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Comments by Degsy

Go to: Full Length Talk - 'How To Tell You're An Atheist'

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 19 by Degsy

I really enjoyed that. I am particularly fascinated by the Clergy Project, or more to the point, the findings of the research that is going hand in hand with it. The quip about tens of thousands of clergymen signing up if re-training were a given speaks volumes. What is also pleasing is that such help and guidance is being commissioned and delivered from secular quarters. If it is the case that doubt and loss of faith by the clergy is as rife, as testimony from those in the church would attest, I would hope that we have the guts to help. Certainly, I don't see them getting the help they need from the church they are part of.

Spare a penny for an old ex-vicar...

Fri, 25 May 2012 16:07:55 UTC | #943507

Go to: Human Races May Have Biological Meaning, But Races Mean Nothing About Humanity

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by Degsy

I recall Steve Jones pointing out how related (genetically) human individuals are. If I remember rightly (and I may be wrong with the exact details), Jones described that there would be less genetic differences between say, a white European and a native Australian Aboriginal, than there would be between two chimpanzees in the same troupe.

Thu, 03 May 2012 15:26:20 UTC | #939381

Go to: Writing a new code for life?

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 20 by Degsy

Thank you AsylumWarden, most interesting.

Thu, 23 Feb 2012 16:24:49 UTC | #921100

Go to: Writing a new code for life?

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Degsy

Not that there is anything wrong with carbon chauvinism, after all it's the only way of life we know, but could other elements offer the complexity and diversity of compounds to allow life to occur. I recall silicon being a candidate due to its tetrahedral chemistry. The modification of bases is one thing (TNA), but does anyone know of other theories pertaining to an origin of life that does not require carbon? Just curious.

Wed, 22 Feb 2012 17:15:55 UTC | #920794

Go to: The Sins of the Fathers [Also in Polish]

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by Degsy

I bought the Telegraph last sunday as it was the only only broadsheet left in the shop that evening. I was pretty disappointed I have to say.

This guy Adam Lusher sounds like an ignorant nut and I will be doing my upmost to avoid anything he writes in the future.

Sat, 18 Feb 2012 13:08:53 UTC | #919183

Go to: Hubble snaps stunning barred spiral galaxy image

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 25 by Degsy

The words of Neil deGrasse Tyson have popped into my mind. This is from memory so forgive any inaccuracy.

'Every living thing on this planet is related biologically, and ergo, related chemically to the planet. And when we look at a star in the night sky, one of a hundred billion in our known galaxy which is but one of a hundred billion in the known universe, that is 13.7 billion years old and 15 billion light years across, we can say that we are related to all of it atomically'.

That an idiot like me can surmise that to be a relatively correct statement (I know the number of stars we can see as well as galaxies seems to always be increasing) speaks volumes about the wonders of such technologies and what it affords us.

Tue, 07 Feb 2012 18:04:29 UTC | #915322

Go to: Wife and daughters died in 'honour killing', court told

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Degsy

Comment 4 by Daisy Skipper

Stop calling it honour killing! A consciousness raising exercise needs to be employed here.

Mon, 30 Jan 2012 15:02:55 UTC | #912698

Go to: Wife and daughters died in 'honour killing', court told

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Degsy

Stop calling them honour killings. There is nothing honourable in even describing them as such. By the way, when will members of the Islamic community, either in Canada or elsewhere come out and state unequivocally, in no uncertain terms that they cannot condone such actions and, indeed, categorically condemn them. I am sick of this shit being routinely ignored as a point of public debate by the communities wherein these actions occur. Some of us care deeply about civilized society, what it means to be part of one and how it is constantly encroached upon by Stone and Bronze age philosophies and schools of thought best left to our ignorant, infantile past.

Mon, 30 Jan 2012 14:41:48 UTC | #912688

Go to: Depression Defies the Rush to Find an Evolutionary Upside

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 16 by Degsy

Did Randolph Nesse not touch on this subject? His argument was pitched so as to not explain depression from an evolutionary advantageous point of view, but rather, argued that mood (in this case low mood) was a signifier to the individual to desist in any activity that wrought no perceptible reward. In other words, low mood has a utility, whereas depression is the result of its exacerbation. I myself suffer from depression- have done for years. The evolutionary advantage of a debilitating disease is lost on me in that regard. I do have some sympathy with JuJu, in that, the natural world may not have to owe us any positive advantage. Efficacious treatment of the disease is of more importance to me than an evolutionary explanation, regardless of how enamored I am with the theory of evolution.

Tue, 17 Jan 2012 16:44:35 UTC | #909208

Go to: Wolf-to-dog transition had little to do with humans, ancient skull suggests

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 9 by Degsy

I often wonder about this 'transition'. I hate to say this but can we trust our ancestors to be, on the one hand, proficient hunters of other game, to then turn domesticators of sorts when another species started hanging about their encampments looking for the odd bone. If we assume meat to be a precious resource, what was stopping our forebears from taking advantage of an animal (as a source of food) that came to them, as opposed to them having to go look elsewhere?

