Canada now has the unfortunate distinction of its own creationism museum in Big Valley Alberta, for those who, in the words of Warren Kinsella, think the Flintstones is a documentary:
Dinosaurs once walked alongside humans. The bloodline of King Henry
VI of England can be traced back to Adam and Eve. There's proof in the
dirt beneath Saskatchewan that the biblical flood really happened.
And planet Earth is just 6,000 years old, give or take a few centuries.
through the doors of the Big Valley Creation Science Museum, and you
get a very different version of the planet's past than gets taught in
Set to open June 5, the 900-sq.-ft. bungalow
offers fossils, models of dinosaurs, multimedia presentations and
professional-looking displays - all designed to poke big holes in the
theory of evolution.
"This is a scientific museum," said founder
Harry Nibourg, a 46-year-old evangelical who built and stocked the
museum about 200 kilometres northeast of Calgary at a cost of about
$300,000 - mostly out of his own pocket.
"This is compelling
evidence for a creator. We want people to come take a look at it for
themselves and make up their own minds."
Vance Nelson, executive
director of Creation Truth Ministries, offers guided tours. He said
evolution is as much based on "blind faith" as creationism.
have no problem with survival of the fittest," he said. "But survival
of the fittest does not explain the origin of the fittest.
was there to see the Big Bang? (Evolution is) based on presuppositions,
assumptions and biases like all historical theory. Creationism and
evolution are on the same level playing field and should be debated
This is believed to be Canada's first permanent
creationist museum. There are several in the U.S., including one
opening in Kentucky on Monday that reportedly cost $27 million US to
build. Critics, meanwhile, say they have no problem with creationism
- but they insist it can't be called science if it's based on a
theological concept that can't be tested.
"Our goal is to
understand the natural world using what we can see or scientifically
prove," said Heather Addy, an biology instructor at the University of
"When you invoke a supernatural being as a creator that is not science, and shouldn't be taught as science."
Last week it seemed like hit pieces were popping up everywhere on Rachel Carson. Deltoid has been doing a yeoman's job of documenting the atrocities. He can add this little screed by Margaret Wente to the pile. Why now?, I wondered as I counted the errors in Wente's piece. Now I know of course that her 100th birthday just passed and this seems to have provoked a predictable round of calumnies form the denialist industry about her supposed responsibility for malarial deaths arising from restricted use of DDT. I can't add much to the light shed on the issue by Deltoid. I lived in Indonesia for a number of years and they regularly sprayed DDT to suppress malaria. I had always understood that the bans on DDT were for agricultural use only, not for combatting insect-borne illness. Deltoid also rightly points out that banning agricultural use of DDT likely delayed the evolution of DDT-resistant mosquitoes, thereby saving lives.
Is DDT a banned substance? Answer: for widespread
agricultural use, which produces increased resistance in many insect
populations, yes. For vector control (primarily to contain
mosquito-borne malaria), no.
For the last decade or so, however, a group of right-wing "sound
science" advocates has been implying that the agricultural ban on DDT
is really a blanket ban and that millions of poor Africans have died as
a result. Why? DDT isn't patented and is only minimally profitable, so
it's not as if the DDT industry is bothering to push this. So who is?
Short answer: the tobacco industry. Surprise! Turns out that the DDT
disinformation campaign was really an effort to discredit the World
Health Organization, which was planning a major anti-smoking initiative
back in 1998. Discredit WHO on malaria, and you discredit WHO on its
anti-smoking activism. And all the while you get to look like you're
standing up for millions of impoversished black Africans. Neat, eh?
In my view this is also about discrediting the scientific consensus on climate change. The argument being that we listened to the crazy environmentalists about DDT and millions died, and now they are leading us down the same path with the climate change "myth".
A complete map of the Aedes aegypti's DNA was published Thursday, just the second time scientists have sequenced the genome of a mosquito. A genetic sequence of Anopheles gambiae, the mosquito that carries malaria, was published in 2002.
