Tag Archives: design

Reclaiming ‘intelligent design’

Intelligence Design by Lisa Boulanger (fac), Dept. of Molecular Biology and Princeton Neuroscience Institute


This is a pyramidal neuron from the hippocampus, a part of the brain where some kinds of memories are formed. This neuron has been labeled with fluorescent antibodies so that we can visualize microtubules (shown in green), which form a structural network inside the neuron, and insulin receptors (shown in red), which are cell surface proteins that instruct neurons to make connections with other neurons. These connections, called synapses, become stronger or weaker as memories are constructed.

This is one of the photos from The Art of Science contest at Princeton University. The contest includes some of the the most beautiful and coolest of the images produced at the university in the course of scientific research.

An annual event, the organisers chose this year the theme of “intelligent design.” Intentionally, to be provocative. The organisers are hoping to push scientists to reclaim the term from those who attack evolutionary science. To remind one another of its other possible connotations: the intelligently designed product of a thoughtful engineer, or the clever new simulation from a creative computer scientist.

The image above attracted me – but it was not one of the prize winners. There is a gallery of over 50 great images entered into the contest at the Art of Science website.

Thanks to: CultureLab: Reclaiming ‘intelligent design’ with stunning photos.

Science on New Zealand TV

Maori Television has been very successful. As well as the coverage of Maori issues many viewers have been pleased at their programming of quality foreign films.

I came across another gem of theirs recently: 411 – a locally produced programme on innovation, science, technology and design. (See 411.net.nz for information).

Presenters Tumamao Harawira and Taupunakohe Tocker

It’s a fast moving but quite informative programme. Often covering local companies and research institutes.

Recent stories have covered subject like Lense Innovation, Car Recycling, The Synchrotron, Cinematic Games, Kiwifruit Innovation, Maori Digital Art, Virtual Learning, Reef Design, Interactive Books and Wireless Mobile Device Learning.

Future programmes will cover Supercars, Honey Innovation, Bio-Engineering, Gaming Development, Custom Ear Monitors, Appliance Innovation, Building Technology, Observatory Technology and Advanced Materials Manufacturing.

It’s about time we had something like this.

If you are interested tune in Fridays 10:30 pm on Maori Television.

The presenters are Tumamao Harawira and Taupunakohe Tocker


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Design – it’s everywhere


Of course I’m using “design” as a noun – a pattern or shape, sometimes repeated. Not as the verb – to make a detailed plan of the form or structure of something. We see patterns or shapes in almost everything but that does not imply that the patterns were created by intelligent agents. In fact, if we assume that to be the case we will never understand the underlying causes of patterns or design.

Forget about Mt Rushmore, or the watch Rev. Paley found on the ground. As a chemist I’m attracted to the design/pattern apparent in crystals. Consider mineralogy. There are some fascinating and beautiful examples of crystalline minerals. Have a look at the Mineral Image Index for for some great photos of minerals.

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Intelligent design at the shopping mall

It’s a guy thing. We just don’t like shopping. We prefer not to do it but sometimes we just can’t escape. Have a look in any shopping mall on an average Saturday – you will see men standing outside shops waiting for their partners. They seem to be in trances, staring into space. But actually they are thinking. Shopping expeditions give men plenty of time to think. Malls are a great place for contemplating the important questions in life.

Here are some of the thoughts I had on my first visit to Sylvia Park, the largest shopping mall in New Zealand. They were sparked by considering William Paley’s argument by design for the existence of God. His arguments that a watch is evidence for the existence of a watchmaker. Therefore, by analogy, the existence of the universe and of life is evidence for a designer – God.

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