DNA

Religion, Research and Stem Cells

When President Bush selected bioethicist and author Leon R. Kass to head the President’s Council on Bioethics, many were outraged. Kass, a critic of human cloning, was accused of being a Luddite who would use his position to stack the council deck against “scientific progress.” But that is not how Kass viewed his mandate. He envisioned that the council would Read More ›

A Map to Nowhere

The principal actors had appeared in the White House last June — Francis Collins of the National Human Genome Research Institute, and J. Craig Venter of Celera Genomics. Now they were back with a supporting cast and a more detailed analysis, in the Capital Hilton Hotel, with the TV lights glinting off the ballroom chandeliers, 250 journalists packed into the hot Read More ›

Word Games

Since the late nineteenth century most biologists have rejected the idea that living organisms display evidence of intelligent design. While many acknowledge the appearance of design in biological systems, they insist that Darwinism, or neo-Darwinism, explains how this appearance arose naturalistically — that is, without invoking a directing intelligence or agency. Following Darwin, modern neo-Darwinists generally accept that natural selection Read More ›

Lucky Jim

For more information about David Berlinski – his new books, video clips from interviews, and upcoming events – please visit his website at www.davidberlinski.org.   Genes, Girls, and Gamow After the Double Helix by James D. Watson Knopf, 304 pp., $26 A DOCTORATE from Indiana University in 1949, the Cavendish laboratories at Cambridge University, the discovery of DNA. Thereafter, immortality. James Read More ›

Doing the DNA dance

The uncoiling, unraveling and decoding of the DNA structure by the Humane Genome Project and the Celera Genomics Group is a magnificent scientific achievement and monumental medical milestone. But what does it really mean to the rest of us mortals? To begin with, it means much less than most people think, hope or worry. As diagnostic physicians, we've been trying to come up with a good analogy. Perhaps figuring out the sequence of the chemical elements in human DNA is like finding a huge pile of ancient document scraps in an unknown language and using computers to help sort out the correct order and position of the symbols. But even when sorted out, how could we figure out what the symbols mean? In DNA, scientists have figured out the ordering of the language symbols but don't know what most of the message means. Read More ›
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Francis Collins, M.D., Ph.D., now director of the NIH, stands to the right of then-President Bill Clinton (J. Craig Ventner, Ph.D., left) at the announcement that an international consortuim had completed the first

Genome Project Raises Fears, Hopes

Two rival groups of scientists have announced that the race to decode the human genome has ended-in a tie. J. Craig Venter, president of Celera Genomics, and Francis S. Collins, director of the National Human Genome Research Institute, joined in a White House ceremony on June 26 to announce that they’ve deciphered the human hereditary script. The two organizations had Read More ›

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Edison style light bulb with double helix filament
Photo by Martin Adams on Unsplash

DNA and Other Designs

For two millennia, the design argument provided an intellectual foundation for much of Western thought. From classical antiquity through the rise of modern science, leading philosophers, theologians, and scientists — from Plato to Aquinas to Newton — maintained that nature manifests the design of a preexistent mind or intelligence. Moreover, for many Western thinkers, the idea that the physical universe Read More ›

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Nature's Destiny by Michael J. Denton

Nature’s Destiny

While others search the skies for extraterrestrial life, Michael Denton has examined the recent discoveries in all the sciences to ask — Could life elsewhere be substantially different from life on Earth? Drawing on a staggering knowledge of physics, biochemistry, geology, and evolution, Denton builds a step-by-step argument for human inevitability. Life requires water, DNA, and protein; it can only Read More ›

The Message in the Microcosm

Traditional approaches that fail to take account of new findings in molecular cell biology cannot survive the present day. Materialistic explanations for the origin of information have been systematically eliminated over the past forty years. Has origin-of-life research brought us to the brink of a new scientific revolution? Despite the now well-documented influence of Christian thinking on the rise of Read More ›