In praise of D-III hoops

February 28, 2009

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It’s been a heart-rending week at The College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio.  Far-removed from the glitz and glamor of big-time D-I basketball, a story as compelling as you’ll get at Rupp Arena, MSG, or anywhere else.

Follow these links for a weepy moment or two.

A tough way to go into the league tournament.

Before beating Kenyon (sorry, Hoppe, y’all had no chance) 89-71.

Tonight, Wooster gutted out a 84-72 win over Wabash to cap the emotional week, and earn a berth in the NCAA Division III tournament..

If we’re (that would be Heather ‘n me) lucky, Wooster gets sent to a close-by locale next weekend for their NCAA D-III tournament opener.

Go Scots!


On the utility of evolution in experimental biology and medicine

February 28, 2009

A recurring theme amongst ID antievolutionists holds that evolution really doesn’t contribute useful directions or concepts in the realm of biology or medicine. Philip Skell regurgitates the theme in a recent commentary in Forbes magazine:

“Examining the major advances in biological knowledge, one fails to find any real connection between biological history and the experimental designs that have produced today’s cornucopia of knowledge of how the great variety of living organisms perform their functions. It is our knowledge of how these organisms actually operate, not speculations about how they may have arisen millions of years ago, that is essential to doctors, veterinarians, farmers and other practitioners of biological science.”

And later:

“The essence of the theory of evolution is the hypothesis that historical diversity is the consequence of natural selection acting on variations. Regardless of the verity it holds for explaining biohistory, it offers no help to the experimenter–who is concerned, for example, with the goal of finding or synthesizing a new antibiotic, or how it can disable a disease-producing organism, what dosages are required and which individuals will not tolerate it. Studying biohistory is, at best, an entertaining distraction from the goals of a working biologist.”

The blogosphere (and probably print media) are replete with summaries and specific cases that show Skell’s assertions to be a crock. This essay summarizes one such example. I have chosen this one because it refutes, specifically, the claim that an understanding of the evolutionary history of an organism “offers no help to the experimenter–who is concerned, for example, with the goal of finding or synthesizing a new antibiotic, or how it can disable a disease-producing organism”. It also ties Skell’s uninformed comments in with another subject that causes ID antievolutionists much consternation – the origins and evolution of organelles.

Read the rest of this entry »


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