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John Templeton Foundation awards $2.8 million to examine origins of biological complexity
EurekAlert (AAAS) ^ | 02 January 2006 | Staff

Posted on 01/02/2006 4:14:37 AM PST by PatrickHenry

The mechanisms driving the process of evolution have always been subject to rigorous scientific debate. Growing in intensity and scope, this debate currently spans a broad range of disciplines including archaeology, biochemistry, computer modeling, genetics & development and philosophy.

A recent $2.8 million grant from the John Templeton Foundation to the Cambridge Templeton Consortium [link] is providing the resources for further investigation into this complex and fascinating area. The funds will support 18 new grant awards to scientists, social scientists and philosophers examining how complexity has emerged in biological systems.

Attracting 150 applications, the grant process has generated much interest from a wide range of disciplines. Unique in the interdisciplinary nature of their applicants, the Cambridge Consortium grants will encourage and enable high quality research that approaches the issue from many angles, and will also sponsor collaborative work by people from different academic specialties. All of the work will study how biological systems (molecular, cellular, social etc) become more complex as they evolve.

"This is clearly an emerging area of science, and we are pleased that these grants are specifically aimed at encouraging work that would not easily fall under the parameters of any other grant-awarding body," says Consortium Chairman, Professor Derek Burke.

Questions to be addressed by the projects include:

* Why are biologists so afraid of asking 'why' questions, when physicists do it all the time?

* Can experiments using a digital evolutionary model answer why intelligence evolved, but artificial intelligence has been so hard to build?

* What lessons can rock art and material remains teach us about the development of human self-awareness?

* Can the geometric ordering of specific sheets of cells throw light on the questions currently being raised about design in nature?

* What principles allow individuals to develop social and colonial organizations?

Among the institutions receiving grants from the Cambridge Templeton Consortium are Duke University, Harvard University Medical School, University of California, San Francisco, University of Cambridge, UK, and Australian National University.


Formed by the John Templeton Foundation, The Cambridge Templeton Consortium was assembled for the purpose of selecting and evaluating proposals submitted under the "Emergence of Biological Complexity Initiative." Chairing the Consortium is Professor Derek Burke, Former Vice Chancellor of the University of East Anglia. Additional members include Dr. Jonathan Doye and Dr. Ard Louis, Department of Chemistry, University of Cambridge, Professor Simon Conway Morris, FRS, Department of Earth Sciences, University of Cambridge, Professor Graeme Barker, FBA and Dr. Chris Scarre, McDonald Institute for Archaeological Research, University of Cambridge.

The mission of the John Templeton Foundation is to pursue new insights at the boundary between theology and science through a rigorous, open-minded and empirically focused methodology, drawing together talented representatives from a wide spectrum of fields of expertise. Founded in 1987, the Foundation annually provides more than $60 million in funding on behalf of work in human sciences and character development, science and theology research, as well as free enterprise programs and awards worldwide. For more information about the Templeton Foundation, go to www.templeton.org [link.].

[Omitted some contact info, available at the original article.]


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Philosophy
KEYWORDS: biology; crevolist; grant; johntempleton; science; templeton
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To: Doc Savage
The usual Darwinist dreck crock-of-crap from PH. Can you just imagine the 24/7 this guys lives???? Evo-nut alert!

Now there's an eloquent utterance.

You do neither yourself nor your side any credit with such statements.

101 posted on 01/02/2006 5:35:11 PM PST by Coyoteman (I love the sound of beta decay in the morning!)
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To: tortoise

Your post left me ecstatic.


102 posted on 01/02/2006 5:36:02 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: Coyoteman
Along with that came large brains (to remember where you were, where you had been, and where the camp was, etc.).

Bees do this with incredible specificity AND communicate their knowledge with almost no brain at all.

Long distance walking--not to say hunting, but the opportunity was there--predates big brains by at least two million years.

103 posted on 01/02/2006 5:39:17 PM PST by Physicist
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To: Physicist
Why? To chase down game. It is said that no land animal can outdistance a well-conditioned human.

This is a known hunting technique that is still done occasionally, if rarely. It is not unknown among some American Indians.

