Don’t Tell the Creationists

first_imgJohn Horgan, a blogger for Scientific American, wanted to use this headline 20 years ago, but the editor didn’t let him.  Now that editor is gone, so Horgan let the cat out of the bag: “Pssst!  Don’t tell the creationists, but scientists don’t have a clue how life began.”  Well, he just did.    Horgan lamented that the situation is even more lamentable today.  Based on Dennis Overbye’s “romp into theories of the cradle of life” published in the New York Times last month, Horgan concluded, “Geologists, chemists, astronomers and biologists are as stumped as ever by the riddle of life.”  You name it: protein-first, DNA-first, metabolism-first, RNA World (an erstwhile leading contender) – they’re all stumping the scientists with insurmountable problems.    “The RNA world is so dissatisfying that some frustrated scientists are resorting to much more far out�literally�speculation,” Horgan continued.  By that he means panspermia.  He realizes that Crick’s old escape route doesn’t solve anything: “Of course, panspermia theories merely push the problem of life’s origin into outer space.  If life didn’t begin here, how did it begin out there?”    Horgan ended by comforting himself with the argument that creationists have a similar problem, how to explain the origin of God.  “And at least scientists are making an honest effort to solve life’s mystery instead of blaming it all on God.”Creationists don’t blame God; they thank Him and worship Him for the marvel of life.  Do you see the anti-Creator hysteria that leads evolutionists to frantic rants of desperation to keep from admitting the obvious—that life was created?  Thanks to John for being honest enough to admit the problem (something the snooze media almost never do), but then he played dog in the manger: “We might be clueless, frustrated, desperate, empty-handed and broke, but nobody else gets to play the origins game.”  Let’s fix his last sentence: “At least we clueless power-hungry pseudo-scientific demagogues can blame God instead of making an honest effort to follow the evidence where it leads.”    In the new anthology about naturalism, The Nature of Nature (ISI, 2011), Christian de Duve (see 03/01/2011) tried to defend methodological naturalism as the best approach for science, but then had to confront the problem of the origin of life.  Even though he clearly admitted that the problem is unsolved, he appealed to vast periods of time for the improbable (online book) to happen and expressed his faith that naturalism would solve it some day over the rainbow.  He thus issued promissory notes for futureware backed with the collateral of reckless drafts on the bank of time (07/02/2007).  But it’s not God-of-the-gaps when the gaps get wider; it’s naturalism-of-the-gaps (03/02/2011).    Could any other human activity get away with this?  Does the losing team get to play the series?  Does the town drunk get to be Grand Marshall? (maybe in the Doo-Dah Parade).  Does the least qualified get the job? (only with affirmative action).  Does the loss leader get to push out the competition? (Well, sometimes, but that is tactics, not honest business.)  All right, then; if evolutionists are the losers, the Darwine drunks, the least qualified, and the loss leaders, let’s call for reform.  Get the dogs out of the manger.  How about a showing up with a nice kitty: a huge sabertooth cat (02/28/2011).    For a response to Horgan’s old chestnut about who created the Creator, watch sabertooth Sarfati pounce on CMI.(Visited 75 times, 1 visits today)FacebookTwitterPinterestSave分享0last_img read more

R23m upgrade for Cape port

first_img12 March 2004The South African Port Operations – a division of parastatal Transnet – has introduced a state-of-the-art technology at the Cape Town container terminal to improve and manage capacity at the facility.Nad Govender, the general manager of operations in the Western Cape, said SAPO will acquire four new Kalmar straddle carriers to handle the increase in the number of container traffic at the port.The port of Cape Town provides services for containers as well as general cargo port callers.The port handles cargo from the Americas, Africa, Oceania, Asia, and Europe.Govender said SAPO had reclaimed a portion of the port to cater for the influx of containers into the harbour.The four berths at the port, which were at different levels, create problems for arriving vessels, Govender said, adding that the six cranes at the harbour, which differed in size, were also inadequate to cater for the increased movement of cargo.He said the Port of Cape Town has six cranes in the terminal, four of which are 25 years old, the other two eight years old.Govender said SAPO will buy eight new Super Panamax ship-to-shore gantry cranes over a six-year period.“Four of these will replace the existing Demag cranes and the other four will add to the Container Gantry cranes.“We have reclaimed a portion and created additional capacity for containers, which has given us the capacity to handle the volume,” he said.The port operator has invested R23-million for new straddle carriers, which will increase the current fleet from 23 to 27.“This will increase the throughput capacity of the terminal by allowing us to stack containers higher,” Govender said.He added that SAPO had installed 404 additional reefer points to accommodate the growth in refrigerated container cargo, and was also in the process of installing remote reefer monitoring and control systems to improve service delivery.In the 2004/2005 financial year the terminal is expected to handle 480 000 TEU containers, representing a 3.5 percent increase on the previous year’s volumes.Govender added that this growth will continue.Source: BuaNewslast_img read more

