first_imgCHONBURI, Thailand – Marcus Fraser of Australia shot a 2-under 70 Saturday to take a one-shot lead after the third round of the Thailand Golf Championship. Fraser is playing only his second tournament since returning from a long break because of a wrist injury, but has been among the most consistent players off the tee at the Asian Tour event at the Amata Spring Country Club. His 5-under total of 211 put him one shot ahead of Anirban Lahiri of India, who carded a 68. ”I drove it really well on the first day as well, only missed one fairway on Thursday and I think I only missed a couple today,” Fraser said. ”You definitely have to stay out of the rough out there, it’s pretty brutal.” Martin Kaymer (70) and Lee Westwood (72) were tied for third along with Tommy Fleetwood of England, another shot back. Fleetwood led after the second round but only managed a 73. Kaymer, who is making his first appearance in Thailand, had an inconsistent round with six birdies and four bogeys. ”I had a couple of dropped shots and that was painful, but I think I put myself in a good position,” Kaymer said. ”If the putter is warm enough then I might have a chance.” Defending champion Sergio Garcia recovered from Friday’s 75 to shoot a 71 to sit tied for 10th, six shots behind Fraser.last_img read more

first_imgRENO, Nev. – Andres Gonzales had 11 birdies and a bogey in a 21-point round Friday for a share of the lead with Brendan Steele in the Barracuda Championship. Steele matched Gonzales at 26 points after two rounds in the PGA Tour’s only modified Stableford event, scoring 18 points with an eagle, seven birdies and a bogey at Montreux Golf and Country Club. Players receive eight points for double eagle, five for eagle, two for birdie, zero for par, minus one for bogey and minus three for double bogey or worse. J.J. Henry and Sweden’s Jonas Blixt were two points back. Henry had an 11-point round, and Blixt scored 12 points. Kyle Reifers was at 23 after a 14-point round. Geoff Ogilvy, the winner last year, had six points to miss the cut. Last season, he finished with a tournament-record 49 points for a five-point victory.last_img read more

first_imgANN ARBOR, Mich. – The race to Rio is playing out all over the globe with athletes competing for coveted spots. On the LPGA, the competition among a slew of talented South Korean players to compete in Olympic golf this summer is particularly intense. ”To think someone could be the ninth best player in the world, but might not be able to make the Olympic team from Korea, that’s pretty amazing,” LPGA commissioner Mike Whan said Wednesday. If the team was set now, that would happen because no more than four players from a country can play. Ha Na Jang is No. 9 in the world ranking, but trails four fellow South Koreans: No. 2 Inbee Park, No. 4 Sei Young Kim, No. 7 In Gee Chun and No. 8 Amy Yang. Jang, who hasn’t played in an LPGA event in a month, is not in the field this week in the inaugural Volvik Championship at Travis Pointe Country Club. And, she isn’t expected to return until the KPMG Women’s PGA in two weeks. Jang’s break might be tied to an attention-grabbing situation in Singapore on the way to the HSBC Champions. Her father lost control of a traveling bag that tumbled down an escalator and hit Chun in the lower back, forcing her to withdraw from some events. Jang then won the tournament and moved ahead of Chun in the ranking, bumping Chun to fifth among South Koreans. Chun has forgiven Jang’s father, saying it was simply an accident, but her parents didn’t seem to be happy with Jang’s apology. On the course, the competition creates another source of drama. So Yeon Ryu is among five more South Koreans ranked between Nos. 11 and 21. ”It’s hard to get into the Olympics for Koreans because so many great players within the top 15,” said Ryu, who is ranked No. 11. ”It is better than to think about my golf rather than to keep an eye on each other.” That’s probably wise. It also might be the right thing to say, allowing veterans such as Se Ri Pak, who plans to retire after this year, to be more forthcoming about the first chance a golfer has had to be an Olympian since 1904. ”Our country is so focused on Olympic competition,” Pak said, taking a break from hitting balls on the range. ”It doesn’t get any bigger for a Korean athlete than to compete for our country in the Olympics. There’s a lot of pressure on our young Koreans to make the team because we have so many great players over here.” Whan travels all over the world to promote a tour that is televised in more than 170 countries and territories, giving him a unique perspective for an U.S.-based sports executive. ”A lot of folks in America maybe take for granted the importance of the Olympics,” he said. ”You hear the term ‘podium sports’ a lot when you’re traveling around Asia. The government views sports where you might stand on a podium and your flag gets raised as big events. … In my seven years, I’ve never seen players so aware of where they stand in the Rolex World Rankings. It’s been fun to see how much they care about representing their country.” After Ryu at No. 11, then Hyo Joo Kim (No. 14), Bo Mee Lee (No. 16), Sung Hyun Park (No. 18) andNa Yeon Choi (No. 21) and all have a chance to compete for their country in Rio. ”I feel bad for the Koreans,” Hall of Famer Beth Daniel said. ”Some of them could be among the top 15 in the world, and that might not be good enough for them to make the Olympics.”last_img read more

