Thursday, September 3, 2009

The Company We Keep

The Obama administration has populated itself with some of the most radical extremists ever to step onto the stage of our political life. We've talked on previous occasions about the worrisome views of men like John Holdren, Ezekiel Emanuel, and David Blumenthal (see here and here)

The latest to come to light is a communist by the name of Van Jones who is President Obama's "Green Jobs" czar. Jones may be the most radical of the bunch.

Here's an audio clip that reveals something of the kind of man Van Jones is and what his ambitions for this country are. The short of it is that he seems to want to turn America into Cuba:

Jones also believes that the Bush administration was actually behind the 9/11 attack or at least knew it was coming and deliberately chose not to prevent it.

When conservatives fretted that Barack Obama was too cozy with people like Bill Ayers and Jeremiah Wright the media pooh-poohed their concerns. Now Mr. Obama is surrounding himself with people just like Ayers and Wright and the pooh-poohers have egg on their faces. You really can judge a man by the company he keeps.

It's deeply disturbing that such a man as Jones would be considered unexceptionable by the administration's vetters. If Jones is allowed to stay in his post after it has now become clear that he's a communist revolutionary and a fringe 9/11 "truther" then we will have learned, or confirmed, something very important, and very troubling, about Barack Obama.


Junk DNA Evidently Isn't Junk

There's a fascinating report in Science Daily. It seems that researchers have discovered that the difference between chimps and humans is due to the fact that some segments of what is called "junk" DNA, DNA that doesn't code for proteins, were somehow "switched on" in the early history of primates. The resulting proteins coded for by this newly activated DNA were responsible for the emergence of the human species:

Humans and chimpanzees are genetically very similar, yet it is not difficult to identify the many ways in which we are clearly distinct from chimps. In a study published online in Genome Research, scientists have made a crucial discovery of genes that have evolved in humans after branching off from other primates, opening new possibilities for understanding what makes us uniquely human.

The prevailing wisdom in the field of molecular evolution was that new genes could only evolve from duplicated or rearranged versions of preexisting genes. It seemed highly unlikely that evolutionary processes could produce a functional protein-coding gene from what was once inactive DNA.

However, recent evidence suggests that this phenomenon does in fact occur. Researchers have found genes that arose from non-coding DNA in flies, yeast, and primates. No such genes had been found to be unique to humans until now, and the discovery raises fascinating questions about how these genes might make us different from other primates.

They estimate there may be approximately 18 human-specific genes that have arisen from non-coding DNA during human evolution.

This is quite a revelation since Darwinians had long claimed that junk DNA has no function and Intelligent Design advocates had been predicting thatit would eventually be found to have a function in the cell. That there are 18 human-specific genes in what was previously thought to be genetic clutter is pretty embarrassing to Darwinism.

It's also interesting because the DNA was present in the cell prior to having any function. This is hard to square with Darwinian evolutionary theory since it suggests that the cell produced and carried macromolecules for which it had no use, a phenomenon which Darwinism disallows.

Finally, the finding fits nicely with the idea of front-loaded evolution, i.e. the theory that God laid the groundwork for biological evolution at the time of creation and that subsequent evolutionary change has simply been the unfolding of the genetic potentialities latent in life from the beginning.

Whatever the case, the news that junk DNA is not really junk should disturb those who wish to deny teleology in biology. The discovery that preexisting DNA was activated at a certain point in evolutionary history and subsequently gave rise to the human species certainly seems more compatible with a telic view of life than with the notion that evolution is purposeless and random.


The Hustle

Well, here we are in the beginning of September, notable for historically being a month in which the price of gold goes up so as we might expect, gold has been pretty perky lately. It was up around $20 per ounce yesterday and as I write this, it's up about $20 again for today. It appears that gold is attempting yet another assault on the $1000 level sometime soon.

One interesting observation is that the fundamental issues that have existed since the beginning of the gold bull market that started in 1999 have not changed and, if anything, they have gotten worse. Gold is the safe haven from geo-political and economic risk and it reflects the degree of concern at any given time.

Our government is particularly troubled about the perception of risk because people putting their money into gold are not putting their money into the economy. Since 70% of our GDP comes from the consumer, it follows they the government wants people to consume, not save. (It's ironic that excessive consumption is largely why we're in the economic mess that we are.) So it is predictable that we will see the government making every effort to instill confidence in the people about the economy. They're even rolling out VP Joe Biden to tell us about how the stimulus played a "significant role" in the recovery (in the past tense).

Yes, it's really all about confidence. Confidence in our politicians, our economy, and the strength of our dollar. The game will go on as long as there is confidence so we could accurately say this is a game of confidence or, a con game. A con game works until it doesn't. From the link:

In a sign of how times really haven't changed all that much from earlier in the decade when, in 2001, Federal Reserve Governor Laurence Meyer prodded Americans to "go out and buy an SUV" to help pull the economy out of the recession, today we have the wildly popular "Cash for Clunkers" program where, after spending like drunken sailors over the last few years leading the world into the current mess, the solution to our current economic woe is to borrow and spend even more.

The gold price reflects the degree of confidence inversely or better, we could say it reflects the lack of confidence. It's an invaluable tool for surviving and winning the con game being run on us.