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Showing posts from July, 2009

BSG update

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The conference is almost over now, and it's been another good one. Yesterday we did the presentations from the Genesis Kinds monograph, and today we are hearing the contributed presentations. Tom Hennigan introduced us to the fascinating world of bears, I wrestled with Odontochelys, Jean Lightner discussed ducks and directed mutation, and Kurt Wise gave a brief overview of the implications of pop genetics for creationism. This afternoon we have another eight talks scheduled before the end of the conference.

Just before lunch, Steve Austin announced the formation of the Creation Geology Society, which I'm sure we'll be hearing more about in the future. It's modeled after BSG, and we'll continue our joint meetings. Next year's conference is at Truett-McConnell College in Cleveland, GA, where Kurt Wise is the new chair of the science department. We hope to see you there.

BSG: Conference Proceedings Available

The 2009 BSG conference proceedings are now available at the BSG website. Here's a direct link to the PDF.

See you at BSG

The annual BSG conference is in Louisville this week. I hope to see you there, but if not, I'll be posting updates throughout the conference.

Darwin's Sacred Cause and TIFF

Speaking of beating a dead horse, it's been a while since I posted about Darwin. I just popped over to the library and found that the June issue of Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society arrived with my review of Desmond and Moore's Darwin's Sacred Cause on pp. 419-421. Here's my concluding paragraph, which is sure to stir up no controversy whatsoever (since very few people will ever bother reading it):
If the authors are wrong about this motivation, was Darwin a racist after all? I think such a charge is hard to justify without stooping to anachronistic and triumphalist standards of judgment. Whatever else he was, Darwin was a product of his time. By our twenty-first century standards, almost all people of European descent in the nineteenth century were racist. Saying that Darwin was a racist is little more informative than saying he lived in the nineteenth century. Far more important, I think, is Darwin's attitude about the treatment of other races.…

Beating a dead horse...

It's been a while. Is anyone still reading this stuff? If so, here's a little case study in bad scholarship for your Monday afternoon.

Normally, I don't bother responding to bad criticisms of my work. If someone takes the time to thoughtfully critique my work, that's different. Uninformed opinions usually aren't worth my time, but I'm making an exception here. There were recently two articles published commenting on creationism and the horse series. Neither are very good, and I thought they would make an interesting case study in how not to write about horses and creationism.

One article is in the latest Journal of Creation, "The evolution of the horse" by Mats Molén [JC 23(2):59-63). His basic conclusion is
The Cavanaugh et al. (2003) hypothesis of intrabaraminic variation of all animals that belong to Equidae (or animals that they put into Equidae, even if the evolutionists put some of them in different families) is not well supported by the ava…

Genome reorganization in a vertebrate

Regular readers might remember the weird case of Oxytricha, a ciliate that eliminates 95% of the DNA in its genome after sexual reproduction using transposases. The latest PNAS contains a report by Smith et al. of a similar genomic reorganization in the sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus). In the lamprey, 20% of its genome, or about 500 million nucleotides, are removed from the somatic cells. The full genome is retained in the germ line (the cells that eventually become sperm and ova). To put that in perspective, the entire rice genome is smaller than the amount of DNA removed from the lamprey's somatic cells. It's about 100 times bigger than the genome of E. coli K12. That's a lot of DNA.

Smith et al. tracked the occurrence of specific sequences eliminated from the somatic cells. One such sequence, Germ1 is suddenly eliminated at gastrulation. Another sequence (a SPOPL homologue) is gradually lost during the entire course of development. There's probably more tha…

BSG & Geology conference information

Next week, July 8, is the deadline for early registration for the BSG/geology conference. After that next Wednesday, the price goes up, so if you want to come, you really should register ASAP. Check out the Genesis Kinds website for registration.

You might be wondering if the conference will be worth the money, so I thought I'd post a little more information about the talks. The plenary sessions will be the same sessions as the conference in England. For a rundown of those talks, check out the "Look Inside" feature on Amazon's listing of the conference proceedings. Remember: You'll get a copy of the proceedings with your registration, so don't buy one now unless you want two copies.

The rest of the conference includes talks from both BSG members and members of the creation geology group, as follows in absolutely no particular order:

BSG:
"Pentacyclic Triterpenes of Lantana: Co-occurrence of Liver Toxins and Liver Protectants" - Brown & Sander…