Biology

Has Science Found How Life Began and Species Evolved? An Examination of the "RNA World" Hypothesis and Rapidly Changing Lizards

June, 2009

The central question evolutionary science has yet to answer is by what natural processes is novel information introduced into the biological world. Until this question is answered, evolution will remain an organized system of unproven speculations and “just so” stories. There are two main events in the evolutionary tale that need this type of explanation: the origin of life and the mechanism for macroevolution.

Joyce

Everlasting Life: Mission Impossible or the Great Commission?

March, 2005

Many of you will remember with me the epic TV series Mission Impossible which chronicled the adventures of the Impossible Mission Taskforce, a team of government spies and specialists who were assigned "impossible missions" by the unseen "Secretary". If not, you may have seen the more recent movie of the same title. If not, well, bear with me. I think you'll get the point. In the original series, the Team Leader (Dan Briggs the first season, then Jim Phelps the other six) was always given a mission, usually involving the impossible (hence the title) task of disarming an alarming situation within a time limit (inevitably by the end of the show). If you've read any recent news regarding the science of aging you may know that the government and other organizations have amassed similar teams of specialists today and tasked them with a similarly serious and seemingly impossible mission, to seek out and find scientific answers to the secret of everlasting life.1 The primary premise of most of these teams of specialists is that our bodies are of faulty design and contain many individual "time bombs" (e.g., faulty organ systems) that are doomed to eventual failure. Some very intelligent people are claiming that, because of an exponential increase in human knowledge related to the science of aging, we will soon be able to take control of and even halt the aging process by defusing these internal time bombs.

A Response to Selected Arguments in Richard Dawkins' The God Delusion

June, 2007

Well-known atheist and evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins authored the now best selling book The God Delusion which was published last year.1 This is just one of several recent popular science books by atheists to hit bookstores in the last few months. This essay will discuss selected scientific and philosophical arguments made in the Delusion.

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Richard Dawkins

"Junk" DNA as Evidence for Evolution?

January, 2003

"It is a capital mistake to theorize before you have all the evidence. It biases the judgment."-Sherlock Holmes in a Study of Scarlet

Back in the 1960s, scientists discovered sections of DNA that did not code for proteins. These non-coding DNA strands were assumed to be non-functional and were referred to as "junk" DNA, the presumed evolutionary remnants of ancestral organisms.1 Almost 99% of human DNA is known to be non-coding.


A little background will facilitate discussion of non-coding DNA. Information in coding DNA sequences is transcribed into mRNA (Figure 1). mRNA exits the nucleus and attaches to ribosomes, the molecular machines that generate proteins. In the ribosome, the information in the mRNA is translated into an amino acid sequence to form a protein.

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Figure 1: Protein Formation from Coding DNA

The transcription of information from DNA to mRNA is where non-coding DNA is encountered (Figure 2).

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Figure 2: mRNA Formation by Removal of Introns

Where do viruses come from?

November, 2004

"For sheer numbers, no other ocean beings can match viruses. Thousands, sometimes even millions of these molecular parasites inhabit every drop of surface seawater, outnumbering even bacteria by 10 to 1... evidence that suggests that viruses are a powerful force in the sea, and one that determines how many plankton and ultimately how many fish, and even humans, an ocean ecosystem can support... viruses must have a profound influence on the WHY DID GOD CREATE VIRUSES?

A major line of reasoning used to argue against the creationist worldview is ‘why a benevolent God would create pathogenic organisms whose sole function seems to be to cause disease and suffering?

Designed Interactions between Fungi, Plants, and Animals

July, 2011

Symbiosis (from Ancient Greek sýn “with” and bíōsis “living”) is close and often long-term interactions between different biological species. In 1877 Bennett used the word symbiosis (which previously had been used of people living together in community) to describe the mutualistic relationship between an alga and fungus in lichens. In 1879 the German mycologist Heinrich Anton de Bary defined it as “the living together of unlike organisms.”

Figure 1
 Lichen
Lichens are an example of a commensal symbiotic relationship.

Intelligent Design

May, 2006

The phrase "intelligent design" is heard a great deal lately in the media, usually in the context of secondary school science education.

William Dembski

A mathematician and a philosopher, William A. Dembski is the Carl F. H. Henry Professor of Science and Theology at Southern Seminary in Louisville where he heads its Center for Theology and Science. He is also a senior fellow with Discovery Institute's Center for Science and Culture in Seattle and the executive director of the International Society for Complexity, Information, and Design (www.iscid.org).

Creation Resources and Evidences

April, 2005

Recently I was asked to give a talk on resources available on creation. I expanded the topic to include best evidences for creation. This article is based on that talk. For resources, I will discuss some of the major websites and organizations. Many of these will probably be familiar to you if you have been interested in creation science for a while. For best evidences, I will discuss scripture, the origin of the universe, the origin of life, the origin of species, empirical detection of intelligent causes, and the age of the earth.

Guinea Pigs & Humans - We Have A Lot More In Common Than Evolutionists Would Think

July, 2005

Toxicologists like myself make a living out of evaluating the impact of chemical exposures and other insults on the health of laboratory animals (we can't test humans after all). Rats and mice, members of the evolutionary order Rodentia, make up a large majority of these experimental animals. Ken Boschert, a veterinarian with Washington University's division of comparative medicine and the operator of a Web site called Net Vet (netvet.wustl.edu/) estimates that 99 percent of experimental animals nowadays are rats and mice, which are small, cheap to feed, and reproduce quickly. Rats and mice are also believed to share a closer evolutionary lineage to humans than other non-primate mammals. Yet, another familiar mammal, guinea pigs, are in many ways toxicologically and genetically more like humans than rats, mice and even our closest evolutionary cousins, the chimpanzee.1 This article will relate evidence from personal experiences and readings that suggest that guinea pigs are more likely to have shared a common designer than a common ancestor with humans.

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