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Great Engineers & Scientists

In 1676, Sir Isaac Newton wrote "If I have seen further it is by standing on ye shoulders of Giants." In this blog, we take Newton's words to heart, and recognize the many great engineers and scientists upon whose shoulders we stand.

So who do you think of when you hear "Great Engineer"? Let us know! Submit a few paragraphs about that person and we'll add him or her to the pantheon. Please provide a citation for the material that you submit so that we can verify it. Please note - it has to be original material. We cannot publish copywritten material or bulk text taken from books or other sites (including Wikipedia).

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Celebrating 150 Years of “On the Origin of Species" (Part 2 - Final)

Posted February 18, 2009 10:52 AM by april05

Position Statement, New York State Science Supervisors Association (NYSSSA), Summer 1981:

"The New York State Science Supervisors Association concurs with the position taken by the Science Bureau of the State Education Department concerning the teaching of evolution. The study of supernatural accounts of origins by science teachers in science classrooms as part of the science curriculum is not a recommended procedure. Questions related to scripture, revelation and the supernatural should be directed to the religious authorities." - NCSEweb.org.

<-- Father Gregor Johann Mendel (Austrian Catholic Monk). Photo courtesy Wikipedia.

SYNCHRONICITY - NOT JUST A SONG BY "THE POLICE"

Only recently did I discover - or maybe re-discover - that both Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln shared the same birth date - February 12th, 1809 - giving both a 200th birthday last week.

The synchronicity and long-reaching impact of both mens' lives - one born in Europe, the other in North America - got me thinking about recent history - my own Catholic elementary school education in the 1970's - and the human genome project of the 1990's.

PEA PLANT EXPERIMENTS AND THE GLOBAL CHURCH

Sometime between third and sixth grades, the genetic concepts of Gregor Mendel were introduced to my class at an Albany, New York area Catholic elementary school.

At my parochial school, we were taught of Gregor Mendel's experiments with pea plants, and his concept of dominant and recessive traits. Punnett square assignments - using a graphical tool based on Mendelian genetics and used to predict traits passed onto offspring - were given.

<-- "Punnett's Square" - photo courtesy Wikipedia.

Although I can't remember Darwin's name specifically being mentioned at St. John's, with hindsight, his ideas were clearly being passed onto me, courtesy of his Catholic contemporary, by both nuns wearing traditional full and partial habits, and by their very competent non-religious garb wearing colleagues - I suspect both lay and certified teachers - who also worked in my school.

HERE COME THE NINETIES

Newspaper photo courtesy windfallfilms.com -->

How much of this Darwin-inspired content, taught to me during elementary school, was mandated by the State of New York in the 1970's, and how much of this was inspired by the liberalized thinking of 1960's era reforms of Vatican II, is something I need more education on, and I'd be glad to hear from anyone in the CR4 or Internet community who might have information to share.

<-- U.S. President William Jefferson ("Bill") Clinton in 2000, commenting on completion of mapping for the entire human genome, a project he strongly supported. Photo courtesy Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, cbc.ca.

By way of a vast number of experiments with pea plants, Mendel refined Darwin's gene "blending" idea, with a digital idea of dominant and recessive traits being passed on from parent to child. Mendel's refinements of Darwin's ideas would lay a foundation, once the technology was available, for computer modeling that underpins much of modern genetic research, including "genomics".

- Larry Kelley

Resources:

http://ncseweb.org/media/voices/new-york-state-science-supervisors-association

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gregor_Mendel

http://www.cbc.ca/health/story/2000/06/26/genome000626.html

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Re: Celebrating 150 Years of “On the Origin of Species" (Part 2 - Final)

02/18/2009 3:52 PM

Thanks for sharing this personal account, april05. Here's a link to an article, "Teaching Evolution", that you might enjoy. It's written by Physics professor at Florida State University who is also a Catholic.

The thought that a scientist could also be a person of faith may be shocking to some, but Darwin himself studied to be a minister.

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