Saturday, February 20, 2010

A Saturday's Review

Starting today and (hopefully) every Saturday afterward, I am going to review a book, movie, product or something else altogether. I just thought that by going back to my writing roots (I started by reviewing books for our local library in the local rag.) it would help me push along.

A couple of months ago I was searching for a quality freebie site; like the one I frequented years ago; in another millennium. Time and the web have a habit of moving on. I remember the best freebie I ever found – a multimedia report on the Genome Project! After learning more than I anticipated, I donated it to the local library, where the librarians began thinking of a Genome Project Party to introduce the availability to patrons.

Well, I was thinking about that Genome Project when I found that the Howard Hughes Medical Institute has free DVDs of their annual lecture series to high school students. I ordered some of the Holiday Lecture Series to review for my own continuing education. The lectures are by renowned authorities in the fields of research into genetics, evolution, heart function, neuroscience, biochemistry, physiology just to name a very few.

The first lecture I chose was Evolution: Fossils, Genes, and Mousetraps; by Kenneth Miller, Ph.D., Professor of Biology at Brown University. He is the co-author of a series of high school biology textbooks and an advocate of evolution education.
I chose this lecture first because I was familiar with the subject. Dr Miller was a witness in the Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District trial. I had watched the NOVA production of this trial: Intelligent Design on Trial and was eager for more insight into the whole intelligent design debate.

Dr Miller’s lecture covers Darwin and evolution theory continuing on to debunking intelligent design. He presents easily understood examples and explanations of what Darwin observed and then concluded.

He meets the challenges of Michael Behe, a Professor of Biochemistry at Lehigh University, with wit and scientific data. Dr Miller goes on to show that Dr Behe’s idea of Irreducible Complexity is not a viable theory. Example of Dr Behe's Irreducible Complexity is when he states that a mouse-trap must have all five parts to work.  Dr Miller pulled off one part, bent another and still had a working mouse-trap.  In fact he would remove all but one part and although that part might not be a mouse-trap on it's own, it still has a function.

All in all, Dr Miller provides a complete nugget of history in the fight for science to remain scientific and not supernatural.

Not only is this lecture a piece of quality information for biology classes, it also is quite good for the layperson to get a grasp of what is going on in the debate between science and religion. Dr Miller goes on to reconcile his own religious beliefs with science very well.

Again, to order this DVD or any other HHMI educational material use the link above.  There is no charge.  All I ask of you is to pass the DVD on to others, so they too can see what many in the scientific world are worried about.  Supernatural explainations for natural occurances. 
After you watch this DVD, I would recommend reading Kitzmiller v. Dover Area School District a Wikipedia article, watching Intelligent Design on Trial the NOVA special that presents the trial, and watching Horizon - A War On Science a BBC documentary on the contraversy of intellegent design and evolution in American education.
I will be ordering The Origin Of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition   to refresh my memory from 40 some years ago.

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