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Biology Student 2006's blog

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Stories of Life, Told in Time: A Commentary on the Bible

    In a few days, the mainstream global community will experience the annual change that signifies the “New Year.” In Times Square, a million people will count down to the beginning of the 2,007th new year. The Jewish people celebrated the 5,767th year back in September. The Chinese Buddhist calendar will assign a pig to represent the 4,705th year in February. Seemingly everyone has a different idea of how to count the passage of time, and what is conventionally accepted as the correct year by Western cultures differs significantly from other versions of time record. What exactly are we counting when we say it is the X New Year? Years since the birth of Jesus Christ? Years since humans started observing and recording lunar cycles? Years since The Buddha invited the animal kingdom to a mythical new year’s feast?
    Evolutionary scientists would have us believe that Homo sapiens have existed for approximately 200,000 years - a number far greater than those which appear on calendars, solar or lunar. Creation theorists would claim that humans came into existence a mere two days after the first fish and birds appeared on earth. All of these accounts tell basically the same story - that humans exist and have life - but they conflict drastically on matters of time.
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Sea-Monkeys can be viewed as a vast commercial expression of eugenics. Their production company’s founder, Harold von Braunhut, was alleged to be a financier of white supremacist groups and himself never denied such claims.[1] The concept of genetic enhancement is one of great scientific interest. From Gregor Mendel to Josef Mengele, humans have been fascinated in their attempts to explore genomic “dominance” and use their subject species to experiment with the creation of a perceived dominant specimen. Sea-Monkeys are clear - well, pinkish and fairly opaque - examples of manipulated genetic artifact, though more in terms of life cycle interruption rather than genetic interference. True, Sea-Monkeys are a special type of sea animal rarely seen in nature. However, the examination of this “live” animal in the context of academic coursework about the study of life is where the true interest of this paper lies.

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Dissection and Vivisection: Animals as Classroom Tools

Each year, American students are responsible for the deaths of millions of animals in the interests of science education. Frogs, fetal pigs, cats, and cows’ eyeballs bear the brunt of the education industry’s demand for vivisection education, which may be defined as the act of dissecting or injuring animals for purposes of scientific investigation or experimentation. [1] While alternatives to classroom dissection do exist in the form of instructional videotapes and other “hands-off” materials, cutting up a dead animal remains a rite of passage for students around the nation.

An estimated six million animals are killed for classroom dissection each year; these animals are often collected from the wild, contributing to anthropogenic ecological consequences not easily visible from the microscope of a seventh grader. [2] Another method of obtaining animals for dissection is through special breeding facilities that also cater to the pharmaceutical, cosmetology, and even automobile industries. A quick Google search for biological supply companies yields lists of available “organisms” for sale, both “preserved” and “live.” An individual can set up an account with, for one, the Carolina Biological Supply Company - which touts itself as “world-class support for science & math [instruction]” - and become eligible for a 25% discount off her first order of trademarked “Carolina’s Perfect Solution Rats” or “Carolina’s Perfect Solution Pigs.” [3]

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Gaia: The Earth Lives with Us

Whether for spiritual, scientific, or ontological purpose, the matter of defining life is an ancient and serious quest. The Gaian theory of earth science – so named for Gaia, the Greek goddess of the Earth – proposes that the physical Earth upon which we live is just as alive as we animals and the plants are. The scientist James Lovelock proposed in the mid 1960s that the Earth, far from being just a mobile mass in space hospitable to animal and plant life, is a self-regulating ecosystem that calls on the fields of geology and physiology to explain its potential status as a live organism.



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