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The Evolution of Omnipotence

With a headline like “New Theory: Universe Created by Intelligent Being,” one might think that National Geographic News has gone creationist and rediscovered Genesis 1.  The opposite would be true.  The article by John Roach explores the radical thinking of a lawyer/scientist named James Gardner, who has just published a book, Biocosm: The New Scientific […]

Evolution Battle Heats Up in Ohio

CNN has reported that the Ohio school board voted 13-5 in favor of an optional set of lessons called “Critical Analysis of Evolution.”  The usual opponents are lining up on both sides; some scientific organizations are claiming it is a “religious effort cloaked as science,” but others consider it a victory for students and for […]

Hubble Deep Field Surpassed: Ultra Deep Field

If you remember the awe of seeing the first Hubble Deep Field image in 1995, check out the new HUDF: Hubble Ultra Deep Field (see also the New Scientist report).  The field of view, just one-tenth the size of the full moon, is a composite of 800 images taken for 11.3 days.  The 1995 image […]

Chameleon Tongue Beats Jet Aircraft

Did you know a chameleon’s tongue is so fast as it shoots out toward its prey, it reaches 50 G’s – five times faster than a fighter jet can accelerate?  Science Now describes how the chameleon does it.  Scientists only recently found out the secret with high-speed photography and careful examination of the tongue structure, […]

Rethinking the Geological Layers

One of the most formative ideas in Darwin’s intellectual journey was the concept of gradualism, the principle of “small agencies and their cumulative effects.”  This idea became a dominant motif in his philosophy of life.  Describing how the assumption of gradualism permeated his last book (on earthworms) shortly before his death, Janet Browne, in her […]

The Paleoanthropologist Mantra: “We Need More Fossils!”

Everyone join in and chant “the mantra of all paleontologists: We need more fossils!”  If you are a seeker of bones that might give clues of human ancestry, repeating this phrase might relieve stress.     In quotes above is the concluding line of an editorial by David R. Begun in the March 5 issue […]

Sugar-Dried Blood: Just Add Water

A discovery might save lives on the battlefield, or any other place where blood platelets are hard to come by.  A simple sugar named trehalose can replace water in platelets and perhaps red blood cells.  This could provide an alternative to freeze-drying, making blood platelets (necessary for clotting) available with a shelf-life of months or […]

How to Prevent Youthful Violence

EurekAlert posted a finding by University of Washington sociologists that “Family discipline, religious attendance, attachment to school cut levels of later violence among aggressive children.” Do we really need scientists to tell us the obvious?  Everyone seems to know this except secular researchers.  Solomon and Paul can tell the University of Washington all they need […]

Cellular Cowboys: How the Cell Rounds Up Chromosomes Before Dividing

Two cancer researchers from UC San Diego describe mitosis (cell division) in the Mar. 4 issue of Nature.1  Pulling together the latest findings about this elaborate and important process, they begin by describing the puzzle that the cell needs to solve: At the beginning of mitosis, the process of cell division, chromosomes are organized randomly […]

Science Journal Editors Face Accountability

This quote by a journal editor comes from a news item in the Mar. 4 issue of Nature:1 “Like everybody else, we are much more interested in other people’s accountability than we are in our own,” explains Richard Smith, editor of the British Medical Journal (BMJ), who helped to draft the new code.  “Editors are […]

Opportunity Finds Evidence of Past Water on Mars

Liquid water once drenched the surface of Mars at Meridiani Planum and made it a suitable habitat for life, according to Ed Weiler at a NASA briefing today.  Four pieces of evidence from the Mars Exploration Rover named Opportunity led principal scientist Stephen Squyres to this conclusion: (1) the spherules appear to be concretions grown […]

Fiber-Optic Sponge Makes Deep-Sea Lamps

Last year, it was announced that a deep-sea sponge named the Venus Flower Basket possessed glass strands similar to fiber optic cables (see 08/20/2003 headline).  Now, a five-member team from Bell Labs has performed the first detailed optical analysis of the fibers.  They indeed found these structures to be “remarkably similar to commercial silica optical […]

Evolution 101: Pro-Evolution Educational Website Opens

Berkeley has a new website for educators and students named Understanding Evolution.  For students, it presents topics on (1) Nature of Science, (2) Evolution 101, (3) Evidence, (4) Relevance of Evolution, (5) Misconceptions, and (6) History of Evolutionary Thought.  For teachers, there is additional material on (6) Teaching Evolution, (7) Overcoming Roadblocks, (8) Potential Pitfalls, […]

We Don’t Know How We Know that Genes Make Minds

“If the mind can be explained from the workings of the brain, and the brain develops by direction from our genes,” Anthony Monaco (Oxford) writes, “then presumably the mind can be explained from our genetic make-up.  But how can only 30,000 genes make a brain with billions of neurons and encode the particular aspects of […]

Was There a Single Common Ancestor for All Life?

Lucy (the alleged human ancestor) had a distant ancestor named LUCA.  That’s the assumption of many evolutionary biologists.  LUCA, the Last Universal Common Ancestor, is the mother of us all: the bird and the worm, the bee and the flower, the man and his dog.  In the Darwinian creation story, sex had not yet evolved, […]
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