Book Book Review, Title Perfect Rigor, Author Masha Gessen, Rating 3.5,
The Poincaré conjecture, one of the great unsolved topological problems, was finally proven at the end of the 20th century by Grigoriy Perelman, a Russian mathematician of genius. Topology might be described as distilled geometry. The historian Masha Gessen, who grew up herself in the Russian mathematical culture, invites us into the Aspergian milieu of world-class geometers to tease out the tale.
Calvinist philosophy professor Theodore Plantinga suggests that 'post-Enlightenment' Protestants, so as to act progressively or correctly in support of individual liberties, should embrace the Protestant faith, building their responses to the world on the foundation of Calvin and Luther, rather than embrace 'short-sighted' Enlightenment ideas. How does Plantinga justify his view that the societal direction of Western civilization can be improved by eschewing the Enlightenment influence and replacing it with the Reformational Christian outlook of the 16th century?
Donald Trump's latest international provocation, the decision to move the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem, marches Trump-backing evangelicals a step closer to their deeply held desire for the fulfillment of Biblical end-times prophecies. A recent CNN article by Diana Bass suggests that, for many evangelicals, Jerusalem is about prophecy, not politics. I would partially agree: It is about prophecy, but it is also explicitly about politics.
Book Book Review, Title The Laws of Medicine, Author Siddhartha Mukherjee, Rating 3.5,
The Laws of Medicine
Modern medicine began embracing scientific methods during the last couple of centuries, and in the past one hundred years this has produced an explosion of medical technologies that have aided physicians in significantly controlling some diseases and in particular, extending lives. Today in developed countries, many tests are available for diagnosis and many drugs are available for possible treatment. So why can't physicians today just run a comprehensive battery of tests for every sick patient and spit out a clear diagnosis, and with that, a clear prognosis and plan for a cure? Siddhartha Mukherjee proffers an answer via his Laws of Medicine.
Are evolutionary biology, intelligent design and the existence of God compatible? A reasonable case can be made for it, particularly if one relaxes their culture warrior muscles for a moment, and considers the argument that: science offers little tangible evidence of abiogenesis, the spontaneous creation of life from inanimate material, leaving room for God as the creator of the initial life forms; that God could just as well have created the remainder of life via the slow mechanism of biological evolution. This is not a new argument, and finds a much larger audience than the shouters like to acknowledge.
Epigenetic studies are burgeoning; these genetic mechanisms that are external to direct DNA/RNA encoding and expression are being intensively studied, particularly how environmental factors can stimulate methylation and acetylation of bases of DNA or histone proteins, which then affects the expression of specific gene activity. Is epigenetic modification heritable, and if so, does this represent a revival of Lamarckism?