Junk DNA: A Journey Through the Dark Matter of the Genome


I made a dreadful mistake. Before embarking on my trip to Germany, with those long transatlantic flights, I stocked up my Kindle with a couple of books to keep me entertained. One of them was Nessa Carey’s Junk DNA: A Journey Through the Dark Matter of the Genome. It was a poor investment. I could not finish it. I got maybe a half hour worth of reading out of it before I was too exasperated to continue, and instead watched a ghastly Night at the Museum sequel being shown on the plane’s entertainment system. It was a terrible movie, but better than this book.

Actually, it didn’t take me a half hour to become peevish. The very first page after the acknowledgments, in a section called “Notes on Nomenclature,” contained this abomination.

[Read more…]

Oh, joy


Yet another wacky far-right conservative has announced his candidacy for president: Rick Santorum. It’s becoming a crowded field in opposition to the Democrats.

He is facing heavy competition for those voters this year from rivals like Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, former Gov. Mike Huckabee of Arkansas and the retired neurosurgeon Ben Carson.

I don’t think it’s a good thing for the Republic that one side of our two party system is promoting a circus full of clowns.

Atheists don’t believe in original sin


All our evils are acquired. It’s like the whole nature vs. nature controversy!

Michael Seewald, who is some relative by marriage to the Duggar family, comes up with some slimy excuses for Josh Duggar’s abuses. The appalling thing is how typical this is for Christians: they have a demeaning vision of human nature dunned into them from an early age, and they think this sort of behavior is normal, and you can only be rescued from it by Jesus Christ.

There are many who seem shocked that a child from a Christian family would do such things. While it is always alarming when we find out about our children’s sins, we should not be surprised. Christians (and many other reasonable people) believe that we are all born with a sinful nature. David, king of Israel spoke of his inborn sin like this when he was repenting of his adultery and murder by proxy: “Behold, I was shapen in iniquity; and in sin did my mother conceive me.” Psalm 51:5. The prophet Isaiah concurs. “But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.” Isaiah 64:6. While not all of our sins find a way to manifest themselves externally we all know the corruption that is present in each of our hearts. It is a mercy of God that he restrains the evil of mankind otherwise we would have destroyed ourselves long ago. Many times it is simply lack of opportunity or fear of consequences that keep us from falling into grievous sin even though our fallen hearts would love to indulge the flesh. We should not be shocked that this occurred in the Duggar’s home, we should rather be thankful to God if we have been spared such, and pray that he would keep us and our children from falling.

[Read more…]

How to deal with a medical emergency

My basic first aid skills are apparently a bit rusty. What do you do when you see a man losing control of his car at a slow speed, coming to a stop, and sitting unresponsively in his seat? I’d think you’d ask him what was wrong, call 911, and try to help him. Not if you’re a Fredericksburg cop! David Washington had a stroke and was clearly in distress, so a police officer applied what is apparently the modern approach to emergency medicine: he tased an unarmed, unthreatening man, then hosed him down with pepper spray, and dragged him out unto the pavement before running over his foot with a car.

[Read more…]

Not quite home, and almost regretting it

I’m back in the US! At least, I’m in Chicago, with a flight delay, so it’s at least another 6 or 7 hours of traveling before I pull up to my door. Unfortunately, I’m tempted to turn around and go back to Germany.

You see, I’m returning from a most excellent international atheist conference, where I learned a lot and was also very impressed with the commitment of the worldwide atheist community to more than just convincing everyone there is no god. One of the themes that came up repeatedly was the importance of women and feminism to promoting secular ideals.

So after a long flight with total internet deprivation, I land and happen to check in to the Facebook, and what’s the very first thing I see, at the very top of the page? This.

Tried this in another atheist group, got banned LOL.

Thought experiment.

Would you allow rape if it was the only means to prevent the extinction of the human species?

[Read more…]