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SETI Will Turn 50 in 2010

There hasn’t been much news about SETI lately, but expect more in the coming year.  In April 1960, 50 years ago, Frank Drake began the first SETI search with radio telescopes called Project Ozma (see SETI Institute description).  No undeniable signal of intelligent origin was found that year or in the 50 years since, despite […]

So Long Darwin Bicentennial

Even some Darwinians are growing weary of Darwin hoopla.  The Darwin Bicentennial and Origin of Species 150th Anniversary celebrations have come and gone, but Darwin is just as contentious and controversial as ever.  Historians may remember not just the pro-Darwin celebrations of 2009, but the strong internet and media presence of Darwin skeptics.     […]

Robot Designers Strive to Match Animals

Engineers feel great satisfaction when their robots can match just some of the feats of animals.  What does that say about the design of the animals? It’s a bird, it’s a plane:  The first “hummingbird robot” was unveiled by Japanese researcher Hiroshi Liu (Chiba University) in a press release published by PhysOrg.  The hand-sized device […]

L.A. Museum Sued Over I.D.

They had a contract.  The American Freedom Alliance (AFA), which takes no official position on Darwinism vs Intelligent Design but wanted to present both sides of what they considered an important public issue, was scheduled to show two films at the California Science Center’s IMAX Theater – one which assumes evolution, and one which argues […]

Simplest Microbes More Complex than Thought

The smallest, simplest cells are prokaryotes.  These are the bacteria and archaea that lack a nucleus and are usually considered primitive.  Scientists are finding, though, that they know many of the same tricks as the more complex nucleus-bearing eukaryotes.     PhysOrg reported that a species of Mycoplasma, among the smallest independent-living bacteria, is more […]

Inadequacies of Darwin’s Theory Exposed

For a scientist who has been celebrated all year by many as the greatest thinker in history, Darwin left behind a lot of gaps.  If his theory of common ancestry by descent with modification is so well substantiated, as the scientific community claims, why are there continual attempts to fill gaps with other notions?   […]

Evidence for Evolution, or for Uncontroversial Variation?

Science papers and articles often announce promising new evidence for evolution.  To distinguish Darwinian evolution from creation, though, requires evidence of a certain magnitude.  The staunchest Biblical creationist allows for a great deal of variation within kinds.  When evidences for evolution are announced, do they rise to the level of change Darwin theorized – like […]

Looking for OOL in a Shallow Pool

Origin-of-life (OOL) studies entertained a new hypothesis this week: life started in shallow waters near hydrothermal vents.  “Life’s Origin May Have Been a Shallow Affair,” claimed Anuradha K. Herath in Astrobiology Magazine, echoed by Live Science and PhysOrg.  Leslie Mullen’s report on Live Science employed the ubiquitous “shedding light” phrase again: “In finding answers to […]

When Is Design Just Natural?

Some recent stories provide exercises in differentiating intelligently-caused designs from complex patterns that can arise from natural law.  Here are some examples of designs in science reports; the commentary will discuss criteria for deciding which arise spontaneously without purpose and intent. Saturn hexagon:  The north pole of Saturn shows an odd hexagon-shaped pattern in the […]

In Brains, Size Is Not All that Matters

Two recent science articles indicate that scientists should be careful before inferring intelligence from brain size (picture).  PhysOrg reported on work to uncover the genetic basis of microcephaly – reduced brain size in humans.  “The cerebral cortex in particular has undergone a dramatic increase in surface area during the course of primate evolution,” the article […]

Hometown of Jesus Was Real

A first-century house has been excavated in Nazareth, the town where Jesus grew up.  The Israeli Antiquities Authority announced the discovery today; see also Associated Press for information and pictures.  This is the first dwelling established from the early Roman period that encompasses the life of Christ.     Professor Todd Bolen at Bible Places […]

Cave Dates and Climate Estimates May Be Off

The steady drip, drip, drip of water from stalactites should provide a way to calculate the age of cave formations, right?  Don’t be too sure.  A scientist at Florida State found that calcite deposition is a function of how the cave “breathes,” reported New Scientist.  This finding “pours doubt on ancient climate records derived from […]

Evolution News From Down Unda

Australia and New Zealand contain some of the most unique and distinctive flora and fauna in the world.  Evolutionary explanations for some of these animals and plants have come to light in the press recently. Koala:  Did you know there are extinct koalas?  Science Daily reported about work by Aussie biologists to understand the evolution […]

Debunker Busters

Often in science reports, new findings debunk previously held beliefs.  But then, a thoughtful reader might ask, didn’t the previously held belief debunk a belief prior to that?  Sometimes it gets difficult to believe the current belief has any credibility, when the debunkers turn on each other. A dilemma about dilemmas:  Psychologists and philosophers have […]

Clever Animals Inspire Lookers – And Engineers

Incredible animals provide endless delights with their antics.  Even microorganisms are capable of amazing feats.  Sometimes these living things inspire inventors, too. Coconut octopus:  Tool use was supposed to be a late marker of primate intelligence as chimpanzees were evolving upward to manhood.  That’s so 1890.  Now that we know crows can use tools (05/26/2009), […]
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