The zebrafish litany has entered the popular press

Deja vu…years ago, we I was a wee young grad student and the only labs doing work on zebrafish were at the University of Oregon, we used to have to do this annoying thing everyone called the “zebrafish litany” at our talks. Because they were relatively unknown, we had this short explanation for why we were working on zebrafish: rapidlydevelopingtransparentvertebrateembryos. And later we added “genetics” and “transgenics” and “medicalapplications” to the boilerplate. As the mob of zebrafish acolytes grew, I swear you could hear the squishy sounds of eyeballs rolling every time we started our introductions.

Well, the laugh is on them. Now everybody gets to read the zebrafish litany, and we’re taking over the known universe.

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Dang good paper

All right, Larry Moran, why did you post about this paper now? I finished the unit on the origins of life in my cell biology class over a week ago, and this summary of the metabolism first model of abiogenesis would have been very helpful. I first gave them a review of redox reactions in chemistry, and then some general ideas about events in deep sea vents that generate a source of energy that early chemistry could have tapped, but this paper is full of specifics — probably a bit too heavy going for college sophomores, but they could have appreciated some of the diagrams.

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Dembski: Still wrong

William Dembski spoke at the University of Chicago in August, and a video of the talk is available. I tried to watch it, I really did, but I ended up skipping through most of it (one of the advantages of seeing it on youtube!). Here’s my rather stream-of-consciousness monolog as I was flicking like a damselfly over the stagnant pond of his words:

“Get to the point, Bill. Skip. No biology. Skip. No biology yet. Skip. Wait, that model is anti-biology…evolution doesn’t work like that. Watches a short segment. Nope, nonsense. Skip. No biology, skip. Oh, “specified complexity”…does he define it? Listens intently for a bit. Nope. Skip. Dawkins’ weasel program? He still doesn’t understand it! No biology, no biology, no biology, I’m done.”

I know, that wasn’t very informative, but then, neither was the talk. There were a few shots of the audience, and they didn’t seem particularly enthralled, either.

Joe Felsenstein watched the whoooole thing, though, and has some very sharp observations on Dembski’s model.

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