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Archive for February 12th, 2009

‘AUSTIN, Texas – Texas has ordered a recall of all products ever shipped from a now-closed Peanut Corp. of America plant in Plainview amid a nationwide salmonella outbreak. The order came Thursday evening from the Department of State Health Services. The agency says “dead rodents, rodent excrement and bird feathers” were discovered Wednesday in a crawl space above a production area. A state inspection also found that the unit’s air handling system was pulling debris from the infested crawl space into production areas. The plant began operating in March 2005 but was shut down earlier this week.’(Associated Press) Did I hear from certain quarters who had insisted on a clause in the proposed stimulus bill ‘Buy American’?

benny

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Web of Life

It is One Hundred and Fifty years since Charles Darwin published ‘On the Origin of Species’. His theory laid out a vertical progression of genes from one species to their offsprings. He compared it to a tree life, an oak tree with many branches. One tree with many branches points to a species evolving into many. He arrived at this theory at a time the world of science knew nothing of bacteria or other primitive life forms. The discovery of DNA that has since led to a revolution in sequencing of genes of bacteria and unicellular archae shows the idea of web of life rather than Darwinian tree of life. Consider the two organisms mentioned above. In New Scientist of Jan 21, 2009 appeared an article showing how these swapped genes across great taxonomic distances. In fact 80% of these organisms conduct lateral gene transfer. So strictly speaking a web of life may be more appropriate to describe the evolution of species.

OK Darwin’s theories may not be the last word and yet one has to agree his mind could leap despite his indifferent health and neglect from his contemporaries to formulate a theory as profound as Einstein’s paper on Photoelectric Effect of 1905. He was writing up his theory in 1858 when Alfred Russel Wallace sent him an essay which described the same idea, prompting immediate joint publication of both of their theories.(See note below)

How come both could think up a theory more or less similar? Each man is unique as his  fingerprints. Their viewpoints and experiences would also show subtle differences. Then what makes their search show up similarities? Both were scientists delving into Truth through the discipline of Natural Science.

2.

Charles Darwin and Einstein ventured out into the deep, and let their scientific spirit of enquiry and search for truth come to their rescue. They shook the very complacency of the world that dared not think an original thought lest they should offend someone in the process. In this context I think those who defend Creationism merely to fit their understanding the Bible as inerrant do not give much credit to their intellect or their God. The trouble with Creationists is not that Creation of God is impossible but they never started a search into Truth; they never ask themselves if God (who made heaven and the earth) cannot direct the mind into Truth, even though these be in theories that may be rewritten according to time and place and on firm grounding of proof. Such theories may differ from Creation account in particulars and yet God in His manifold wisdom remains supreme. He has given wisdom and power severally and of differing qualities so His ways may be known from the natural world.

Note:[ In June 1858 Darwin received a letter from the young naturalist Alfred Russel Wallace, and it outlined a theory of evolution by natural selection eerily like Darwin's own. Wallace even cited the passage of Malthus that Darwin had cited in his notebook nearly 20 years before. Darwin was distraught. But Darwin's friends, botanist Joseph Hooker and geologist Charles Lyell knew Darwin had written an essay containing those ideas nearly 15 years ago, so clearly he had developed the theory first. In a burst of energetic networking, Hooker and Lyell arranged a compromise: Wallace and Darwin would both have papers on the theory presented at the Linnean Society in London. Wallace was satisfied, and Darwin—finally—decided to get his theory into print without further delay. In little more than a year, he would publish his greatest book, On the Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection.( ack:American Museum of Natural History-Darwin, A Life’s Work] benny

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