Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Scientific Faith

I recently had a discussion about challenging my faith. I have always done this myself, believing that my faith would be strengthened through challenge. It was last night that it occurred to me that this was the scientific method applied to my faith. The following is an expansion of that thought.
Faith is very much like science. You may be shocked by this, but look at how similar they are. Both study truth. Both use methods involving the formation and testing of theories. Both are self-critical, challenging the theories to strengthen them. Those who make a discovery in each attempt to communicate it to others.
Faith is a Study of the Truth
If there is a God then there are things that are true about Him (or her/it/they), and things that are false. Either He performs miracles or He does not (Either a Man was born of a virgin or He was not). Gravity is either 9.81m/s^2 or it is not. There are no two ways about it. We can certainly argue things beyond that ("How do you know gravity is 9.81"), but these questions must presume that there is a fixed, true thing that we're trying to understand.

Because it is a study of true things, faith, like science, has claims of truth which may be right or wrong. And as with science, we ought to be rigorous in deciding which claims, beliefs, doctrines, and practices to accept and which to reject.

The Scientific Method

How does science decide which claims are true and which are false? "The Scientific Method". What's that? It's a process of discovery which tries to test theories with experiment.
At its core is skepticism. You need to question and show that your theory cannot be dis-proven, try as you might. It's not a way to prove things. No number of white swans would be sufficient to 'prove' the statement, "All swans are white," for there may be an undiscovered black swan. Nevertheless, if the statement is limited, "All swans on Swan Lake are white," and the evidence is strong against the alternatives ("Of 1000 swans observed, 1000 were white") one can be fairly sure of the theory. Even still, one has not proved the statement; one has only showed that it is the most reasonable thing to believe. This is all science can do.

And this is all faith can do. I cannot prove God, but I can provide powerful evidence for Him. I can provide compelling evidence to disprove the alternatives ("The Bible is not inspired," "God is not knowable," "Jesus was just a good moral teacher"), but I can't prove that Jesus was born of a virgin. I can only show His virgin birth is the most reasonable thing to believe.

Expanding Knowledge

Science grows by challenging itself. A scientist does experiments which would disprove his theory ("I'm going to watch for a black swan"). When they fail to ("Zero black swans were observed"), it further strengthens the theory. Only after doing this can a scientist go to the world and put forth a theory ("All swans on Swan Lake are white").

Faith grows by challenging itself. A person ought to challenge his beliefs, even actively looking for things which would disprove it. When these fail, this strengthens the person's faith. As Paul says, Rom 5:3 (NLT) We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us-they help us learn to endure.
With challenges answered, he can then answer criticism and question alike. And this is what Peter wrote: 1Pe 3:15b ...[be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." This is exactly like what a scientist ought to do (sans the "with meekness and fear" part, which would probably substantially improve science writing).
In both cases, if these challenges oppose the theory, it means the theory ought to be revised or completely thrown out. The scientist who sees a black swan on Swan Lake must amend his theory ("Most swans on Swan Lake are white"). The Atheist who reads a verifiable prophecy must amend his theory, as would the Christian if he found a contradiction in the Bible (praise God these are absent).
When they have established their ideas, scientists communicate their theories via publishing, posters and conferences, and call it “Advancing Knowledge.” Christians, though a bit more sophisticated in their methods, communicate their theories in a similar manner (books, conferences, conversation) and call it ‘Evangelism’.
Faith is very scientific. It is a process of discovery of truth which uses rigorous and repeatable instruments to discover what is true. It is strengthened by questioning and challenging itself, and can be communicated to others effectively only afterwards.
Faith includes all the essential elements and processes of science including logic, hypothesis, revision, and criticism, but omits the physical tools in place of philosophical and historical ones. In short, faith is science without microscopes.
But, as happens to all scientists eventually, I got scooped (had someone publish my idea before me). Paul beat me to the press (by about 2 millennia): 1Th 5:21 Prove all things; hold fast that which is good.

It is humbling and encouraging knowing that this is nothing new; this is not some big new idea. It was written by a guy a long time before I was born. I just realized now what God was talking about all these years. So now I’ll smirk every time I see scientists attacking faith on the basis that it is “unscientific”.

