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Fitness Costs What?  Say That Again?

Good news: evolution has figured out how to make your wounds heal faster.  Bad news: the required mutation makes you go deaf.     Believe it or not, that is the story told on News@Nature.  “Deafness gene has health benefit,” wrote Alison Abbott.  “Protein from genetic mutation helps wounds to heal.”  The article treats this […]

Q: Who Fights With Supercharged Harpoons?  A: Jellyfish

Weak, transparent, limp, and drifting in the water – who would have thought these creatures possess one of the most powerful weapons in the animal kingdom?  Jellyfish and hydras have stinging cells called nematocysts that fire so fast, no one has been able to catch the action of their microscopic harpoons – till now.   […]

The Evolution of Slapstick

Some Darwinists think they have figured out the origin of laughter.  When our ape-like ancestors started walking, they found it awkward and often tripped over their feet.  Bystanding apes apparently found this humorous for some reason, and thus slapstick comedy was born.  The Times Online found this story good for some one-liners. How can this […]

What Use Is Half a Wing?

Ken Dial is at it again, trying to explain bird flight from the ground up with his own version of a Darwinian story (see 01/16/2003).  The title of his paper in BioScience1 harks back to an old criticism of Darwin’s theory: “What use is half a wing?”  Well, half a wing could be a half […]

Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week:  Astrobiology Takes on I.D.

The Center for Astrobiology at the University of Boulder is hosting a symposium today entitled, “Fossils and Genes: Exploring the Evolution of Life.”  Douglas Futuyma (State University of New York) calls Evolution the “most important theory in biology.”  By his own admission, though, it is a theory filled with paradoxes: Evolution is both a fact […]

Paper View:  Cambrian Explosion Damage Control

Like some federal official holding a press conference after a disaster, a Harvard paleontologist has tackled the unenviable job of explaining what Darwin called the most severe challenge that could be levied against his theory: the fossil record. The challenge starts with a bang...

Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week:  Scientists, Learn Darwinism on TV

In Current Biology, Kenneth E. Sawin of Wellcome Trust Center for Cell Biology at Edinburgh University was interviewed about his career.  One of the questions was, “What are the big ideas for you now?”  Here is part of his answer: Another thing that I think about, which may be more ethereal, is that cell biologists […]

The Evolution of Irreducible Complexity

It must be open season on Intelligent Design (ID).  Yesterday, Nature tried defense with a new missing link claim (04/06) and today, Science is printing a story to tackle ID’s offensive line, irreducible complexity (see U of Oregon press release and EurekAlert).  The Discovery Institute immediately jumped to the match, with Mr. Irreducible Complexity himself, […]

Scientist Tries to Explain Away Miracle of Jesus Walking on Water

Easter is approaching.  That must mean it’s the season for skeptics to try their hand at debunking the miracles of Jesus.  The first entry this year seems to be one by Doron Nof of Florida State University who claims Jesus walked on ice, not on water.  He came up with an explanation for how parts […]

Sacrificial Love Evolved from Colored Beards

Scientific jargon is like a foreign language to most lay people, but anyone stumbling across a paper on “altruism through beard chromodynamics” in Nature1 this week must surely wonder what on earth Vincent Jansen and Minus van Baalen were talking about.  Let’s see if their introduction can explain, or if Nature has printed a grown-up […]

Reviewer Stunned by Author’s Handwaving

David Nicholls appears to have suffered whiplash from a line in a book he was reviewing in Science,1 Power, Sex, Suicide: Mitochondria and the Meaning of Life by Nick Lane (Oxford, 2006).  Though he liked the book in general, he said this about Lane’s explanation for how the first cell got its power generator: The […]

Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week:  Evolution of ABC

Four Caltech scientists have tried to explain the shapes of alphabet letters in evolutionary terms, reported EurekAlert: In a new study forthcoming in the May 2006 issue of The American Naturalist, Mark A. Changizi and his coauthors, Qiang Zhang, Hao Ye, and Shinsuke Shimojo, from the California Institute of Technology explore the hypothesis that human […]

Spiders Rappel Without Getting Dizzy

How can spiders drop straight down their dragline silk without going into dizzying spins on the way down?  It’s because spider silk has “shape memory” and a resistance to twisting, due to its unique molecular structure.  Scientists tested three strong threads for shape memory: Kevlar thread, copper thread, and spider silk.  The winner was spider […]

The Darwin Empire Strikes Back

It would seem the ID republic is imprisoned on its own ice-world of Hoth, scrambling to escape as the empire has mobilized its machinery against the rebels.  The AAAS, for instance, held its “Evolution on the Front Line” event in St. Louis and has posted its weaponry on its Center for Public Engagement with Science […]

In Praise of Fat

Well, great balls of fat.  Cells have spherical globs of lipid (fat) molecules that never had gotten much attention nor respect.  They have been called lipid droplets, oil bodies, fat globules and other names suggesting they were just the beer bellies of the cell.  Not any more.  Scientists have been taking a closer look at […]
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