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Monthly Archive: July 2007

Jul 31 2007

The dangerous consequences of a militarized foreign policy

Chalmers Johnson is a former CIA consultant and a professor of Asian studies at Berkeley, and was an avowed cold-war warrior during the Vietnam war era. He has written a very interesting article titled Evil Empire: Is Imperial Liquidation Possible for America? He points out the Iraq war as an unmitigated disaster on many levels …

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Jul 30 2007

Evolution-16: The evolution of the eye

(Please see here for previous posts in this series.) The eye is one organ almost invariably brought out by creationists to argue against evolution. How could something so complex have possibly evolved incrementally, they ask? Darwin himself suggested the way that the eye could come into being. Due to the fact that eyes don’t fossilize …

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Jul 27 2007

Evolution-15: How species evolve

(Please see here for previous posts in this series.) The final feature that needs to be addressed is the probability of mutations cumulating to produce new organs and species. This question lies at the heart of many people’s objections to evolutionary ideas. They cannot envisage how infinitesimal changes, each invisible to the eye, can add …

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Jul 26 2007

Single payer health universal insurance coming to Ohio?

(For previous posts on the topic of health care, see here.) Efforts are underway to try get a universal, single payer health care system in Ohio. The group behind it is the Single-Payer Action Network Ohio (SPAN Ohio), which is supporting legislation instituting such a plan. Their website provides more information about their initiatives and …

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Jul 25 2007

Evolution-14: How a single mutation spreads everywhere

In the previous post, we saw that if we start with a trait that is present in just 0.1% of the population (i.e., f=0.001), and if this has a small selection advantage of size s=0.01, this will grow to 99.9% (F=0.999) in just under 1,400 generations, which is a very short time on the geological …

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Jul 24 2007

CNN, Michael Moore, Sicko, and fact-checking as propaganda tool

(For previous posts on the topic of health care, see here.) All Michael Moore’s films deal with very serious topics in ways that are both informative and entertaining. His films have dealt with corporate greed, violence in society, the Iraq war, and now the health industry. Along with Robert Greenwald’s Brave New Films, he provides …

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Jul 23 2007

Evolution-13: Differential rates of survival

(Please see here for previous posts in this series.) Of the three stages of natural selection outlined before, the only one that occurs purely by chance is the first one, that of the occurrence of mutations. I discussed how although the chances of producing a favorable mutation by changes in any individual site in the …

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Jul 20 2007

Evolution-12: Population genetics and the Hardy-Weinberg law

(Please see here for previous posts in this series.) In the previous post, I discussed the puzzle posed by a na├»ve understanding of Mendelian genetics, which was that one might expect that organisms that displayed recessive gene traits would slowly disappear in a population while those with dominant gene traits would grow in number. But …

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Jul 19 2007

Oh, and about those wait times for medical treatment. . .

When all their other arguments about the advantages of the current US health care system compared to universal, single-payer systems in France, Canada, England, Germany, etc. are shown to be false, apologists for the US health care system turn to their trump card: alleging that wait times to see a doctor in those countries is …

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Jul 18 2007

Evolution-11: The rise of population genetics and the neo-Darwinian synthesis

(Please see here for previous posts in this series.) The joining of Darwin’s theory of natural selection with the Mendelian theory of genetics is one of the great triumphs of biology, now called somewhat grandly the ‘neo-Darwinian synthesis’. It forms the basis of all modern biology, and was strengthened by the discovery of DNA as …

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