"But science is so much simpler. Unlike faith, there is clear data which proves or disproves a thing."
I used to think that. I used to argue as follows. While science did have more precise instruments, it did not mean that faith was any less valid. A postal scale may be more precise than a fruit scale, but that doesn't mean that a fruit scale is wrong.

Now I don't even have to use that argument any more. Now that I have been in science, and read about science, and published in science, I can say without a doubt: science sucks. It's not precise. It's not clean. It's not unbiased. It's messy. It's usually very messy. And that's why there's so much contention within science. "Why Most Published Research Results are False" was an article that came out which argued this point.

Faith has to use old books instead of the scientific literature, philosophy instead of mathematics, and history instead of observation. As biology is not better than astronomy because microscopes are better than telescopes, so science is not better than faith.

"It's no use arguing, we're not going to change each other's minds. You can just talk in circles with matters of faith."
People argue in circles both about science and about faith. People talk in circles usually because they don't listen to each other.

The only reason that an argument is guaranteed to go nowhere is if the thing contended has no common basis. "Deep-dish pizza is the best" "Nu-uh" "Uh-huh". This argument is based on internal feeling and preference, not on something common. When we agree on reason, we can have productive arguments (I've written on this before here).

If the argument is "I believe in God." "I feel that's stupid" then of course it will go nowhere. But if the disagreement is on matters of fact ("Jesus lived in 30AD") or matters of truth ("God could not exist and allow evil") then these things can be discussed productively and minds can be changed... unless of course you're so close-minded as to refuse to listen to rational argument. But of course, that is not the case.

As far as the mind-changing goes, I have witnessed three of my closest (and smartest) friends change from Deism, Atheism and Agnosticism to Christianity. Much of this was because of argument. Simply because you have not seen a thing does not mean it does not exist (Don't say all swans are white; don't say all arguments on faith don't change minds :).

"Philosophy isn't true like science."
Scientists try every so hard to cling to the keys of the gates of Truth. Their efforts are simply laughable.

Science is a branch of philosophy. It used to be even be called philosophy (Bacon, its inventor, called it "Natural philosophy"). Science pretends it can know things without the branch of philosophy which studies knowledge (Epistemology). It tries to describe the things which are, without considering what exactly are true things (Ontology). It dismisses the most important questions about life, purpose and origin as being either purely biological ("to procreate") or as unknowable.

How do scientists argue their points? With logic (a branch of philosophy). Science uses the language of philosophy, but claims it is superior to it. It is as silly as the sentence, "I have no need of the English Language!" Every discovery of science depends on the foundation of philosophy which supports it.

Philosophers don't use microscopes, but they know some things more certainly than scientists do. Their tools are different, but that does not invalidate them.
We can overlook this utter foolishness of scientific hubris and believe what is reasonable: Philosophy is a way to discover truth, along with science.

"Isn't science the opposite of faith?"
I'm sorry, but that is not the kind of 'faith' I'm talking about. Of course you could always talk about something else and call it faith, and define that as "believing something against the evidence," but then you're talking about what I call 'insanity'.

What I mean by faith is simply trust. We trust in all sorts of things. I, for example, have faith in elevators. The engineers who designed them had faith in Universal Gravitation. In precisely the same way, I have faith in God.

We certainly can believe in things we don't see. For example, we believe in things called electrons. Why? Because people have indirectly observed them, and so we now have faith that such things exist. Like the Bible says, "Now faith is ... the evidence of things not seen." (Hbr 11:1). Electrons being 9.1 x 10^-31kg, we cannot see them, but we have lots of good evidence that they exist, so we have faith in electrons. God is exactly the same (except the evidence is quite a bit better for Him than electrons).

All quiet on the western front

So I'm done with finals. Ask me about Topoisomerase II, or Nucleotide Excision Repair (from Molecular Biology) and Wnt Signaling (from Cells to Tissues) and I'll talk your ear off. Whew. That is right, four weeks in and done with a first set of finals and none in sight (that is, for 8 weeks).

A bit of celebration followed what was very high-stress for most. I joined in the imbibery with a plastic cup of champagne the second year class had poured outside of our final, and then decided to celebrate the rest of the weekend dry. Needless to say, I was in the minority. So the Friday and Saturday night (in SF) could be accurately described as being "off the hook" (I would really like to know the origin of that metaphor).

