Tom Perrotta on Religion
Perrotta: I had a period in my young life where I was really religious, and so I’m sympathetic to people who, you know, feel those urges and trying to figure out what to do with them. On the other hand, I think there was a degree of… I don’t want to say hypocrisy. I don’t think, you know, every Catholic is not a hypocrite, but we went to church on Sunday and then we didn’t think about it too much. You know, that was… I think a lot of Catholics I know now are trying to be much more serious, and I do think. in a way, evangelical culture has sort of pushed the Catholics in a way to be more serious about their religion and I think it’s one of the reasons why I think evangelical culture always seemed sort of strange and a little bit troubling to me was that, you know, they really work 24/7 trying to live, live their faith and that’s a great challenge to the mainstream culture and, you know, it’s really hard to do but I totally respect the passion that they bring to their religious life because at least the religious life that I knew when I was a kid, almost everybody I knew went to church but I never heard people or rarely heard people make religious arguments for living the rest of their lives, and most Catholics I knew were totally comfortable with, say, the Pope says you can’t have premarital sex but, you know, I’m living with my girlfriend, or the Pope says you can’t use birth control but, hey, I’m using birth control. I mean, I think Catholics had gotten used to this idea that there is this bureaucracy up here and there is the life we really lived and those two don’t match up but that’s the way it goes. We’re Catholics by birthright and I think one of the real powerful effects of the evangelical movement has been to push all religious people to kind of make their lives whole.
Tom Perrotta tells of grappling with Catholicism and basic sexual urges.
Explore how alcohol affects your brain, from the first sip at the bar to life-long drinking habits.
- Alcohol is the world's most popular drug and has been a part of human culture for at least 9,000 years.
- Alcohol's effects on the brain range from temporarily limiting mental activity to sustained brain damage, depending on levels consumed and frequency of use.
- Understanding how alcohol affects your brain can help you determine what drinking habits are best for you.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx a team of DNA sequencers has figured that out.
- A team at UMass Amherst recently sequenced the genome of the Canadian lynx.
- It's part of a project intending to sequence the genome of every vertebrate in the world.
- Conservationists interested in the Canadian lynx have a new tool to work with.
If you want to know what makes a Canadian lynx a Canadian lynx, I can now—as of this month—point you directly to the DNA of a Canadian lynx, and say, "That's what makes a lynx a lynx." The genome was sequenced by a team at UMass Amherst, and it's one of 15 animals whose genomes have been sequenced by the Vertebrate Genomes Project, whose stated goal is to sequence the genome of all 66,000 vertebrate species in the world.
Sequencing the genome of a particular species of an animal is important in terms of preserving genetic diversity. Future generations don't necessarily have to worry about our memory of the Canadian Lynx warping the way hearsay warped perception a long time ago.
Artwork: Guillaume le Clerc / Wikimedia Commons
13th-century fantastical depiction of an elephant.
It is easy to see how one can look at 66,000 genomic sequences stored away as being the analogous equivalent of the Svalbard Global Seed Vault. It is a potential tool for future conservationists.
But what are the practicalities of sequencing the genome of a lynx beyond engaging with broad bioethical questions? As the animal's habitat shrinks and Earth warms, the Canadian lynx is demonstrating less genetic diversity. Cross-breeding with bobcats in some portions of the lynx's habitat also represents a challenge to the lynx's genetic makeup. The two themselves are also linked: warming climates could drive Canadian lynxes to cross-breed with bobcats.
John Organ, chief of the U.S. Geological Survey's Cooperative Fish and Wildlife units, said to MassLive that the results of the sequencing "can help us look at land conservation strategies to help maintain lynx on the landscape."
What does DNA have to do with land conservation strategies? Consider the fact that the food found in a landscape, the toxins found in a landscape, or the exposure to drugs can have an impact on genetic activity. That potential change can be transmitted down the generative line. If you know exactly how a lynx's DNA is impacted by something, then the environment they occupy can be fine-tuned to meet the needs of the lynx and any other creature that happens to inhabit that particular portion of the earth.
Given that the Trump administration is considering withdrawing protection for the Canadian lynx, a move that caught scientists by surprise, it is worth having as much information on hand as possible for those who have an interest in preserving the health of this creature—all the way down to the building blocks of a lynx's life.
The exploding popularity of the keto diet puts a less used veggie into the spotlight.
- The cauliflower is a vegetable of choice if you're on the keto diet.
- The plant is low in carbs and can replace potatoes, rice and pasta.
- It can be eaten both raw and cooked for different benefits.
SMARTER FASTER trademarks owned by The Big Think, Inc. All rights reserved.