first_imgOLYMPIA FIELDS, Ill. – Michelle Wie still loves the game. She may be one of golf’s great mysteries, but that’s what cuts through the fog when you sort through all the riddles in all the twists and turns in a career that makes the 27-year-old seem like she has been around forever. Wie is the broken player who is putting herself back together yet again. How is she managing to do it once more? She loves the game. It’s the only explanation. “You have to hand it to her,” said David Leadbetter, her long-time swing coach. “She’s gutted it out through all the difficult times. She’s hung in there through all the injuries, through all the criticism that so many nasty people have thrown at her, when she could very easily have just chucked in the towel and said ‘This isn’t fun anymore. This isn’t worth it anymore. I’ve got enough money, what the hell am I doing?’ She’s a fighter, she really is.” Wie arrives for the KPMG Women’s PGA Championship at Olympia Fields Country Club this week as a threat to win. That’s a head scratcher when you think back to a year ago and the awful slump she was mired in when she arrived at this championship. She shot 78 and 80 to miss the cut at Sahalee and left the Great Northwest looking totally lost. She left looking as if she might finally be broken for good. KPMG Women’s PGA Championship: Articles, photos and videos Wie missed the cut or withdrew in 10 of 12 events last summer. Just look at her now. You can’t knock this woman out. Up off the mat, Wie’s radiating with renewed confidence. With her final-round 64 Sunday at the Walmart NW Arkansas championship, Wie tied for fourth. The week before that, she tied for second at the Meijer Classic. The week before that, she tied for third at the ShopRite Classic. That’s four finishes of T-4 or better now in her last five starts. “I came into this year really motivated, but feeling like I had nothing to lose,” Wie told after hitting balls on the range Tuesday at Olympia Fields. This is starting to feel like that roll Wie got on before she won twice in 2014, before she won the U.S. Women’s Open at Pinehurst. “She’s seeing results, and she’s really getting some confidence,” Leadbetter said. “I don’t think she’s far away from winning. I really don’t. She’s got her game to where she could really do some damage the second half of this season.” Wie’s heating up at the right time with three majors over the next six weeks and with the Solheim Cup just eight weeks away. “This year just felt like a fresh start,” Wie said. What has fueled this latest resurgence? Three things stand out. *Wie is healthy. *She has found and grooved a dependable stock fade. *She has completely turned around her putting with an on-again, off-again claw grip. Wie used to like to hit her irons with a fairly straight ball flight, while hitting a draw with her driver. Now, she hits a fade nearly all the time, with her irons and woods. “I’ve been a streaky player in the past, so I was just trying to find more consistency, to be able to hit more fairways when I needed to,” Wie said. She actually found the fade last season. “I changed to it last year, which I think is a reason I struggled,” said Wie, a four-time LPGA winner. “Anytime you try to change your ball flight, it takes time.” Wie ditched her unorthodox table-top putting stance after missing the cut in the season opener in the Bahamas this year. She said she hit the ball great there but putted awfully. Frustrated, she sought out Leadbetter at the Honda Classic near her home in Jupiter, coaxing him away from the PGA Tour pros to go work with her at the Bear’s Club. “That was the turning point for me,” Wie said. That’s where Leadbetter made a radical suggestion. “He proposed I putt with the claw grip,” Wie said. “It’s funny how things work with David and I, how he will suggest something that I’ve been thinking about. “I tinkered around with it, and it felt good.” As is Wie’s way, she has tinkered with Leadbetter’s suggestion, putting her own distinctive signature on the claw. At first, she went all claw, with a Sergio-style claw grip. Then she modified it, going to a version of a claw setup. She would set up with the claw grip, then move her hand back to a conventional grip just before taking the putter back. The key to that move was keeping her elbow bent as if she was still in the claw grip. “With the conventional grip, she kept her elbow bent as if she was still in the claw grip, almost like a violinist, working back and forth on a constant plane and arc,” Leadbetter said. Today, Wie still has some weird science working for her, and she’s OK with that. Now, she’s setting up consistently in the claw grip, sometimes making the stroke with it, sometimes moving back into a conventional grip, just before taking the putter back. “There’s no rhyme or reason to it,” Leadbetter said. “She says her brain tells her what’s comfortable when she’s about to make the stroke, and she just goes with it.” Lydia Ko used to alternate her grips during a round, going from left-hand low to conventional. She would go left-hand low for shorter putts, conventional for longer putts. Wie confirms it doesn’t work like that for her. “I make my decision as I’m over the ball,” Wie said. “I call it the ‘Whatever System.’ But I feel great about it.” Leadbetter likes Wie’s consistent upright posture and stance, whether she goes claw or not. “Putting is such a catalyst to everything,” Leadbetter said. “Look, you can hit the ball great, but if you can’t capitalize on the shot you hit … She’s making putts, and she’s making lengthy putts.” Leadbetter knows he may never cure Wie of her love of tinkering, but he also knows that’s how her creative mind works. It keeps her loving the game.last_img read more