Life here has been wonderful. I really love it. The people here are incredible. I've gotten to be great friends with a handful, have about 20 friends (people I hang out with regularly) and am on relatively good terms with all the others.

Stanford has remained gorgeous. I took these on a walk by "The Dish," a trail right on campus.

Spiritually speaking, I've found a great church (ALCF) and a Bible study/small group. I'm seeing things in myself that are spiritually inadequate and weak, and beginning to strengthen them. I am even seeing some of the seeds I planted begin to sprout. Praise the Lord!

Things couldn't be much better!

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Body and Cell Biology of Christ

1Cr 12:12 “For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also [is] Christ.”
The Body of Christ is an analogy which may be far deeper than I originally gave it credit for. I have now studied basic cell biology a second time and have realized that this metaphor could be extended a bit. There is a hint here of something deeper. In this entry I'll describe a bit about biology in simple terms and show that there may be far more behind the body of Christ than Paul had time to write about in 1 Corinthians.
We know that all parts of the body come from a single fertilized egg, one set of DNA. Every cell in your body has a complete and almost perfect copy of the original DNA of the original fertilized egg. As the body grows, different parts of the genome are expressed or ‘turned on.’ As the body has need, the cells differentiate and become different kinds of cells. Early on, these cells become precursors. One precursor may become a skin cell or a hair cell, but does not become a nerve cell. Parts of the DNA are turned on or off to make a skin precursor different from a nerve precursor. Much of this switch-flipping is due to context; the environment of a precursor cell helps determine what it will become. More steps occur and more switches are turned in the DNA until the cells finally become a normal body cell like a skin cell or nerve cell. All cells have different roles and characteristics. Some are rapidly dividing like skin, others are slow like parts of the eye. Some are very strong like muscles, others are soft like ears. Even within a single tissue (the intestine), there is a wide variety of cells. There are some to lubricate, some to digest, some to secrete, some to fight infection. The incredible thing we have recently discovered is that under the proper conditions, the skin cell has all the information to become a nerve cell.
This is like the Church. The original seed was Christ; the DNA was the Word. That original message has been faithfully passed down to each and every member (cell) of His body. Throughout the growth of the Church, different teachers (precursor cells) have led different types of churches (normal body cells). The churches Paul planted were probably very different from the ones Peter planted in nature and character, though unified by the message (DNA), as nerves are different from skin. The kind of Christian that is produced by any local church is highly dependent on the environment. A Christian who comes to faith in a persecuted church may be far stronger than one from suburbia, as muscles are stronger than earlobes and become what they are by the context of their developing cells. The churches themselves have variety as the tissues do; an American church is not an African church as a patch of skin is not an intestine. Also the individual members of a church have vastly different talents and interests; some do accounting and some do preaching, as some cells do secreting and some do absorbing. The main point is that every single Christian is unified in the central message of the faith: the Gospel. In a similar way, every cell in a body is unified in that it has basically the exact same copy as every other cell; they, like Christians, are unified in the central message.
Normally cells behave very altruistically and will sacrifice themselves or will limit their individual growth for the good of the whole body. If the original DNA message is perverted, a cell may change its behavior. If it doesn’t sacrifice itself for the body, or if it grows faster than it ought to, it begins to grow. It becomes a tumor and drains away nutrients from the body. If it remains in its proper place, it is only an annoyance; if the perverted message spreads (if the cancer metastasizes) it may affect other parts of the body and lead to death.
This is like pride. A single man (or angel) may grow prideful and believe his role is more important than it is. As he waxes great, he may draw away others with him. He is annoying if he stays in his place, but if he leaves his place and his doctrine spread, it endangers the entire church and not just the man's neighborhood.
Maintaining the faithfulness of the original DNA message is critical to the survival of a person. There is a great amount of energy spent to keep the original message true. When it is copied, the machine that copies the DNA proofreads. After it has been copied, other machines come along and check for errors. Some even check to see if there is evidence of tampering or damage and will cause the entire cell to destroy itself with its DNA to prevent it from being copied again. Like the copying of the Bible and keeping true doctrine is essential for the success of the Church, the fidelity of the DNA is essential to the proper functioning of the body.
The same is true of the Word. Historically at least, Hebrew scholars checked and rechecked their work. When errors were suspected, they would burn the entire parchment. Reformers and apologists starting in the first century fought for pure doctrine (Rev 2:2) and opposed any changes to the original message. The maintenance of the Gospel and the Bible has been an incredible miracle and the reason why we still have a healthy Church today.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

