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Can evolutionary theory explain terrorism?

In military strategy, it is vital to know what the enemy is up to. Can evolutionary theory help? An interdisciplinary team at the University of Miami got their heads together and appealed to an evolutionary notion called the “Red Queen” hypothesis, and claimed it provides a “Pattern in Escalations in Insurgent and Terrorist Activity” that is neutral regarding the good guys and the bad guys. It resembles, they argue, how pedators and prey evolve in nature. They offer their model as a way military planners can have the ability “to estimate not only the number of fatalities but how often attacks that result in fatalities will take place.” They applied their pattern prediction to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. How robust is this notion, and should evolutionary theory take credit for it?

The Evolution of… Come Again?

Science news articles speak freely of the evolution of this or that, but the fine print often shows a disconnect with the evolution explanation.  Can one speak of the evolution of something that has not changed for millions or years?  The details in the following stories raise questions whether anything significant has evolved in the […]

Flap Over Flight Evolution

Birds flap their wings when they run up ramps. It takes less energy than flying. This is uncontroversial; it is observable, and science can measure the energy cost. But for at least eight years now, Ken Dial at the University of Montana has been claiming that this behavior explains the origin of flight in birds (01/16/2003, 12/22/2003). When he first came out with this hypothesis in 2003, Elisabeth Pennisi in the journal Science said, “I imagine people will continue to argue about the origin of bird flight for a long time.” There’s been very little argument in the media over the years, though (05/01/2006, 9/22/2007, 1/25/2008); in fact, the BBC News just gave another plug for Dial’s hypothesis with no criticism at all.

If This Is Evolution, What Is Trivia?

Some science news articles appear confident about evolution, but offer little evidence except trivial change . Sometimes, they even offer evidence that contradicts their expectations. If this is evolution, what is trivia?

Evolution Against Intuition

As a general theory of life, evolution promises to explain everything. Not all observations fit neatly into that assumption. How do evolutionists respond when surprising or counter-intuitive observations require integration into the theory? Sometimes the only answer is that they evolved because they evolved. These 10 examples (with encore) can provide case studies for the discerning.

Cosmic Insanity Is Back in Vogue

There is perhaps no theory in science more weird than the “Many-Worlds” interpretation of quantum mechanics (see 07/27/2004 and 07/07/2007).  One would think that Hugh Everett’s conjecture that each event splits the universe into two parallel universes with opposite outcomes would have had its 15 minutes of fame only to be laughed off the stage, […]

How They Do It: Amazing Organisms

The plants and animals around us seem so ordinary, but they all are so extraordinary, the extraordinary becomes ordinary simply because of their numbers. But if you expanded the sample space to include the entire solar system, what we have in earth’s biosphere should astonish everyone. Here are nine notable fellow creatures.

Small Animals Astound, Inspire

Elephants and great whales impress us with their bulk, but there are smaller critters that are no less impressive.  Here are a few fantastic animals that come in very small packages. Bears in space:  Here’s an animal so bizarre, so well-armed, so scary looking, if you knew they were in your back yard you would […]

How to Fill In Missing Fossils: Imagine Them

Evolutionists have long known of systematic gaps in the fossil record.  This has been a frequent criticism lodged by Darwin skeptics against the evolutionary notion of a gradually unfolding tree of life.  Now, however, it appears that evolutionists have revived use of a tool in their arsenal for combating the critics: imagination.  Missing transitions in […]

Why Stuff Evolves: Not Having Stuff Would Be Terrible

The delicate yet effective choreography of DNA Damage Repair was described by Lawrence Berkeley National Lab in terms of amazement: “Safeguarding genome integrity through extraordinary DNA repair.”  DNA repair is essential for health: “To prevent not only gene mutations but broken chromosomes and chromosomal abnormalities known to cause cancer, infertility, and other diseases in humans, […]

Is This What Darwin Had in Mind?

Evolution is a word loosely used in science these days.  Reporters and scientists talk about “the evolution of” this or that sometimes carelessly, without regard to how the explanation fits old Darwinism or neo-Darwinism.  Has the word evolution become a kind of catch-all hypothesis, for which rigor is no longer necessary? Survival of the discreetist:  […]

Poison Comets Brought Life to Earth

You don’t drink formaldehyde; you stick dead things in it.  Why on earth would some evolutionists claim that “Poison could have set the stage for the origins of life?”  That’s exactly a headline on Science Daily and PhysOrg, with Live Science chiming in that the poisonous chemical has been “linked” to the origin of life […]

Imagining Worlds: Is It Science?

An entry on Space.com is almost pure speculation with no observation.  Does it belong on a science news site?     Reporter Clara Moskowitz gave Viorel Badescu [Polytechnic University of Bucharest, Romania] free rein to imagine life on free-floating planets (FFPs) – bodies wandering free in space after being abandoned, like wayward children, from their […]

Psychologist Analyzes ID Belief with Emotionally Loaded Poll

Without any critique, Science Daily and PhysOrg reproduced a bizarre press release from University of British Columbia that alleges, “Death anxiety prompts people to believe in intelligent design, reject evolution.”     A contrived psychological survey, replete with imagining one’s own death and then reading quotes from Michael Behe and Richard Dawkins, scared 1,674 respondents […]

Evolution Goes Against Darwin

Evolutionists are coming up with new ideas far afield from Charles Darwin’s original ideas of spontaneous variation and natural selection.  The new ideas even differ from neo-Darwinism, and some of them are making other evolutionists angry. Mating of the quickest:  A new phrase, “mating between the quickest,” is supplanting survival of the fittest according to […]
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