We talk with Christina L. Graves, a biology student (and prebiotic chemistry researcher) at the Georgia Institute of Technology. Christina walks us through the recent announcement by the J. Craig Venter Institute that they have created a self-replicating, synthetic cell. We also discuss the reaction to Venter’s news from religious groups like the Catholic Church, Creation Ministries International, and even the Raelians.
Briefly mentioned: The new Adrien Brody/Sarah Polley film Splice, a sci-fi-horror shocker about genetic engineering gone very very wrong.
Glossary of terms:
Abiogenesis – the theory of how life on Earth could have arisen from inanimate matter.
Prebiotic Chemistry – the field of study involving the spontaneous chemical reactions which may have led to the formation of biomolecules and/or life on early Earth.
Stanley Miller (1930-2007) – an American chemist and biologist who is known for his studies into the origin of life, particularly the Miller-Urey experiment which demonstrated that organic compounds can be created by fairly simple physical processes from inorganic substances.
Atheopath – A neologism, coined by Creation Ministries International’s Jonathan Sarfati and used (as far as we can tell) by no one else, which combines the word “atheist” and the suffix “-path” (“one afflicted by a specified disorder”) to create a word meaning something like “one afflicted by atheism.” Apparently it’s intended to echo scary words like sociopath and psychopath. Perhaps we should coin the counter-term “theopath.”The Usual Announcements
Look for David Driscoll at “Gods and Politics,” the Atheist Alliance International Conference in Copenhagen, Denmark, June 18-20.
Live in metro Atlanta? Look for John Snider (and wifey Allison!) in attendance at Christopher Hitchens’ appearance (boosting his new memoir Hitch-22) at the Barnes & Noble in Buckhead, 7PM, Friday June 18th. Also, look for John and Allison in attendance at Michael Largo’s reading from his encyclopedic God’s Lunatics, 6:30 PM, Tuesday, June 22nd at Ivy Hall.
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David continues to produce new installments of the Secular Nation Podcast.
Theme music by Body Found.
Recorded June 8, 2010. Hosted by John C. Snider and David Driscoll.
To listen to this podcast click here.