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Cambrian Fossil: What Is It?

A Cambrian fossil discovered in China may represent a new phylum, reports BBC News.  Vetustodermis, discovered in 1979, looks like a flatworm with eye stalks and antenna.  It resembles a mollusk or arthropod in some ways, but scientists aren’t sure how to classify it.  Forcing it into any existing group requires “pushing and pulling” that […]

Can Atheism Breathe in an Anthropic Universe?

Astronomers Martin Rees and Mario Livio considered “Anthropic Reasoning” in a Science perspectives article.1  The question bears not only on SETI, and whether intelligent life exists elsewhere, but why it exists here.  They state the issue: We can imagine universes where the constants of physics and cosmology have different values.  Many such “counterfactual” universes would […]

Origin of Life Studies: Motion or Emotion?

Harvard is going to fund origin-of-life research to the tune of a million dollars a year, according to an AP release reported by LiveScience.com, MSNBC News and the Washington Post.  The goal is to reduce life’s origin to a “series of logical events that could have taken place with no divine intervention,” according to Harvard […]

Evolution vs. ID: This Means War

President Bush’s mild off-the-cuff remarks about students needing to hear alternatives to evolution (see 08/02/2005) set off a firestorm of reaction pro and con in the media.  Get your ringside seat here for the war of the words: Mad Scientists:  Nature, as reported this week (08/10/2005), expressed outrage at the President’s remarks – a reaction […]

Plant Communication: How Leaf Calls Bud

Plants communicate with themselves in email (07/13/2001), and the messages are being hacked by scientists.  Miguel Blázquez, writing in Science,1 discussed three recent studies that help solve the problem of how a plant, without a nervous system, buds into flowers all at once.  Two of the studies describe a couple of proteins that, working in […]

Dinolava Theory Back in Eruption

Meteor impact or volcanic eruption?  Science Now reports that the volcano theory of dinosaur extinction has rejuvenated, challenging the long popularity of the Chicxulub impact hypothesis.     Notwithstanding all the dramatic animations on science documentaries of a cataclysmic meteor wiping out the dinosaurs, the article by Carolyn Gramling states that “Scientists have long wrangled […]

What’s On the Agenda?  Kansas Votes in New Science Standards

Science Now (from the American Association for the Advancement of Science, publisher of Science magazine) reported that Kansas voted 6-4 to adopt the new science standards yesterday that “allow for the teaching of alternatives to evolutionary theory.”  It alleged that “scientists” (unspecified by name or number) say that the new draft standards are “a thinly […]

Nature Rallies Troops Against I.D. to the Defense of “Science”

“President Bush’s endorsement of ‘intelligent design’ has sparked a national debate in which scientists are well positioned to prevail,” editorialized Nature this week,1 with the a rallying-cry title, “Keeping religion out of science class.”  This editorial, along with a news item by Virginia Gewin, “Scientists attack Bush over intelligent design,”2 was prompted by President Bush’s […]

What Do You Get When You Cross a Lion with a Tiger?

A liger, that’s what.  No kidding: you get a big cat with a mane and faint stripes that likes to play in the water.  National Geographic News has a special article, with photos, about ligers. This is offered without much comment, just for those who want to learn about something unusual in the animal kingdom, […]

Planetary Wanderings

Here are news briefs that are out of this world: Death Star Sighted:  On August 2, the Cassini Spacecraft took the best-ever pictures of Mimas, the little moon of Saturn with a huge crater Herschel that makes it look like the Death Star from Star Wars.  Why this little moon should be one of the […]

Biblical Archaeology News

One point where theology and science intersect is in the field of archaeology.  Here are a few recent stories that bear on historical claims in the Bible. Pool of Siloam update:  Last fall, the discovery of the probable Biblical Pool of Siloam was announced (see 12/24/2004 story).  In its September-October 2005 issue, Biblical Archaeology Review […]

History Channel Documentary on Human Ancestry: History or Fiction?

The History Channel aired a program called “Ape to Man” Monday evening August 7, alleging that modern science had finally pieced together the solution to the puzzle of human evolution.  Although it included debunking episodes of Piltdown (11/18/2003) and Java Man (02/27/2003), the flavor of the show was that the picture of human origins has […]

Body Scan: How Precision Engineering Aids Human Acumen

Often the most interesting science stories are the ones about us– how our bodies and minds function.  Actions we perform each day without much thought are made possible by precision engineering, sometimes at the molecular level.  Here is a selection of news briefs about human superpowers. Electrical engineering: We have untold myriads of electrical voltage […]

Origin of Life: Can A Liability Be Turned Into an Asset?

Most of us know the Second Law of Thermodynamics (2TD) as the law of decay and disorder, and would tend to assume it would constitute a major obstacle to theories of the origin of life by chemical evolution (see online book); certainly creationists Duane Gish and Henry Morris frequently employed the 2TD skilfully in their […]

President Bush Votes Yes on ID

Asked whether ID was a valid alternative to evolution, President Bush told reporters August 1, “Both sides ought to be properly taught … so people can understand what the debate is about…. Part of education is to expose people to different schools of thought.  You’re asking me whether or not people ought to be exposed […]
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