The Demise of Junk DNA and Implications for Medicine

[Personal Note: I'm trying to avoid schoolwork on Sundays (Mark 2:27), so I came back to my room to decide what to do. I remembered having a conversation with a few people on a few occasions this weekend about junk DNA. I said things which I believed but couldn't confirm (e.g. about the history of the term "junk DNA"). I figured I'd do that for a bit and then decide what to do, but then 5 hours went by. And I had written this. I like to write, but usually don't have the time, and don't know if I will ever again.

I've tried to make this accessible, so I'll need double forgiveness. My medical school readers, pardon me for explaining what DNA does... again. I know you're paying attention in MoBio. For my non-med school readers, I apologize for all the jargon I don't know is jargon. If anything is unclear, please tell me so I can remember how normal humans talk outside of the kingdom of Medschoolandia.

I know it's long, but comments would be much appreciated.]


As you probably know DNA is our code. We used to think that DNA only coded for protein. Proteins are the machines in our cells which do everything from contract our muscles to filtering our blood and everything in between. We have about 25,000 proteins encoded in our body to do every conceivable function. The strange part is that these protein coding sequences are only a few percent of the total genome. The mystery thirty years ago was: why do we have a 3 billion-letter code when we only need 60 million for proteins?
History Lesson
The initial answer came from the theory of evolutionary. If we evolved by random and accidental processes, it is reasonable to believe that seemingly useless codes are actually useless, vestigial organs or genetic fossils. If there were no designer concerned about the elegance and efficiency of his code, then one ought not expect elegance.
This was formally postulated in the early years of DNA sequencing. This view was first offered by Susuma Ohno who wrote in a 1972 article titled So Much ‘Junk DNA’ in our Genome, “Our view is that [junk DNA segments] are the remains of nature’s experiments which failed. The earth is strewn with fossil remains of extinct species; is it a wonder that our genome too is filled with the remains of extinct genes?”
This was the dogma for almost three decades. Searching the literature (ISI Web of Knowledge; a database of most of the peer-reviewed science writing) for the phrase “Junk DNA,” one finds it used initially in 1972, then used throughout the 80’s and 90’s. Scientists built their theories on it and operated under the assumption that the ‘junk’ was useless.
One group even made a computer simulation to prove that evolution predicts junk DNA. In an article in the journal Science (one of the two superpowers in the scientific world) “Computer Genome'' Is Full of Junk DNA the author writes, “The simulation clearly shows that eukaryotic genomes…will evolve to a large size most of which sequences are vestigial in some way” (everything more advanced than a yeast cell is ‘eukaryotic,’ including humans). He continues to say that, “Most of the DNA in eukaryotic genomes…did nothing at all.” Then he waxes poetic to conclude, “Molecular maps … of DNA are characterized by islands of transcribed sequences [proteins code] in a sea of silent DNA.” This captures the mood of the era.
As an aside, there is something you should know about biologists: they, like most scientists, are loathed to challenge dogma (It surprised me to find that they actually admit to this diction in scientific papers and say things like “…consistent with the postulate of the ‘central dogma,’” and “…without infringing Crick's central doctrine…”). There were very early, weak suggestions that junk DNA might have some purpose (when you screw it up, it screws up the animal), but nothing to speak of until the 90’s.
The first explicit attack on the Junk DNA notion wasn’t from a biologist (who, above all else, seemed terrified of boat-rocking), but a cryptographer named Simon Shepherd. He figured, “nature would not go to all that trouble [to copy junk DNA] without reason.” In 1993, he used signal analysis to guess at a purpose for junk DNA. His conclusion, with absolutely no background in biology and analyzing only sections of the genome (the human genome project wasn’t finished yet), was that the non-coding sections between genes was an error correcting code making sure that proteins came out properly (The cryptographer who took a crack at 'junk' DNA. New Scientist, 26 June 1993; it turns out that he correctly guessed one of the purposes of it). Though significant historically speaking, the journal he published in doesn’t have much say in where science goes.
Quiet support for the theory of useful junk built up in the late 80’s and early 90’s, but no one openly and seriously challenged the term ‘junk DNA,’ at least not in the scientific literature. Then finally in 1994 a pair of articles in Science challenged, for the first time in the mainstream scientific literature, the notion of Junk DNA (“Mining Treasure from ‘Junk DNA,’” Vol. 263, No. 5147 pp. 608-610 published in February and “Hints of a Language in Junk DNA,” Vol. 266. no. 5189, p. 1320 published in November). In the earlier article, several possible functions of non-coding DNA were suggested by reputable researchers, (who published their work without using the term ‘junk DNA’). The article concludes with this: “Enough gems have already been uncovered in the genetic midden to show that what was once thought to be waste is definitely being transmuted into scientific gold.” The latter article concludes with a quotation from the Harvard biologist Walter Gilbert, “I think what we call ‘junk DNA’ will have a number of uses.”