Anyway, I must finish The Crossing by tomorrow as it is due back at the library.

Wed, 21 Dec 2011 17:25:53 UTC | #901741

Go to: Drugs and the Meaning of Life

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Degsy

Hmmm. Well trodden ground methinks. The arguments can be put in so many ways with regard to the positive effects of certain pschoactive substances on the mind/consciousness of the user. However, whilst the glaring hypocrisy and myopic vision of our governments drug policy is there for all to see, they will never be in a position to condone people getting high.

Wed, 06 Jul 2011 14:29:57 UTC | #846884

Go to: Why Dawkins disappoints

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 69 by Degsy

"These days, by contrast, atheism is easy. It requires no special thought – indeed, it requires no thought at all"

What a cheek!

Wed, 25 May 2011 10:02:13 UTC | #630673

Go to: Sexual preference chemical found in mice

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 13 by Degsy

Well said Keith. I can add nothing further.

Mon, 28 Mar 2011 09:05:59 UTC | #608219

Go to: Evolution, Creationism, and the "Cautious 60%"

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 21 by Degsy

It is the "cautious 60%" I would be more worried about, rather than that minority who advocate a pro-creationist position. At least we know where that minority stand. The fact that a majority of teachers feel genuinely uneasy about teaching the unassailable facts pertaining to their chosen subject, is truly revealing. I don't know what can be done about this in the States. How do you legislate for something like this knowing full well there is a sizable and vocal part of the populace who regard biological facts as the work of the devil.

Thu, 24 Feb 2011 12:34:27 UTC | #595360

Go to: UPDATED: British GCSE exam: evolution FAIL

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Degsy

I would want to know what exam board this came from, when it was written and who were those responsible for writing such questions. Is this a common feature of Biology and Science GCSEs now? Feedback from teachers would be much appreciated on this topic as I am wanting to pursue a career in teaching Biology.

Tue, 15 Feb 2011 15:50:47 UTC | #592106

Go to: Bible Writers Intended to Deceive

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Degsy

Cannot say I am surprised at this when the whole thing was fabricated in the first place. Do we really need a scholarly account of how dishonest it is? Don't get me wrong, I appreciate the efforts made by Bart if his claims turn out to be true. That said, this has no real bearing on how I feel about the bible one way or the other. However, what will credulous christians think of this? There are questions to be asked of the faithful. Will this change the mind of any died in the wool faith heads? Me thinks not.

Wed, 09 Feb 2011 18:47:41 UTC | #590120

Go to: Feather Evolution

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 2 by Degsy

"In other words, feathers were not merely a variation on a theme: They were using the same genetic instruments to play a whole new kind of music."

Someone has been reading Dawkins me thinks.

I loved this article. Clear, concise and to the point. If only textbooks could be written in a similar style. This may be off topic, but I often wonder if the plight of students could be made, not necessarily easier but more enjoyable, when on their first point of contact with amassed knowledge (biology textbooks), they read in a similar style to this article. Just a thought.

Thu, 03 Feb 2011 14:35:40 UTC | #587357

Go to: Childhood Diseases May Be Rooted in Evolution

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Degsy

Comment 2 by Daniel : Thanks for that feedback. Out of curiosity, who was the author of said book?

Wed, 02 Feb 2011 16:45:05 UTC | #587008

Go to: Childhood Diseases May Be Rooted in Evolution

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 1 by Degsy

No mention is made of what can be done about this. I find this notion of Darwinian medicine ponderous. I would contend that all of medicine could benefit from applying a Darwinian perspective. The perfect biological ideal of humans and humankind is certainly one that needs a drubbing. The reason that the disciplines of medicine, dentistry and the associated profitable arenas of big pharma exist is that we have inherited a lot of evolutionary baggage. As such, we are pre-disposed to all manner of complaints and ailments from the trivial (backache, bad dentition, sinusitis), through to the more serious, as alluded to in the article.

Whilst a long developmental stage in humans is described by Crespi as "just ridiculous", when compared to that of our primate cousins, could such a protracted phase of growth and development be viewed as being more favorable in allowing necessary emotional, intellectual and psychological development to occur. A shortened more acute phase of development with regard to these traits (which one could argue where uniquely human) could be to our detriment. Is Nature striking a balance, in effect.

Wed, 02 Feb 2011 15:43:11 UTC | #586976

Go to: Ricky Gervais's fundamental error was to attack God

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 3 by Degsy

"Religion in America is far more taboo than sex, drugs or Eddie's cross-dressing," said one sympathetic critic. "It's regarded as deeply impolite to mention it. It starts fights."

