Religion, Science.

Evolution + Intelligent Design = 42

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.

Essays, Politics-Government.

Citizenship: Making sense of hysteria

With the never-ending wave of hysteria being promulgated daily in the news media and on the internet, how do we make sense of it all? How do we deflect the emotional pull of anger, greed and hate, all cousins of fear, that are often brought to us by those who wish to drown our better selves in the worst emotions, so as to persuade us to think or act in some certain way? How do we find a way to think and act responsibly when our politicians, pundits, preachers, programs and parents promote their agendas, at times with little regard for truth or ethics or morality, while with the deepest irony, and sometimes cynicism, couching their points of view in the language of truth and ethics and morality?

Music, Observations.

American Soul

Aretha Franklin recently sang at the Kennedy Center Honors tribute to Carole King, reprising the song Carole wrote for her, A Natural Woman. The performance was glorious, and drew tears from the President, as well as from myself as I watched and listened to it later on video. Obama said of Aretha afterwords: 'Nobody embodies more fully the connection between the African-American spiritual, the blues, R. & B., rock and roll—the way that hardship and sorrow were transformed into something full of beauty and vitality and hope. American history wells up when Aretha sings.'
Observations, Politics-Government.

Crude, Rude, and Impolite

Today's Republican Party, in choosing a clearly unqualified candidate for the presidency, in choosing to wallow in the deepest trough of political mud in my memory, in choosing to embrace the grossest of lies and the most laughable of conspiracies, in choosing to generate fear and hatred instead of exercising civilized, reasoned judgment, has embraced my 5th grade teacher's admonishment for a ten year old's bad behavior: "Crude, rude and impolite".
Science.

Has Lamarckism been revived?

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?