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Cambrian Explosion Still Troubling to Evolutionists

Despite Darwinian efforts to muffle it or spread it into a diffuse rumble, the Cambrian explosion (the near-sudden emergence of most animal body plans in the fossil record) was loud and snappy.  A new phylogenetic study by Antonis Rokas (MIT), Dirk Krüger, and Sean B. Carroll (U of Wisconsin), published in Science this week,1 could […]

How to Overcome Student Objections to Evolution

Biology teachers face increasing difficulty from students coming into class with bad feelings about evolution (11/30/2005, 08/30/2005).  Many pro-evolution teachers will be attracted to methods that have a demonstrable track record of relieving tensions and facilitating the process of getting students to accept Darwin’s theory.  David Sloan Wilson (Binghamton U, NY) has just the thing.  […]

Undersea Christmas Lights Explained

There is a marine animal like a jellyfish that puts on one of the most dazzling light shows in nature.  Some ctenophores, or comb jellies, can send multi-colored pulses of light that radiate down their sides in a rainbow of colors.  If you’ve ever seen one of these on a TV nature show, you were […]

Choose You This Day: Multiverse or I.D.

If Leonard Susskind is right, cosmologists are escaping the conclusion of intelligent design (ID) by backing into a radically speculative idea: a near infinity of universes.  Susskind, a theoretical physicist from Stanford, just published a book, Cosmic Landscape: String Theory and the Illusion of Intelligent Design (Little, Brown 2005), that explores current cosmological thinking about […]

Don’t PNA in our OOL

Theories for the origin of life (OOL) are in a crisis, unable to imagine how something as complex as a replicating cell could come into existence. Could PNA do it?

Stem Cell Achievement a Possible Fraud

South Korean stem cell researcher Woo Suk Hwang has reason for stress and fatigue, as news reports show him escorted by bodyguards on the way to the office.  His landmark paper in Science1 last July that announced the creation of stem cells matching the donor’s DNA (05/23/2005) has been called into question on two fronts.  […]

Were Dinosaurs Cold-Blooded?

A paper in Science1 shows that at least one dinosaur species came in large and small forms.  Martin Sander and Nicole Klein studied fibrolammelar bone on plateosaurs (a heavy two-legged dinosaur with an elephant-like body and long neck), and found that the growth rates were poorly correlated with body size.  Some plateosaurs were full-grown at […]

Creation-Evolution Controversy in the News

Darwin, Genesis, Paul Mirecki, disclaimer stickers, Kansas and intelligent design continue to be searchable keywords in news reporting about science education. Mirecki’s got a fight on his hands:  The embattled U of Kansas prof who was going to ridicule intelligent design (ID) in a religion class till his inflammatory email surfaced (11/29/2005), and who later […]

Darwin Descendent Enters Narnia

Did you know that one of the great-great-great-grandsons of Charles Darwin plays the part of bad-boy Edmund in the new Chronicles of Narnia movie?  After difficulty finding an appropriate person to play the part, Director Andrew Adamson saw a picture of Skandar Keynes and said, “I think it’s Edmund” and signed him up.  Keynes gave […]

Planet Out of Bounds

There’s a small planetary object where it shouldn’t be.  New Scientist reported the discovery of a Kuiper Belt object (KBO) with a high inclination of 47° and a nearly circular orbit.  Astronomers can’t figure out how it got there.  It’s too far out to have been flung by Neptune into such a strange orbit.  They […]

Marine Unicorn Tusk is a Precision Sensor

Unicorns exist – in the north sea.  Not horses, these are marine mammals, called narwhals, a kind of whale that sports a unique spiraling tooth that gives them the appearance of a unicorn.  Scientists have puzzled for centuries over what these tusks are for.  Leading theories were that males used them for joisting to defend […]

One-Celled Organism’s Spring Generates Enormous Forces

The pioneering Dutch microscopist Antony van Leeuwenhoek marveled at the miniature “animalcules” he witnessed darting through the water and spinning like a top.  One such marvelous protozoan was Vorticella.  The way it rapidly contracted and expanded on its little stalk must have reminded Leeuwenhoek of a spring.  It turns out, it is a spring – […]

Micro-RNAs are Cell’s Optimizers

“Unnoticed next to the main ingredients, microRNAs were considered to be ‘junk’ DNA, leftovers from millions of years of evolution.”  That line comes from an article on EurekAlert telling about how dramatically that picture has changed.  RNA molecules are now seen to be indispensable, with many roles in the cell.  This article talked about how […]

Does Big Science Know What Science Is?

How well do the leaders of the world’s major scientific institutions understand the nature of science?  This rather audacious question is occasioned by recent statements by scientific leaders that might raise the eyebrows of some philosophers of science.     No serious philosopher of science denies the benefits wrought by medicine, physics, chemistry and biology; […]

Instant Geology and Undersea Activity

We’re accustomed to thinking of geological processes as slow and gradual, except for volcanoes, earthquakes and landslides, but some recent stories are surprising for the speed and extent of active processes. Run: The Earth Is Splitting Apart:  Geologists were amazed to find a rift in the Afar desert east of Ethiopia opening up 8 meters […]
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