Tuesday, July 25, 2006

A Code Beyond Genetics? Wow, Back to School Everyone

I was a little humbled today when I decided to enter the phrase "The Worst Generation" in my search engine and got over 12 million sites. I had even gone so far as to think someone could write a book along those lines only to read that there are books and articles galore with the phrase in them. Oh well. It's the "Whateverly Brothers" thing all over again. I was in a duo by that name, only to hear about another duo called that back East. It's not hard to imagine especially when it's a reaction to something else. In that case, it was a bounce off the Everly Brothers, and boy, did I feel sheepish when the real ones came out at a Simon and Garfunkel concert I attended. In this case, Tom Brokaw coined the phrase "The Greatest Generation", and everyone's bouncing off that with "The Worst Generation" idea. I never thought of it before, because I never felt that way about my group till recently. I mean really recently, like yesterday. My real education in simultaneous inspiration came when I sent a joke into the Tonight Show after a governor - I believe in Arizona - was put in jail. I imagined how it would be if you were on death row waiting for a reprieve phone call from the governor and you saw him in the next cell. The joke came on, with almost my exact wording. In those days, I would call each time I thought I had one, and when they said it was someone else, I pressed a little, for the first and only time. That's when my contact down there said, "I think we received 12 versions of that joke." So it's not all lighting bolts in the forehead, folks. I did have one in the Sunday Oregonian this past week, so I'm still getting it done, but life can be a series of little moments when you're schooled, and this was another.
This leads directly into today's science topic: A new type of information code beyond DNA. The reason I love this is that creationists always point to the unlikeliness of the various proteins lining up by chance. It's a valid point. The numbers they throw around are huge, but they're all based on what we know. I'm always impressed at how little we really do know about this stuff. There's even a chance of consciousness in mere rocks, but I can't go there just yet. I will say the stuff the quantum physicists are openly discussing is so far out there, it makes a rock that thinks seem reasonable. On the other end of the debate, Creationists always are trying to disprove Darwin, which is ridiculous because we've moved way past that. His theories of how evolution works are long gone. Genetic information can be passed around by viruses and other means. It's not about survival of the fittest. It's more like sharing a good book. Darwin's idea was a starting point that ironically didn't survive. So what do we have here today? An entire information code of patterns that we didn't even know about. It takes any argument on how cells came into being and puts it back in kindergarten. Kindergarten? We're in pre-school here. Today the universe pulled another mystery out of the hat. The bigger question is did the hat belong to God?
Scientists Say They%u2019ve Found a Code Beyond Genetics in DNA - New York Times

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