VIEW HEADLINES ONLY

Date of Biblical Artifact Corroborated

In 1979, a silver scroll was discovered near Jerusalem that contained the text of the priestly benediction known from the Pentateuch (Numbers 6:24-26).  The scroll was dated at the 7th century BC at the time, but doubts remained, some thinking that instead it was from post-exilic times centuries later.  Now, according to a New York […]

Human Common Ancestor Lived 3500 Years Ago

Nature Science Update reported on a surprising find by Joseph Change (Yale) and Douglas Rohde (MIT).  They claim, based on computer modeling of human breeding and migration, that we are all related to the same common ancestor, not millions, but just thousands of years ago, possibly just 1500 BC in Asia, and that perhaps a […]

PBS Airs Another Evolution Series: Origins

PBS NOVA aired its latest installment on evolution, a 4-hour miniseries entitled Origins, on September 28 and 29.  The website hype describes it as follows: Has the universe always existed?  How did it become a place that could harbor life?  What was the birth of our planet like?  Are we alone, or are there alien […]

Solar Wind Erodes Mars’ Atmosphere

Physics Web has a summary of a report that appeared in Science Sept. 24.1  First results from an experiment on ESA’s Mars Express called Analyzer of Space Plasma and Energetic Atoms (ASPERA-3) are in.  They show that the solar wind penetrates deep into Mars’ atmosphere, as far as 270 km above the Martian surface.  Since […]

Big Pieces Missing in Darwin’s Theory, Says USC Scientist

A USC professor of gerontology has “explored a new way to look at aging that directly opposes principles set forth by Darwin in his theory of natural selection,” reports EurekAlert   (Emphasis added in all quotes).  Valter Longo’s theory of aging employs group selection instead of individual selection (see 05/31/2004 headline).  He thinks that in […]

Darwinian Just-So Story Criticized

When Young and Brodie & son published their article “How the Horned Lizard Got its Horns,” (see 04/01/2004 headline), they apparently meant it as a bit of April-fool joke, not a real Kipling-style just-so story.  Several respondents in the Sept 24 issue of Science,1 however, either didn’t think it was funny or concluded the story […]

Big Science Portrays Embryonic Stem Cell Issue as Political Litmus Test

The number of articles in scientific journals on embryonic stem cell research (also called “therapeutic cloning”) has been on the rise, particularly those referring to Britain’s or John Kerry’s support of it (see 08/11/2004 editorial), and Germany’s or Bush’s opposition to it.  Though science journals are expected to be above politics, on this issue their […]

Does Psychology Find Anything New Under the Skull?

Two recent psychological reports seem to either state the obvious or underscore teachings of old-time religion.  Coping:  EurekAlert tells about a University of Washington study that concluded, “Americans had strong need for spiritual support following 9/11 attacks.”  Strangely, Christians and Jews, who believed in forgiveness, seemed to do better than Muslims who believed in retaliation.  […]

Update: Intelligent Design Paper

The controversy over Stephen Meyer’s intelligent design paper (see 09/16/2004 headline) continues.  Science printed a brief but dismissive news item claiming its publication was a mistake, but journal editor Rick Sternberg has answered the charges on his personal website.  Meyer has responded to criticisms leveled by Richard Monastersky in the Chronicle of Education.  The Discovery […]

Clean-Air Laws and Tree-Planting Cause Increased Air Pollution?

A major source of volatile organic compounds (VOCs), precursors of ozone pollution, is tree leaves, says a report in EurekAlert.  Surprisingly, the increase in trees due to abandoned farms has worsened the pollution.  Industry-caused nitrogen-oxygen (NOx) compounds also lead to ozone, and it is not clear how these sources interact.  Nevertheless, it appears that reductions […]

Name-Calling at the Human Evolution Meeting

As predicted earlier this month (see 09/03/2004 commentary), Lucy’s lovers were not going to take her demotion lying down.  Proponents of Orrorin claim their 6 million year old rival walked upright millions of years before the 2-4 million year old australopithecines, and even had a gait more human-like than Lucy.  To Ann Gibbons, reporting in […]

Cell Exhibits Robust Engineering Design

An international team of biotechnologists writing in the journal Cell1 thinks biologists need to focus more on the concept of robust engineering design.  The abstract sounds like something out of an Intelligent Design Movement paper: Robustness, the ability to maintain performance in the face of perturbations and uncertainty, is a long-recognized key property of living […]

Can Naturalism Design Anything?

Philip Ball in the Sept. 23 issue of Nature1 gave a title to a news feature that might catch a reader off guard and think he is allowing the Intelligent Design Movement to have a voice in a scientific debate: “Enzymes: By chance, or by design?”  Upon further reading, however, it is clear the debate […]

Termites: If You Can’t Lick ’Em, Mimic ’Em

Termites, despite their bad rap, have something to teach human homebuilders.  Their mounds are self-sufficient, air-conditioned, environmentally friendly and cheap to run, according to a story in EurekAlert.  “The mounds incorporate a complicated network of tunnels and air conduits designed to channel air flow for the control of internal air quality, temperature and moisture levels.” […]

Scientists Try to Read Neandertal Minds

If dead men tell no tales, living ones certainly do.  Most of us have trouble reading one another’s minds when staring face to face, but some paleoanthropologists, with nothing but skeletons and a few stone tools and burial sites to look at, have no hesitation in reading the Neandertal mind.  Bruce Bower writes in Science […]
All Posts by Date