Saturday, April 02, 2005

Interesting Biological Question

I'm sure this has been brought up before somewhere on the web, but I thought of it listening to several different conversations over the past 5 hours (by the way, I've had 4 20-oz coffees in the last 24 hours, which is why I'm still blogging 8 times in 8 hours)

Conversation 1 had something to do with genes all having to have some purpose - I think it was an extension of Dawkins' selfish gene theory, but I don't remember them actually saying his name.

Conversation 2 was two of the gay guys down the hall debating with a couple of straight guys about the gay gene thing. I tend to think that genetics does at least somewhat influence sexual orientation (but not that whole "transgender" thing - that's psychological, IMAO), but where my brain led my train of thought next rather surprised me.

1) All genes must serve a purpose
2) Sexual orientation is caused by genes
3) One who is true to their sexual orientation does not get their genes passed on.

Why would this one gene (or numerous genes) hold epistatic properties over the ENTIRE human genome? That doesn't make sense. Therefore, there are only four possible answers.

1. There is no actual gay gene, but perhaps hormone level and the like influence sexual orientation.
2. The entire process is psychological and there is no gay gene.
3. Something about the rest of the genes requires that at least several of them are not passed down.
4. Dawkins' selfish gene theory is completely flawed. (Debunking Selfish Gene Theory gets no matching results on Google) Since Dawkins' selfish gene theory owes itself in part to Darwin's theory, we've got another problem on our hands there.

To me, #1 and #3 seem like the most likely answers. EvoWiki somewhat goes into detail on #1 here. Makes enough sense. #3 should creep you out a bit though. It seems as though if we finally discovered a gay gene, we would have to admit it's there for a reason - because the rest of the genes have something that requires that they don't be passed down. What politician would EVER spread that message, or legitimate science journal? "You're naturally this way because the rest of your genes suck."

Maybe the gay community shouldn't be looking for a gay gene to explain this after all. Along with the Eugenics movement, they should really stay away from the gene-hypothesis angle, because by the looks of it, they're only asking for trouble.

Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Rubella Eradicated? When Did That Happen?

So I'm behind the times. I was visiting the Vodkapundit today and perusing his week old posts when lo and behold, I see a link to the Earthtimes page! And apparently, during the one week I DID have access to a television instead of the Blogosphere, the United States eradicated Rubella
from its borders. Well... I guess I'm just going to have to swear off television from now on, or else I'm never going to get any good news ever again.

Think of that - biologists actually DID do something benefiting the human race. No, seriously - pick your jaw up off the ground and quit laughing.

Saturday, March 12, 2005

The Problems With Biology, Part IV

Part III
Part II
Part I

Okay, so the last three bio-posts seemed like nothing but incoherent rants on random affairs in the biological sciences, and were a complete affront to the Religious Right. O-kay, as I stated before.

What's the point of it? My point is that I've decided on my mission. My mission in life. It will probably fail, but at least I will know that I gave it a shot.

You may have heard of this man, Paul Ehrlich. This site gives a pretty good lowdown of the guy. In high schools across the country, and especially mine, his work is among the cornerstones of the beliefs of many teachers. His ideas were supposed to have been relegated to the dustbin of history, but AP Biology teachers (okay, biology teachers in general) never seemed to cease their fretting about running out of water, or materials, or overpopulation of the Earth.

The man is one of the cornerstones of the left-centric biology movement itself. While he himself is slowly fading from memory (you know, because he's always WRONG), there has been no shortage of followers to predict doom because "we're killing mother Earth" or something similar.

My very first point in this three-part series was that the new equilibrium being reached between blogs and MSM has shown me that this can be done as well.

It is my duty, as well as the duty of every good biology student left in the United States, to toss the "eco-weenies", the environmentalists, the conservationists, the animal-rights (but not human-rights) groups, and the rest of the "We hate Humanity" group OUT of biology. Forever. Biology is the study of life. We should of course be kind to animals, but sometimes an animal has to go in order for the human race to keep going. And remember, humans have veterinarians for animals. No animal gives a $#!t about treating humans that another member of its species attacked.

