Science Breakthroughs 2004

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Warm, wet Mars was “Breakthrough of the Year” of 2004, as reported in Science, 17 December 2004, p2001 (Editorial) and pp2010ff. At the end of each year the editors and news writers of the journal Science vote for the most important scientific discoveries from that year. Top of the list in 2004 was “new evidence that Mars was once warm, wet and salty: a candidate for environment for early life.” Second on the list was “Homo floresiensis” although the editor of Science admits that the claims made about this were controversial and “the lone skull and related post-cranial material are now under re-examination.” Third on the list was a cloned human embryo experiment carried out by Korean scientists that produced in an attempt to produce embryonic stem cells. Other discoveries that made it into the top ten were “hidden DNA treasures” in what used to be called “junk DNA,” decreasing biodiversity of amphibians, butterflies and plants, and the application of genome sequences methods for identifying micro-organisms from soil and water samples. The “Breakdown of the Year” was described as “loss of the tacit promise from the federal government to support research by U.S. academic researchers in return for working toward the public good and training the next generation of scientists and engineers.”; Evidence for this included lack of support for stem research and the fact that educators have to “battle anti-evolutionists seeking to influence science instruction in public schools across the country.”

Editorial Comment: Those who complain about the breakdown of support for science, accuse politicians and community leaders of putting ideology before science, but the list of “breakthroughs” reveals more ideology than science. For example: no-one actually found any water on Mars, but the obsession with finding water on Mars is due to the belief it will help the theory of evolution. Creation Research is pleased that “junk DNA” made it onto the list. Creation Research predicted it would have a function several years ago. In fact it has turned out to have many important functions in regulating gene activity and probably holds the key to understanding differences between species with apparently similar DNA. (Ref. peer review, prejudice, reward)

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