From the Greek meaning 'heavy with wine'
A blog devoted to science and reason
Written after a glass or two of Pinot Noir.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Another Reason Wine is Good

University Professor and Donald Bren Professor of Biological Sciences Francisco Ayala, a geneticist at UC-Irvine, gave the university $10 million.  The gift is to show gratitude to both the university and his adopted country.  He was born in Spain and came to the U.S. as a student.

My first question is - Where does a biology professor get $10 million?  

I love the answer. He grows grapes in Central California.  By the way, he loves Pinot Noir.

I have to reprint one of the questions/answers from the Register article.
Q. Is there a tendency in our society to mix up religion and evolution?
A. I am afraid largely so. I think it is wonderful to teach the Bible, but not to pretend the Bible is an introductory textbook for biology or astronomy.
We succeed in keeping these kinds of things out of the schools, but then the impact on the public at large is not as good as you would expect to have. In the last few weeks, two or three of the Republican presidential candidates have expressed skepticism about evolution. And yet, evolution is confirmed as much as any scientific theory, and better than most. Evolution is confirmed as well as (the idea that) the Earth goes around the sun, or that matter consists of atoms.
It's a matter of scientific ignorance. It's a matter of religious ignorance; as you surely know, most religious authorities, most churches, are in favor of evolution. As, famously, an Anglican minister -- a theologian -- said, (evolution) appeared first as an enemy, and has turned out to be our best friend, because evolution can now explain all of these sorts of cruelties or mistakes that exist in the world of life.
Let's start with a simple example. The human jaw is not large enough for all the teeth. So we have to pull wisdom teeth -- sometimes one, sometimes two, sometimes three, sometimes all four. An engineer who designed the human jaw would be fired. And yet here we are, saying that would have been designed by God.
Much more extreme and much more serious is the human reproductive system. The human reproductive system is a mess. Twenty percent of pregnancies end in spontaneous abortion, or miscarriages, in the first two months, because the human reproductive system is so badly designed. They blame God for 20 million abortions per year; there are about 100 million births in the world a year.

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