VOL. XV, NO. 14
5/13/97 - 5/26/97
Good, Bad & Ugly
Day of the Iguana
Mobile Then & Now
Learning My ABC's
by Herbert H. Winkler, Ph.D.
First, let me say what a genome is: our genome is all the genetic, inheritable, information that we have; a gene is part of a genome. The Human Genome Project is an international, but mostly American, research program designed to localize on the human chromosomes in detail the estimated 100,000 human genes, and to determine the complete nucleotide sequence of human DNA, all three billion pieces of information. Saint Jim Watson, the Nobel Prize winner, discoverer of the structure of DNA, and author of the epistle, The Double Helix, was the first director of the Human Genome Project. The scientific products of the Human Genome Project will be maps of genes on chromosomes and huge strings of DNA sequence -- information that will provide detailed information about the structure, organization and characteristics of human DNA. This information constitutes the basic set of inherited "instructions" for the development and functioning of a human being. From the beginning of this Project, it was recognized that acquisition and use of such genetic knowledge would have momentous ethical, legal and social implications for both individuals and society. (...Full Story)
[Editor's note: The following is the transcript of Professor H. James Birx's presentation on May 1 at The Harbinger symposium, "RELIGION & SCIENCE: The Best of Enemies - The Worst of Friends."]
by H. James Birx
In the middle of the last century, Charles Robert Darwin (1809-1882) presented a scientific theory of organic evolution. His view of life challenged traditional biology and represented a conceptual revolution that has altered forever how we interpret the universe, life on this planet, and the human being within nature. However, Darwin himself was disturbed by the philosophical implications and theological consequences of his discovery that species are, in fact, mutable.
Taking Darwin seriously, the entrenched static view of life forms is replaced by a dynamic conception of the living world throughout earth history. Furthermore, this naturalistic interpretation of reality holds far-reaching ramifications for the beliefs that humankind is both separated from but occupies a special place in nature. Darwinian evolution has replaced the anthropocentric and theocentric cosmology with a universe that is utterly indifferent to the evolution of life in general, and the emergence of our own species in particular. (...Full Story)