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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

In the contentious political debate over embryo stem (ES) cell research, both proponents and opponents...

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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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The five chemicals shown in the picture below are all consumed by millions of Americans as a means for increasing alertness (sometimes some are used for other purposes as well).

Scientists working at Novocell, Inc. in San Diego, CA have reported a stunning advance in the race to move embryonic stem cells from the province of basic scientific research into the arena of clinical trials for patients suffering from diabetes. Type I diabetes results from the degeneration of specialized cells in the pancreas (called beta-cells) that produce the hormone insulin. In healthy individuals, a rise in blood sugar after a meal induces beta-cells to secrete insulin, which enables other cells to absorb and utilize the sugar as fuel; when blood sugar levels drop, insulin production is turned down. In diabetics, insulin regulation fails.

 On December 28, the Food and Drug Administration issued a draft report stating that "meat and milk from clones of adult cattle, pigs and goats, and their offspring, are as safe to eat as food from conventionally bred animals."   In modern-day America, however, the FDA is not allowed to base its decisions concerning public safety simply on the basis of scientific knowledge.  It must listen to the way people feel -- rationally or not -- about its finding.  And so, the FDA explained, 

Blurring boundaries

High up on the bluffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean in southern California, strange animals scurry about in their cages. They eat, drink, copulate and occasionally try to run away from human hands that enter their confined quarters. If you didn't know better, you would think they were ordinary mice. But these particular animals contain a hidden component not present in their naturally conceived cousins. Inside their brains are living human neurons that help them to see, hear and think.

Challenging Nature is the title of my new column here on Scientific Blogging as well as the title of my new book. Since the idea of challenging nature may seem heretical to some, I will provide a brief explanation here of both the rationale for my argument and the opposition it faces.