ET Here, There, Everywhere

The Runes Of Evolution, is a new book in which the leading evolutionary biologist, Professor Simon Conway Morris, makes the case for a ubiquitous “map of life” that governs the way in which all living things develop.

It builds on the established principle of convergent evolution, a widely-supported theory — although one still disputed by some biologists — that different species will independently evolve similar features.

Conway Morris argues that convergence is not just common, but everywhere, and that it has governed every aspect of life’s development on Earth. Proteins, eyes, limbs, intelligence, tool-making — even our capacity to experience orgasms — are, he argues, inevitable once life emerges.
The book claims that evolution is therefore far from random, but a predictable process that operates according to a fairly rigid set of rules.

If that is the case, then it follows that life similar to that on Earth would also develop in the right conditions on other, equivalent planets. Given the growing number of Earth-like planets of which astronomers are now aware, it is increasingly extraordinary that aliens that look and behave something like us have not been found, he suggests.

Conway says,

I would argue that in any habitable zone that doesn’t boil or freeze, intelligent life is going to emerge, because intelligence is convergent. One can say with reasonable confidence that the likelihood of something analogous to a human evolving is really pretty high. And given the number of potential planets that we now have good reason to think exist, even if the dice only come up the right way every one in 100 throws, that still leads to a very large number of intelligences scattered around, that are likely to be similar to us.” 

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Bigotry Carefully Taught in Church?

The other day I posted a comment on a blog which discussed the recent SCOTUS decision on Marriage Equality. It was an excellent article as many have been on that subject of late. Here is part of my comment: 

My 15-year-old grandson was visiting me today when the SCOTUS announcement regarding Gay Marriage was announced. He can’t imagine anything less. He often asks why his Great-uncle is prejudiced in so many circumstances. It confuses him.

Although he never attends church and barely knows who Jesus is, he mimics Jesus in so many ways. I am very proud of him- so much so that I have much faith in the future of our nation.

 To this a rebuke was written by an oh-so righteous fellow who suggested that, if my grandson had been churched then he may have thought differently.

Really? And what did this mean? Was the commenter suggesting that my grandson would have learned prejudice at church and, as a matter of fact, he should learn it there? 

When I challenged this man on that very concept he replied, “So, you think Jesus supports sodomy?”

Sigh. 

Sadly, the man is clearly a homophobe and uses Jesus to justify his bigotry. I know that all churches aren’t teaching bigotry, yet from other comments I’ve read from ‘Christians’ I am not sure at all. 

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The President Sings Amazing Grace

What a man! President Obama sang without accompaniment Amazing Grace at the funeral of Senator/Reverend Clementa Pinckney, assassinated by a racist 21-year-old white man in Rev. Pinckney’s church. The murderer also killed 8 others during their Bible study in the church basement.

The President gave the eulogy at the service and emphasized the word grace throughout his talk. Grace. One letter separates grace from the word race. Race- the reason for the murders. Yet those in the church during the funeral service emphasized grace rather than race.

Amazing!

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Iceland remains most peaceful nation in the world. U.S. is 94th

Homocides, fear of personal safety, militarization and involvement in wars keeps the UInited States way-low in rankings of ‘peaceful.’ Iceland ranked #1 while Syria was at the bottom.

Number 94, eh?

  

 

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Amplifying pugnacity, stupidity and rage.

One of my favorite, bookmarked authors on Pathos is Hank Fox who calls his blog, Citizen of Earth. Nice title. Hank is described by the title of his book “Red Neck Blue Collar Atheist: Simple Thoughts About Reason, Gods & Faith.”

 The title of my post is from the last sentence of his most recent post. He decries Internet ‘learning.’ You know, as in, “It’s true, I seen it on the Internet.” He uses the analogy of the importance of vaccinated kids in school with an educated citizenry, he says, Just so, the more people in a group who are educated and thoughtful and rational — the more who learn to THINK — the greater the herd immunity against stupidity.

Herd immunity against stupidity! There you go. Herd immunity. Great and long-standing tradition. You may know of a cultural tradition among some ‘primitive’ tribes which, at the birth of a new infant, each adult member of the tribe wets their finger with saliva and places it in the mouth of the baby. Herd immunity. I’m betting that the tribe elders never knew the science behind the act, yet it somehow protected the tribe from outside diseases. 

On the other hand, there is a movement underway here in the U.S. To not vaccinate children. Go figure! Even more scary is the movement to not send children to school. Home schooling they call it. It is very popular in the fundamentalist Christian movement. The Duggars. Ugh!

Why home schooling? I suppose there are several reasons but at the top of the list is science and religion. You know: the godless public school curriculum that includes the teaching of non-biblical science. Is there biblical science?  Sure- Genesis, in all of its intricate elegance. As a result, there are millions of children in our nation who are scientifically illiterate and who, quite possibly, will produce yet another generation of scientifically illiterate children. 

The month of May was the wettest May in the U.S. since the Weather Bureau has kept records. Yet California remains bone dry with water-use restrictions in effect throughout the state. It was also the warmest month in the history of the entire world. Both the Greenland and Antarctic glaciers are rapidly melting. Sea level is rising. 

Yet, climate change is a myth. Just ask the home-schoolers. Or the GOP presidential candidates and the voting base of the Republican Party. Or the Koch brothers. Or the Fossil Fuel industry.

“I seen it on the Internet.”

Worse yet, “I seen it on Fox News!”

  
Hank Fox

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New evidence emerges on the origins of life

“New research shows that the close linkage between the physical properties of amino acids, the genetic code, and protein folding was likely the key factor in the evolution from building blocks to organisms when Earth’s first life was emerging from the primordial soup.”- Science Daily

They are getting close! And fundamentalists are getting nervous. What if? 

Here in Toledo and interesting lecture will be held on Wednesday with the curious title, Vast Universe: Extraterrestrials and Christian Revelation. Two points. It will be held at a Catholic university and the speaker is Catholic priest, Fr. Thomas O’Meara. That title is in fact the title of his book. O’Meara wonders both about the religious beliefs of these extraterrestrials as well as whether other incarnations of the Spirit (Jesus) have taken place in space. Bold stuff!

Science, science fiction, theology and psychology all blended together. One prominent question that arises that begs to be asked. Must an incarnation of God be killed in supplication for the sins of the people on the planet in order to free them from moral death?

No doubt my friend and frequent commenter Up the Flag will find this post worthless and blasé, yet inquiring (right-brains) want to know!

  

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Why We Don’t Bark

Not that you didn’t know that we aren’t dogs, science has proof of that fact. In the drawing below are the 23 chromosomes of a dog. The amount of color in each represents the amount of genes that we and dogs have in common.

  
My y-chromosome is less like a dog’s which is why I had children, not pups.

Yet the reason I bring this artistic representation to your attention is to show how dull and perhaps unfamiliar data can be represented artistically to not only pique interest, but also to explain the concept more thoroughly than mere numbers can.

Here is the video associated with this concept.

http://youtu.be/dvM4JPGsmVw

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