.



5 September 2008

Darwin in Schimmelfleck an der Wand erkannt.

DAYTON, TN—A steady stream of devoted evolutionists continued to gather in this small Tennessee town today to witness what many believe is an image of Charles Darwin—author of The Origin Of Species and founder of the modern evolutionary movement—made manifest on a concrete wall in downtown Dayton.

"I brought my baby to touch the wall, so that the power of Darwin can purify her genetic makeup of undesirable inherited traits," said Darlene Freiberg, one among a growing crowd assembled here to see the mysterious stain, which appeared last Monday on one side of the Rhea County Courthouse. The building was also the location of the famed "Scopes Monkey Trial" and is widely considered one of Darwinism's holiest sites. "Forgive me, O Charles, for ever doubting your Divine Evolution. After seeing this miracle of limestone pigmentation with my own eyes, my faith in empirical reasoning will never again be tested."

Added Freiberg, "Behold the power and glory of the scientific method!" [...]

Despite the enthusiasm the so-called "Darwin Smudge" has generated among the evolutionary faithful, disagreement remains as to its origin. Some believe the image is actually closer to the visage of Stephen Jay Gould, longtime columnist for Natural History magazine and originator of the theory of punctuated equilibrium, and is therefore proof of rapid cladogenesis. A smaller minority contend it is the face of Carl Sagan, and should be viewed as a warning to those nonbelievers who have not yet seen his hit PBS series Cosmos: A Personal Voyage.

Still others have attempted to discredit the miracle entirely, claiming that there are several alternate explanations for the appearance of the unexplained discoloration.

"It's a stain on a wall, and nothing more," said the Rev. Clement McCoy, a professor at Oral Roberts University and prominent opponent of evolutionary theory. "Anything else is the delusional fantasy of a fanatical evolutionist mindset that sees only what it wishes to see in the hopes of validating a baseless, illogical belief system. I only hope these heretics see the error of their ways before our Most Powerful God smites them all in His vengeance."

[Quelle: The Onion]

Not to be taken seriously.