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Posts Tagged ‘Natural’


As a scientist, I hear many other students and even professors saying that believing in a god would be like scientific suicide.  Others believe that religious faiths have interesting cultural ties, but no actual possible grounding in truth.  I find that, despite what shows like House and Bones lead us to believe, that many scientists, however, do believe in a God, particularly physicists and doctors.  Doctors witness many cases with individuals dying terrible deaths, yet holding onto their faiths.  If faith is a psychological crutch in these circumstances, then it is a very strong one.  If religion is only a tradition, why aren’t these people throwing it down?   Why are they not angry with God, this supposedly loving superpower?

 

Or friend and mentor who is sorely missed.

C.S. Lewis: Or friend and mentor who is sorely missed.

One of the biggest proofs of God for me is what C.S. Lewis, a convert, called the “Moral Law.”  It is only seen in humans.  Although sometimes animals show some tiny speck of morality, they are not common, nor consistent.  But is this state I shall call conscience intrinsically human or just a result of cultural ubringing?

Many people today buy into a philosophy called post-modernism.  Here, there are no ultimate truths, and all right and wrong is subjective.  But then how can post-modernism itself be true, as there are not ultimate truths? 

Now for more about Moral Law.  One of the greatest forces for this Modern Law is altruism: our conscience urging us to help others even if we do not receive any benefits, or even if it causes us harm.  Note: altruism is not give and take, it is simply give.  C.S. Lewis coined this selfless love agape.  This goes against pretty much everything evolutionists say ought to happen naturally.  They say that people’s motives are driven by a desire to perpetuate their gene pool.  But how did Mother Theresa’s helping the lepers of Calcutta help her gene pool?  Some say that this is a positive attribute in mate selection.  But nonhuman primates do the exact opposite.  Instead of helping others raise their young, for example, most chimps will practice infanticide so that his genes are more dominant.  Others say that these acts will help us in the future, but this does not account for the favors somebody does for random people he will never meet again.  Still others say that altruism will help the whole group, but almost all evolutionists agree that mutations arise in individuals which then become successful, or weeded out in turn within the population thorugh natural selection.

So if Naural Law or Moral Law is not cultural or biological, then how did it come about.  Again, we return to our friend C.S. Lewis “If there was a ctonrolling power outside of the universe, it could not show itself to us as one of the facts in the universe, just as an architect cannot be a wall of the house he designed.  He (or she) could only show himself inside ourselves as an influenc trying to get us to behave in a certain way, just as we find.”

So how can such beliefs be held by a scientist?  What about data?  Well, fortunately, this is only part one.

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So you are walking down the street, and in an electronics store front window what do you see, but Sarah Palin saying that she does not believe in evolution.  Why are people not sold on this yet?  Well among other things, many people say that “It is just a theory.”  Here is how to rebut that using plain old science-speak.

Many things are “just theories.”  For example: the Theory of relativity, or even more basic, the Theory of gravity, or the heliocentric Theory of the solar system.  When you look in a dictionary, you see two main definitions for theory: “–noun, plural -ries: guess or conjecture” and “a coherent group of general propositions used as principles of explanation for a class of phenomena”  Most people see the first and skip over the second.  Thus, the confusion about what a Theory is in science.  Most people who use this argument against Evolution will only know the first. 

So what is a Theory, really?  Theories come from using the scientific method.  The scientific method is the process which lies at the heart of scientific inquiry.  Scientists will make qualitative and quantitative observations to form hypothesis: a possible explanation for something.  They then make predictions and test them through experiments.  If after many, many tries, the prediction holds true, a Theory is born.  A theory is a set of hypothesis that agree with observations.  Theories are a tested set of hypothesis that give an overall explanation to natural phenomenon.  It is also known as a model. 

Evolution of Different Finch Species

Evolution of Different Finch Species

 

 

At this point, most people will ask why evolution, if so perfect, is not a law.  Well, a law is just a summary of observed behaviors.  A Theory is an explanation of why those behaviors take place.  So, evolution (t=Theory) is why birds that eat different foods have different types of beaks (law).

So there you have it folks.  In the battle of Theory vs theory, well there is no winner, but you get the point.

