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How My Teacher Helped Religious Parents Understand Evolution

My biology teacher, Mr. G, used to teach at a K - 12 Christian school many years back, and in his biology class, he taught evolution. Naturally, this made many parents of religious families upset, and he expected quite a lot of backlash at parent-teacher night. Looking back, he laughs and says, “I knew they wanted a piece of me.”

So, to prepare, he bought regular 50 piece puzzles, and took a few pieces out from each of them. Then, when the parents arrived, he put them on the table, and requested the parents to construct the puzzles, without seeing the final picture on the box cover. By the time they eventually put all of the pieces they had together, he asked them, “What is it a picture of?”

They responded, “A flowerpot!” or, “A butterfly!” or, “A house!”

But then he told them, “But you don’t have all the pieces! How can you know!”

They said, “Well, we can see it!”

And he asked again, “You can’t see everything! How do you know for sure?”

They kept saying variations of, “Well, we don’t have all the pieces, but we know what it is, because they make up the shapes, and the lines to form the picture.” and, “It’s not complete, and we don’t know for sure, because we don’t have all of the pieces, but we know the image from the other pieces, and what it suggests the other pieces will be.”

And then, it soon dawned on them that this is how theories are formed, and how evolution is a worthwhile idea to understand and learn.

My teacher now says in class to his students, when we are learning about evolution, “It’s alright if you believe in something else, and it’s okay to keep those beliefs. We don’t want to attack you. But, in biology class, we want you to open your mind, and learn about evolution. Not believe in evolution initially, just understand it at first. We are not forcing you to believe something; this classroom should be a safe environment.”

Aristotle once said, “It is a mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.”

All the scientific community asks the religious community to do is to consider our evidence and arguments. After you have properly understood all of it, and thought about how well it can apply to our world,  then you may go back to your beliefs if you are still not convinced. However, I am sure that it will open your mind, and help you understand our world a little better.

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Bill Nye and Ken Ham debating evolution vs. creationism respectively. Quite something to consider, whatever your beliefs may be.

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The Science of Yogurt

Yogurt’s name comes from the Turkish word meaning to curdle or thicken, “yoghurt”. It is thought that the first yogurt was made in Mesopotamia in 5,000 B.C. It was most likely discovered when milk was transported long distances and times, where it became fermented. It spread from the Middle East to all over the world, and is eaten in many different forms and used in millions of recipes. Yogurt is not only used for eating nowadays, but it is also used as skin cleansers and masks, as they are known for removing dead skin and nourishing skin cells, as well as removing dirt.

Yogurt is produced by lactic acid fermentation, by turning lactose into lactic acid with the help of certain bacteria, or probiotics. These bacteria are most often Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus, or mostly from the lactobacillus and bifidobacillus species.

Lactose is first catalyzed into glucose and galactose, and then is broken down into two pyruvate molecules and charges two NAD+ carriers, making them NADH in glycolysis, which then enter the lactic acid fermentation pathway, to produce lactic acid by donating the two electrons from the electron carriers to the pyruvate molecules. This acid lowers the pH of the yogurt, which denature a type of hydrophobic proteins, called caseins in the tertiary structure. These proteins then react with other hydrophobic proteins, and creates structures that are the reason for the semi-solid texture of yogurt. The pH also makes destructive or bad bacteria perish, as they cannot stand the acidity levels. The “good” bacteria is left, which are called probiotics, and aid in digestion and other problems relating to the digestive system.

 

tigerzzz-universe-deactivated20 asked:

What is an appendix and what does it do?

Great question! The appendix was originally thought to be a vestigial organ, and a remnant of a cecum, which in herbivores, is used to digest cellulose (which humans cannot). Humans have both an appendix and a cecum, which are attached to each other and the large intestine, though it does not work similarly to other organisms’.  

Vestigial organ (n.) - an organ which originally served a purpose, though lost its function through evolution. (ex. an ostrich’s wing) 

Even though we do not know the exact intended purpose of the appendix, we have found out that it does carry out certain functions in the body. The appendix is an immune organ, and serves as a part of the lymphatic system, where B lymphocyte cells (a type of white blood cells) mature, and immunoglobin A (IgA) antibodies are produced. It is also known to produce molecules to direct the lymphocyte’s movement throughout the body. The organ also exposes the immune cells to different antigens in the gastrointestinal tract. 

Antigen (n.) - a toxin or other foreign substance that induces an immune response in the body, esp. the production of antibodies.

Stay curious!

 Have more questions?

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The African Bullfrog, unlike many frog parents, doesn’t abandon it’s children. It is large enough to defend them! This frog, by staying to guard their eggs, realizes that the pool of water they are laid in is evaporating, and releases them to a larger pond!

Hello Readers!

Discere et Docere is going to be renovated this month, from the posts’ content to the blog’s layout! Don’t worry though - this blog is still going to be all about general science and science news, though my main goal is to provide, you, the readers, with posts that are more interesting, engaging, and academic. I am also embarking on the goal of having this blog be at least 60% original content, and having a more periodic and filled posting schedule.

I would like to hear from you, readers! What topics and subjects of science are you most interested in? Would you prefer more educational or news-type posts? What would you like to see on your dashboard?

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(Referring to this post).

I found these gifs through Tumblr, and through some Googling, I found that the source was this Vine. It might have been taken from another video, as other Vines on that account were not closely related. Through some more researching, I realize that these might be pigs’ lungs, altered to look as if they were smoker’s lungs.  It is apparently common for some educational institutes or teachers to bring these in to scare children away from smoking, according to this article. Some people donate their lungs when they pass away to patients in need of new organs, though I’m not sure of the protocol related to organ donations to research centers, and I doubt that these are a human’s. Thank you very much for bringing up this question, I would not have noticed if it weren’t for your comment. I will make sure to source all of my information and pictures in the future.