1994 was the year the dam broke. Once there was mainstream support for “Junk DNA,” biologists jumped right on the bandwagon. Once Science said it was OK to say that Junk DNA had a purpose, many articles were published to that effect. Throughout the 90’s and into the new millennium, people began to find role after role for junk DNA. Everyone was bashing Junk DNA starting 1994 and lasting a decade. Here is a brief history of article titles throughout the years:
1972 - “So Much ‘Junk DNA’ in our Genome,” Brookhaven Symposium on BioLOGY
1986 - “’Computer Genome’ Is Full of Junk DNA,” SCIENCE
1994 - “Hints of a Language in Junk DNA” SCIENCE,
1998 - “Should scientists scrap the notion of junk DNA?,” J. NAT’L CANCER INSTITUTE
2006 - “Regulatory RNAs and the demise of 'junk' DNA,” GENOME BIOLOGY
In 2006, it seemed that people finally realized that the junk DNA horse was actually dead, and whipping it was no longer nearly as much fun as had been in the late 90’s. Unfortunately the term ‘junk DNA’ proved too sticky and did not un-stick, even to this day (people call it ‘junk DNA’ believing it has a purpose… that’s the trouble with catchy nicknames). It is interesting to notice the time gap between 1994 and 2006. In a little over a decade we went from ‘A hint of language’ to the ‘demise of junk DNA.’
Now it is believed that non-coding sequences may even be more important than the actual ‘coding’ regions. We have seen non-coding DNA control how proteins are expressed. In other words, non-coding DNA tells the cell how much protein to make. If the coding DNA is like the blueprint for a car, the non-coding DNA is the factory foreman telling deciding to make 1000 cars instead of 10). The non-coding DNA that does this is sometimes immediately around a code, sometimes interspersed between the code, and sometimes even tens of thousands of letters away (like a boss in New York ordering the Detroit factory to slow down production). We’ve seen RNAs which don’t ever turn into proteins further regulating things and doing things we thought only proteins could do. The “Crick Doctrine” and every other dogma we held about DNA have been overturned. Having overcome the arrogant assumption that what we don’t understand isn’t important, we have discovered a whole new world which we are just now beginning to explore.
Lessons Learned?
So what did we learn from this little history lesson? Firstly, that science makes mistakes. BIG mistakes. Going from 3% useful DNA to over 30% useful DNA (and climbing) is a BIG mistake (a tenfold error). Secondly, that science can correct itself, and it can do so relatively quickly. Making a 180 like that in a matter of a decade is laudable. Not that this is a good thing overall. I mean that we should praise a science as we praise a child when he apologizes for hitting his sister. It is a shameful thing that happened, but better than if the apology never came.
And that is the story on Junk DNA. So let us continue our discussion by looking at what got us into this mess to begin with: a bad theory. The bad theory was that we arose by a sloppily process. We theorized that the mechanism by which we came about was a messy one with a lot of errors and inefficiencies. It has turned out that this, at least when it comes to DNA, was simply and clearly wrong.
May I humbly suggest another theory? I propose we think of the life as arising from an elegant process instead of a sloppy one. We ought to form a better theory, one that conforms to our data: that whatever formed life as we know it behaves as if it was an artist, an engineer and a designer.
When we see a genetic code, let’s not dismiss the 97% of the code as ‘junk’ when we don’t understand it. When we see a new protein, we ought to first assume it is part of an elegant system, not a useless piece of trash left over by an idiotic process. When we see an organ that we don’t understand, instead of first assuming a useless piece of flesh handed down by a process too stupid to take it out, let us be agnostic on its purpose and encourage ambitious scientists to try to figure it out. We have asserted our assumption when there is no data. We’ve pointed at the poor little organ and, for a century, shouted at it, “Useless!” I wouldn’t work under those conditions either.
It’s a good thing Duke researchers are leading the way by rejecting the old theory, or at least behaving like they did. Last year, they showed that the appendix has a useful role in repopulating good bacteria in the intestines and may be important in surviving intestinal diseases like Cholera (Hampton, T. A Use for the Appendix? JAMA. 2007; 298(21):2474).
You may think that all this talk about theories is simply an academic point, that we can agree to disagree, and that you can believe your way and I mine. But this is truly a life-and-death issue.
There was a huge reluctance to spend time or money studying non-coding DNA because of the assumption that it was junk. It turns out now that many diseases are actually caused by mutations in non-coding DNA. We can now do genetic counseling preventing transmission and are beginning to develop treatments. But this has only happened very recently because, until about a decade ago, we were still comfortable in our assumption that non-coding DNA was useless. The same goes for the appendix; 321,000 Americans were hospitalized in 2005 because of the appendix. How many lives may have been saved if we tried to figure out how the organ worked fifty years ago instead of dismissing it as another mistake by our sloppy friend evolution? How many people have died because of our stubbornness in clinging to a bad scientific theory?
Even if we were to assume atheistic evolution, I'm only suggesting that maybe we don't know who evolution really is, deep down. Maybe it is a process misunderstood. We may look at a man's desk and say he is sloppy and stupid, but that man may turn out to be a genius whose brilliance is hidden under a messy desk. Maybe, just maybe, evolution is that genius. We should, upon seeing the brilliance of evolution, reject the notion of it being stupid and embrace and even expect its genius.

