Sunday, December 25, 2005

2005's Scientific Milestones

With a US court ruling Intelligent Design as religion dressed up as science here's a review of how well science served us in 2005.
With this in mind, the journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science has declared discoveries about evolution the 2005 winner of its annual list of top 10 breakthroughs.

"Today evolution is the foundation of all biology, so basic and all-pervasive that scientists sometimes take its importance for granted," Science concludes.

Huge numbers of studies in this field are generated annually. But "2005 stands out as a banner year for uncovering the intricacies of how evolution actually proceeds", it says.

The genetic code of a chimpanzee named Clint was deciphered this year, for example, revealing that 96 per cent of our DNA is identical to his.
Other top 10 scientific breakthroughs include discoveries in how miswiring of the brain occurs, climate change events, earth's origins, nuclear fusion, cellular biology, the nature of neutron stars, secrets of flowering, cell communication, voyages to the planets.

It is hugely impressive that mankind has been to the outer rings of Saturn, and landed the European spacecraft Huygens on Titan to find a world where liquid methane rains down to create valleys and lakes. And yet humbling to know that our DNA is 96% match with that of chimpanzee-kind. It is impossible not to admire the minds that discovered that our cells communicate with each other using a chemical network as complex as the Internet, and hard not to feel despair for human beings who ignore the signs and pace of global warming.

My wish for 2006 is a greater respect for all science but particularly the science of climate change, and dramatically greater awarness and responsiveness to global warming. I feel the US Federal Court Judgement to keep religion out of the science class upholds a respect for science, much needed to convice the world to avert dramatic climatic change.

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