The knights of ID may profess these blows are "but a scratch" or "just a flesh wound," but the argument for design has no scientific leg to stand on.
Collection and treatment of embryonic material from Darwin's finches.
Under an agreement with the Galapagos National Park, we received quotas for collecting embryos of G. magnirostris, G. fortis, G. fuliginosa and G. scandens from Santa Cruz Island, and G. conirostris, G. difficilis and C. olivacea from Genovesa Island. To avoid causing nest defection, only the third egg was collected shortly after it was laid; it was then incubated at 100 ˚F (37.8 ˚C). Embryonic material was fixed in 4% paraformaldehyde in PBS for 2 h at ambient temperature and stored in RNAlater reagent (Ambion) at about 5 ˚C for two to five weeks. Chick antisense riboprobes (CaM, Coll IX, Runx2 and PTHrP-Rec) were prepared and used on Darwin's finch embryos as described previously. We analysed 26 heads of Darwin's finches: large ground finch (n = 3), medium ground finch (n = 5), small ground finch (n = 4), large cactus finch (n = 4), cactus finch (n = 3), sharp-beaked finch (n = 3) and warbler finch (n = 4).
An open letter to the government of Japan
Despite its obligation to comply with a global moratorium on commercial whaling, Japan has killed thousands of whales over the past decade, claiming an exemption for "scientific whaling" under international law. We, the undersigned scientists, believe Japan's whale-research program fails to meet minimum standards for credible science. In particular:
We are concerned that Japan's whaling program is not designed to answer scientific questions relevant to the management of whales; that Japan has refused to make the information it collects available for independent review; and that its research program lacks a testable hypothesis or other performance indicators consistent with accepted scientific standards.
Most of the data being gathered by Japan's "scientific whaling" are obtainable by non-lethal means; it is possible, for example, to determine species, gender, population size, migration patterns, stock fidelity, and other key biological information without harming whales. . . .
The commercial nature of Japan's whaling program conflicts with its scientific independence. Japan sells meat from the whales it kills on commercial markets and assigns "scientific whaling" quotas to individual whaling villages. These commercial ties create a profit incentive to kill whales even when no scientific need exists . . .
Japan has announced it will soon begin killing sei whales, an internationally listed endangered species, ostensibly to determine the whales' diet. . . . There is no reasonable likelihood that killing additional sei whales now will add to what is already known about their diet.
By continuing to fund and carry out this program, Japan opens itself to serious charges that it is using the pretense of scientific research to evade its commitments to the world community. As scientists, we believe this compromises objective decision-making and undermines public confidence in the role of science to guide policy. Accordingly, we respectfully urge the Japanese government to suspend its "scientific whaling" program.
[21 individual scientists]