first_imgDOHA, Qatar – Eddie Pepperell, Gregory Havret, and Aaron Rai made the most of calm early morning conditions at Doha Golf Club to set the pace in the opening round of the Qatar Masters at 7-under-par 65 on Thursday. Havret went bogey free, Pepperell made one bogey and eight birdies, while fellow English golfer Rai eagled his last hole to add to five birdies. One shot behind the leaders were four players, including former Ryder Cup player Edoardo Molinari of Italy and former champion Alvaro Quiros of Spain. Defending champion Jeunghun Wang of South Korea started with a 68, and Race to Dubai leader Shubhankar Sharma of India shot 69 despite a double bogey on the 15th hole. Full-field scores from the Commercial Bank Qatar Masters Pepperell, who is fast gaining a reputation on the European Tour for his irreverent tweets and meaningful blogs, showed his clubs can also do an equal amount of talking after missing cuts in Abu Dhabi, Dubai, and Malaysia. Pepperell birdied Nos. 10, 11, 14, 16 and 18 with a single blemish on 13 after starting on the back nine. He made three more birdies on his back nine. He was joined on top of the leaderboard by Havret, who made five birdies in six holes from the sixth, and Rai, who eagled the last. ”I surprised myself, really,” said Pepperell, who finished third in Portugal and Netherlands last year. ”I’ve made some changes this week with personnel, so I’ve been working on a couple of new things and I surprised myself out there with how well I managed to trust it. ”I hit some quality tee shots, that’s the area I feel that I’ve been struggling with a bit lately. We had a good time. ”It’s definitely a bigger picture for me this week than tomorrow and indeed the weekend. I’m not overly-fussed about my early season form.” Molinari, a three-time champion on the tour including last year in Morocco, started with eight straight pars, and then made seven birdies in his last 10 holes, including a chip-in for birdie on the last. ”I hit every green apart from the last one. I hit a lot of fairways, I had a lot of chances for birdie,” said Edoardo, the older brother of Francesco. ”Last week in Oman, I had a decent week, I had a bad first round and then three very good rounds. It’s been the case for the last few weeks so my focus this week was to try and get a good start.” Oliver Fisher of England was the best among the afternoon groups with a 6-under 66, joining Molinari, Quiros and Germany’s Marcel Schneider in a tie for fourth.last_img read more

first_imgRussell Knox entered the world ranking in 2009 when he played his first Tour event at age 24. A year later, he cracked the top 1,000 with a tie for seventh in Knoxville. It took another four years before Knox cracked the top 100 following a top 10 at Hilton Head. And then two years later, he cashed in by winning a World Golf Championship in Shanghai to move into the top 50. And that’s where he stayed for 93 consecutive weeks, reaching as high as No. 18 after his victory in the Travelers Championship in 2016. Life was good. He was in all the majors, all the WGCs, and he even played in the Hero World Challenge that Tiger Woods hosts in the Bahamas. ”I saw how good a place that was,” Knox said after his playoff victory in the Irish Open. ”I think I tried to get better too quickly. I’ve kind of preached to myself and younger players my whole career that you get better slowly without forcing it, without trying to get better.” His golf got worse. Knox had only eight top 10s in his next 55 starts after winning the Travelers. He fell out of the top 50, and then he fell out of the top 100, dropping to No. 137 before slowly – there’s that word again – working his way back up until it culminated with a runner-up finish in France and a victory in Ireland. Knox now is No. 49 heading into the Scottish Open this week. ”You just naturally evolve as a golfer,” he said. ”I think I got to the point where I was really close to being right where I wanted to be – top 10 in the world – and I just pushed too hard and I got worse. It’s just hard. Once you lose your confidence, which I did a little bit – and I was tinkering with equipment – I just didn’t quite get it right. But I knew starting this year, I’d played good golf and I knew that eventually, something about was going to happen.” HERMAN’S TOES: An injury that might sound small turned out to be plenty big for Jim Herman. Imagine trying to play golf for a living and needing surgery on your toes. Herman was last seen trudging up the hill on the 18th at Riviera in the second round of the Genesis Open, and then facing an even steeper walk up the steps to the clubhouse. He immediately withdrew and didn’t play again until last week on the Tour in what amounted to rehab assignment. The issue? Herman noticed the nails on his baby toes (both feet) would fall off, grow back awkwardly, and then fall off again. It eventually became too painful to walk, and because he couldn’t shift his weight to his left side, it began affecting his swing. ”It got to point where I couldn’t make a swing without pain,” he said. Along the way, he developed plantar fasciitis, leading to a miserable year. Herman had surgery on his toes and wore a boot to deal with the plantar fasciitis. He returned last week at the Lecom Health Challenge, where he tied sixth. ”I’ve missed it. It was good to get back out,” Herman said. ”And it was nice to get this resolved.” He plans a few more Tour starts to make sure his feet can handle a full schedule. Because he won’t be in the FedEx Cup playoffs, Herman plans to take a major medical for next season, in which he will get 18 starts. CONSISTENCY PAYS: Kevin Na went 158 starts on the PGA Tour in nearly seven years before winning at Greenbrier for his second title. That puts him in a small, but peculiar group of players who shows that consistency pays off, even if that doesn’t meant a case full of trophies. Na joins Charles Howell III and Tim Clark as the only players with two victories to have at least $20 million in career earnings. Howell leads the way with $35,527,655, and while his only victories were at Kingsmill and Riviera, he has 16 runner-up finishes and 88 finishes in the top 10. Na now has $27,283,596 in official earnings. He has been runner-up six times since his previous victory in Las Vegas. Tim Clark, who hasn’t played in more than two years and now spends most of his time coaching, has $23,942,321. His two victories