We must turn biology back to finding out where we came from, and finding out how to prolong life, and make life itself better. Food production must continue to soar, as new bioengineered (read: grown under different than usual conditions) foods make their way into our diets. We should continue neuropsychological studies - knowing how the brain works will be a huge part of the future. Protecting the rain forests is all well and good, but seeing as between 80 to 85% of the oxygen in our atmosphere comes from the oceans, the rain forests are more of an aesthetic value than anything else. (Oh yes, they're home to animals who possess human diseases unlike those we've ever seen, but we HAVE TO LET EVERY ANIMAL LIVE, of course). Remember - the whales do as much damage to the oxygen level of earth as we do every year. I forget where I read that. <(>_<)>

In summation:

1. Conservatives must get serious about an alternate non-petroleum based fuel.

2. Biologists need to kick the humanity-hating Animal Rights Activists and Enviro-mentalpatients (sorry - Eco-weenies) (sorry again - enviromentalists) out of biology. There is no place for the hate these people spew.

3. Conservatives need to be a tad more open about medical science. Faith healing really does not do the job, and it's really upsetting watching the Pope absolve himself of medical science during his final years. Then again, it's his choice. But that doesn't make it any less depressing.

4. "End-of-the-world-is-nigh" professors need to retire. The world is fine, and if you want to save resources, stop taking my oxygen. Do you KNOW how much oxygen you take in by breathing? Quite a bit.

5. People who want to save the environment (by which they mean trees), need to buy parcels of land with trees on it and refuse to sell. That way, the trees stay. Unless, of course, Kelo v. New London goes the wrong way. Then all bets are off.

Thanks for your time in reading this rant which took several hours to write. Enjoy the baba gannouj, but since I'm so tired, you'll have to cook it yourself.

The Problems With Biology, Part III

Part II
Part I

Alright. We've finished the environmentalists and the animal rights activists. What's next? Ah - yes. I've ripped into the left-wingers enough (until Part IV, that is). Now I have to start blasting the right-wing.

As I've noted, biologists don't help themselves often. We always are railing on about protecting the widdle animals or preventing Earth from somehow murdering 4.186 billion of us. The leftist bent of the two groups mentioned above absolutely kills biology. But the conservatives (which I am a part of) does not help biology in general. Why? Because conservatives don't take biology seriously.

Normally, "It's not really a science" is reserved for Psychology (it's a science - deal with it). However, I have heard Republicans say the same about Biology. The primary reason for this is because nearly all of biology is founded on Darwin's Theory of Evolution. It's unfortunate that a lot of conservatives consider this "bunk", but it's the case. Due to religious fervor, conservatives for a change are the ones that cry out "ETHICS!" when we deal with evolution and biological-psychology. Let me explain before sentencing me to hell. (And I've known I've been going anyway since the day I remarked 'God only said humans were good because "They're GRRRRRREAT!" was already taken' - ^_^)

Conservatives oppose the cloning of any sort of embryo. I'm sure they're out there, but I have never heard a reason opposing this other than "You're playing God", or "It's not right". I've never been able to understand why when I'm opposing the word marriage to be used in the context of gays, I'm doing God's work, but when I suggest cloning certain things to help people live, I'm playing God. I'm sorry, but it can only be one or the other.

Tests are sometimes done on animal psychology - how they think. This process is unique in that it's opposed by the left AND the right. I say the closer we are to understanding a simpler animal's brain, the closer we are to understanding our own. Now, this could be a good thing, or a bad thing, but by the year 2500, we will have most certainly figured out how to wire a brain. Of course, in the wrong hands, this would be the single most vile weapon ever created, which is why I'm setting a 500-year timetable instead of say, 250 years if we didn't have to worry about someone putting it to the use of brainwashing.

Conservatives also tend to detest experiments on primates, because usually tests on monkeys and apes are in terms of Darwin's Theory. Finding out how apes and monkeys think, again, gets us closer to figuring out how we work, one of the goals of biology since the beginning. Biology is meant to save human lives.

Other than the constant haranguing that makes them look like liberals though, conservatives hold only about one-fifth of the problems of biology in their hands. The other 80% is because of the two sets of people we discussed in the last two posts. I return to them in part IV.

The Problems With Biology, Part II

Part I

Oh, I'll get to the Earth Firsties later, but I have to bring up this quote I found on an animal rights website.