A human does not have the sprint speed, but they can keep up a cross-country jog for hours without rest if they are in decent shape. Integrated over many hours, a human can sustain a higher average speed than most other land critters. Humans are also smart enough that even though other animals can lose them in a sprint, a human can relocate the animal and continue the chase. A large animal has a hard time losing a dedicated human tracker familiar with the landscape. Humans have both the endurance and brains to pull off this unusual but effective style of hunting. If you think about it, this is a very useful hunting adaptation that takes advantage of evolutionary bias toward predators that can only sprint -- humans have an evolutionary bias that defeats a broad pattern in nature and have the brains to make it work.

While I've never hunted like this myself, I understand that when you catch up with the animal (which usually takes hours), they are so thoroughly exhausted that you can dispatch them with a knife with relatively little risk.

104 posted on 01/02/2006 5:44:10 PM PST by tortoise (All these moments lost in time, like tears in the rain.)
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To: Physicist; longshadow
Long distance walking--not to say hunting, but the opportunity was there--predates big brains by at least two million years.

Yeah, but ignoring the bee thing, or the army ant thing (which I think is mostly chemistry), hunting in packs requires social cooperation over a long period of time. It can take a day or two to chase a deer to exhaustion, as its sprints become progressively shorter. This goal-oriented cooperation requires some brain size. We've got it. Wolves (and dogs) have it. It's been said that this is why, of all the beasts in the world, we get along best with dogs.

On the hairlessness issue, I think I agree with you. Evaporation of sweat is important. Dogs pant, we sweat. Bye bye pelt.

105 posted on 01/02/2006 5:49:05 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: Physicist
Heat dissipation is one of the keys to human endurance.

Also very important for brain function; the brain would cook itself if it was not for aggressive cooling mechanisms. One of the evolutionary enablers of larger brains in the chain of species that led to homo sapien was progressively improving adaptations for rapid heat transport from the brain area.

106 posted on 01/02/2006 5:50:32 PM PST by tortoise (All these moments lost in time, like tears in the rain.)
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To: tortoise
A human does not have the sprint speed, but they can keep up a cross-country jog for hours without rest if they are in decent shape.

This behavior is not that long ago in our past. I'm pretty sure I've read that Julius Caesar could move his legions over 20 miles a day, mostly jogging but with periodic "rest" periods of mere marching -- always with full packs, of course. At the end of a day's march they could fight a battle or build a fort. Then do the same thing the next day ...

107 posted on 01/02/2006 5:55:33 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: PatrickHenry
Stonewall Jackon's Army of the Shenandoah was famous for long and rapid marching. "Foot cavalry," he called it.

His superiors and the union troops he usually whipped were impressed. His footsore soldiers weren't so fond of the whole deal.

108 posted on 01/02/2006 5:59:12 PM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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Comment #109 Removed by Moderator

To: AndrewC
Overly cagey. Take the marbles out of your mouth and say it next time.
110 posted on 01/02/2006 6:25:11 PM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: AndrewC

Shatner really has to quit making these Star Trek movies. It's just not credible anymore.

111 posted on 01/02/2006 6:30:32 PM PST by Physicist
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To: PatrickHenry

Welcome to the Festival of Dover Depressed Dingbats, who have nothing to offer except juvenile bathroom humor in response to the facts brought out at the trial.


112 posted on 01/02/2006 6:30:41 PM PST by longshadow (FReeper #405, entering his ninth year of ignoring nitwits, nutcases, and recycled newbies)
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To: VadeRetro
Overly cagey.

Cagey? I clearly stated you guys don't like questioning. Kinda like...

Other researchers have looked within animals' genomes to analyze adaptation at the genetic level. In various places in the Northern Hemisphere, for example, marine stickleback fish were scattered among landlocked lakes as the last Ice Age ended. Today, their descendants have evolved into dozens of different species, but each has independently lost the armor plates needed for protection from marine predators. Researchers expected that the gene responsible would vary from lake to lake. Instead, they found that each group of stranded sticklebacks had lost its armor by the same mechanism: a rare DNA defect affecting a signaling molecule involved in the development of dermal bones and teeth. That single preexisting variant--rare in the open ocean--allowed the fish to adapt rapidly to a new environment.

Separated groups, same mechanism a rare DNA defect.(it isn't rare if they all had it)

113 posted on 01/02/2006 6:30:49 PM PST by AndrewC (Darwinian logic -- It is just-so if it is just-so)
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To: Physicist

Clearly you're mistaking Wilhelmina for her brother.


