Scott F. Gilbert’s “Developmental Biology” (eighth edition) provides a stunning overview of the elegant biochemical mechanisms controlling the development of organismal form during ontogeny. The final section of the book, chapter 23 (“Developmental Mechanisms Of Evolutionary Change”) is devoted to a discussion of the new evolutionary synthesis, encompassing the new science of ‘evo devo’ (short hand for ‘evolutionary developmental biology’). The book even contains a short rebuttal directed at proponents of intelligent design and, in particular, Michael Behe.
A paper has just been published in Nature which uncovers a host of new coding-independent functions for pseudogene mRNAs, including a role in tumor regulation. More exciting is that Poliseno et al. describe an entirely new regulatory function of RNA. This stands in contrast to conventional wisdom which maintains that the only function of mRNAs is encoding for proteins. According to the abstract, The canonical role of messenger RNA (mRNA) is to deliver protein-coding information to sites of protein synthesis. However, given that microRNAs bind to RNAs, we hypothesized that RNAs could possess a regulatory role that relies on their ability to compete for microRNA binding, independently of their protein-coding function. As a model for the protein-coding-independent role of RNAs, Read More ›
Stephen C. Meyer, author of Signature in the Cell, makes another appearance (see the first here) on The 700 Club, this time for the show’s interactive web broadcast. In this interview, Meyer discusses the recent hype concerning Craig Venter’s claims to have produced artificial life. While praising the ingenuity of Venter’s research team, Meyer explains that Venter did not really succeed in producing artificial life at all. Rather, Venter’s team inserted a synthetically sequenced chromosome into a non-synthetic cell. The cell’s machinery was then able to successfully read the instructions on the chromosome and transform the cell into the specified organism. Meyer highlights the indispensability of rational deliberation — intelligent purposive design — in the sequencing of the one million Read More ›
In 2003, the BBC launched a documentary series known as Atheism: A Rough History of Disbelief, presented by the atheist Jonathan Miller. The interviews that were conducted, being too lengthy for inclusion in the 2003 series, were later archived in a 2004 documentary series, entitled The Atheism Tapes, a supplementary series of six programs, consisting of the uncut interviews with a single contributing atheist. One such film featured Jonathan Miller interviewing our old friend, Richard Dawkins. A clip from that interview is appended below: Three minutes into the embedded interview, in speaking of the purported instances of irreducible complexity in nature, Richard Dawkins succeeds in decimating any pretense to neo-Darwinism’s status as a falsifiable proposition. He states, “There cannot have Read More ›