Category Archives: Science

Trust me. I’m a trained scientist. I know what I’m talking about.

The Book of Dawkins

dawkinsIn the beginning was the word and the word was Dawkins. Dawkins said let there be a book that explains evolutionary biology to the layperson. The book was called The Selfish Gene and Dawkins looked on it and saw that it was good. Continue reading

The age of the Earth

earthPlanet Earth is 4.54 billion years old, but how do we know that? Continue reading

Ingredients for a miracle

embryo

  • 35kg water
  • 16kg carbon
  • 12kg oxygen
  • 3kg hydrogen
  • 1kg each of nitrogen, calcium and phosphorus
  • A sprinkle of potassium, sulphur and sodium
  • About a dozen trace elements Continue reading

Free will? It’s a no brainer

nobrainerImagine that you cannot see or hear and have no sense of smell, taste or touch. Imagine that you have no arms or legs or mouth. Imagine that you have no brain. How would you find food? How would you survive?

On his blog, Matt Russell tells the story of how bacteria manage to survive and thrive despite not having any of the basic tools that we would consider essential for living. It’s a story of survival against the odds that can perhaps teach us something about ourselves. Continue reading

I doubt that very much

gadandadamReligion. It’s a strange business. On other matters we are asked, are we for or against? But when it comes to God, we must answer, do we believe or not? How peculiar.

You might have thought that God would give us free will to choose Him or not. Instead He neglected to tell us clearly whether He even exists. It’s pure negligence. A shocking abdication of divine responsibility. Continue reading

The GMO debate and the lightning conductor

stopgmoGenetically modified crops generate intense anger on both sides of the debate.

Those who oppose it, such as Greenpeace and Friends of the Earth, cite the risk of some kind of unpredictable disastrous effect on Nature.

Those who argue in its favour point out that millions of children could be cured of blindness if genetically-modified rice were used to feed people in the third world. In fact, vitamin A-enhanced rice could prevent up to a third of the world’s child deaths. And that’s just one example of the benefits.

The stakes couldn’t really be higher on either side of the debate. It’s imperative that the world makes the right decision about this issue.

So here, I’m asking, “How do we make the decision?” Continue reading

A for Andromeda

andromedagalaxyThe endless reaches of space are almost entirely empty, so you might imagine that collisions between stars are extremely rare events. However, because of gravity, matter tends to clump together (which is why space is mostly empty). As a result, collisions between stars and even galaxies happen surprisingly often.

And I have some bad news for you. The Andromeda galaxy, containing 1 trillion stars, is on a collision course with our own galaxy, the Milky Way, and is approaching at a speed of 200 miles per second. Continue reading

Afterthought

butterfliesYesterday I was wondering, where are ideas? Then afterwards, I had another idea (did you also lie awake at night worrying about this?) Continue reading

Where are ideas?

whereareideasThis week I’m getting all metaphysical. Since arguing that we create science rather than discover it, then it follows that science and the laws of nature are not “out there” waiting to be found, but are ideas contained within our imagination. They have the same status as stories that we tell each other.

The same is true of mathematics. It’s just an idea. That seems paradoxical, because mathematics has rules, like 1 + 1 = 2 that we can’t change. The rules seem to be real. They seem to relate to real world things that we can count. Continue reading

Climate change conundrum

globalwarmingEvery other blog I read these days seems to take a stance on global warming, so I thought  I’d make my position clear. Continue reading