114 posted on 01/02/2006 6:32:25 PM PST by AndrewC (Darwinian logic -- It is just-so if it is just-so)
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To: Physicist
Shatner really has to quit making these Star Trek movies.

Did you hear him on late night TV recently? He was asked by the host if the rest of the Star Trek cast had any inkling that George Takai ("Sulu") was a homosexual.

Shatner: "Oh, we all had a pretty good idea..."

Host: "How did you know?"

Shatner: "Well, whenever the rest of us set our phasers on 'STUN,' George would set his to 'FABULOUS'!"

115 posted on 01/02/2006 6:35:08 PM PST by longshadow (FReeper #405, entering his ninth year of ignoring nitwits, nutcases, and recycled newbies)
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To: AndrewC
Is THAT what you were saying last time? Looks different.
116 posted on 01/02/2006 6:36:07 PM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: VadeRetro
Looks different.

Different words, same sentiment. I mentioned Dr. Shapiro and "Phina" for a reason. One asks questions, the other is part of a fire brigade.

117 posted on 01/02/2006 6:40:11 PM PST by AndrewC (Darwinian logic -- It is just-so if it is just-so)
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To: AndrewC
Really? I had just about convinced myself you were saying,

Here anomaly!
There anomaly!
Everywhere a nomaly nomaly!
Ol' witch doctor had a mask!
Oogety-boogety-boo!


118 posted on 01/02/2006 6:42:28 PM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: PatrickHenry

Kind of interesting that the Templeton Foundation is funding research into evolution in that haven't evolutionists been claiming that evolution is a fact. if it was a fact, why does it need further research?

Oh, that's right; evolutionists admit that evolution isn't a fact. The $2.8 million will not lead to any evidence proving evolution.


119 posted on 01/02/2006 6:42:44 PM PST by connectthedots
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To: connectthedots
Well, there's spin for you. If it needs more research, it isn't science. ID must be science because it doesn't suggest new areas of research. Rather, it suggests we might as well just punt.
120 posted on 01/02/2006 6:45:29 PM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: longshadow
I've met George Takei. He does swish, there's no denying it, but he's a very friendly and likable person. A class act.
121 posted on 01/02/2006 6:45:41 PM PST by Physicist
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To: Physicist; Coyoteman
Long distance walking--not to say hunting, but the opportunity was there--predates big brains by at least two million years.

And this has been known for as long as I can remember. Why, then, are the estimated times for ancient human expansions always so long? I mean, once humans had set foot on Eurasia from Africa, why wouldn't they have wandered over the entire continent in just a few hundred years?

122 posted on 01/02/2006 6:45:49 PM PST by forsnax5 (The greatest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.)
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To: VadeRetro
Really? I had just about convinced myself you were saying,

Well, that is expected of you. You are of the second group, so you are understandably confused by legitimate curiosity.

123 posted on 01/02/2006 6:50:09 PM PST by AndrewC (Darwinian logic -- It is just-so if it is just-so)
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To: VadeRetro
Here anomaly!
There anomaly!
Everywhere a nomaly nomaly!
Ol' witch doctor had a mask!
Oogety-boogety-boo!

ROTFL!

124 posted on 01/02/2006 6:51:10 PM PST by jennyp (PILTDOWN MAN IS REAL! Don't buy the evolutionist's Big Lie that Piltdown was a hoax!)
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To: Physicist
...but he's a very friendly and likable person. A class act.

Perhaps a slight contrast to another cast member already mentioned?

125 posted on 01/02/2006 6:58:37 PM PST by longshadow (FReeper #405, entering his ninth year of ignoring nitwits, nutcases, and recycled newbies)
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To: VadeRetro

I was simply commenting that it appears the Templeton Foundation is willing to fund research that might confirm/prove evolution.

As you certainly must know, it has been my long-held position that both evolution and ID are models rather than theories.


126 posted on 01/02/2006 7:00:49 PM PST by connectthedots
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To: connectthedots
No, you added this bit of analysis: "... if it was a fact, why does it need further research?"

The question implies that anything established as fact need not and should not be researched. Science thus should NEVER ask "Why?" if you're right. The only legitimate question is "Is that fact or non-fact?"

