Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving! And the NBA should do away with Hack- a Shaq!

Random thought today...

I have come to the conclusion that the NBA should make Hack-A-Shaq rule illegal. It takes away from the game and causes undue stoppages...more importantly, a team should not should be able to foul (in essence, commit an illegal act with a penalty) and gain an advantage. It goes against the spirit of the game, in my opinion. I think that fouling off the ball in these situations should be viewed as an intentional foul (which it is!) and should be cause the offensive team to get a freethrow and the ball. Check out the video below. Happy Turkey Day! And God please don't let Texas A&M get embarrassed by Texas.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Religion and Science = Oil and Water? or Cookies and Cream? Part 1

If you were not aware, I am a graduate student at Texas A&M University in the Biochemistry department. I am also a Christian. As far as I can tell, in Science Academia the overwhelming tendency for faculty is to be Atheist. According to this study, performed by Penn state, close to 52% of science faculty at a sampling of 21 elite Universities identified themself as non-religious. Other studies have pegged those numbers as high as 75-80%.
In my personal opinion, a key reason why Science and Religion have not enjoyed a perfect relationship stems from both fields viewing each other warily and as opponents. The average Christian (or even Minister) sometimes takes a condescending view of Scientist or those in Physical Sciences (Math, Physics, Chemistry) stemming from an erroneous view that as a Scientist you have to give up being a Christian or some Christian views ("I don't know about the elements or rocks, but I know I have a Savior who made these things and that's all I care to know!"). The average Scientist, I would conjecture, feels that if you are a Christian you are ignorant and have no realistic or logical view of the world around you if you believe in the Bible's "fairy tales" and a Creationist origin. Both these views leave very little room for movement and progress. Going as far back as the Galileo's affair, Scientist and their views were persecuted by the church for trying to explain phenomena and natural events through a scope of observation/experiment based logical thinking. They were viewed as having no faith and being a Godless bunch looking to destroy people's faith and prove there is no God. While without a doubt some Scientist have taken this extremist view, there exists a certain small population of very well regarded scientist currently working who have been able to keep their religious beliefs/faith strong and not allow it to interfere with what they do in the lab.
But why is this? And how can these two worlds coexist? It will take work from both sides of the fence, but should not be an impossibility, because, for those who believe in God and work in Science, in many instances their work only affirms and strengthens their beliefs of a creator. I stumbled upon a quote by a Dr. Michael Dini, who has in the past been a part of controversy with his treatment/very public views of Creationism:

"“Scientists do not base their acceptance or rejection of theories on religion, and someone who does should not be able to become a scientist.”

In my follow up I will share some comments I have received in response to this quote and would also love to hear from any of you (Scientist or not) who has personal feelings on this topic. Hit my email at or leave a comment.

It also raises a great question, one which originally appeared in the NY Times February 12, 2007:
"May a secular university deny otherwise qualified students a degree because of their religion? Can a student produce intellectually honest work that contradicts deeply held beliefs? Should it be obligatory (or forbidden) for universities to consider how students will use the degrees they earn?"

Thursday, November 06, 2008

12 hours without my cell phone....

As I write this, I am sitting at my desk after hours in my lab. I am about to complete 12 hours without my cellphone, free of the matrix. And it feels TERRIBLE. What if someone called me? Texted me? I hate this! It all started as an accident, really. I ran out of my apartment this morning for work and left it sitting there on the table. By the time I realized it, I was getting out of my car in my department parking lot. Let me tell you, after having that phone attached as an umbilical cord, not having it struck me with feelings of panic for the first 2 or 3 hours. I felt so out of touch with the world, even with my laptop sitting here in front of me. As the day went on however, I started to acclimate myself to this normal, strange, unattached existence. No ESPN alerts. No facebook messages. No notifications of a new email/text. Nothing. Silence when I walk. And I kind of liked it...until I remembered I didn't have my phone. My pockets felt lighter, and I honestly think I was/am suffering from feelings of withdrawal. I can't be the only one who feels like this. Please comment if it has happened to you, and how on earth you think our parents and grandparents made it without a constant electronic connection in our pocket and on our hip.

Monday, November 03, 2008

10 questions before Election Day....

I normally don't like posting on the same topic back to back blog entries, but considering the history we are looking at, I have a couple of questions that we probably won't know the answer to for a few years (not all of them at least).

1) Will this election be known as the election where America stood up and made a choice against fear and dirty politics or a choice for them?

2) If Obama loses, how long will it be before another minority candidate makes it this far?

3) How will our economy change over the next 6 months with a new president?

4) Will Oil continue to drop? ($2.07 this morning in College Station, TX!)

5) Will Christmas sales deals be outrageously good because of the retail sector's fear of weak sales due to the recession?

6) Will anything happen to Barack Obama? (Do your job Secret Service!)

7) How close a race is this going to be? (Incredibly close I think)

8) Can we trust these voting machines? (Its 2008 and we can't write software and build machines that can accurately keep count?!)

9) Will this vote count be controversy free? (Probably not)

and lastly,


24 hours from now we will know. Please vote, regardless of who you support.