were the Canadian Open and The Players Championship. The South African had 13 runner-up finishes in his career. All three of them recorded top 10s roughly 17 percent of the time. RETURN TO THE OLD COURSE: Mark Calcavecchia is among those from the PGA Tour Champions who have three straight weeks of majors – the Senior Players Championship outside Chicago this week, the British Open at Carnoustie next week, followed by the Senior British Open at St. Andrews. Calcavecchia skipped the trip across the Atlantic last year, mainly because Royal Birkdale (Open) and Royal Porthcawl (Senior) are not among his favorites. St. Andrews is hosting the Senior Open for the first time, which will be Calcavecchia’s seventh time competing on the Old Course. The question is whether he’ll play the first hole ahead of Thursday’s opening round. Calcavecchia has a habit of walking out of the Old Course Hotel to the second tee and heading back to his room when he finishes the 17th hole. The only time he sees the first tee is when he has to show up at the clubhouse to register. Will history repeat itself? ”I don’t know,” he said. ”We’re not staying at the Old Course Hotel, so maybe. That would be a first for me.” SOMETHING FOR NOTHING: The Open Championship announced a $10.5 million prize fund this year, with $1,890,000 going to the winner. And to think golf’s oldest championship once had a hard time attracting top Americans because they wound up losing money from all the travel expenses. Sam Snead, for example, won 150 pounds when he won at St. Andrews in 1946. Times have changed, and so has the money. Majors now pay even the players who miss the cut. The R&A says last place will receive $13,500. The top 10 pros and ties who miss the cut will get $7,375, and the next 20 pros and ties will get $5,900. Everyone else gets $4,950. The U.S. Open and the Masters pay $10,000 to everyone who misses the cut. DIVOTS: Thomas Pieters was among five Europeans who took up PGA Tour membership this season, though the Belgian is not likely to last. Pieters has played just nine PGA Tour events going into the British Open and is No. 172 in the FedEx Cup. … Aaron Wise has missed the cut in four straight tournaments since winning the AT&T Byron Nelson. … Canadian Pacific has extended its title sponsorship of the Canadian Women’s Open for five years through 2023. The purse next year will increase to $2.25 million. … Players from the PGA Tour and LPGA Tour will compete separately next year for a $1 million bonus based on how they play select holes on their tours. It’s called the Aon Risk Reward Challenge. Players will be measured by how they play the risk-reward holes that are selected. Scoring and which holes will be highlights are among the details still to be sorted out. STAT OF THE WEEK In the eight years of the PGA Tour at the Greenbrier, Kevin Na (No. 65) and Angel Cabrera (No. 90) were the only winners ranked among the top 100 in the world. FINAL WORD ”Only difference really is the competition is a little bit steeper.” – U.S. Amateur runner-up Doug Ghim, on the difference between college golf and the PGA Tour.last_img read more

first_imgNAPA, Calif. – Brandt Snedeker birdied the final three holes Saturday to take a three-stroke lead into the final round of the PGA Tour’s season-opening Safeway Open. Snedeker finished with a 3-under 69 in windy conditions to get to 16-under 200 on the North Course at Silverado Resort and Spa. ”I’m really proud of the way I stepped up there and hit some quality shots when I needed to,” Sneaker said. ”I made some birdies and gave me a little bit of cushion for tomorrow, which will be really important because tomorrow’s supposed to be tougher than today, so every shot is really important coming down the stretch.” He won the Wyndham Championship in August, opening with a 59 en route to his ninth PGA Tour title. ”It was a tough day, the wind kicked up the last 12 or 13 holes,” Snedeker said. ”I just did a great job of staying patient knowing the last three holes were birdies holes.” Kevin Tway was second after a 68. Full-field scores from Safeway Open Safeway Open: Articles, photos and videos ”It was a tough day, the wind picked up,” said Tway, who had a bogey-free round with four birdies. ”I kept the ball in play nicely. I made a nice save on 14 and that was my only real bad shot.” Sungjae Im (69) was 12 under, and Bill Haas (67) followed at 11 under. ”I hit some nice quality shots coming down the stretch with the two par 5s,” Haas said. ”I saw it (the wind) is to supposed to blow, and be even more difficult than today. But I am very pleased with mike back nine; I hit some nice shots.” Phil Mickelson, tied for second entering the round, had a 74 to drop into a tie for 15th at 8 under. Fred Couples also was 8 under after a 70 in his final regular PGA Tour start. The 59-year-old Hall of Famer played the first two rounds with Snedeker, shooting a 65 on Friday. ”I played pretty well,” said Couples, who eagled the ninth hole. ”On the front, there were a couple of birdie opportunities, but when I made the turn, the wind started to pick up and I hit a couple of good shots on 10 and 11.”last_img read more

