Saturday, April 12, 2008


I know that picking on Expelled is old news now, but this latest stupidity made my head reel.

First of all, the ID goons are still grossly simplifying the issue, according to a synopsis of their movie which speaks of "Charles Darwin's 150-year-old theories about the origins of life." Any informed reader is surely aware that Darwin was merely one of the first ones to propose a mechanism for evolution which had already been observed to happen (Darwin did not, to my knowledge, propose any theory concerning the origins of life). Our understanding of the mechanism today barely resembles Darwin's theories at all. For example, genetics provides mountains of evidence for current evolutionary theory, and Darwin was blissfully unaware of DNA. Chronic liar and "Expelled" producer Mark Mathis also whines that "They [opponents of his film] cannot tolerate the connection "Expelled" draws between Darwinism and Adolf Hitler."

Well, yeah.

That would be like if I made a film that concluded that Christianity causes people to want to burn other people, and then I was confused when Christians were angry about it.

On a lighter, and cooler, note, I attended the Experimental Biology 2008 conference last weekend. As an undergraduate student who can't miss very much class, I was unable to do much more than present my poster on mitochondrial DNA damage caused by gamma radiation and see a few talks, but what I did see was pretty interesting. First and foremost, it was very helpful to talk to other scientists, some of whom specialized in areas related to my research, and get ideas for new lines of inquiry or new methods for future work. The other neat thing was a symposium on low-carb diets moderated by Richard Feinman (sweet name for a scientist, eh?) of SUNY Downstate Medical Center. There were some convincing presentations suggesting that carbohydrate-restricted diets may be a useful treatment for type I diabetes mellitus and certain metabolic disorders. Some of it was a bit difficult to follow (I'm only an undergrad, and not even a senior at that), but from my admittedly rudimentary understanding of the intricacies of metabolism, what they were saying seemed to make sense. I was disappointed that the data were mostly concerned with proving that their diets worked, rather than the mechanisms by which they worked, but I suppose that's the nature of clinical research. Maybe I'll take up some of those topics someday, if they haven't been claimed by other scientists by then. It seems like the field of metabolism is attracting quite a lot of attention lately.

Oh, and also, Ikaruga was released on XBOX Live Arcade on Wednesday. I excitedly downloaded the demo, recalling the hours I spent with this game back on Dreamcast. Sadly, I still suck at it, so I probably won't bother buying it, only to have it sit there and taunt me with achievements that I cannot achieve (besides, I still have a perfectly good Dreamcast to play it on).

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