Category Archives: Science

And because Ben Stein gets on my ever lovin’ last nerve….

And I actually had an email argument with someone about it this morning (my god-fearing cousin), so I’m ranting.

It’s been fairly common knowledge for a while now that the movie distorts facts and sneers at any scientific theory that doesn’t have God in it, but I had no clue it would resort to Godwinizing itself.

That’s right. Ben Stein actually said that Darwin’s theory of evolution is responsible for the Holocaust. “What, the Ben Stein?” you ask, all flummoxed at the idea of an obviously intelligent individual actually making such a ridiculous assertion. Yes, I respond, the same. He’s been making silly assertions for quite a while now. The Scientific American article states:

Ben Stein acts grief-stricken and the director juxtaposes quotes from evolutionary biologists with archival newsreel clips from Hitler’s Reich

Oh, the HUMANITY!!! How can scientists ever look god in the face? If he had one. Or even existed.

The main issue with the movie is, of course, that it isn’t actually science. It’s a propaganda film for ID, and doesn’t really bother to refute any scientific evidence with scientific evidence of its own so much as it mislabels evolutionary theory (Darwinism…I guess Mendelism or an -ism on the end of any of the other half dozen better known evolutionary scientists’ names just didn’t sound as good) and scientists (Darwinists. Because, y’know…that’s all any science that adheres to verifiable fact is really about. Darwin) and attempts to paint their work as faulty for lack of a deity.

At any rate. My cousin was trilling praises to the movie in her monthly newsletter to the family. She took her daughters to see it so they could know just how science “misleads us and attempts to lead us away from our father.” I’m still not sure how, exactly, since all science really does is present facts, but she was fairly insistent that science attempts to divorce us from god.

It went rapidly downhill from there. I hit “reply all” to make sure I had everyone in my entire family on the cc line as well as hers (after all, if you’re going to start a family war, do it big, I always say…) and sent a few links showing the critical flaws in ID, the absurd flaws in Expelled, and kindly requested that she take me off her mailing list if she was going to insist on sending out patently wrong information with which she knew very well I would take issue, as I would just have to call her out in front of the entire family again.

So far only two responses. One from my brother, who accused me of timing my email to perfectly coincide with his ingestion of his morning coffee and a request for $25 for a new ergonomic keyboard, and one from my sister who called me evil. But I think she meant it in a good way.

Gene linked to walking upright

A geneticist in Turkey has traced mutations in a protein gene that directly applies to development of the central nervous system and our ability to walk upright. The article goes on to say:

“We carried out genome-wide screening on these families”, said Professor Ozcelik, “and found regions of DNA that were shared by all those family members who walk on all fours. However, we were surprised to find that genes on three different chromosomes are responsible for the condition in four different families.”

[snip]

Mutations causing VLDLR deficiency are also found in Hutterites, a group of Anabaptists who live in colonies of North America. There, however, most of the affected individuals cannot walk at all. The neurological characteristics of the affected members of the Turkish families and the Hutterites seem similar, with the most striking difference being that the Turkish individuals are able to walk on all fours, said the scientists. They hypothesize that the Hutterites may be more profoundly affected due to the deficiency in VLDLR and a neighbouring gene, and therefore lack the motor skills even for quadrupedal locomotion.

Simply put, the discovery challenges many of our preconceptions regarding the development of early man. Until I read some of the articles, I had no idea this was so widely disputed.

Diabetes and ignorance

This morning in a rather unfocused online debate (yes, yes, when will I learn?) a rather silly assertion was made that Type I Diabetes was caused by Type II Diabetes and it’s all because of the hormones we inject in our meat and the junk we stuff in our faces. Sadly, this was not the first time I’ve heard this comment.

For the record: Type I (or Juvenile) Diabetes is an autoimmune disorder which destroys insulin producing cells in the pancreas, whereas Type II Diabetes is a resistance to insulin, or the body’s inability to produce enough insulin.

It is interesting to note that people diagnosed with Type I Diabetes are often otherwise healthy and their dietary intake is not remarkable for high amounts of glucose. Type II Diabetes is often associated with obesity and inactivity.

There is no cure for Type I Diabetes. It is an insidious disease which, while not fatal, contributes largely to other disorders such as End Stage Renal Disease, Congestive Heart Failure, retinopathy leading to blindness, and neuropathy. “Eating right” will not stop it or slow it.

Why am I going on about it here? Well, quite frankly, I was hoping at least a few people would read this and say “Oh! Did not know that. Good information to have.” and not assert that all Diabetes is the same and it’s caused by the way we eat. Because really? The meme’s getting old.

Indigenous tribe found near Brazil/Peru border

In an attempt to slow the decimation of the Amazonian rainforest, the Brazilian government found and photographed one of the last remaining indigenous tribes that has not yet been in contact with the outside world.

Amazonian tribe

It does make me wonder what they could possibly have thought of the helicopter and the person inside taking pictures…