Everything we know about HIV and AIDS has been learned from studying people with the disease. But that has not prevented millions of pounds and animals' lives from being wasted in a fruitless search for an animal 'model'. "What good does it do you to test something [a vaccine] in a monkey? You find five years from now that it works in the monkey, and then you test it in humans and you realise that humans behave totally differently from monkeys, so you've wasted five years" - Dr Mark Feinberg, leading AIDS researcher
But of course everything we know about HIV we learned from humans - that's why it's not Mus-IV or Arabidopsis-IV. But tests were needed to show that this monstrosity wasn't transmitted by common rodents such as the mouse. And there's at least one prominent blogger who seems to think that the HIV/AIDS connection is spurious at best anyway, so that throws a whole new wrench into the testing. I'm just assuming that the AR groups are going to want to infect more humans so we can do more research. *Shakes head*

After the Animal Rights groups, the next thing people think of when they hear "Biology" are the "Earth First" groups, or maybe Captain Planet (on a side note, I hated that show). These people make the Animal Rights groups look benign. Normally, I leave the abortion debate out of my comments, but I don't see how any organization can claim to be as pro-nature and living things as these people are and support abortion. I'm positive that if I was a scientist and injected a pregnant cat with a solution that would cause an abortion, these people would have my head. But no matter - consistent views aren't exactly a sticking point for these people. A lot of them secretly or even openly wish for the demise of a large number of the human race, calling us such names as "the virus", "the humanpox" and a disease.

Dave Foreman, in a 1995 interview basically said that he didn't really care about the ensuing industrial crash that his practices (environmentalism) would cause, and in fact claimed that it was inevitable. For those of you who don't know, that man is one of the founders of Earth First, and the one whom the above "humanpox" quote is attributable to. This is one of the groups that the left in general supports - and they don't mind the destruction of 5 to 95% of the entire human race! You're nothing more than a "disease", you know. Why more people aren't offended at this, I can't understand. For these people, it's humans=bad. Even the Democratic Party of the United States has its limit, and I'm sure even your average Kerry voter would say "Whoa, whoa, whoa - that's too far."

This whole "Destruction of Industrialism" gets me to the actual point of Part II - the Kyoto Protocol and Global Warming. has been running computer simulations for years, and as you can see from the link, the results are incredibly varied and don't really give much of a hint as to anything besides "Temperatures increase for 15 years and level off! Margin of error is 200 percent!". People have reported that when data from the 1970's is plugged in to a climate predictor for the 1980's, it doesn't even come close to the actual results from the '80's. So we don't even know if global warming exists.

And if it does exist? What's the first thing that will happen. A rise in sea levels due to polar ice cap melting, of course. How high are the sea levels compared to where they should be, on average in the last 500 million years? They're at their third lowest point in that time period. (Elliott, 2000; Story of Life, The: Richard Southwood, 2001). 400 mya, sea levels were approximately 400 meters above were they are now! That's one-quarter of the way to Denver!

How about those CO2 emissions? How do they stack up all time? While Carbon Dioxide is on a 50-year increase, it's also in general, on a 30-million year decline. What would environmentalists living in the Silurian period do, when Carbon Dioxide levels were between 5 and 7 times higher than they are now? (ibid) Probably whine and mope a lot, of course. We're killing the WORLD! >_< As recenty as 2003, astronomers noted global warming - on Mars. I wonder how humans are causing that. I especially want to know why it's "natural" on Mars but is automatically humans' fault here on Earth. Environmentalism is basically a religion - and they're most decidedly pushing the mythical "separation of church and state" boundary here. Would the populace be so trusting if they knew that this was a political and religious movement? Somehow I doubt it.

Now, we could certainly use less pollutants in the environment (see Los Angeles), and the idea of a non-gasoline powered car should most decidedly be looked into. However, we need time. And we need something to pass the time to use as fuel before these new-fuel powered cars become feasible AND cost-effective. That's why we need more oil for the time being. There are only three real sources of oil we can use: The Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, Saudi Arabia, and Iraq.

Environmentalists (and conservationists, a similar term with kinder connotations that politically adept environmentalists call themselves) have protested drilling in the ANWR, and a good number of them believe that they're doing it to save the animals. With proper support (and this is where the conservationists SHOULD be), these animals can be kept alive and the oil can be drilled for. If we do not drill the ANWR, only the other two alternatives remain.

