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California Thinks It's Dangerous For You To Look At Your Own DNA

California thinks you shouldn’t be allowed to see your OWN fingerprints (of the DNA variety)...

Conversation With A Modern Creationist: Part 2

I've written this post to address some of the issues raised in the comments to my first post...

Conversation With A Modern Creationist

Many scientists have expressed the belief that if they only had a chance to explain the facts,...

The Secret Life Of Embryonic Stem Cells

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Lee SilverRSS Feed of this column.

Professor of molecular biology and public policy at Princeton University , Silver has a Ph.D. in biophysics from Harvard and B.A. and M.S. degrees

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A Yale University senior named Aliza Shvarts ignited the blogosphere with outrage yesterday, April 17, when the Yale student newspaper announced that Shvarts had artificially inseminated herself "as often as possible" over the past nine months and then periodically induced "miscarriages," all toward the goal of developing a "performance art" project in the School of Art at Yale. But there may be students on my campus who perform a similar type of "art" every week without much fuss.

It may all come down to the meaning of words.

Oprah Winfrey introduced the so-called "first pregnant man" to viewers of her April 3rd show this past week. Thomas Beatie appeared, six months pregnant, with his wife Nancy and his obstetrician, Dr. Kimberly James (by satellite hookup). You can see the complete show here. But many viewers thought the whole thing was blown out of proportion because Thomas was born with a perfectly normal uterus.

At the end of my first column on the issue, I said I would post another piece discussing the actual science of male pregnancy.

Is it really possible today? The answer, as I abstract from my 1997 book, Remaking Eden, is "almost certainly yes, but . . ."

Homeopathic medicine was the creation of a single person, Samuel Hahnemann, who graduated from a German medical school in 1779 and practiced the "healing arts" until 1843, first in Germany and then in Paris.  The theoretical underpinning of Hahnemann's new approach to health and vitality is that a healthy human being is inhabited by an integrated spirit or vital force. 

Before the 18th century, scientists and non-scientists alike assumed that the material substance of living organisms was fundamentally different from that of non-living things -- organisms and their products were considered organic by definition, while non-living things were mineral or inorganic. 

With the invention of chemistry in the late 18th century, scientists uncovered the incoherence of the traditional distinction: all material substances are constructed from the same set of chemical elements.  Today we understand that the special properties of living organic matter emerge from the interactions of a large variety of large molecules built mostly with atoms of carbon, oxygen, and hydrogen.

I’m no kin to the monkey, no no,no
The monkey’s no kin to me, yeah yeah, yeah
I don’t know much about his ancestors,
But mine didn’t swing from a tree.

CORRECTION:  Charles Margulis -- who works with the so-called Center for Food Safety, an organic food lobbying group -- has called my attention to the fact that 200 people were made seriously ill (rather than dead) from eating manure-contaminated fresh spinach last fall. Only three people actually died.  My apologies for the unintentional error.