Writing in the journal Science, the international team of scientists said the Aedes aegypti
genome is five times longer than that of its malaria-carrying relative
and carries unique proteins and genes that make it hardier than most
The breakthrough is the first step in a long process scientists hope
will lead to insecticides more capable of dealing with the insects or
genetically engineered versions of the insects that would be resistant
to the viruses that transmit the diseases....
...Aedes aegypti is known to carry yellow fever and dengue fever.
Yellow fever kills about 30,000 people a year and is common in West and
Central Africa and parts of South America. Dengue fever kills about
25,000 people annually and occurs in about 100 countries...
A new study on gas prices by the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (Gas Price Gouge: The Sequel) has generated a lot of news in Vancouver. Understandably so, as the report claims that we are 'overpaying' by 27 cents a litre here. I haven't read the report yet so I have no comment on the methods used or embedded assumptions, but I find myself resistant to the idea of 'normal profit margins'. I really don't have a problem with a company charging whatever it wants for its product, as long as there is no monopoly or collusion in play. Oil companies seem to have discovered that consumers, despite war or disaster induced price hikes, are willing to pay more. So they are charging more. How is this different from any other industry? People make their own choices and if they want to commute alone in a gas guzzling vehicle, and want to pay a mint for it, so what? Others make different choices:
VANCOUVER (NEWS1130) - Gas price pains
appear to be driving people out of their cars. More people appear to be
turning to transit and car pooling. TransLink says overall transit use
was up 3% for the first quarter of the year, and up more than 11.5% on
West Coast Express. The big gas price hike happened in April, and
TransLink is still waiting for official ridership numbers for that time
Leon Tuebes at the Jack Bell Foundation says there is also more
interest in van pooling, car pooling and ride sharing. "The biggest
surge we've seen is for people looking for other people to car pool
with them in their car, or to find someone willing to share a ride in
their private vehicles."
Tuebes believes once the price of gas hits a $1.30, there will be a
sudden spike in people looking for alternatives to single occupant car
use. He says at that price, even sharing one or two trips a week can
make a big difference. He says the number of hits on their car pooling
website has gone up 25% since February as people check out other ways
to get around.
You are the Holy Lord. You are the shepherd and those that follow you are your lambs. You are kind and patient, but when need be, you are vile and creul. You are often asked for advise or wisdom, and you willingly give it. Congratulations!! You are God!!
A Canadian institute working to compile a database of DNA barcodes for every species on earth officially opened on Wednesday.
The $4.2 million The Biodiversity Institute of Ontario, at Guelph University, is the fist of its kind in the world.
The barcode technology identifies species by analyzing short regions of their DNA instead of the whole genome.
"We are the world's first barcode factory," said Dr. Paul Hebert, director of the institute and the first scientist to propose DNA barcoding.
This process, which uses a short DNA sequence on a common gene to differentiate between multi-cellular living things, makes it possible to identify species much quicker than before.
The barcoding technique has already led to the discovery of new bird, butterfly and fish species.
"Less than one-millionth of all the DNA is enough for us to tell what species an organism belongs to," Hebert explained.
With old technology, the institute would have been able to identify about 1,000 species a year.
Once the institute is completely up and running, it could categorize up to 500,000 samples annually.
Hebert said that this technique could allow scientists to identify an estimated 10 million species in the next 20 years. Only 1.2 million have been formally categorized in the past 250 years.
Once a species is identified, its barcode is uploaded to Barcode of Life Data Systems, an online database, where it can be accessed by other scientists.
Researchers can enter a DNA barcode on the site. If there's match, the database can provide the corresponding species.
The institute has already described almost 28,000 species with barcodes, and they're getting tissue samples from around the world sent to them for quick analysis.
Hebert said he'd ultimately like to see DNA barcoding put to practical use for things like pest management, food safety and environmental monitoring.