Anyway, does anybody know for sure what plant this is and if it is edible?

What is this???

What is this???

 

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Most of the time, experts at London’s Natural History Museum pride themselves on being able to identify species from around the globe.  But in this instance, they cannot identify something they found in their own back yard. 

The almond-shaped, red and black insect, about the size of a grain of rice, was first seen in March 2007 on some of the plane trees that grow on the grounds of the 19th century museum.  Within three months, it became the most common insect in the garden.  It was also spotted in other central London parks.

The Arocatus roeselii

The museum has more than 28 million insect species in its collection, but none is an exact match for this one. Still, the museum is not willing to call it a new species just yet.  “I don’t expect to find a new species in the gardens of a museum,”  said collections manager Max Barclay.  “Deep inside a tropical rainforest, yes, but not in central London.”  The bug resembles the Arocatus roeselii, which is usually found in central Europe but is a brighter red and lives on alder trees. Entomologists suspect the new bug could be a version of the roeselii that has adapted to live on plane trees, but acknowledge it could be a new species.

Either way, it appears the museum’s tiny visitor, which appears harmless, is thriving as it managed to survive the cold British winter.

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An official from a Texas museum recently discovered the fossilized bones of a 75-million-year-old duckbilled dinosaur while taking a tour of the area where a mummified duckbill was found eight years ago.   The fossil comes from a well preserved, often called “mummified,” brachylophosaurus.   The discovery  was made by 22-year-old Steven Cowan.  

Information About the First Find: Leonardo

About 10 feet from where the initial discovery was made, Cowan noticed another bone sticking out from the rocky ground.   He called over  paleontologist Mark Thompson who assessed that they were looking at dinosaur ribs, scapula, and even some of the tendons.  After further digging they found the rest of the mummified skeleton and a surprizing amount of tissue.

The dinosaur, named Marco, is in the Houston Museum of Natural Science.   When asked about his find, Cowan said, “It was very exciting.”  Most definitely.  Not everyone has the good fortune of running into dinosaur bones.

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Well, now that I am done with travel writing (for the time being), I might as well get right into the swing of things.

Biomimetics is the application of natural designs, structures, and processes that are found in organisms through the medium of technology and engineering.  The first real biomimicry project was conceived by George de Mestral when he discovered that burs attach themselves to cloth and other substances by hooking onto loops in the fabric.  He used this amazingly simple technology to create Velcro. 

Today, biomimetics is a field that has grown infinitely complex, nearly as complex as the mechanisms that can be found on living organisms.  Says Dr. Andrew Parker, “Every species, even those that have gone extinct, is a success story, optimized by millions of years of natural selection. Why not learn from what evolution has wrought?” 

So far scientists have tapped into natural selections handiwork to produce technologies that can be very practical and helpful.  For example, scientists have been looking at whale flippers (which have points on the sides, rather than the expected smooth surface) and seeing how they can apply their design to make windmills quieter and more efficient.  Scientists have also engineered a swimsuit that is made up of tiny teeth-like plates, just like the dentricles on sharks which help the organism cut through the water with less friction than a smooth surface.  Some engineers have studied the beaks of toucans to see how they can be so amazingly light so as not to disrupt flight, but hard enough to crack nuts.  Some scientists have even modeled entire organisms.  A gecko’s feet have around 6.5 million spatula-like hairs on each toe which allow the animal to stick onto and climb vertical surfaces due to Van der Wals attractions (the attractions between minute electrical charges caused by the constantly shifting electrons).  Stanford University scientists have created a robot called Stickybot with footpads covered in nanotubules, much like a gecko’s foot.  As of now it moves much slower than its natural counterpart, but researchers hope that it can be eventually used in search and rescue missions. 

 stic.jpg

Stickybot

Biomimetics is heralded by many as the future of engineering.  Even though we may never be able to truly grasp and understand all the mechanisms of nature (an abalone’s shell is made up of around 10 proteins working in complete harmony like a puzzle; scientists are still baffled at the complexity of it), but we are constantly learning about our surrounding environments.

For more information, check out this article: http://ngm.nationalgeographic.com/2008/04/biomimetics/tom-mueller-text

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