first_imgNAPLES, Fla. – Rolex world No. 1 Jin Young Ko isn’t sure how her injured left ankle will hold up this week as she looks to finish off a historic season. “Still a little worried,” she said Tuesday during her news conference at the CME Group Tour Championship. A $1.5 million first-place check is up for grabs in the LPGA’s season finale. It’s the richest winner’s check in the history of women’s golf. Ko felt pain in her ankle finishing off the first round of the Taiwan Swinging Skirts event three weeks ago, in her last start before coming to Naples. She withdrew in the middle of the third round because of the pain. “I’m hopefully getting better,” Ko said. Ko may need some extra strength to push the wheelbarrow full of hardware she’s lined up to win this week. She won’t have to wait until the final putt drops Sunday at the CME Group Tour Championship to begin hauling in all the awards and honors. LPGA commissioner Mike Whan got it all started Tuesday, handing Ko the trophy for most top-10 finishes this season. Her four victories, two of them major championships, were among her 12 top-10s this year. World No. 1 Ko bothered by injured ankle CME Group Tour Championship: Full-field tee times | Full coverage “Get used to holding trophies,” Whan told Ko. “It’s going to be a big night on Thursday.” That’s the night of the Rolex LPGA Awards Dinner. Ko has already won the Rolex Annika Major Award and clinched the Rolex Player of the Year Award. She’s poised to add the Vare Trophy for low scoring average and the LPGA money title. She’s looking to join Ariya Jutanugarn as the only players to sweep all those awards as the Rolex world No. 1. “She’s a really solid player,” world No. 3 Nelly Korda said. “Amazing on the putting green. I’m always at awe with her short game.” That appears to be the last piece Ko needed to become the best player in the women’s game. Ko has trimmed nearly a stroke off her scoring average from last year. She won the Rolex Rookie of the Year Award last season with a 69.81 scoring average. She’s at 69.05 so far this year with a chance to join Annika Sorenstam as the only players to win the Vare Trophy for low scoring with an average better than 69 strokes for the season. Ko is one of the best ball-strikers in the women’s game. She led the tour in hitting greens in regulation last year and leads it again this year. The big difference in her scoring average has come in her short game and putting. After tying for 69th at the CME Group Tour Championship last year, Ko stayed in Naples determined to improve her short game, a weakness in her all-around skills. She brought in Gareth Raflewski, a short-game and putting specialist, and they worked together in a boot-camp style regimen. “We worked together every day for two weeks,” Raflewski said. He also works with the Jutanugarn sisters and Lydia Ko. “We changed her putter and her setup,” Raflewski said. “Her chipping was one dimensional. She couldn’t hit it high, couldn’t spin it or bump and run it. I taught her so many different shots.” Raflewski said the changes required some stubborn determination to master. “At the beginning, she said, `I’m not getting this at all,’” Raflewski said. “But now, she owns all those shots. She doesn’t just have all the shots. She knows when to hit them, what to do in every situation. She’s using all of her own instincts now.” Players competing against Ko see it. “I’ve played with her quite a bit, and she’s just overall such a great player,” Lexi Thompson said. “Very consistent, and not many weaknesses. There really isn’t. Just consistent off the tee. Very straight. And her short game is unbelievable.” It’s why Ko will walk away with all those trophies this week. And, if her ankle holds up, possibly a $1.5 million check, too.last_img

first_imgOrigin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour The analogy that comes to mind is that of a golfer, who having played a golf ball through an 18-hole course, then assumed that the ball could also play itself around the course in his absence. He had demonstrated the possibility of the event; it was only necessary to presume that some combination of natural forces (earthquakes, winds, tornadoes and floods, for example) could produce the same result, given enough time. No physical law need be broken for spontaneous RNA formation to happen, but the chances against it are so immense, that the suggestion implies that the non-living world had an innate desire to generate RNA. The majority of origin-of-life scientists who still support the RNA-first theory either accept this concept (implicitly, if not explicitly) or feel that the immensely unfavorable odds were simply overcome by good luck. Here is an example in The Scientist, a news magazine for working scientists who should know better. In the article, “Protein Synthesis Enzymes Have Evolved Additional Jobs,” writer Amber Dance explains new findings about aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases, abbreviated AARS, the enzymes that attach amino acids to transfer RNAs. This important family of 20 enzymes stands between the DNA code, written in triplet nucleotide codons, and the protein code, written in amino acids. Ms. Dance recounts new findings that show several of these enzymes “moonlight” as workers with other functions.  To combine the two analogies, we could picture a golf course instead of a magic stage. An audience at the course is seated, but no golfer is out there playing. A ball is shown inside the 18th cup. The magician whispers, “See that ball? It played the course all by itself!” Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Evolution Evolutionary Theorizing Depends on Magic WordsEvolution News @DiscoveryCSCJune 26, 2020, 1:49 PM Keep an eye out for the magic words in Darwin literature. Richard Dawkins said, “The living results of natural selection … impress us with the illusion of design and planning.” That’s backwards. Those who know how to interpret illusions say, “The magic words of Darwinians about how actually designed organisms came to be impress us with the illusion of scientific explanation.” Good show. Bad science. Billions of years ago, a chassis appeared.The chassis acquired an engine.The crankshaft found a side gig as a steering wheel.The steering wheel linked up with the brake pedal to form a universal joint.Seats developed. They probably arose when the first hood evolved. “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide In fairness to Ms. Dance, her article focuses primarily on the science of discovery: how these functions were discovered, and what they might