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Is Your Bod Flawed by God?

Are your body’s imperfections reasons for you to reject intelligent design and embrace evolution?  Professor John Avise (UC Irvine) thinks so.  His new book Inside the Human Genome was given good press by PhysOrg: “Distinguished Professor of ecology & evolutionary biology at UC Irvine, Avise also makes the case that overwhelming scientific evidence of genomic […]

Barefoot Is Better

Who do we wear shoes?  It seems obvious; we expect that they help us avoid injuries and provide comfort.  Maybe we should think of the injuries we are getting by wearing them.     The image of the barefoot person is usually of someone poor, deprived, lower-class, hick, unclean, redneck or something else unattractive.  Shoes […]

Stem Cell News: Cancer Cures Coming?

Stem cell research has not been as prominent in the popular media lately, but researchers continue to make impressive strides – mostly with adult stem cells.  Science Daily reported the first success treating leukemia with stem cells from umbilical cord blood.  A researcher at the Hutchinson Center said, “The real ground-breaking aspect of this research […]

To Advance Technology, Make Like Nature

Scientists and engineers continue to find the most elegant solutions to practical problems by looking at plants and animals.  Here are a few of the recent examples. Wet computing:  Cells and brains do a superior job of complex processing, so why are our current computers singing how dry I am?  Not for much longer.  Science […]

It Takes More than Eyes to See

We think of eyes as objects that see, but vision requires a whole system of parts.  One of the most important is the brain.  Without your thalamus, vision would be a hopeless jumble of jerky signals, reported scientists from the National Eye Institute.     Writing in PNAS,1 Ostendorf, Liebermann and Ploner found that the […]

In Brains, Size Is Not All that Matters

Two recent science articles indicate that scientists should be careful before inferring intelligence from brain size (picture).  PhysOrg reported on work to uncover the genetic basis of microcephaly – reduced brain size in humans.  “The cerebral cortex in particular has undergone a dramatic increase in surface area during the course of primate evolution,” the article […]

Debunker Busters

Often in science reports, new findings debunk previously held beliefs.  But then, a thoughtful reader might ask, didn’t the previously held belief debunk a belief prior to that?  Sometimes it gets difficult to believe the current belief has any credibility, when the debunkers turn on each other. A dilemma about dilemmas:  Psychologists and philosophers have […]

Science Flipflops

Science says… on second thought, science says the opposite.  Or, we’re not sure what science says.  The following recent stories show that things you thought science had proven may not be true at all.  What’s next? Take testosterone for fairness:  The image of the testosterone-crazed, egotistical, reckless, raging road warrior is all wrong.  At least, […]

What’s Natural for Humans?

Should humans do what comes naturally?  What comes naturally?  And what do we mean by natural?     Nicholas Wade in the New York Times said, “We May Be Born With an Urge to Help.”  He began with the same question: “What is the essence of human nature?”  Then he discussed evidence that infants have […]

Seeing Sound and Hearing Light

Synesthesia, the syndrome in which people’s senses become confused, may not be so off the wall.  Research at the University of British Columbia “flips the traditional view of how we perceive the world on its head.” Experiments show that our brains perceive the world by synthesizing multiple inputs.  The latest evidence of this is that […]

Consequences of Bad Choices: Well, Duh

Responsibility – integrity – honesty – respect – healthy choices.  Those are the values of a bygone generation.  Do we need science to tell us that our grandparents were right?     PhysOrg reported that “Teen sexual activity and gambling [is] associated with taking nonprescribed medications to get high.”  And Live Science reported, “Coed Dorms […]

In Brains, It’s Quality, Not Quantity, that Counts

Most anthropologists are obsessed with brain size.  How many cc’s (cubic centimeters) of brain could fit in the skull of this or that hominid?  PhysOrg reminds us that “Bigger not necessarily better, when it comes to brains.”  Here’s a shocker from scientists at Queen Mary University: “Tiny insects could be as intelligent as much bigger […]

New Word Means Green Living: Bioplastics

Did you know that 10% of America’s oil consumption goes into making plastic?  The plastic products from oil pollute our landfills and harm the environment.  Next month, a company founded by a biology professor from MIT is going to make plastic from something green: corn.     Anthony Siskey and Oliver Peoples, according to PhysOrg, […]

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, […]

Modern Men Are Wimps

Whatever happened to survival of the fittest?  Our ancestors were much stronger, says the author of a new book on anthropology.  PhysOrg reported on a book by Peter McAllister that says today’s males don’t measure up physically to their counterparts even a century ago, let alone those in the Roman empire and earlier.     […]
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