Remember 9/11? Where were 15 of the 19 hijackers from? That's right - Saudi Arabia. We get a LOT of our oil from Saudi Arabia. They use this money to A) Keep themselves in power, and B) Fund terrorists. The less money we give to Saudi Arabia, the less money goes to terrorists. But if we don't give the money there, and we don't drill in the ANWR, what's left?

That's right - option C. President Bush did the environmentalists and company a HUGE favor by invading Iraq and taking out Saddam - and they HATE him for it. Not only did we give 20 to 30 million people a taste of freedom (and start a domino-effect throughout the region), we gain a valuable source of oil, which means less of our monies have to go to Saudi Arabia. That means less funding for terrorists (not counting Iranian and Syrian subsidized Hizb'allah - they're next). Not only does it harm the Saudis, but it gives the greens more time to develop the next fuel - a process they should be working on instead of complaining about the war in Iraq.

So completely indirectly, President Bush is giving the Earth-lovers (which we should all be to an extent) an opportunity to end the world's demand for oil. If there's no more oil, there's no more WARS FOR OIL (as the signs say) - and with no oil contracts, that means no Halliburton! And with no Halliburton, there's no Jeff Gannon! (Sorry - I got WAY too carried away). I don't see any problems wanting a world that has no dependence on oil. We've given them time, but they are wasting it.

The Problems With Biology, Part I

Here I am, a college student at the University of Maryland. Still just an ickle freshie, but I've got time. I've thought about what I've wanted to do, but certain things just keep popping up. I've always had an interest in psychology and neurology, but biology itself has just always appealed to me.

The advent of blogs and the continued fall of MSM have made one idea stand out sharply from the rest. We have seen conservatives in the news getting their voices heard more and more. The media is finally being checked with their lies on politics. When we finish this, there's another step we can take.

Finally getting leftist ninnies to stop ruining biology and the life sciences.

"How can this be done?" You ask. "There's nothing inherently 'scientific' about the life sciences." There are even some of you saying "All life science is basically deriving from Darwin's theories and therefore bunk anyway." (I personally don't subscribe to THAT particular view, but there are some of you out there who do, and I accept that fact - will you ever hear a leftist say that?)

Without biology, medicine is basically dead in the water. Chemistry can only bring us so far in this field. We need to know how we work, what makes what tick, and how we can make it better. There is a fine line between chemistry and biology here, but it's there. We can look amongst our genes to find what makes us age, and how to stop it. There are so many benefits that the study of biology can bring to us, even for the hard-right religious types.

The topics of environmentalism and animal rights are hard to ignore. That's what people think of when they think of "Biology", and it's a good connection. However, what has occurred with these two branches of biology is absolutely shameful. How can one ignore animal rights' groups like PETA, and earth-first groups such as the [USA-brand terrorist] Earth Liberation Front? It's very difficult.

According to PETA's website, they were founded in 1980, in Norfolk, Virginia to persuade people "that animals are not ours to eat, wear, experiment on, or use for entertainment." It kinda seems like a noble goal, until you realize these people aren't proselytizing like a normal religion - they're litigating. If you don't do as they say, they will sue the pants off you. They claim 550 cosmetics companies have acquiesced to their demands. They abhor animal testing. These are a people who do not care how many humans die, as long as the animals are not harmed. Never mind the fact that humans are animals too.

However, there have been some improvements at PETA lately. Instead of hounding you with your "become a vegan/vegetarian you violent animal murderer" campaign, and have recently been caught showing the most ethical way to kill animals for food. Now, eating a whole lot of meat is indeed bad for you, but a strictly plants diet doesn't get you everything that you need. We need the four major organic familes (carbohydrates [sugars], lipids [fats], proteins, and nucleic acids), and plant life just doesn't get it done properly. While meat certainly should be limited (especially red meat), it can't really be ignored.

PETA is full of the lefties. They've taken the communist mantra "Everyone is equal", and turned it even FARTHER left, saying "Every ANIMAL is equal." I do have to note that PETA doesn't really distinguish between plants and fungi, which should be something that everyone who's taken a single biology course should know. At least they haven't gone and started campaigning for "Plants' Rights", "Fungal Rights", "Protist Rights", or "Prokaryotic Rights" - they still let us eat those. (Protista are especially delicious - gotta love the nori).