Saturday, September 6, 2008

And another one bites the dust...

Weeks. The title is talking about weeks (and an incredible Queen song).

So it's Friday night, half past midnight, and I'm done with another week. I'm sure you're wondering how I feel. Regardless of the presence or absence of wonders, I will tell you. To sum it up, good. Spiritually, emotionally, socially, and even academically, good.

I did a lot this week. For one, [warning, for those with weak stomachs, skip this section] I held a human heart in my (gloved) hand, and was able to find the Left and Right Cardiac Arteries. I learned all about DNA transcription, repair and proofreading (which is pretty freakin' cool, if you ask me). I also learned how to give PPDs and draw blood (I suck at both, but I know how to).

As far as work is concerned, there is a lot to do. I have online quizzes on Histology and Molecular Biology due by Sunday. There are probably 100 pages of Cells to Tissues to understand and a denser 30 pages of Molecular Biology. And I've got a scientific paper to read on Telomerase. But that's all I have to do, and I'm not being sarcastic.

I don't have a million other obligations taking up time. I can no longer spend Saturdays in Mexico, so I'll probably spend it studying. I'm still of the opinion that I won't study on Sunday to rest one day of the week (God said it was a good idea, right? ...We'll see how long my integrity lasts). I played Ultimate footba-occer today (and now am sore and ache... I must be getting old) this afternoon. I'm probably going to a party tomorrow night. What else have I to do in the remaining 16 hours per day but study? I try not to study alone, so it's a discussion on the stuff. When I'm thinking in a group, it's almost fun. Especially when I get to study with people I like (which, of course, is everyone :). Sometimes I study with people I don't really know (even though I know most of the 86 by name). It's sort of like a perpetual finals week. It's quite enjoyable.

Some people are really stressing. From what the second years have said and even the professors, it shouldn't be that hard to pass. There is a lot of information, but worrying about it never helped anyone except in getting them to work; it's the work that counts, not the worry. I guess I could cut out a few more hours of fun and replace them with study. But I don't think that would be prudent. As for the stressing, I learned a while ago (namely April of 2005... while preparing for the MCAT) that this whole thing is in God's hands and will work out for my best (whether that's passing or not, Romans 8:28); I need only to do my best. So far my best + God's will has led to Stanford, so there's no reason to change course now. Stress, at least in the academic realm, wasn't necessary and, I don't believe, will be. Again, we'll see how long my integrity lasts.