Science in Christian Perspective




From: JASA 19 (September 1967): 87-88.

One of the big stories of 1966 was the total synthesis of an insulin molecule by Chinese biochemists. This has been a long-souglit goal.-Putnam and Milstein identified the Bence-Jones protein in patients suffering from a cancer called myeloma.-Bassham and Jensen, although not the first to induce photosynthesis outside the living cell, were able to reproduce the process at a rate not too different from the rate occurring within the cell. As is well known, artificial food-making is one of the answers to the nutrition angle of the population problem.-To the atmosphere in the primitive world must now be added hydrogen cyanide according to Clifford Mathews. He suggested that this gas is as important as methane and ammonia in the formation of life.

Although the eggs of some game birds are laid days apart, they all hatch about the same time. Margaret Vince discovered a faint clicking sound in prehatched eggs which seems to speed up the slower or late forming embryos. Of course, this only makes us wonder bow a sound could perform this morphogenetic stimulation.-Pearlfish have been introduced into rice paddies of California to help wipe out the DDTresistant mosquito larvae existant there.

Phytochrome is a molecule in plant cells which regulates germination, growth and flowering in response to day length, using rays in the red and far red end of the spectrum. Dr. S. Hendricks has identified one part of phytochrome, a part called chromophore.

Dr. Fritz Went, one of the American Deans of plant physiology, stated during the year that pine trees and sage bushes, among others, secrete about 10 times more pollutants into the air, in the form of terpenes and esters than man and machine combined. This may be true but the strange thing is that pollutants from plants never seem to have posed a problem. In my opinion, we had better concentrate on the man-made pollution for a while at least. In this connection, the following quotations are appropriate.

"The dangers to our civilization are inherent in our handling of a number of questions, the most serious of which is the rapid multiplication of man amid the galloping depletion and deterioration of his natural resources." A. J. Sharp, Plant Science Bulletin 12 (4): 1966. "With the population explosion, the carcinoma of planless urbanism, + the now geological deposits of sewage and garbage, surely no creature other than man has ever managed to foul his nest in such order." Lynn White, Jr., Science 155: 1203-1207, 1967.

Primates, possibly related to Tarsiers, have been found in the Cretaceous beds of Montana. These animals lived contemporaneous with certain of the dinosaurs, a fact which is new to all and disconcerting to a few. Dr. Leakey continued his work in the Olduvai Gorge in east Africa and discovered bones which place man at about 1,750,000 years ago. Although the creation accounts in Genesis 1 and 2 are certainly figurative in parts, yet the direct creation of certain types, at least, has never been ruled out. It always seemed to me that the finding (an almost impossible event) of human remains in the Cambrian or before, would add a great deal to the creditability of special creation.

Dr. Patterson, from Harvard, working in Kenya found a bone which he estimates, by radioactive decay, to be 2,500,000 yrs. old. Thus we now have a Kanapoi hominid in our ancestry (?). This was reported in Time in January 1967. In February, in the same magazine, Dr. Leakey again hit the headlines when he reported finding remains of Kenyapithecus africanus which roamed the earth roughly 20 million years ago. Not too surprising, this hominid lived concurrently with apes, and so, in this sense is not a missing link.

Many other advances were made in 1966 and early 1967 but the above mentioned stand out in my mind.