I'd guess most research is aimed at understanding something we know to be true but not necessarily why it is true. As we sometimes patiently explain to creationists here, "Theories do not grow up to be laws. Theories explain laws."

Anyway, you can fight it out with those of your side condemning evolutionists for never asking "Why?" We seem to be getting it from both sides just now.

Your puzzlement is reflective of some misconception that science is reasoned and argued the way religion seems to be, from supposedly revealed authority and supposedly unshakeable fact. That's why people from your side are always telling us evolution is religion. That may appear true if you think everything is about religion, or you just don't know any other way of approaching things.

127 posted on 01/02/2006 7:15:23 PM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: longshadow; Physicist
This Sulu revelation is a genuine shock. I assumed Kirk had a helmsman who could plot a straight and true course.
128 posted on 01/02/2006 7:16:57 PM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: PatrickHenry
straight and true

.500 is good in baseball.

129 posted on 01/02/2006 7:29:02 PM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: PatrickHenry

Questions to be addressed by the projects include:

* Why are biologists so afraid of asking 'why' questions, when physicists do it all the time?

* Can experiments using a digital evolutionary model answer why intelligence evolved, but artificial intelligence has been so hard to build?

* What lessons can rock art and material remains teach us about the development of human self-awareness?

* Can the geometric ordering of specific sheets of cells throw light on the questions currently being raised about design in nature?

* What principles allow individuals to develop social and colonial organizations?

Scientific research questions??

These questions would be debunked in the first week of a first year Philosophy course.


130 posted on 01/02/2006 7:36:28 PM PST by beaver fever
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To: VadeRetro
I'd guess most research is aimed at understanding something we know to be true but not necessarily why it is true.

Your 'knowledge' as to the truth of evolution is really based on a considerable amount of faith. You believe evolution is true, but you do not know why it is true. If fact, it may not be true at all. sounds like a religion to me. Of course, I am obviously referring to macro-evolution.

131 posted on 01/02/2006 8:03:50 PM PST by connectthedots
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To: PatrickHenry

Jeepers ... that bad? Thanks for the ping!


132 posted on 01/02/2006 10:17:32 PM PST by Alamo-Girl (Monthly is the best way to donate to Free Republic!)
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To: MRMEAN
So if we want to follow our evolutionary heritage, we should run/swim 40 miles a day...in the nude?

and barefooted. When you're catching fish and shellfish by hand and trying to get to the seaweed before it bakes not to mention the occasional beached whale, you've got to stay on the move.

133 posted on 01/03/2006 5:41:38 AM PST by shuckmaster (An oak tree is an acorns way of making more acorns)
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To: Physicist
There've been many bottlenecks in our history. How do we know that humans weren't hairless prior to 200,000 years ago?That's a good question. DNA shows that we are 700,000 years separated from Neanderthals who were arriving in Europe about the same time we were first appearing in South Africa after a 500,000 year separation. I wonder if Neanderthals had hair and how much? I also wonder if they were capable of mating with the humans who arrived in Eurasia later.

It is said that no land animal can outdistance a well-conditioned human.

A herd of horses, gazelle, etc; can outrun a tribe of humans for days but the persistent humans on the trail will eventually come up on a herd too exhausted to run and can pick off the weakest at will. I'm sure that played a big part in pre-modern evolution even with the questions of shoes, predators, and lack of home base. The problem of home base would be partially solved by running a herd into a valley or perhaps a beach peninsula (which would reduce problems with sore feet and predators).

134 posted on 01/03/2006 6:24:37 AM PST by shuckmaster (An oak tree is an acorns way of making more acorns)
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To: Physicist
Long distance walking--not to say hunting, but the opportunity was there--predates big brains by at least two million years.

Back to the beach. Wouldn't a diet of high protien seafood supplemented with seaweed and grains contribute to brain growth? I'm a layman here to learn and the idea I'm getting is that apes live in the jungle, bipedal hominids evolved on the savannahs and plains, but the very small group from which modern humans decended made the first of their two major evolutions on the beach. The 2nd "great leap forward" occured after glacier melt opened the Eurasian rivers.

135 posted on 01/03/2006 7:03:17 AM PST by shuckmaster (An oak tree is an acorns way of making more acorns)
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To: shuckmaster

Sorry about the lack of spell check there...


