Is plagiarism a form of intelligent design? We think of intelligent design in terms of God and creation, but in generic terms, I.D. only refers to purposeful, designed action by an agent – any agent, large or small, good or evil. A planned murder, for instance, can be an evil form of intelligent design. A forensic team can use design detection techniques to ferret out the evidence between death by murder over death by natural causes. In the same way, an attorney general can determine, using design detection techniques, whether an ad campaign broke copyright laws, and a professor can discern whether a student borrowed someone else’s material to write a term paper. The news is filled with dramatic announcements that Craig Venter’s lab has created an organism with the first “synthetic genome.” How should this achievement, dramatic and groundbreaking though it is, be understood?Live Science headlined the story, “First Live Organism with Synthetic Genome Created.” The word “created” was emphatic in the article; “the J. Craig Venter Institute says they have succeeded in creating the first living organism with a completely synthetic genome.” It almost sounds like the lab created something entirely new from scratch – “artificial life.” New Scientist even used religious overtones, dubbing it an “Immaculate Creation.” A closer look, though, shows that the “synthetic genome” still used the 4-letter code of a living bacterium, and used its own transcription and translation machinery. It would be a little like a programmer inserting a USB drive with a program into an existing computer; the computer has to have the operating system and software to recognize the code. This is a far cry from making a computer with its own code and operating system, like the terms “artificial life” and “completely synthetic genome” imply. Science Daily’s headline was a little more accurate, saying, “Scientists ‘Boot Up’ a Bacterial Cell With a Synthetic Genome,” but even then, Venter’s team relied on an operating system and coding system that was already defined.The Venter Institute found out some things about genomes by experience. Notably, they are not very forgiving. “Even a tiny inaccuracy could prevent the inert DNA from activating into a live bacterium, making accuracy paramount,” the Live Science article recounted. “At one point, a single base pair mistake set the entire program back three months.” The team also added panic code that would kill the organism if it left the lab, and took part in a bioethical review before the project. “It’s part of an ongoing process that we’ve been driving, trying to make sure that the science proceeds in an ethical fashion, that we’re being thoughtful about what we do and looking forward to the implications to the future,” Venter said.Unlike surreptitious plagiarizers, the Venter Institute proudly planted watermarks in their genome. “The researchers deliberately inserted four sequences of DNA that serve as watermarks so they could distinguish between the naturally occurring and synthetic bacteria,” Live Science reported. “The watermarks contain a code that translates DNA into English letters with punctuation, allowing the scientists to literally write messages with the genes.” So what did they write? The 46 researchers included their names, and the names of some famous scientists, “and a URL that anyone who deciphers the code can e-mail.”Geneticists keep walking right into the I.D. trap. Why don’t they acknowledge it? If an alien civilization discovered Venter’s genome, and read the names, would they be justified in making an inference to design? Of course. Then why would they be forced, according to the rules of the NCSE and the Darwin Party, to say that the explanation for the genetic code itself is blind chance and necessity? A message is a message. A function is a function. If the function of a URL is to allow a human to send an email, and the function of a signal transduction system is to send a hormone to a chromosome to stop or start transcription of a gene, what’s the difference? These are both examples of messages that carry out functions. Are we to assume that Venter’s lab found it worthwhile to plagiarize chaos? That would be like a professor giving a student an F for turning in a term paper that plagiarized gibberish.Another lesson from this story is to avoid news media hype. This is an incremental step, not a breakthrough. Geneticists have been doing genetic engineering for years, including genetic watermarking. Scientists have inserted genes for insulin in bacteria, and genes for spider silk in goats. Venter’s lab has taken existing genes from bacteria and performed some reverse engineering on it, then inserted it back into the hardware of a living cell. Any way you look at it, it’s intelligent design. Venter, your work owes nothing to the Darwin Party and its ideology. Get on board with the I.D. Movement and give credit where credit is due.(Visited 19 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0
Four members of Pakistan-based terror outfit Lashkar-e-Taiba(LeT) have sneaked into Mumbai recently to carry out “violent” attacks with the aim of causing “destruction”, police said on Thursday night.Police also released the photograph of one of them and issued an advisory to the citizens of this metropolis to remain alert.”The four were identified as Abdul Kareem Moosa, Noor Abu Ilahi, Walid Jinnah and Mahfooz Alam. The four recently sneaked into the city to carry out extremely dangerous activity,” Joint Police Commissioner (Crime) Himanshu Roy told a news conference. Roy also released a sketch of Jinnah.The strikes were being planned in connection with possibly the upcoming Christmas and New Year’s festivities, he added.Roy said he had no information on the nationalities of the four persons.On Tuesday, the Centre had sounded a terror alert for Mumbai and Ahmedabad following specific Intelligence inputs that the LeT teams may have entered the two western cities to carry out strikes.The four persons are in the age group of 20 to 30 years, Roy said.”The four persons are planning violent attacks that is going to cause destruction,” the JPC (Crime) warned.The information of the plans by the terrorists are “fairly specific”, he said, adding “We believe the threat is serious.”Roy also said Mumbai Police has formed Special cells in a bid to “neutralise” the four terrorists. He did not want to speculate whether more than four LeT men have entered the metropolis which witnessed the country’s worst ever terror strike in November 2008 killing 166 people.advertisementThe police have set up dedicated phone number — 022-22633333 — to enable the people pass on information about the militants and in the event of an emergency.”Citizens can call up at the dedicated number