Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Life Sciences

I'll be back to the political opinion writing soon, but as my wife can tell you, one of my other top loves is science.

How much do I love science? I subscribe to the Bad Astronomy Blog rss feed (I'm a Phil Plait superfan), the Universe Today rss feed, the Scientific American rss feed and the Softpedia Science News rss feed. I also subscribe to the Skeptic's Guide To The Universe podcast, the Astronomy Cast podcast, the NOVA scienceNow podcast (I am a Neil deGrasse Tyson stan) and the Scientific American podcast as well as Sci-Am's 60 Second Science podcast. My wife also catches me watching the Discovery channel (MythBusters) and the Science channel occasionally when they have something awesome on.

So when I caught this in one of my feeds, I had to bring it to you. This is way too cool:
A team of biologists and chemists is closing in on bringing non-living matter to life.

It's not as Frankensteinian as it sounds. Instead, a lab led by Jack Szostak, a molecular biologist at Harvard Medical School, is building simple cell models that can almost be called life.

Szostak's protocells are built from fatty molecules that can trap bits of nucleic acids that contain the source code for replication. Combined with a process that harnesses external energy from the sun or chemical reactions, they could form a self-replicating, evolving system that satisfies the conditions of life, but isn't anything like life on earth now, but might represent life as it began or could exist elsewhere in the universe.

Now I fully expect the extreme Christians to start bashing this as playing God, but I'd argue, why haven't they considered that God gave scientist the tools to do certain experiments such as this? Why is it never considered that Science is part of God's plan? If God knows all, and has a master plan, then the All Knowing knew and knows this is happening. One cannot claim that this disrespects God and spits in the Elohim face when it was Christians themselves who killed and still kill in the name of which should also spit in Elohim face. If it's your belief that God works through everything, then stop boycotting science and start considering that God is working through science to help you live longer and better.

Any who, back onto the article. With these developments, it pits scientist, more specifically biologist and chemist, closer to finding out exactly how life can begin on young planets, especially the planet we are on especially If Mr. Szostak's team is successful in creating a wholly autonomous system in the protocells. This should also be big news in the field of Astronomy as once Mr. Szostak's team can determine the conditions for which the protocells can evolve, this will start a hunt for planets, young & old alike, that house those certain conditions. This could lead to our first true discovery of life on other planets, most likely extra-solar. It will also be a huge leap in discovering exactly how evolution works and possibly how it got jump started here. Like I said, this is really cool.

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