mean for medical treatments to help people. But it’s pretty clear that she is using magic words as placeholders for scientists’ ignorance. They add nothing to our understanding. They serve, rather, as statements of faith in the assumed power of natural selection. In this magic show, rabbits appear out of hats. Sleeves acquire pigeons. Scarfs arise out of tubes, and cards evolve and develop into the specific cards the magician needs. To understand the extent of illusion in evolutionary writing, one needs to take the magician out of it entirely, tell him to sit quietly, and watch the props move on their own. That’s what the “scenario” is all about, right? No magician was there to coax them along, telling them where to be and what to do. Robert Shapiro had a good way to describe this. Back in 2007, in Scientific American, he said this about the “appearance” of RNA in the RNA-World scenario: Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share “The evolution of this complex tRNA-aaRS system is a fascinating enigma, as the existing evolutionary evidence suggests that the upper half of the tRNA containing this operational code appeared earlier in evolutionary history than the lower half part that binds to the triplet code of mRNA.”“Our data indicate the existence of a simplified process of alanine addition to tRNA by AlaRS early in the evolutionary process, before the appearance of the G3:U70 base pair.”“Furthermore, using ‘RNA minihelix’ molecules, which are considered to be the primitive form of tRNA, we could also illuminate the ‘morphology’ of tRNA before the evolutionary appearance of the G3:U70 base pair.” Evolution NewsEvolution News & Science Today (EN) provides original reporting and analysis about evolution, neuroscience, bioethics, intelligent design and other science-related issues, including breaking news about scientific research. It also covers the impact of science on culture and conflicts over free speech and academic freedom in science. Finally, it fact-checks and critiques media coverage of scientific issues. Share Now consider leading journals publishing this account after it has whisked through peer review. Is this not exactly what goes on in evolutionary theorizing? Darwinians have mastered the use of magic words that replace rigor with imagination. And they get away with it; nobody ever blows the whistle on what should be tagged a major scientific foul.  The Power of Suggestion Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesiscenter_img Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share “For as long as living things have been building proteins based on the code carried by messenger RNA molecules, aminoacyl-tRNA synthetases have been there.” (Where did they come from?)“AARSs picked up additional domains that allow them to do much more.”“While other proteins have adopted secondary functions…”“These particular synthetases have been present and available for evolution to modify since protein-based life began.”“But in the hundreds of millions of years that they’ve existed, these synthetases (AARSs) have picked up several side jobs.”“The first blood vascular system, which lacked the endothelium present in modern vertebrates, probably arose in a common ancestor of vertebrates and arthropods around 700 million to 600 million years ago.”“Around this same time, TyrRS acquired a glutamic acid–lysine–arginine motif that today is thought to promote angiogenesis.”“Then, around 540 million to 510 million years ago, an ancestral vertebrate evolved a closed vascular system….”“At some point around that same time period half a billion years ago, the TrpRS picked up a WHEP domain….”“In addition, SerRS acquired a domain unique to this enzyme, which now prevents over-vascularization in developing zebrafish, and likely other vertebrates.” New Findings About Aminoacyl-tRNA Synthetases Photo credit: Pierrick VAN-TROOST via Unsplash. Recommended Finding additional functions for these enzymes is a worthwhile discovery. Some of the additional functions involve angiogenesis, meaning they can be considered as targets for cancer treatments. But the article seeks to explain how these additional functions originated, especially in the sidebar, “When these functions arose in evolution” [emphasis added]. Magic words will be shown in bold type. Another example comes from the Tokyo Institute of Science. They offer “A Glimpse into Archaic Protein Synthesis Systems,” specifically, the origin of the AARS enzymes. “The study highlights the possible mechanisms of evolution” that led to these essential translators of the genetic code. This team favors the magic word “appear”: Here is a quick tale about the evolution of the automobile. TagsAARSAmber Danceaminoacyl-tRNA synthetasesautomobilecancerchassiscrankshaftDarwiniansengineenzymesevolutiongolfillusionJournal of Molecular Evolutionmagic wordsmagiciansmessenger RNAnatural selectionprotein synthesisrabbitsRichard DawkinsRobert ShapiroScientific Americanseatssteering wheelThe ScientistTokyo Institute of Science,Trending This suggests that the G3:U70 pair appeared early during genetic code evolution and used as a “second genetic code” (Chong et al. 2018). However, before the appearance of the specific G3:U70, minimalist RNA–protein interactions may have resulted in requisite aminoacylation activities. The activity of AlaRS-α shown in the present study may reflect a vestige of such a primordial aminoacylation of an RNA comprising a small number of nucleotides, including the NCCA-3ʹ (Fig. 6c). In related to this hypothesis, it is suggested that the G3:U70 base pair recognition is actually a later addition to the original operational code (Carter and Wills 2018), as it is likely implemented by segments of the enzyme that were not accessible to the earliest ancestral aaRS forms (Carter 2014). Furthermore, the genomic tag model proposes that ancient linear RNA