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Everything posted by MM6

  1. There are a bunch of randomizers online, like random.org. Just enter the names of the students and it randomizes them. I use it from time to time when forming lab/activity groups. But I call on who I want when I want. I'm in charge and they will bow to me! lol
  2. I hear that a lot (in education circles), but thinking cannot exist in a vacuum of facts. "Mere facts" are not mere at all, they are requisite for solving problems or even forming legitimate hypotheses. For example, the simple problem of a light bulb burning out and a room going dark: A person who has no knowledge of what a light bulb is, or a lamp, a socket, electricity, light and dark, has no realistic way of solving the problem by replacing the light bulb (or understanding what it is they did if they happen to guess correctly and replace the bulb). I think what you're getting at is that science as a process is at least as important as science as a body of knowledge. If so, I agree.
  3. Why is science important? Science is the quest for truth and knowledge. That drive to explore and understand is burned into our DNA, it's part of being human. Do you brush your teeth and wash your hair? Ever ride in a car or jet? Have you ever taken medicine when sick? Ever read a book, eaten a candy bar, made a phone call? Without science we would still be rubbing sticks together to make fire. Actually, the quest for fire was a scientific process. The progress of science means we're sitting here discussing this as we are. If it's important, how do children develop scientific understanding? I completely agree with hermanntrude. I just noticed this is an old post, but the topic is interesting.
  4. Pre-med doesn't mean anything. You have to major in something. Go to any decent college or university and excel. You'll get into med school. You're from the south so if you're looking regionally, investigate Vanderbilt, U Virginia and UNC.
  5. When I was teaching a medical cell biology course a few years ago I edited and added much of the content on those topics on Wikipedia, e.g., evolution of cells, stem cells, cancer, senescence, replication. Wikipedia is a great reference within the scientific domain. I edit from time to time if I notice a mistake, but I don't write blocks of content.
  6. Why would blue eyes run out? What evidence do you have of the human race getting taller? I'm familiar with increase in height in industrialized nations since their industrial revolution, but that's due to better sanitation and diet, not any difference in allele frequencies (unless you have data to the contrary). Merged post follows: Consecutive posts mergedResistance to pandemic infections (increasingly important) Intelligence (IQ scores are increasing. Whether that will plateau, who knows?)
  7. It's not a bad idea for an experiment. In fact what you've described is a virus, and they mutate and evolve all the time. It would be interesting to see if a virus (a controversial "organism") could evolve into a bona fide cell. Your idea of speeding up the mutation rate is not contrary to the scientific process either, as long as you induce random mutations (e.g. by irradiation) rather than mutating specific genes. But remember that the environment is selecting for beneficial RNA mutations. You would need to design your environment in such a way that cellular structures would be beneficial or necessary for the virus' survival. I'm not sure what that environment would be--viruses are already successful in a multitude of environments. Perhaps a "cell free" environment? They would survive but not be able to reproduce. Maybe you could mix some liposomes into the virus bath and see if any encapsulate themselves in them and find a mechanism to reproduce. I'm just thinking out loud and I have to finish something else now. I may have to come back and modify this post after I've ruminated on your idea.
  8. Estimating the number of galactic civilizations isn’t a trivial exercise. It requires a great deal of knowldege of cosmic evolution. There is a very popular equation known as the Drake equation (which I'm sure most here are familiar with), after the American astronomer who first devised an early version of it in the 1960s: number of technologically intelligent civilizations now present in the Galaxy = rate of star formation averaged over the lifetime of the Galaxy x fraction of stars having planetary systems x average number of planets within those planetary systems that are suitable for life x fraction of habitable planets on which life actually arises x fraction of life-bearing planets on which intelligence evolves x fraction of intelligent-life planets that develop a technological society x average lifetime of a technologically competent civilization. Substituting pessimistic values into the equation, along with other optimistic values, we find number of galactic civilizations = 10 stars per year x 1 planetary system per star x 0.1 habitable planet per planetary system x 1 planet with life per habitable planet x 0.000001 planet with intelligence per planets with life x 1 planet with technology per planets with intelligence x lifetime (in years) per planets with technology. This long equation boils down to a simple answer, after we cancel all the units. That answer is 0.000001 x lifetime (in years). In other words, even if the lifetime of a typically advanced civilization is a million years, the number of galactic civilizations equals 1. That's us! For more than a single civilization to reside now in the Galaxy, the average lifetime of all civilizations must exceed 1 million years. That said, take note that even with this pessimistic estimate for the eventual onset of intelligence, thousands of other civilizations might be spread across the Galaxy, provided that their average lifetime is billions of years. Thus the average longevity of technological civilizations is a critically important factor regarding the prevalence of smart extraterrestrial beings. The universe consists of approximately 100 billion galaxies. The Drake equation gives (1 civilization per galaxy)(100 billion galaxies in universe) = 100 billion civilizations in the universe. We most certainly are not alone. The civilizations are just too far from us to make contact, given our current technologies (and theirs, no doubt). Of course, the Drake equation estimates "intelligent life". Our galaxy may be filled with wonderful creatures that we would consider of sub-human intelligence, but fascinating nonetheless. Moreover, given more time (on an evolutionary timescale) some of these species of sub-human intelligence will evolve into intelligent life. So there is much to look forward to. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drake_equation All that said, it seems improbable that we were seeded by an alien species, since the universe has not existed long enough for one to have evolved spacefaring capabilities, and then to have reached our galaxy in the allotted time. Moreover, there is no solid evidence of alien visitation (other than the supposed original visit). More reasonably, life arose from simple chemical precursors, aka theory of Abiogenesis (really more of a hypothesis, at this point). Life arose/ and will continue to arise through such a process. The idea that a supernatural creator made the universe and all life is foolish, statistically. As complex and improbable as the universe is (assuming existence of one universe; no multiverse hypothesis), then the diety that would have created such a universe, would have to be that much more complex and improbable. It makes no sense to invoke a divine creator, as such a diety is infinitely improbable.
  9. Created by aliens is much more probable (infinitely?) than created by god, consistent with the probability of the existence of aliens v existence of universe-creating god. Anyway, if we were created by aliens that only begs the question, who created the aliens? we've only pushed the question back one step.
  10. I don't understand the point or logic in your thesis/ question. You're talking about raw materials. Are you suggesting that we were created by aliens? B/c there were no raw materials when "god" created the universe. There was nothing. Moreover, god didn't just create one or several types of lifeforms. He created everything, living, nonliving, all the rules of the universe. (I'm speaking from the believers' position). Secondly, the ability to do something does not mean that a creature does that thing, despite your assertion that is does (or is probable, as you state). You can't build an argument on that. When we do create life from raw materials, that still doesn't prove or disprove anything about how we or the rest of the universe was created, or any of the life forms in it, including those on Earth. Lastly, how could we ever prove that we were the first (or only) life form in the universe to create life de novo? That's pragmatically impossible, and likely flatout impossible. What exactly are you trying to sell here? Your logic is seriously flawed throughout.
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