136 posted on 01/03/2006 7:04:13 AM PST by shuckmaster (An oak tree is an acorns way of making more acorns)
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To: connectthedots
Your 'knowledge' as to the truth of evolution is really based on a considerable amount of faith.

It's based on the "faith" that evidence means something. We have lots of evidence.

137 posted on 01/03/2006 7:05:31 AM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: VadeRetro
" It's based on the "faith"..."

See!! You admit it's nothing but FAITH!!! And faith is always wrong! Um, I mean, evolution is a religion!! And religions are, er, ah... Nazi!


(creationist meltdown mode)
138 posted on 01/03/2006 7:08:23 AM PST by CarolinaGuitarman ("There is grandeur in this view of life...")
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To: VadeRetro
Stonewall Jackon's Army of the Shenandoah was famous for long and rapid marching. "Foot cavalry," he called it.

An excellent example! As I recall from reading, he marched his men over 600 miles in 12 days fighting several large battles and about 40 skirmishes along the way. He motivated his men by shooting stragglers. There's a famous anecdote where his soldiers with bleeding feet asked for shoes and he told them that if they wanted shoes they should kill a yankee. Back on subject, it's a clear example of a large group of humans averaging over 50 miles a day for a moderately extended period of time with the only real problem being sore feet for the ones who were out of shape.

139 posted on 01/03/2006 7:15:18 AM PST by shuckmaster (An oak tree is an acorns way of making more acorns)
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To: VadeRetro

Not nearly as much evidence as there exists for the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ.


140 posted on 01/03/2006 7:19:29 AM PST by connectthedots
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To: connectthedots
You believe evolution is true, but you do not know why it is true.

Sure we know why. It's called natural selection.

141 posted on 01/03/2006 7:33:46 AM PST by shuckmaster (An oak tree is an acorns way of making more acorns)
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To: AndrewC

Looks like William Shatner to me.


142 posted on 01/03/2006 7:36:54 AM PST by furball4paws (The new elixir of life - dehydrated toad urine.)
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To: shuckmaster
Sure we know why. It's called natural selection.

I have no problem with natural selection. Natural selection is no explanation for macro-evolution.

143 posted on 01/03/2006 7:44:06 AM PST by connectthedots
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To: connectthedots
That would be irrelevant if true but you clearly have no idea of the volume of evidence for evolution.
144 posted on 01/03/2006 7:45:44 AM PST by VadeRetro (Liberalism is a cancer on society. Creationism is a cancer on conservatism.)
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To: AndrewC

Gosh, what an obnoxious post.


145 posted on 01/03/2006 7:51:14 AM PST by Right Wing Professor (Liberals have hijacked science for long enough. Now it's our turn -- Tom Bethell)
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To: PatrickHenry
This Sulu revelation is a genuine shock.

Recall Sulu's quote from the beginning of Star Trek IV:

"San Francisco. I was born there."

It all makes sense now.

146 posted on 01/03/2006 7:58:25 AM PST by Quark2005 (Divination is NOT science.)
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To: Quark2005
"San Francisco. I was born there."

I'm really shattered over this. Now, whenever I see a rerun from the original series, and Kirk says: "Standard orbit, Mr. Sulu," I'll imagine that Sulu is thinking: Yeah, pretty boy, standard orbit around Uranus!

147 posted on 01/03/2006 8:10:28 AM PST by PatrickHenry (Virtual Ignore for trolls, lunatics, dotards, scolds, & incurable ignoramuses.)
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To: PatrickHenry
The funds will support 18 new grant awards to scientists, social scientists and philosophers examining how complexity has emerged in biological systems.

Uh oh!

148 posted on 01/03/2006 8:32:01 AM PST by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: <1/1,000,000th%
social scientists and philosophers

Social scientists and philosophers are fine so long as they admit the limits of applicability of their conclusions (just like any other practice, including the natural sciences, or even religion, for that matter).

Social scientists themselves aren't always the culprits; it's usually the (generally liberal) activists who are too eager overextrapolate the usefulness of their 'theories'.

149 posted on 01/03/2006 8:55:26 AM PST by Quark2005 (Divination is NOT science.)
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To: Right Wing Professor
It's a special form of schadenfreude :-)
150 posted on 01/03/2006 9:31:16 AM PST by RightWingAtheist ("Why thank you Mr.Obama, I'm proud to be a Darwinist!")
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