or at 100, if they spot the one whose photo was released,” Roy said.In September, police released photographs of two suspected foreign terror suspects–a clean-shaven Kalimuddin Khan alias Rameshwar Pandit (28) and bearded Hafij Khijir Ulla Sarif (25) sporting a skull cap–on the eve of Eid and Ganeshotsav festivities. But the duo could not be traced.A Crime Branch source said that Kalimuddin was a Pakistani and Sarif was from Bangladesh and both were suspected to be members of terror outfit HuJI.Police were taking utmost precautions and massive deployment of police have been made at all sensitive locations, worship places and crowded places to ensure safety of the citizens, Roy said.Several police teams have been formed to track the four who are believed in aged between 20 to 30 years, police sources said.”On the eve of Ganesh festival, we had released the photographs of two terror suspects and alerted the citizens.The ten-days of the festival went off peacefully. Now also we feel that the citizens will remain and help us in all possible way and we hope everything goes fine,” Roy said.Asked if it was the same input given by Central agencies two days back, Roy said, “We are not in a position to reveal our sources.”Asked if security agencies lost track of the four due to which they had to issue advisory and release the photo, Roy replied, “We have not lost their track. But we want to keep the citizens alert as well.” He refused to divulge as to how the LeT men entered the city.Security forces launched “house-to-house” searches in some specific areas in Mumbai, sources said.A three dimensional security apparatus– land, air and water — has been put in place, particularly around the Taj Mahal Hotel, one of the sites of the 26/11 carnage.Roads near the iconic Taj remained closed from today for 15 days and the area is under complete surveillance.Similar security arrangement was in place near Taj during the visit of US President Barack Obama, who stayed in the plush hotel, in early November.Parking on the roads around Taj has been banned for the same period and the cars of guests of Taj and residents around the hotel would be allowed but only after thorough checking.The residents would be soon provided with security stickers for their cars to avoid inconvenience.Colaba area, particularly the places, including the Gateway of India, where large crowds are expected during the festivities, would be under complete surveillance through high resolution CCTVs.The sea-front up to five nautical miles was being guarded round the clock by police armed with advanced boats and sophisticated equipment, police said.Police are also co-ordinating with Navy and Coast Guard officials who are conducting air surveillance.
Sushil Kumar scripted history on Sunday as he became the first Indian athlete to win back-to-back Olympic medals, though the silver effort in the 66kg final did not leave him too pleased.Egged on by a huge crowd in an atmosphere resembling a Roman amphitheater, a dehydrated Sushil fought his heart out all day long before a strong Japanese opponent in the final answering to the name of Tatsuhiro Yonemitsu stopped him.This was a day full of expectations when people kept talking about only “gold”. Yet, at the end of the Games, with India’s medal tally reading two silver and four bronze medals, there is plenty of reason to celebrate.For hundreds of Indian supporters inside the arena and millions back home, this was a day when the prayer was Sushil wins gold.The way the champion fought all day long, with a superlative effort coming in the semi-final against Kazakhstan’s Akzhurek Tanatarov, Sushil had raised huge hopes.However, in the 66kg final, against Tatshuiro, Sushil looked tired. Tatsuhiro, who had won gold in the same category at the Guangzhou Asian Games, was too explosive.The strategy was simple and the Japanese wrestler went on the offensive from the start and earned a valuable point in the first round itself.In the second round, Tatsuhiro showed amazing guts and power as he lifted Sushil and dropped him to the ground. With a minute for the bout to end, it was clear Sushil had no energy to fight back.As the referee signalled victory for the star from the land of the rising sun, Sushil was dejected. The Indian slapped both his palms on his thighs and took slow, measured steps back to his coaches.advertisementAt the medal ceremony, too, Sushil never smiled as he was presented the silver medal. As he came out of the arena and walked to the waiting media, Sushil’s expressions changed.The half smile reappeared on his face and he had reason to as he is the first Indian to win two individual Olympic medals. The TV scribes wanted to grab him and the print media was also were hungry for bytes. “Yes, I had loose motions. As a sportsperson, I have to take it in my stride. It’s part of the game,” said Sushil.But the champion was not going to offer ill health as an excuse. “I had problems in the final but I have no excuses. Yes, our national anthem was not played and I would have loved to hear that,” said Sushil.Reflecting on the journey from Beijing to London, Sushil was nostalgic. “I wish to thank all the people for their love and wishes and those who prayed for me. I wish to thank my guru Satpal and my parents. I also wish to thank each one of my support staff,” he said as if it was a thanksgiving speech.Stressing on the importance of coaches, masseurs, doctors and others who assist him, Sushil said: “You see me only competing in the centre of the stage. But I have a huge support team which backs me, and they are the ones who also need to be praised.”Before I came to London I told you (the media) we will do well in wrestling and see I changed the colour of my medal. Not just that, India won two medals in wrestling and I am happy Yogeshwar also did well.”I can assure you, in future Olympics, we will do even better,” concluded Sushil.So how was Sushil going to celebrate? “I wish to rest now. The last five months have been very hectic. I need to recover well and then think of celebrations,” said the modest man.This was a day when Sushil caught the attention of all from early morning itself as he downed Beijing Olympics gold medallist Sahin Ramazan from Turkey.Having beaten the defending champion, expectations grew that Sushil would continue till the end. But the real drama came in the semi-finals when it appeared Sushil was down and out against Kazakhstan’s Akzhurek Tanatarov.However, in the second round, Sushil gathered his breath and in one clean action lifted and threw his opponent.With the Kazakh seen bleeding from the right ear there were rumours if Sushil had bit his opponent. Replays suggested the injury took place during the normal course of the bout and Sushil had not indulged in any foul play.