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Leaping to Evolutionary Conclusions

In classical science, researchers were reluctant to announce bold conclusions without sufficient data.  These days, it seems that science reporters are quick to announce sweeping conclusions that go far beyond the evidence – especially if they appear to support some sort of evolution. Planet magic crystal:  Where to find intelligent life?  Look for stars depleted […]

How a Christian Family Stood Up to Tyranny

When the Berlin wall fell 20 years ago, Dorothee Hubner first dared to think, “Are we allowed to leave and finally be free?”  Her story and that of her parents Gerhard and Gertraude, scientists trapped in East Germany, was told by Andrew Curry, a freelance writer, in Science.1  Dorothee was 23 years old in 1989.  […]

Darwin Marketed to Kids

There’s a move on to get Darwin’s ideas taught to tots.  Britain is giving a “birthday present to Darwin,” wrote Andrew Copson for The Guardian, in the form of national curriculum for primary schools that will mention evolution for the first time – and prohibit teaching of creationism or intelligent design in science lessons.   […]

Darwinizing of Religion Continues

In an ongoing series for the Year of Darwin in Science magazine,1 Elizabeth Culotta wrote an article with the Darwinesque title, “On the Origin of Religion.”2  The editor’s summary acknowledges that “No consensus yet exists among scientists,” but sought the only answer in Darwinian terms: “in the past 15 years, a growing number of researchers […]

Soft Muscle Tissue Found in Fossil Salamander

More soft tissue has been found in a fossil – this time in a salamander said to be 18 million years old.  The article on PhysOrg called it “the highest quality soft tissue preservation ever documented in the fossil record.”     Unlike the previous discoveries of fossil tissue inside bone or amber, the recognizable […]

What Is Man?

Science often makes pronouncements about the human species.  We should be mindful of the worldview behind them.     Live Science published an article with the confident-sounding title, “Human Evolution: Where We Came From,” accompanied by the iconic sketch of Ardi (see 10/02/2009) and an obligatory reference to Darwin.  Even though reporter Charles Q. Choi, […]

Polar Bears and Grizzlies Hybridize

What do you get when you cross a polar bear with a grizzly bear?  It’s not a joke; look at the BBC News and see.  You get bears with mixed shades of fur and a blend of characteristics.  Live Science also commented on the BBC report.     Scientists have known that these species can […]

Ferocity of Geological Change Stuns Scientists

A crack in Ethiopia 500 meters long took just days to form.  New Scientist reported about a team of scientists who used seismic sensors to reconstruct the event.  “They found that a 60-kilometre-long, 8-metre-wide dike of solidified magma formed in the rift, causing the crack, in a matter of days.”  They believe the crack will […]

Comets Didn’t Bring Earth’s Oceans

So much for the “water balloon” theory of how Earth got its oceans.  A new study by Belgian planetary scientists pretty much rules out comets as the source of our planet’s abundant water.  Their results are published in this month’s Icarus.1     “The origin of water on Earth is still puzzling,” they began.  Our […]

Inefficiency Made You Complex

Remember the old Darwinian story?  Slight variations that prove beneficial are naturally selected when they help an organism adapt to its environment.  Wrong.  According to Ariel Fernandez of Rice University, we humans are complex because natural selection is inefficient.  He said, “the origins of some key aspects of the evolution of complexity may have their […]

How a Biotoxin Evolved

What do shrews and lizards have in common?  Not much, but two species developed the same toxin in their digestive enzymes, giving them both a poisonous bite.  Science Daily said a harmless digestive enzyme became overactive through three related changes.  “What had been a mild anticoagulant in the salivary glands of both species has become […]

To Advance Science, Imitate Nature

Biomimetics – the imitation of nature – continues to be one of the hottest areas in science.  Here are a few of the latest findings coming from the world of living creatures. Fish robot:  National Geographic News shows a photo of the latest thing in underwater robotics: a robotic submarine modeled after the Amazonian knifefish.  […]

Can SETI Be Quantified?

What is the probability of finding intelligent life on other planets?  In 1960, Frank Drake attempted to quantify that question with his famous Drake Equation (see MSNBC and NOVA, which allows you to estimate the probability with an interactive meter).  Trouble is, Stanley Miller and Leslie Orgel of primordial soup fame thought it was meaningless.  […]

No Evolution in 58 Million Years

“Plant fossils give first real picture of earliest Neotropical rainforests,” announced a press release from University of Florida.  The fossils from Colombia show that “many of the dominant plant families existing in today’s Neotropical rainforests – including legumes, palms, avocado and banana – have maintained their ecological dominance despite major changes in South America’s climate […]

The Nature of Darwin and the Darwin of Nature

“Even the most ardent fan of Charles Darwin might be feeling weary as his anniversary year draws to a close,” remarked Clive Wynn in another issue of Nature celebrating his bicentennial.1  “Publishers have seemingly explored every corner of Darwin’s life: his youth, his marriage, his attitudes to slavery and religion.”  And now Wynn was introducing […]
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