Monday, June 2, 2008

Unnatural Selection: Introduction

The information page is here; unfortunately, there's no preview yet. As it's more than somewhat difficult to reproduce my annotations, I'll try it the old-fashioned way, i.e. quotes and comments.

  • "This is a tale about evolution." Micro or macro? Yes, I know that a very large number of evolutionists still hold to Darwin's guess that 'if an organism can change a little bit in a short amount of time, why shouldn't it be able to change a lot in a long time?' Judging from the fact that we're still human, I'm guessing it's micro.
  • "...something far more personally meaningful than...a rationale for museum dioramas." DNA is as close to us as our skin. It tells about our probable past, present, and future.
  • A question frequently raised is whether society can catch up in understanding the research. To which I add: Should society do so?
  • "...the chemical basis of yourself or someone else." Alluding to the second quote, this also prompts another question: Is that all it is? Or is it something more?
  • "We must never minimize the...portent of these new discoveries." At the same time, we should not overestimate it.
  • "[The Human Genome Project] is well ahead of its own schedule for mapping the genome by the year 2005." This book was written in 1998. The mapping was complete in 2003.
  • Speaking about a November 12, 1963 New York Times article about genetic research, Wingerson suggests two important conflicts: science-vs.-society and ethics-vs.-science.
  • People to learn about: "The head of the Human Genome Project, Francis Collins, M.D....James Watson...[and] Sandra Kretz, who was a vice-president at Quantum Health Resources." Collins expressed voluble concern about potential misuses of research results. One of these is denial of insurance coverage. See the Genetic Nondiscrimination Act.
  • I was somewhat dissatisfied with the lessened degree of specificity of details brought up in the introduction. Says Wingerson: "...I have simplified details...Above all I have tried to adhere to two basic tenets of my own profession of journalism: to be both accurate and fair." Fair enough.
Chapter 1 is tomorrow.


Anonymous said...

I'm not a 'science' guy myself and am ignorant of the workings while I enjoy the results (most of them).

I think our society, firmly rooted in reason has elevated science to a god and thereby relegated God to the stuff of imagination.

Here's a short and sweet article about science and faith

Thanks for the interesting post, Hannah!

- Steve M.

Hannah said...

Since the URL you gave got cut off, Steve, I (using my newfound basic HTML skills) put it here.

Doorman-Priest said...

I did some religion and science posts recently. They didn't really play well. Some folk really disappointed me by saying that it was over their heads.


Hannah said...

I'm one of those at fault, DP. I tend to shy away from the philosophical side of discussions of that type, which you seemed to lean toward.

Not to mention my opinions about your opinions, too! I'll be biding my time for a few years until I finish my degree; I will try to comment then.