TED: Focus on Biology

// September 3rd, 2009 // Blog

I spent a couple of hours on the tube today, and decided to catch up on the mountain of TED videos I have sitting on my iPod. I went through about five in total, three of which had a Bio theme. I found these to be particularly interesting (said the Biologist) for different reasons, and thought I'd share.

Janine Benyus shares Nature's designs

This talk was about the fascinating field of Biomimicry. I swear, if I had the talent to invent, this would be my work. I love the presenter's humility. I don't know how anyone could not be humbled by the creative genius of natural design, as revealed in the video.

Behold! in the creation of the heavens and the earth, and the alternation of night and day; there are indeed Signs for men of understanding. Men who celebrate the praises of Allāh, standing, sitting, and lying down on their sides, and contemplate the (wonders of) creation in the heavens and the earth, (With the thought): “Our Lord! not for naught Hast Thou created (all) this! Glory to Thee! Give us salvation from the penalty of the Fire.” [Qur'an: 3:190-1]

Kary Mullis' next-gen cure for killer infections

A very short video, but intriguing nonetheless. I wish he had gone into more detail about how exactly they plan to target the infectious organisms via the DNA linker (?). I guess I'll have to look it up at some point. I also think it's premature to say “mission accomplished” at this stage, as not everything transfers smoothly from lab work to clinical trials.

Elaine Morgan says we evolved from aquatic apes

Now, before you all go crazy on me: I am not posting this video because I agree with her theory. I just think it's a brilliant example of dogmatic thinking amongst scientists – even evolutionary biologists. Plus, she's funny!

6 Responses to “TED: Focus on Biology”

  1. Manas Shaikh says:

    Elaine Morgain said that control on breath is precondition for being able to speak. And that all those who do have a aquatic history. What about parrots then? Do they have an aquatic history?

    This is another question for the biologist: what is your understanding about how humans came about? What about other animals?

  2. Manas Shaikh says:

    After watching these three, went to TED, and watched some of them. They are pretty amazing.

    Have you seen this one?
    http://www.ted.com/talks/lang/eng/ken_robinson_says_schools_kill_creativity.html

  3. iMuslim says:

    “This is another question for the biologist: what is your understanding about how humans came about? What about other animals?”

    Umm, I believe the theory of Evolution and natural selection is one such answer that biologists would give – well, some. :)

    No idea about parrots! It’s all conjecture, as was clearly proven by the video… some hints of this or that, but no hard proof. Evolutionary theory has to be one of the softest branches of ‘science’ to date.

  4. Manas Shaikh says:

    “Evolutionary theory has to be one of the softest branches of ’science’ to date.”

    Islam is not very detailed about this question either.

    One thing that we do know- from Allah Himself, is that all humanity is from one pair. That’s all we really know.
    Leaving humans alone, there is nothing to say for or against the theory of evolution in Islam, as far as I am aware.

    The Ulema (in India at least) are very much against the theory of evolution. However, it may just be an import from the Christian attitude.

    Of course, the other side of the debate- the biological sciences- I know little about. That’s why the question.

  5. iMuslim says:

    On stating the softness of evolutionary biology, I was speaking purely as a Biologist. I know Islam does not have a stance on the evolution of most lifeforms, only of human beings, i.e., the descendents of Adam, ‘alayhis salam. I don’t even see anything un-Islamic in commenting on the evolution of other hominid species, pre-Adam.

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