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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Darwin, sexist asshat

That same bozo who sent me the Hitler quote sent me another image in reply:

darwin_sexist_asshat

Fair enough. Darwin got a lot of things wrong. I’m actually going to be lecturing my intro biology students on where Darwin screwed up in a few weeks, focusing mainly on his bad genetics, but I’ll toss that quote into the mix, too. To be perfectly fair, I’ll also include the more complete quote below the fold…and no, nothing in the larger context excuses it.

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Cafe Scientifique tonight

The 2014/2015 Cafe Scientifique series in Morris starts today! Come on out to the Common Cup Coffeehouse at 6pm to hear Michael Ceballos of the biology discipline talk about Malaysia: Intersections between Modern Science and Traditional Indigenous Knowledge. All the cool people will be here.

ceballos

The next Café Scientifique will take place on Tuesday, September 30, at 6 p.m., at the Common Cup Coffeehouse (501 Atlantic Avenue, Morris, MN 56267). Michael Ceballos, assistant professor of biology, will lead the discussion, “Malaysia: Intersections between Modern Science and Traditional Indigenous Knowledge.” All are welcome to attend. Audience participation is encouraged.

The indigenous people of Borneo, or bumi putra, enjoy a rich history of utilizing natural resources to produce food, shelter, clothing, medicines, weaponry, and artesania. This traditional ecological knowledge and the flora, fauna, and microbiota of Borneo have more recently been explored by modern-day scientists. This discussion will focus on current research efforts underway on the island—some of which are being conducted by University of Minnesota, Morris students and faculty with funding from the National Science Foundation.

Café Scientifique is an ongoing series that offers a space where anyone can come to explore the latest ideas in science and technology for the price of a cup of coffee. Meetings take place outside of a traditional academic context and are committed to promoting public engagement with science. Interested audiences can look forward to additional discussions, typically held on the last Tuesday of selected months.

Café Scientifique is supported in part by a grant to the University of Minnesota, Morris from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute through the Precollege and Undergraduate Science Education Program. Additional information is available at morris.umn.edu/hhmi.

It’s going to be good. If you don’t show up, Michael is going to hunt you down with that blowgun.