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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 […]

Psychology Without Darwin

Can psychology kick the Darwin habit?  For years it has been conventional to express all human actions in Darwinian terms.  We struggle with city life, for instance, because we evolved to hunt prey in the savannah – not the Georgia kind, but the African plains where we first climbed down from the trees to walk […]

Electronic Nose Can’t Outsniff Yours

Electronic nose makers are smelling your dust, said Science Daily.  “Despite 25 years of research, development of an ‘electronic nose’ even approaching the capabilities of the human sniffer remains a dream,” the article said.     Biological noses are great at discriminating between volatile compounds.  We can immediately sense things that are fruity, grassy, and […]

Humans as Lab Rats, or, Can an Evolved Brain Reason?

Evolutionary biologists and neurologists use their fellow humans as guinea pigs, performing experiments and drawing conclusions about their evolutionary past.  One question rarely asked is how reliable are conclusions drawn from the biologist’s brain that is presumably just as evolved as that of its lab subject.     Everyone does philosophy, but some do it […]

Why Blood Clots Are Stretchy

A team of biophysicists at University of Illinois ran a computation for six months to find out why blood clots are stretchy.  The primary protein in the clot, fibrinogen, can stretch two to three times its resting size.  By studying the force on every atom in the protein, Science Daily said, they produced a force […]

Paleofantasy: Brain Evolution Is Mere Storytelling

When it comes to explaining the brain, evolutionists are completely in the dark.  That was the surprising message in a presentation to the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science by Harvard evolutionist Richard Lewontin.  James Randerson blogged the presentation in the UK Guardian, beginning, “We know nothing about brain evolution.  […]

Fast Protein Fine-Tunes the Ear

Remember prestin?  It’s a motor protein in the inner ear, discovered in 2001 (03/27/2001), that acts so fast – within millionths of a second – its discoverers named it after the word “presto!” (02/21/2002).  Scientists have been studying its role as a volume adjuster (07/31/2007) that allows it to amplify sound 10,000-fold (09/19/2002) .  New […]

Getting a Hand on Facts and Meanings

What could be more simple than pressing a button with your finger?  That “seemingly trivial action is the result of a complex neuro-motor-mechanical process orchestrated with precision timing by the brain, nervous system and muscles of the hand.”  So says a press release from University of Southern California posted on EurekAlert.     Simple, everyday […]

Humans Excel at… Please Wait… Patience

Here’s another thing that distinguishes humans from animals: patience.  Current Biology usually has a “Quick Guide” feature on some aspect of biology.  In the latest issue, patience was the patient.  First of all, what is it? Humans and other animals often make decisions that trade off present and future benefits.  Should a monkey eat an […]
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