genomes possessed tRNA-like structures with a 3ʹ-terminal CCA (Weiner and Maizels 1987). A hairpin RNA with NCCA-3ʹ has also been proposed as the origin of homochiral aminoacylation in the RNA world…. The word “appear” also appears frequently, along with accessory magical terms, in the Tokyo Institute’s paper in the Journal of Molecular Evolution by Arutaki et al., promising “An Insight into the Evolution of Aminoacyl‑tRNA Synthetases.” Like all good magicians, these Darwinians use the power of suggestion to make the origin of the genetic code sound possible. On the Origin of AARS by Magic-Word Selection The paragraph makes no sense unless you already believe that Evolution the Magician is doing real magic. If, instead, you are watching carefully to see how the trick is done, it becomes clear that the wizard is importing his own beliefs by sleight of mind, distracting the viewer with empty words. He is showing us a crystal ball with an artificial picture of a line of descent from simple to complex. He knows that the current observable genetic code is highly complex and specified, but he wants us to see a possible path by which blind molecules leaped over all the hurdles to get AARS enzymes where they are today. Some parts of the aaRS molecule, therefore, need to be named “primitive” so that they line up in their proper place in the story. Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Tell Him to Sit Quietly A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to Alllast_img read more

first_imgNazism was clearly inspired in no small part by Darwin’s theory, and Arendt notes that Marx and Engels explicitly credited Darwin with insights essential to Marxism. She points out Requesting a (Partial) Retraction from Darrel Falk and BioLogos Culture & Ethics Terror is the means by which atomization is accomplished. Terror is not just fear, in the ordinary sense. Fear is specific to a threat — I may have a fear of heights or of snakes. I can assuage my fear by avoiding heights and snakes, and thus fear becomes a motivating factor that leads me to specific adaptive behaviors. It is exactly this motivation that totalitarians seek to extinguish, because in the totalitarian paradigm, all of my movement must be controlled by the state. Thus the totalitarian uses terror, which is something very different from fear. The essential characteristic of terror that sets it apart from fear is terror’s absolute unpredictability. Terror is constant dread of the unknown that cannot be avoided or assuaged. A Soviet citizen could not know when or if or where or why he would be arrested. The knock on the door could come at home at night or at work at noon or on the street anytime. It could be a warning or a deportation or a death sentence. He could, at a moment’s notice, be on a train to Siberia, to serve a 3-year sentence or 15-year sentence for a crime he had never heard of or that was never quite specified or even no crime at all. Or perhaps he would never be arrested, but live in a kind of suspended animation, waiting for the knock that never comes. Totalitarian terror pervades life and extinguishes purposeful attainment of any ordinary individual goals. Terror is the wait for the unknown.  “A Summary of the Evidence for Intelligent Design”: The Study Guide Terror, Not Just Fear Origin of Life: Brian Miller Distills a Debate Between Dave Farina and James Tour Marxists and Nazis understood Darwinism as the paradigm in the natural sciences of what they were doing in the economic and social sciences. Totalitarianism is (as understood by its architects) evolution by natural selection, red in tooth and claw. Totalitarianism is facilitated evolution — Darwinism — applied to politics. A useful analogy (mine, not Arendt’s) is to think of traditional society as a glacier — a large mass of frozen ice, with its own characteristic shape and location. It is, in any ordinary span of time, immobile. Totalitarianism turns the glacier (of people) into a river, a torrent of liquid water in constant unidirectional motion. To do so, totalitarians must melt society, which entails atomization, terror, and paralysis.  Atomization and terror create paralysis, which is the indispensable state of individuals in a totalitarian state. Radical isolation from any social network and constant terror prevent individuals from acting on their own. They are rendered docile, helpless and paralyzed. This is the only state in which millions of people can be moved in a single direction with minimal effort — the only way that a minority of totalitarian rulers — often just a handful of fanatics — can commandeer a nation the size of Russia or Germany or China to move in a single direction. A Glacier Becomes a River And it is in movement — “The Movement” (an apt name for totalitarian politics) — that Darwin was so important to totalitarians. All totalitarian movements justify their atomization, terrorizing, paralyzing and commandeering of a nation by the conviction that all of mankind is inexorably moving in a single direction via a process of violence. This may be a conflict based on class or on race. The evolution of humanity from capitalism to dictatorship of the proletariat or from racial miscegenation to triumph of the Aryan race is (in the totalitarian paradigm) an evolution of nature by a dialectic of struggle. Nature cannot be denied or successfully resisted, and any temporary resistance is a denial of natural law, every bit as futile and insane as denial of gravity or natural selection.  Underlying the Nazi’s belief in race laws as the expression of the law of nature in man, is Darwin’s idea of man as the product of a natural development which does not necessarily stop with the present species of human beings, just as under the Bolsheviks’ belief in class-struggle as the expression of the law of history lies Marx’s notion of society as the product of a gigantic historical movement which races according to its own law of motion to the end of historical times when it will abolish itself.  