Melville on Science vs. Creation Myth

From Melville's under-appreciated Mardi: On a quest for his missing love Yillah, an AWOL sailor...

Non-coding DNA Function... Surprising?

The existence of functional, non-protein-coding DNA is all too frequently portrayed as a great...

Yep, This Should Get You Fired

An Ohio 8th-grade creationist science teacher with a habit of branding crosses on his students'...

No, There Are No Alien Bar Codes In Our Genomes

Even for a physicist, this is bad: Larry Moran, in preparation for the appropriate dose of ridicule...

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Michael WhiteRSS Feed of this column.

Welcome to Adaptive Complexity, where I write about genomics, systems biology, evolution, and the connection between science and literature, government, and society.

I'm a biochemist

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I get unsolicited mail:

ProEvo: Pro Evolution - Guideline for an Age of Joy

Being on a variety of evolution vs creationism mailing lists, I wasn't initially surprised to receive an apparently evolution-related book in the mail. I'd never heard this author, someone going by the name of Tomotom, so I flipped to the back cover to see what this thing was about.
A Nuclear Eco-Catastrophe
We can add one more case to creationism's long record of legal failures. Yes, a creationist biology class is not adequate preparation for college coursework. The Supreme Court declined to hear an appeal in a case involving applicants to the University of California system who were deemed to have inadequate college preparation in biology. From the NCSE:
Arthur Clarke's Childhood's End was my main pick for 1953 in our survey of post-apocalyptic sci-fi, but John Wyndham's Kraken Wakes is another great apocalypse novel from the same year. (It was published as Out of the Deeps in the US. Apparently Americans weren't expected to know what Kraken means, until the second Pirates of the Caribbean movie, because now China Mieville can publish a novel just called Kraken and people purchase it.)
Global Warming and Me

The NOAA reports that "we are currently tied with 1998 as the warmest January–September period on record."

Having now experienced a near-record-breakingly warm summer and fall, I can now report what the effect of global warming will be in St. Louis, Missouri: the normally irritating plague of backyard mosquitos will become an insatiable horde that renders our backyard thoroughly uninhabitable well into October and possibly November.

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There are some interesting parallels here between the development of scientific thinking and the development of literature:

The novel broke from those narrative predecessors that used timeless stories to mirror unchanging moral truths. It was a product of an intellectual milieu shaped by the great seventeenth-century philosophers, Descartes and Locke, who insisted upon the importance of individual experience. They believed that reality could be discovered by the individual through the senses. Thus, the novel emphasized specific, observed details. It individualized its characters by locating them precisely in time and space.