Entries by Jonathan McLatchie

The Status of Women According to Islam

The status of women in Islam is a subject enshrouded in controversy. According to many Muslims, Muhammad was a champion of women’s rights, bestowing upon the women in his community privileges and rights that they did not have previously. The notion that women in pre-Islamic Arabia had no rights, however, is demonstrably untrue. Former Muslim […]

Less than Two Weeks Left to Apply for the 2013 CSC Summer Seminars!

The application deadline for the 2013 Center for Science & Culture Summer Seminars, for postgraduate and upper-division undergraduate students, is quickly approaching. The seminars (“Intelligent Design in the Natural Sciences,” “C.S. Lewis Fellows Program on Science and Society”) run concurrently from July 12-20. The deadline for applications is Monday, April 15. What could be better […]

Unwinding the Double Helix: Meet DNA Helicase

In previous articles (see here, here and here), I’ve been reviewing the molecular nano-machinery needed for the replication of DNA. Before DNA polymerase is able to synthesize the new complementary strands, it needs to be given access to the nucleotides of the single-stranded template DNA. The internal base pairing in the double helix must therefore be broken and the helix unwound. […]

An Enzyme’s Phylogeny Reveals a Striking Case of Convergent Evolution

Convergent evolution and discordant phylogenetic signals are subjects that have been much discussed at ENV (for example, here). The fact that there is so much phylogenetic conflict at every level of the tree of life undermines one of the arguments for common descent (that the nested hierarchical distribution of similarities and differences reveals a family-tree like […]

Once Again, Why Intelligent Design Is Not a “God-of-the-Gaps” Argument

The “god-of-the-gaps” objection to intelligent design is one that we have addressed numerous times at ENV and elsewhere (most recently, here). Yet even though the argument has been convincingly refuted time and again, it lives on in the popular literature. My friend Jamie Franklin recently published a post on his website explaining why he has come to […]

Replicating DNA with Extraordinary Fidelity: Meet DNA Polymerase

In a previous article, I gave a brief overview of the complex molecular mechanisms governing DNA replication. Now, I will focus specifically on the replication enzyme DNA polymerase. DNA polymerase is the enzyme responsible for synthesizing new strands of DNA, complementary to the sequence of the template strand. The unidirectional DNA polymerase progresses along the template […]

DNA Replication: An Engineering Marvel

Recently I have been reviewing some literature on the elegant molecular mechanisms by which DNA is replicated. As an undergraduate biology student, I recall being struck by their sheer complexity, sophistication, and intrinsic beauty. As I read about such a carefully orchestrated process, involving so many specific enzymes and protein complexes, and its extraordinary accuracy, […]

On The Dangers Of Fideism

On Saturday night, as I was home alone, the doorbell rang. I opened the front door to greet the two young smartly-dressed gentlemen. They introduced themselves as missionaries from the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints (a.k.a. the Mormons). Interacting with Mormon missionaries is a rare treat for me. I’m currently abroad, working […]

Why the Argument from Suboptimal Design Is Weak

I recently received correspondence from a chess Grand Master I know. As an atheist, and an adherent of evolutionary orthodoxy, he wanted to know how I, an ID advocate, would respond to the problem of poor or suboptimal design in nature — an argument to which, he claimed, he had never encountered a satisfactory answer. […]

The Persistent Enigma of Sexual Reproduction

Chapter 6 is concerned with questions pertinent to sexual selection and the evolutionary advantages of sex. There is almost nothing I dispute in the first half of the chapter (except perhaps the validity of Coyne’s appeal to theological arguments about what a Creator would and would not do). In the second part of the chapter, […]