An Unprecedented Phenomenon Atomization is the radical isolation of each individual from every other individual. Atomization breaks the bonds that hold society in its traditional shape — the breakage of family ties, of religious affinity, of ordinary social clubs and organizations, of labor unions, etc. The goal is to disconnect every person from every other person, akin to melting a glacier into liquid water.  Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share TagsAryan raceatomizationBolsheviksCambodiaChinaCOVID-19DachauDarwinismdialecticdry runevolutionFriedrich EngelsGermanyHannah ArendtKarl MarxKhmer Rougelabor unionslootingLubyankaMaoistsmovementnatural lawnatural selectionNazispandemicparalysisReichstag fireriotingRussiasocial clubsterrorThe Origins of Totalitarianismtotalitarianismunpredictabilityvandalism,Trending Email Print Google+ Linkedin Twitter Share Photo: Reichstag fire, February 27, 1933, via Wikimedia Commons.  Our Reichstag Fire? In this regard, our response to COVID-19 is a bit chilling. Although some measures we take to contain the pandemic are beneficial, the measures replicate, in a way that makes me quite uncomfortable, the atomization, terror, and paralysis that are essential to totalitarian government. Face masks, social distancing, prohibitions on religious or social gathering, and pervasive uncertainty and fear of contagion are strikingly analogous to the routine measures used to impose totalitarian government. COVID seems at times a bit like a 21st-century Reichstag fire. The remarkable legal exceptions to the forced atomization and paralysis of our pandemic response — the casual permission granted to mass movements, to protest, vandalism, looting, rioting, and mass violence, which are (bizarrely) accompanied by strict prohibition of ordinary religious and social gathering — certainly has a totalitarian feel, regardless of the stated or actual intentions of our policy-makers.   A Physician Describes How Behe Changed His MindLife’s Origin — A “Mystery” Made AccessibleCodes Are Not Products of PhysicsIxnay on the Ambriancay PlosionexhayDesign Triangulation: My Thanksgiving Gift to All Congratulations to Science Magazine for an Honest Portrayal of Darwin’s Descent of Man Michael EgnorSenior Fellow, Center for Natural & Artificial IntelligenceMichael R. Egnor, MD, is a Professor of Neurosurgery and Pediatrics at State University of New York, Stony Brook, has served as the Director of Pediatric Neurosurgery, and award-winning brain surgeon. He was named one of New York’s best doctors by the New York Magazine in 2005. He received his medical education at Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons and completed his residency at Jackson Memorial Hospital. His research on hydrocephalus has been published in journals including Journal of Neurosurgery, Pediatrics, and Cerebrospinal Fluid Research. He is on the Scientific Advisory Board of the Hydrocephalus Association in the United States and has lectured extensively throughout the United States and Europe.Follow MichaelProfile Share The word “movement” is the key to understanding the Darwinian foundation of totalitarianism. Arendt is right to point out that totalitarianism has no precedent in human history. It is an utterly new form of government. Traditional governments — monarchy, aristocracy, oligarchy, autocracy, democracy, even tyranny — despite their substantial differences, are static, in the sense that they aim basically to preserve an (often idealized) social order. Even the autocrat and the tyrant worked to maintain the status quo — their own unchallenged power.  Totalitarianism introduced a novel dynamic into human affairs. Indeed, “dynamic” is the right word. Totalitarianism introduced movement into politics. By movement, Arendt does not mean the kind of internecine give-and-take one sees in democratic politics or even the kind of active violence one sees in tyranny. She means massive compelled unidirectional movement — powerful forced flow of an entire nation in a single direction. Totalitarians are always a minority — think of the Bolsheviks or the Nazis or the Maoists or the Khmer Rouge — and moving a nation the size of Russia or Germany or China or even Cambodia is a herculean task. To accomplish this movement — analogous to herding millions of livestock — totalitarians use three strategies that are at the core of totalitarian politics: atomization, terror, and paralysis.  Evolution Totalitarianism Is Darwinism Applied to PoliticsMichael EgnorJuly 20, 2020, 4:38 PM Jane Goodall Meets the God Hypothesis …the great and positive interest Marx took in Darwin’s theories; Engels could not think of a greater compliment to Marx’s scholarly achievements than to call him the “Darwin of history”… the movement of history and the movement of nature are one and the same. This is not to suggest that the response to COVID is a deliberate use of totalitarian tactics, but only a fool would deny that it at least has the flavor of a dry run.  Recommended Photo: Reichstag fire, February 27, 1933, via Wikimedia Commons. Philosopher Hannah Arendt is, in my view, the most perceptive analyst of totalitarianism. In her magnum opus, The Origins of Totalitarianism, she points out that Darwinism played an essential role in the rise of totalitarian governments in the 20th century. Arendt: Terror leads to atomization. It is routine in totalitarian societies to arrest family and coworkers and even casual acquaintances of victims, simple due to their association with the accused. This leads to a radical atomization of society, because self-isolation is the only strategy by which you can avoid joining your brother or co-worker or friend in Dachau or the basement of Lubyanka. last_img read more