VIEW HEADLINES ONLY

Looking for Ethical Alternatives to Embryonic Stem Cells

Pro-life advocates perked up their ears at the announcement of a new method that can produce stem cells without destroying embryos.  National Geographic News and MSNBC News talked about the method, which uses skin cells and “reprograms” them to act like embryonic stem cells.  Religion Journal thinks the ethical debate over stem cells may be […]

Darwin’s Finches Evolve – Back and Forth

What’s new on the Galápagos?  For those needing an update on Darwin’s famous finches, the researchers who have spent the most time studying them – Peter and Mary Grant (Princeton) – wrote a Quick Guide in Current Biology1 in question-and-answer format.  We’ll skip the introductory material about how the birds got named after Darwin, and […]

Your Brain Has Perfect Pitch

Scientists have a knack for asking questions about things most of us take for granted.  “The whole orchestra tunes up to an A note from the oboe – but how do our brains tell that all the different sounds are the same pitch?” asks Robert J. Zatorre in Nature.1  This is a puzzling question to […]

Origin of Life: How Dry I Am?

Stephen Benner (U of Florida) has stopped looking for life in water.  A researcher into the evolutionary origin of life, he understands that “water is a terrible solvent for life” – not life as we know it today, he means, but life at the beginning.  This sounds strange, considering most astrobiologists believe in a “follow […]

Paleoanthropology: Start Over?

The September issue of National Geographic, featuring the African continent, has arrived in homes.  On page 1, Joel Achenbach of the Washington Post wrote about the quest for early man, asking, “Are we looking for bones in all the right places?”  The bulk of the article describes the “messy” story of human origins.  It used […]

I.D. vs. Evolution Rhetoric Continues Unabated

The surge in articles and editorials about intelligent design vs. evolution, prompted by President Bush’s remarks (08/13/2005) often seems to track the political philosophy of the person or group: Republican vs. Democrat, conservative vs. liberal – but not always.  Recent salvos: Irish Scream:  Bill O’Reilly had Dr. Richard Sternberg on his O’Reilly Factor show on […]

You Otter Hair How Otters Keep Warm

While on a sabbatical exploring Isle Royale National Park, John Weisel (U of Pennsylvania) decided to collect hair from various mammals.  He found otter fur to be particularly interesting, says a press release from U of Penn Health System.  Since otters don’t have a layer of fat, he wondered, how do they keep warm in […]

Why Mathematical Formalism Eludes Evolutionary Theory

An important mathematical tool used by evolutionists has been discredited.  To study life history evolution (i.e., the changes over time in a population’s reproductive age, maximum size, age at death, etc.) evolutionists have relied on Charnov’s concept of life history invariants.  These invariants, which are “dimensionless ratios of two life history traits—for instance, age at […]

Saddle Up Your Algae: Scientists Harness Flagellar Motors

1805: Beast of burden of choice: oxen. 2005: Beast of burden of choice: algae. Science Now reported an unusual item: scientists have learned how to hitch their loads to a single-celled green alga named Chlamydomonas reinhardtii (see Yale description).  Researchers are actually calling their little teams “micro-oxen.” Scientists are increasingly interested in harnessing biological motors […]

Do Emperor Penguins Know the Meaning of True Love?

The nature film sensation March of the Penguins is capturing the public imagination because of its portrayal of emperor penguins in almost anthropomorphic visions.  Strutting upright in their feathery tuxedos, these Antarctic seabirds seem almost human: they love, they walk, they sacrifice, they grieve over the loss of a chick, they endure hardship bravely, they […]

From Emperors to Monarchs….

If lion is king, and penguin is emperor, who would have thought a dainty insect would be monarch?  EurekAlert posted a story earlier this month too good to pass up: monarch butterflies follow the light – ultraviolet light – to their breeding grounds.  Scientists at Hebrew University, working with monarchs in a specially-designed flight simulator […]

Italy Going Soft on Darwinism

The controversy over evolution is not limited to American shores.  An editorial in the September issue of American Naturalist1 expresses concern that evolutionary biology is getting a low-key treatment in Italian universities: The Darwinian theory of evolution by natural selection is the unifying principle of the biological sciences.  Unfortunately in the Italian academic system, evolutionary […]

Meteorite Impacts Solar System Theories

A study partly funded by NASA and published in Nature1 has thrown a “monkey wrench” into theories of the origin of the solar system, according to a press release from the University of Toronto.  Small grains of minerals called chondrules in two meteorites are “young” – too young to have been formed in the assumed […]

Fossil Brachiopod Shows Soft Part Details

American and British paleontologists described in Nature1 the discovery of nearly complete brachiopods with calcified soft parts intact.  They exhibited intricate details never before seen in fossils of these organisms, sometimes called lamp shells.  Brachiopods, a type of marine animal that attached itself to the sea floor with a pedicle or stalk, were very abundant […]

Dumb Down or Wise Up?  Rhetoric Over ID Intensifies

More and more reporters, scientists and scientific societies are weighing in with their opinions on evolution vs. intelligent design (ID) this week (see 08/13/2005 entry).  Here are some of the more interesting of the recent salvos: It’s Official: ID Is Not Science:  If the scientific validity of an idea can be ruled by authority, then […]
All Posts by Date