Gordhan announces changes in taxes

first_imgHe also announced that the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) project – an international collaboration to build the world’s largest radio telescope – would qualify for VAT relief. “In respect of beer and spirits, an increased benchmark tax burden is proposed to be phased in over the next two years,” Gordhan said. Capital Gains Tax (CGT) for individuals and special trusts will be increased from 25% to 33.3%, and from 50% to 66.6% for companies and other trusts – still below international norms. To mitigate the impact on middle-income earners, the various exclusion thresholds will be increased. The annual exclusion threshold will be raised from R20 000 to R30 000, the exclusion amount on death from R200 000 to R300 000, and the primary residence exclusion from R1.5-million to R2-million. The secondary tax on companies comes to an end on 31 March, and a withholding tax on dividends, introduced at 15%, will be implemented from April 1. Pension funds will benefit as they will receive dividends tax-free, Gordhan said. Source: BuaNews The excise on spirits will increase by 20% to R36 for a 750 ml bottle this year. The tax on beer will go up by 10%, taking the price of a 340ml can up by R1.01. Consumers can expect to pay 8% more for a bottle of wine. The exclusion amount for the disposal of a small business when a person is over the age of 55 will be raised from R900 000 to R1.8-million, and the maximum market value of assets allowed for a small business disposal for business owners over 55 from R5-million to R10-million. As part of several measures outlined in the Budget Review to improve the corporate tax environment, Gordhan has mooted tax relief for housing developers who provide housing below R300 000 a unit. South Africa has a financial transaction tax on securities transfers, at a rate of 0.25%. Gordhan has proposed abolishing the current exemption for brokers and taxing transactions for the broker’s benefit at a lower rate. “The inclusion of financial derivatives in the base of the securities transfer tax is also under consideration,” he said.center_img 22 February 2012 Among the tax proposals that would affect businesses, Gordhan said tax relief for companies that set up in special economic zones was being considered – including a reduction in the corporate income tax rate and support for employment and training expenses. End of Secondary Tax on Companies This was announced by the Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan in his Budget speech in Parliament in Cape Town on Wednesday. Meanwhile, a revised policy paper on carbon tax would be published this year for a second round of public comment and consultation. ‘Sin’ taxes increase Increases in duties on tobacco and alcohol products will be between 5% and 8% this year. Also, with effect from October this year, an excise duty at a rate of 7% will apply to small aeroplanes and helicopters with a mass below 5 000kg. A duty of 10% will apply to motorboats longer than 10 metres. In a media briefing held shortly before he delivered his Budget speech, Gordhan said South Africa was way below international norms on Capital Gains Tax, but was quick to point out that another increase was not on the cards, at least in this administration.last_img read more

Doping row: Former athlete accuses sportspersons of using steroids openly

first_imgWhile the doping scandal is getting murkier day-by-day with the reports of involvement of players and sports officials coming out, former national swimming champion Reshma Millet on Tuesday said she has seen many athletes administering themselves performance enhancing drugs. Millet told Headlines Today that ahead of the 2002 Asian Games, she saw a group of power-lifters openly injecting each other steroids during a training camp in Delhi. “We were sharing a dormitory at Talkatora with other sports people, mainly power-lifters. One time I remember, I must be 16 or 17 years old, I saw five power-lifters injecting each other something. I was really terrified to see them,” Millet said. She added that the drug abuse was not limited to power-lifters, but she had seen many fellow swimmers also using banned drugs. “No one ever gets caught because… to give an instance… when we had Afro-Asian Games in Hyderabad. Every competitor used to go for dope test. Just before the dope test a couple of people were missing. There was one fellow swimmer who was actually hiding in the bathroom. She was terrified to come out and take the dope test,” Millet said. Going a step further, she added that officials in several sports federations have been promoting substance abuse among athletes. She said the federations back such activities and also help players in masking them. Millet’s allegations have the potential to open a can of worms and cause deep embarrassment to sports bodies battling India’s biggest doping scandal. Earlier, star Indian shuttler Saina Nehwal had also revealed that some Indian athletes had admitted to her about taking performance enhancing drugs.advertisementlast_img read more