There are quite a number of good science stories this year, one could make the case to make the top ten for each of them. However, I narrowed down the news stories. The list is not in a particular order of importance, but are still one of the most important science stories of the year. Ok, drum roll please…
1) Paley’s Watch Found in Bacteria
Known as the watchmaker analogy which was proposed back in the 17th century as a way of explaining the creation of the universe by God. About 200 years later, it was discovered in bacteria which made it more than just an analogy. “The high-resolution structures of these proteins suggest a ratcheting mechanism by which the KaiABC oscillator ticks unidirectionally.”
The watchmaker analogy gave raise to the “Anthropic Principle” where the physical constants of the universe are ‘just right’ to support life.
2) A Molecular Clutch Discovered in the Flagella
The bacterium flagellum often times depicted as the symbol for intelligent design but creationists see much value in studying it, the cell was found to have a clutch that transmits torque to the flagellum and removing the link to the source of power.
3) Adult Stem Cell Research
Nothing less of outstanding advances in this type of research that includes reprogramming adult stems cells to revert them back to the embryonic stage. Many promising treatments for diseases from this research which a few have been highlighted in the category of “Cell Biology.”
4) Louisiana Academic Freedom Act
After Expelled the movie, Louisiana passed their own freedom of displaying critical thinking ideas in science. Bashed by secularists, threats to recall the governor, and so on. The hype over this bill has gone way down as half the school year is over. But the war isn’t over yet.
5) Atheists and Agnostics Come To The Defense Of Intelligent Design
This is one of the more surprising science news items of 2008. The likes of Dr. David Berlinski who wrote a book called; “The Devil’s Delusion”, Dr. Bradley Monton who argued about science criteria allowing ID into the mix, and Steve Fuller’s defense of ID who wrote a book about it called; Dissent over Descent.
6) The Altenberg 16
This was not a creationist conference by any means, but they did advocate; Where Darwinism is Declared Dead. Freelance reporter Suzan Mazur does a story about Altenberg where materialists look for other naturalistic explanations besides Darwinism.
7) Space Exploration
Many things here, like the rings of Saturn which were found to be much younger than billions or even millions of years old. For example, the F ring of Saturn was found to be experiencing collisions, about 30 meters per second. These collisions created some features in the ring such as spurs, grooves, gouges and fan-like structures that vary rapidly. Other discoveries in space included Titan and Enceladus which indicated that these particular moons are much younger than within the evolutionary time table.
8) Artwork Research In The Chauvet Cave
The cave was discovered about 10 years ago. The paintings were dated by evolutionists to be around 30,000 years old. This is what caused evolutionists to shake their heads in disbelief, because the paintings were so good, that they claimed it was impossible for man that early in history to have the talent to produce such specular artwork.
9) Evolutionary Biologist Drops Bombshell On Positive Selection
Austin L. Hughes, an evolutionary biologist at the University of South Carolina writes to the scientific community a bombshell about the evidence gathered for positive section. And it wasn’t pretty for the evolutionary theory.
10) High-Precision Radiocarbon Dating Disproves Skeptics of Biblical Account
Skeptics claimed the Bible was heavily edited in the 5th century, long after the events took place. The archaeologists during the 70s and 80s concluded by using ceramic dating methods that Edom did not start until 7th c. BCE. Therefore the copper mines had no connection with the biblical account of Solomon, but a new discovery has brought new light that disproved the skeptics.
The Movie: Expelled
Without a doubt the most controversial film of the year starring a well known actor; Ben Stein. It’s content was a huge hit in the blogs even for those who opposed the film. Every little part of the movie was attacked or praised. For the first time it brought to the mainstream with humor, how intellectual freedom is being opposed using taxpayer’s money.
Cosmologists Loosing Their Minds
The year started quite strangely in evolutionary science. Some of it was way out there, non-testable ideas were proposed by Cosmologists that included; naked brains floating around in space (are they serious?), and disconnected observers in space (imaginary advanced alien cultures who are dreaming about humans, sounds more like science fiction). Dennis Overbye stated; “If you are inclined to skepticism this debate might seem like further evidence that cosmologists, who gave us dark matter, dark energy and speak with apparent aplomb about gazillions of parallel universes, have finally lost their minds.” — NY Times
Non-Observable Imaginary Proposal of 2008 in a Blog
“The Big Bang theory could be wrong, that Universe is infinite in size and time, that it is possible that this observable Universe is just a small patch among infinite number of other Universes and that each sub-universe could be just a spreading remnant of exploding mega black holes.” -Slobodan
Director of Education in England Gets His Walking Papers
Professor Michael Reiss who is a theistic evolutionist and very much against creationism, proposed an idea that children ought to be exposed to creation and evolution in the classrooms. In his opinion, instead of just giving the kids the impressions they are wrong about creationism, he suggested a more detailed discussion about it. However, his suggestion wasn’t to start teaching creationism alongside evolution as a viable alternative.
The Royal Society went absolutely crazy over the suggestion like an angry religious mob, calling Reiss a heretic, oops I mean calling for his removal, claiming he was a creationist, and that creationism cannot be discussed in the classrooms! Not too long after the comment, the Royal Society gave the director of education his walking papers.
Another great year for this type of scientific research. It’s based on the natural world being full of information-rich and that reverse engineering methodologies are likely to be beneficial to mankind. For example, using animals like whales and dolphins to build better turbine blades and wings.
Best Quote of the Year By An Evolutionary Proponent
“Evolution is a lot of fun,” said Bejerano, who plans to continue the investigation into what the ultraconserved segments might be doing. “You answer one question, and five others pop up.” –Science Daily
The cycle of gaps is endless!