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City, Food, Science

The evolution of pizza and other Italian food

Posted by Hannah / December 5, 2005

pizzaspaghetti.jpg Most people choose their pizza according to crust thickness, quantity of cheese and abundance of toppings. Price often plays a role--two-for-one-schlepping outfits generally getting more calls than those that offer an uncomprehensible one pizza for regular price deal.

From now on, I'm taking a different track. No matter how many flyers the Domino's pizza circulaire delivery boy stuffs into my mailbox or how large the ad is in the yellow pages, no Domino's will ever grace these lips again.

Now, things may be different here than they are in America, but according to the New Yorker (a thing that I trust) the man who built the Domino's empire is fighting to have 'intelligent design' taught in American biology classes. Dominio's don, Thomas Monaghan, also co-founded the Thomas More Law Centre, whose attorneys represent the Dover Area School District in what is being affectionately called Scopes II by the media.

This courtroom battle over the teaching of evolution is the culmination of more than two years of the Dover Area School District (whose website has a lovely frosted photo of an American eagle sniffing the flowers, I might add) trying to sneak its creationist agenda into the biology cirriculum under the guise of an alternative scientific theory of evolution.

Last October, the school board voted to make biology teachers read a statement that made students "aware of the gaps/problems with Darwin's theory and of other theories of evolution, including, but not limited to, intelligent design." Students were encouraged to read a textbook, "Of Pandas and People," that enforces the idea that an intelligent creator made various forms of life in the state that we now know them: in life some things are too complex to have arisen through mutation and evolution, the thought goes. Students walked out of classrooms; parents balked. Eleven brought suit against the school district.

So, I won't eat Domino's. But I will eat spaghetti.

fsm.jpg Just because it is too good not to pass up, again. I have to draw your attention to the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster, a congregation of Pastafarians started by a young computer programmer who "believes" that the world was created by a pasta power. The best is the hate mail he gets.

Discussion

17 Comments

J Mac / December 5, 2005 at 10:45 pm
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Actually, I'm pretty sure the Pastafarians are a subsect of the Church, i.e., not all members of the Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster are Pastafarians. Just some of them.
David Buckna / January 22, 2006 at 06:43 pm
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In David Suzuki's Jan. 20/06 column, "The ups and downs of evolution"
(www.davidsuzuki.org/about_us/Dr_David_Suzuki/Article_Archives/weekly01200601.asp) he quotes geneticist Theodosius Dobzhansky, who once said: "Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution."

Dr. Jonathan Wells writes in "Icons of Evolution: Science or Myth?" (2000): "A true scientist would say that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evidence."

The following questions may prove useful when evolution is discussed in senior secondary and university biology classes:

1. What evidence do biologists typically cite for vertical evolution (information-enhancing evolution)?

2. Regarding University of Massachussetts professor Lynn Margulis, Michael Behe writes in "Darwin's Black Box" (1996): "At one of her many public talks she asks the molecular biologists in the audience to name a single, unambiguous example of the formation of a new species by the accumulation of mutations. Her challenge goes unmet." (Behe, p. 26).

In the years since Margulis first asked the question, can biologists now name a single, unambiguous example? Can they give one reference for any study that has shown duplicated genes acquired different functions during an experiment or series of experiments?

3. Can biologists describe the specific evolutionary process that accounted for the complex arrangement of inanimate matter into a life form that grows, metabolizes, reacts to stimuli, and reproduces? (the four criteria for biological life). If 'yes', what was the process? If 'no', why can't the process be described?

4. On page one of Richard Dawkins' book,"The Blind Watchmaker" he writes: "Biology is the study of complicated things that give the appearance of having been designed for a purpose". If living things look designed--if the empirical evidence suggests purpose--then how does Dawkins know they weren't designed? Has Dawkins formulated any criteria for "apparent" design?

In May 2001 Dr. Wells presented the lecture "Promoting Accuracy in Biology Textbooks" at the B.C. Science Teachers Association conference (Richmond). Wells noted some common ‘evidencesâ€ââ€ΕΎÂ¢ for evolution--such as peppered moths and Ernst Haeckel's faked drawings of vertebrate embryos--were discredited decades ago, while others continue to be presented in distorted or misleading ways. Wells said teachers need to correct such misrepresentions and bring textbooks more into line with recent discoveries.

The article, "Was Darwin Wrong?", in the November 2004 issue of National Geographic, is a good example of an evolutionary article. Teachers should be encouraged to distribute such articles to students, then ask them to mark the verified facts with one colour, the opinions with another colour, and the suppositions with another. Students should be taught to weigh the factual evidence, evaluate statements, and recognize the writer's purpose and point of view.

Ian Taylor writes in "Teaching Evolution: Is There A Better Way?" (www.creationmoments.net/articles/article.php?a=21&c=27): "Although unstated, traditional teaching [of evolution] assumes a progressive increase of genetic information as molecule becomes man.The evidences offered by textbooks in support of this progression and discussed here can hardly be considered convincing while other evidences such as the origin of life experiments or the evolution of the horse are equally as dubious. Students familiar with the Internet are becoming aware of these deficiencies and, if not confused, are left skeptical....It would be an instructive and insightful exercise to ask students to consider or to list actual evidences that support either progressive acquisition or progressive loss of genetic information."

For futher info, read: "Teaching and Propaganda" by Mano Singham in "Physics Today" (www.aip.org/pt/june00/opin600.htm)


David Buckna
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Mohammad / February 5, 2015 at 03:18 pm
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I get general scencie news from a variety of RSS streams:NY Times Science, BBC Science, Nature news (Nature magazine),This week in Science (Science magazine), PNAS early edition,PLoS Computational Biology New Articles.I also listen to scencie podcasts (Nature, Science, Science Friday) andoften follow links posted by my scientist friends on Google+
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backgrounds / April 3, 2016 at 12:41 am
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Right away I am going away to do my breakfast, later than having my breakfast coming over again to read more news.

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