November, 2008

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Get Your Favorite Anti-Evolutionist to Read This!

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

Hello again!
Well, this is a little long, but I’d definitely like to hear what’s to be said about it.

So there’s this thing in your genome. Well, maybe not yours, but plenty of people’s. It’s called the PMP-22 gene. I don’t know what it does. It’s not really important until later. What is important is what’s in front of it. A region called CMT1A repeat. Hey, guess what’s it’s called a repeat! Cuz there’s two of them! One in front of PMP-22, one behind it! Here, let me draw a picture:

DNA: —-Proximal CMT1A repeat——–PMP-22——–Distal CMT1A repeat—–

This might seem really happy, huh? Well, it’s not. Because as you might remember from whenever you last took biology, our chromosomes do this crazy thing called crossing over. That’s during meiosis, which you might remember, is how you form gametes (eggs or sperm, depending), since they only have 1/2 the DNA of other human cells (which is why it takes two to make offspring!).

So, during crossing-over, homologous chromosomes (ex: both of your number 17 chromosomes, one from your mom, one from your dad) line up next to each other like buddies, and then they do this crazy thing where they both break a section of their DNA off, and swap sections with the other chromosome! Obviously, they it’s important that both chromosomes break at the exact same place, otherwise you could end up missing some genes! Usually this goes down just fine, since the broken piece wouldn’t reattach well if it didn’t ‘match’ the other chromosome’s broken end.

However, if you’re one of those unlucky ones who have the two CMT1A repeats, this is a problem! Because your body does not know which one is distal and which one is proximal! So chromosome 17 #1 might break at the distal location, and chromosome 17 #2 might break at the proximal location…. oh no!

Now chromosome 17 #1 has two copies of PMP-22, and chromosome 17 #2 has NO copies of PMP-22!!!

Now while the CMT1A itself is just a repeat, not a gene, it has no function. It doesn’t really matter if you have it or not, the PMP-22 is definitely a gene, and it is definitely important.

If you end up with two copies of PMP-22, you get Charcot-Marie-Tooth disease 1A. If you end up with ZERO PMP-22, you get neuropathy and palsies. Not fun!

So why do we have this repeat? Who put it here!?!? Well, it’s probably the old remnants of a ‘jumping gene’ – they copy themselves and reinsert themselves. They’re very random, though, so it’s very, very rare that they insert themselves into the exact same place in two different occurrences.

So why did God give us jumping genes? They’re kind of handy in evolution, but we all know God doesn’t believe in that, so why? They’re pretty dangerous – they can insert themselves right into the middle of a gene, rendering it useless! Dangerous!

Someone told me once that it was punishment for our sin. Ah, I see. Well, that’s a good Biblically correct answer. I know if someone I knew ate an apple when I told them not to I’d totally curse their children with genetic defects.

But wait, so, you’re saying that we have this repeat-crossing-over-problem with CMT1A because of our sins?

Well, I suggest you start preaching to chimpanzees and bonobos then, because they have the exact same defect.

That God, huh? Such a quirky guy!

*Bows*
Thank you, thank you! Have a wonderful evening everybody, and remember, evolution is real!

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A New Day Dawns in America Today

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Everybody’s making their posts of one kind of another, so I figured I’d share mine as well. I don’t have much to say – I’m just so, so happy. And so, so hopeful.

Sean and I spent election night downtown at the Hilton, where the Democratic party gathered to watch the election. We didn’t even find out about it until 8, and headed over there at 9. Man, what a great decision! The atmosphere was electric, the people were smiling; everyone had on Obama shirts and stickers. The media were everywhere. It was so, so neat to be surrounded by Democrats in Texas!! When Virginia was announced and the huge screen (one of three) flashed up Obama as the President-Elect, I cannot even put into words how amazing it was. The cheers were deafening, a million American flags went up, everybody was hugging everyone else, tears were streaming. Truly, one of the most emotional and impressive experiences of my life.

It is a strange feeling to me to feel such hope for America. For most of my adult life it’s been Bush Bush Bush (actually, for most of my life, given that we got that story twice via father and son), and it’s been a long time of kind of waiting for the next stupid thing to happen. How much more debt can we rack up, how many more countries can we invade, how many more civil liberties can we tie up in misnomer acts like the “Patriot Act”.

I’m going to revel in the victory for a minute and reply to a few common sentiments I’ve seen expressed:

- “I hope everyone can be civil and imagine what it would be like if their candidate had lost.”
I don’t have to imagine, thanks very much. The last 8 years? Yea, not so hot for me. I remember it clearly. It’s not like Democrats have been ruling elite for 20 years and we’re still rubbing in Republican faces.

- “I’m moving to Canada!”
Now, I’ve said this myself, so the sentiment itself is fair enough at a time when you’re down about the country. But I’m a little confused. It makes sense for you to move to Canada because it’s totally more conservative than America…. no… wait.. that doesn’t sound right. In short – it makes sense for me to want to move to Canada, but not Republicans.

- “I’m watching history repeat itself, unfortunately.”
Uh, how? What recent Democratic candidate put America into such ruin? Somehow I think more tax cuts for the rich and more wars would be much more… repetitive, no?

- “Obama can pry my guns from my cold, dead hands!”
Right. No one is taking away your precious guns. Don’t worry. If you’re seriously afraid of this, you’re delusional.

- “I wasn’t using my civil liberties anyway.”
Because the last 8 years have been such a great example of how to protect civil liberties… oh, except for when it’s inconvenient for the government.

- “Have fun losing all your money to taxes!”
To everyone making more than $600,000 a year: I am really sorry your taxes are going to go up. I really hope it doesn’t put you out on the street. I know you must be worried about feeding your family and paying your bills.
Seriously, though. If you’re making that much money, you can afford to provide for the services we all enjoy, and especially for those much less fortunate than you. In short, you should give back to the country that helped you get so successful.
To everyone else: Have fun with your tax cuts or no change in taxes!

Well, I hope that answered some misconceptions about Obama. Also, he is not a terrorist, not a closet Muslim, and is an American citizen. Also, I am not either!

Emma/Svara ’12!

Also, in case you were wondering what main issues I’d be moaning about if McCain had won, it would be his apparent nonchalant attitude towards spending 100 years in Iraq, his dismissal of women’s “health,” trying to turn Roe v Wade back to states (which is totally stupid, for reasons I’ll discuss later), and his great idea of giving the biggest tax cuts to those that need them most…. those making more than $2.8 million. Problem is, he’s actually voiced all of those out loud, making it hard to believe it’s just fear and rumors.

Anyway, enough of the moaning. Change is coming now. The world has exhaled in thankfulness, and American can continue on down a hopefully much more peaceful, fiscally responsible, socially just, healthy, and environmentally friendly road.

GOBAMA!

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