Yes and that has to change. Richard did a brave and honorable thing in my opinion. Why should his lack of belief and the fact he openly declares it be viewed with animosity by those who don't share his views? There is nothing wrong in being 'offended', if that is the word to use here. Nothing becomes of it. People are offended on a daily basis by others personal choice and tastes in music, art, politics or even something as trivial as which football team they support. Get over it and grow up.

Tue, 25 Jan 2011 21:44:55 UTC | #584114

Go to: Unnatural Genes Used to Replace Missing DNA Keep Cells Alive

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 14 by Degsy

"The results described here showing that sequences designed in the laboratory can replace portions of the E. coli genome can therefore be viewed as an initial step toward the construction of artificial genomes."

Quote from the paper. I can only imagine what it must have been like working in that lab when their results from experiments were coming through. Are we on the brink of a new era in molecular biology?

Wed, 19 Jan 2011 14:04:22 UTC | #580982

Go to: Unnatural Genes Used to Replace Missing DNA Keep Cells Alive

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 10 by Degsy

It will be interesting to see what the exact mechanism(s) conferring viability to these E. coli strains is. If it is a previously unobserved phenomenon due to the addition of a man-made sequence of DNA coding for a protein not found in nature, this field of research will explode. I find this truly astonishing. I will have to read the paper.

Tue, 18 Jan 2011 14:46:31 UTC | #580430

Go to: Rising Seas Look Inevitable

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 39 by Degsy

I never enjoy this debate. Whether global warming is real and whether we have anything to do with that is one of the most important questions we will ever have to answer. My problem is that an experimental approach is not afforded to us. The way in which to arrive at a satisfying conclusion would be to compare Earth with no industrialized infrastructure, to that of an Earth that did, and compare the differences in CO2, temperature, sea levels and so on. The ignorant thing to do is pretend it isn't happening. My main concern is that underneath the layers of debate about climate change and sea levels is that we are burning fossil fuels which are a finite resource an not just as a source of energy. The petrochemical industry provides us with plastics, synthetics and pharmaceuticals. Where we will derive these materials from if the oil runs out? What we will replace them with?

Sun, 16 Jan 2011 13:04:12 UTC | #579314

Go to: [UPDATE - JAN11]Freshwater terminated- Recommendation in the Freshwater case

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 17 by Degsy

"-an examination of accepted scientific curriculum with the discerning eye of Christian doctrine."

Ridiculous statement.

This bloke is obviously a nut and should be in jail. If not, then surely it should be the case that this man never gets into contact with kids again.

What bothers me is that when an individual looks through the mucky prism of religion, and in doing so validates their actions, an all too prevailing ethos is that so should we. There should be no mention of a person's religious views when it comes to the barbaric act (in school for fuck's sake) of branding children. It should not be used to somehow frame an individual's actions in some sort of context.

Tue, 11 Jan 2011 01:52:46 UTC | #576408

Go to: How Science Changed Our World

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 8 by Degsy

Fantastic program. I think it wonderful that the development of such technologies brings such happiness to people, whether in an actual sense by virtue of practical applications, or in the theoretical sense, in that, such food for thought provides for a rich and varied intellectual diet. My personal favorite would be the microchip. Without it, the computing power that is a necessary pre-requisite to efficiently aid the development and application of the other technologies mentioned, would seem to me a near impossibility.

Wed, 29 Dec 2010 16:07:48 UTC | #570171

Go to: Atheists' numbers doom them to irrelevance

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Tue, 21 Dec 2010 15:35:54 UTC | #566708

Go to: Muslim pupils learn to cut off hands of thieves

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 54 by Degsy

Surely we can call this as it is without invoking a critique of faith and belief. It is child abuse, plain and simple. If similar lessons were being provided in but one school not described as 'faith' there would be a fucking uproar. And yet this continues for the most part unreported, and when it is, politicians stand idly and apologetically by. This cannot go on. Anyone out there know of an active lobby group?

Tue, 23 Nov 2010 14:03:37 UTC | #551950

Go to: Italian cardinal warns gay activists are persecuting Christians

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 19 by Degsy

The Catholic Church opining on sex and sexuality. I needed cheering up. It's irony on a base level, but I like it. Will they ever shut up?

Fri, 19 Nov 2010 15:51:23 UTC | #549899

Go to: Science Saved My Soul.

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 11 by Degsy

Thank you very much for posting this. I love Arcade Fire.

Wed, 03 Nov 2010 19:23:02 UTC | #542192

Go to: TGSOE #22 on NYT Best Sellers List

Degsy's Avatar Jump to comment 22 by Degsy

Congratulations Richard. I am currently re-reading TGSOE. Last night I read the chapter 'Before our very eyes' before bed. The description of Lenski's work with E. coli is absolutely awesome. If only biology textbooks (on any subject) were written with such clarity and poise. I wonder if the Prof. has ever been approached to aid in doing so?

Fri, 29 Oct 2010 08:50:57 UTC | #539756