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Defeat Spam: Imitate the Body’s Defenses

Your body’s immune system is inspiring the next generation of email spam-fighters.  The University of Southampton reported that “An algorithm for spam recognition inspired by the immune system will be presented at the first European conference on Artificial Life (ALIFE XI) being held in Winchester this week.”     The idea is that “in the […]

It’s Networks All the Way Down

New ways of seeing biology are finding life is full of networks.  At both ends of the complexity scale – from humans to bacteria – complex interactions are the rule.  Two teams studying different phenomena had the same reaction – astonishment. Bottom-up complexity:  Who would have thought one of the simplest life forms has a […]

Human Face Book Is Customized

Make a face.  How do you make a face?  We are all made with faces that can make unique facial expressions, thanks to unique combinations of subcutaneous muscles.  Nature News said that humans have unique faceprints of 16 common expression-making muscles.     We all have the same 5 subcutaneous muscles that can make us […]

World’s Fastest Computer Approaches Brain Power

IBM has broken the petaflops barrier.  What’s that, you ask?  In computing lingo, it stands for a quadrillion floating-point operations per second.  The new Roadrunner supercomputer at Los Alamos National Laboratory has set a new record for computing speed that may usher in a new era of scientific analysis of complex systems: “Roadrunner gives scientists […]

Evolution’s Tinkerer Creates the Brain that Creates Evolutionary Theory

A tinkerer usually implies a human being with a brain.  A man in his garage, for instance, might look around for spare parts to arrange into some new contraption.  What would he think if he were told that his own brain was made that way?  That’s what evolutionists commonly teach: our bodies and our brains […]

Will Evolutionary Psychology Be the First Darwinian Theory to Go?

Evolutionary psychologists are not getting much respect these days.  Some evolutionists, like Stephen Jay Gould and Richard Lewontin, criticized them for years.  Now, a new book came out against them and Science gave it a good review.1  To turn a Darwinian phrase, reviewer Johan J. Bolhuis said that the field of evolutionary psychology is undergoing […]

An Evaluation of Evolution as an Explanatory Device

It is very common for scientists to claim this or that phenomenon “evolved.”  How well do such statements qualify as scientific explanations?  How much scientific heavy lifting is done by merely stating that things are the way they are because they evolved that way?  The following recent examples can be considered representative of the evolutionary […]

Did Music Evolve?

Nature is running a nine-part series on music.  The most recent entry by Josh McDermott, psychologist at University of Minnesota, asked how music might have evolved.1  The theme, with variations, is that nobody knows.     Music is a uniquely human trait.  It is ubiquitous across cultures.  Bird songs and animal calls, while musical to […]

Hagfishing for Eye Evolution

Darwin recognized the vertebrate eye as one of the biggest challenges for his theory.  Still in 2008, evolutionists are debating it.  Two recent articles, both pro-evolution, reveal almost black-and-white attitudes about the problem.  One is cheery and optimistic; the other sober.     Eye evolution?  No problem.  That seems to be the view of Kate […]

Human Mind Outwits Darwinian Models

Evolutionists struggle to explain complex human behaviors in Darwinian terms. Sure, corporate squabbles can seem like survival of the fittest, but humans also sacrifice for people they don’t even know and do other weird, un-Darwinian things. In Darwinism, selfishness rules. How does cooperative and altruistic behavior arise from selfish motives? Here are some of the recent attempts to reconcile observations with a theory in which selfishness is key.

Complex Ankle Puts Bounce in Your Step

“The ankle is incredibly efficient at working so the amount of energy you burn with the ankle is much lower than what would be predicted with just isolated muscle studies.”  That’s what kinesiologist Daniel Ferris (U of Michigan) said in an article on Science Daily.  His team measured the efficiency of the muscles and tendons […]

Can Hardwired Humans Have Rational Choice?

Two articles recently claimed that we humans are “hardwired” for certain processes.  Fairness:  Science Daily reported on work by UCLA psychologists that suggest humans are “hardwired for fairness.”  A sense of contempt arises when games appear rigged unfairly, they found.  The psychologists found a particular region of the brain was activated during this response, but […]

Evolution After the Fact

Many scientific theories are evaluated on their ability to make predictions.  Good theories suggest experiments that lead a researcher to discover new things.  In biology, however, “evolution” is a word often invoked as an after-market explanation for observations that emerged outside of the theory.  Here are some recent examples: Ant farm:  Science Daily reported on […]

Mars Lacks Safety Shield for Humans

Forget all those optimistic, futuristic sci-fi tales of humans landing on Mars.  It isn’t safe, said Space.com.  NASA’s space radiation program doubts that a human body could survive prolonged exposure to space.  This is a problem for long stays on the moon, too.     “The magnetic field of Earth protects humanity from radiation in […]

Seeing Vision in a New Light

The eye is like a camera, right?  That picture is way too simplistic.  The eye-brain visual system does image processing and gleans information from photons in diverse and remarkable ways.  Here are some recent findings by scientists: Upward mobility:  A team of Harvard scientists found some retinal ganglion cells that sense upward motion.  Writing in […]
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