What Makes the Whole More Than the Sum of Its Parts?
A living being is more than the collection of the multitude of organic components of which it is made.
Some Things We Can Know
Those who study historical topics such as origins often face questions for which no easy answers are evident. Published in Origins, v. 65.
Spotlight: The Fossil “Forests" of Yellowstone National Park
Two contributions are included in this segment (A Chemist's Perspective of the Yellowstone Petrified “Forests," by C. Webster; The Explanation for the “Yellowstone Fossil Forests," an Uncompleted Research Project, by L. Brand). They are intended to generate renewed interest on a valuable research topic. Published in Origins, v. 65.
A Physicist’s Look at Nature and the Nature of God
Because the creation of God bears undeniable evidence of its Author, there are things in nature that may reflect – even though in a very pale way – some of the characteristics of the nature of God. What follows are two analogies from physics that can serve as illustrations for aspects of the Divinity.
DNA and Design
Imagine walking down the beach and coming across the words “Romeo loves Juliet” written in the sand. Most of us have experienced something like this and would not be surprised, but most people would be surprised to find the entire text of William Shakespeare’s play Romeo and Juliet written in sand. Why is this? The obvious reason is that sand is the wrong material for large writing projects. Sand grains…
Gravitational Waves and General Relativity: Top Science News in 2017
Einstein’s general theory of relativity was published in 1915. It again made headlines in 2017 with two major reports about gravitational waves that further confirmed the theory’s last remaining major prediction. On October 3, the detection of gravitational waves from coalescing black holes was awarded a Nobel Prize. On October 16, the observation of correlated gravitational and electromagnetic (light)…
Would You Move to an Exoplanet?
If given the choice where in our Milky Way galaxy you would prefer to live, where would you go? To one of those newly-discovered extra-solar planets the media get enthusiastic about when water has been detected there?Before you answer these questions remember that, beyond the presence of water, many other conditions must be fulfilled before any planet can support the continued existence of life as-we-know-it,…
Organisms in Their Niche: Passive Modeling Clay or Problem-Solving Entities?
One person’s cultural background can bias their view about people from other cultures… even before they have ever met. Could people also have a bias about how they think about other creatures? It may even be possible that scientific culture could prejudice the way researchers see creature-environmental relations with the potential to bias whole research programs.
Microbes, Symbiosis, and the Lesson of Interdependence
A very common reaction to the thought of “microbes” is a compelling desire to slather up in hand sanitizer! However, it is seldom realized that the greatest majority of microorganisms are at the very least not harmful, and at the most necessary for human life! Many aspects of microbial interaction with our environment allow it to be so perfect for humans. Some of these aspects include oxygen generation,…
Stability of Organic Molecules: Lessons from Vitamin C
The stability of organic (carbon-based) molecules is an interesting and challenging topic as there are many different types of functional groups, molecular configurations, and molecular collisions to consider. Research on the stability of ascorbic acid (Vitamin C) and other vitamins demonstrates which factors to consider when it comes to the preservation of carbon-based molecules. Ascorbic acid…
The Exceptional Properties of Water
There is one small molecule that makes our world unique and special. What is it? Water! Sure, other planets and moons in our solar system may have (or had) water and even more than Earth, but it is rare to find liquid water on the surface of a planet.
Some Implications of Biological Information
A review of the book "Biological Information: New Perspectives," originally published in Origins, v. 64.
Design in the Physical Universe
Several years ago my wife and I were hiking in Utah at Arches National Park. The area was desert, so it wasn’t easy to pick out the trail, but we saw these little piles of rocks. If there had only been a couple piles and the piles contained only a couple rocks, we wouldn't have particularly noticed or at least would have thought it was just a natural coincidence. However, the piles contained several…
Biomimicry: The Search for Brilliant Design
The West Chester University Professor of Biology, Frank E. Fish, was vacationing along New England's coast frequented by magnificent humpbacked whales. While browsing in a gift shop one day he couldn't help but notice a gifted sculptor’s rendition of one of the splendid creatures and commented to the shop owner that the artist had put bumps on the wrong side of the pectoral fin. The bumps should be…
The Perfect Wing Stroke
What is the utility of a fourth or a fifth of a wing stroke? Could any insect or bird get by with a wing that is a fraction of its normal size? Could it serve its purpose working at a reduced capacity? These questions are a challenge for those who accept Darwinian gradualism and adaptation. According to the Darwinian evolution theory, biological traits arise by small genetic variations steadily modifying…
Birds and Flight
Recently I flew to London on the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner. Despite what media hype might lead a Dreamliner passenger to expect, there were no fires on board and the experience wasn’t particularly different from what I’ve experienced on innumerable other flights. From my perspective, the seats were too small, too close together and too hard. That is not to say that there were not some differences,…
150 Years After Darwin
A group of serious scholars in science and philosophy have been building the case that the origin of living things requires a designer. This intelligent design movement has been growing since the mid 1990s, and continues to be controversial.
Is There Design in Nature?
The existence of certain features that could not survive in intermediate stages is evidence of a designer. Furthermore, it seems to me to be evidence of a supernatural Designer who created by special intervention - creation - and not through a continuous process such as evolution. I see the argument from perfection as an argument in support of an interventionist, discontinuous creation.
Design in Nature
From the trillions, yes trillions, of non-human cells that live in our bodies cooperating with us in various ways that keep us healthy and happy, down to the molecular machines that keep each cell running all the way up to the cooperation between plants and animals that keep the animals fed, the plants pollinated and any number of other cooperative relationships between organisms, the real question is, “Who designed the marvelous plans we see brought to life all around us?”
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