But I digress - as I was saying, they've taken the communist mantra even further. Not only was the first saying wrong, but this is even MORE so. The groups look at what the animals are, but not what they have done. It is a simple fact that only humans have ever learned calculus. Horses cannot do mathematics (no matter what you Clever Hans fans have to say). Kitties, while cute and adorable, cannot create medicines to increase their own lifespan. We can. Whether the animal rights organizations want to admit it or not, A) Humans are animals, and B) Humans are better than any animal that has ever lived. Though it is disputed, I'm also pretty sure that domestic animals do live longer than feral animals on the whole. (Any evidence on either side would be appreciated - I'm going from personal experience)

Then again, such a realization would lead to the creation of a "Human Rights" group. But hey, if they were as effective as getting out the message as the Animal Rights groups, we wouldn't need the United Nations - and for all the howling Dems out there reading that sentence, improved human rights would probably lessen the need for the use of force by the United States. Wouldn't everyone be happy with that scenario? Probably not, but hey - I tried.

The Conservatives can start by taking the AR groups message and applying it to humans. We could actually convince the UN to do something in Sudan (not "The" Sudan) that wouldn't make Michael Jackson proud. The spreading of democracy is a great first step, but the focus should eventually turn to "Improving Human Rights throughout the globe"

This could be the first step in making biology less scornful. Of course, this would require the less religious of the right to take a step forward. Biology should not be considered "Animal Rights" and "Earth First!" - it's so much more than that. Taking the luster off of AR groups would be an excellent first step to putting biology back on the road to being a serious science.

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

Eat An Animal!

Meryl Yourish reminds us (apparently) once again of International Eat an Animal for PETA day, March 15. Now, I've never heard of this, but seeing as I certainly don't approve of what PETA has become, I'll definitely do my part. As the bumper sticker says, "I didn't climb up the food chain for 65 million years not to eat meat!"

Mmm... it may be 1 AM, but I'm already hungry. ^_^

By the way - in regards to my other post about FireFox, I'm sticking with it. I caught onto tabbed browsing quick, and popups are sparse. Consider me a convert. ^_^ (again)

Friday, February 25, 2005

BioBlogging 1

Well, the Washington Times (at least the print edition does) has a story today on the World population reaching 9.1 billion by the year 2050. (That's 8 years after Social Security collapses, for those keeping track of impending crises, and 9.1 thousand million for you British folks). This would be news, if not for the fact that these people (these people being the media in general) have been saying the same thing for at least the past 5 1/2 years. That's right. Even back in 1999 (gasp!), the U.N. (pre-expose) predicted a population of 9 billion for the world of 2050. So why is this news? I really don't know. Perhaps it's because print (even the relatively right-leaning Times), is running out of things to well... print. The only thing I got out of this article that I couldn't already have figured out/already knew, was that the population of India will apparently be greater than that of China by 2050. Then again, I probably should have seen that coming as well.

Enjoy the baba gannouj, but don't forget to share it with your 9,099,999,999 neighbors.

It's An Environmental Construct, Silly

Hopeful Urban Legend Alert:

So I was surfing through the weblogs today when I find a very interesting story. Secular Blasphemy and PrestoPundit seem to have come upon something very disturbing. The jist of it, if you're too lazy to actually read those articles, is that apparently, the Swedish government has decided that a book containing an interview with a certain scientist, Annica Dahlström, is not fit for print. If the interview is removed, the book may be printed.

Why? Because Dahlström states that the differences between men and women are due to both inheritance and upbringing/environment. Apparently, in Sweden, this goes against the law. The Swedish government has established the "fact" that the differences between men and women are only due to society/environment. Here in the US, we haven't come to any conclusion of that sort.

The important thing to note is that the government has established what is fact and what is myth. While the US government bans the teaching of creationism in public schools, for example, this does not prevent book publishers from releasing books debunking evolution. In essence, that's what this story is about. The government has set in stone what is a fact here, and any scientific progress stating likewise is disallowed, ignored, or punished. Something about that just isn't right. Especially for a tolerant liberal society such as Sweden.