Science: August 2004 Archives

Transparent Aluminum

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Right out of Star Trek IV. Now we can transport whales more easily.

Due to my work on tomorrow's Christian Carnival, I haven't had time to post anything today. Here's a book review I wrote on Amazon in November 2002. This book is currently out-of-print, but these academic books go in and out of print every few years, and I imagine used copies are much more available over the internet than it used to be. A good library with interlibrary loan connections with academic libraries should be able to get ahold of it fairly easily also.

Peter van Inwagen, God, Knowledge, and Mystery: Essays in Philosophical Theology

Peter van Inwagen is a first-class philosopher, widely respected as one of the best metaphysicians of our day. This book collects previously-published work in philosophy of religion. He is a sincere Christian thinker who began his philosophical career as a nonbeliever. The value, difficulty, and strengths and weaknesses in this book vary from paper to paper.

Here Come the Zombies

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Scientists have now made a great leap in the progress toward zombies -- pulseless humans.

Stem Cell Facts

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John Rabe has a great post giving the facts on stem cells and stem cell research, and as far as I know he's exactly right on each point. The most important point is that adult stem cell research has borne great fruit, and embryonic stem cells have only led to problematic developments when inserted into adult organisms. Ron Reagan says Republicans opposing embryonic stem cell research are scientifically ignorant, but he may more accurate if he directs that charge toward himself. The Democrats' decision to make this a key issue of the presidential campaign is a bad idea, since science is not on their side.

What I'd like to see is more information on placental stem cells, since those are usually just discarded and are adult stem cells, having the DNA of the mother. Our obstetrician, a pro-life Christian, told us there isn't any research showing it to be of much use, and he recommended discarding it, but I'd like to see the studies showing that. I haven't coming across any.

Update: Robert George argues for an even stronger conclusion. Ron Reagan is taking advantage of people suffering from Parkinson's Disease and other ailments by promising them a change in administrations is going to lead to cures for many such diseases. I didn't read his speech carefully, but what I saw doesn't contradict this. He also points out that Reagan chose a very careful way of phrasing the process of extracting stem cells that isn't technically false but makes it sound as if it doesn't kill a live embryo, which is nuts. It does, and most of the research people would do with a policy change would be using embryos created deliberately just to be killed for such research.



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