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Darwin’s Linux: Did Evolution Produce a Computer?

How is a cell like a computer?  Some Yale scientists asked that question, and embarked on a project to compare the genome of a lowly bacterium to a computer’s operating system.1.  Their work was published in PNAS.2  As with most analogies, some things were found to be similar, and some different – but in the […]

Are There Limits to Scientific Speculation?  A Royal Case

Question: When does science become like a priesthood?  Answer: When its practitioners engage in speculation on big questions impossible to verify with empirical observations.  Is this what the chief astronomer in Britain is doing?     Sir Martin Rees certainly would not have thought of himself as a priest as he wrote an article for […]

Scientist Sees Evolutionary Sense in Coordinated Complexity

An article on PhysOrg tells “A vertebrate story,” and a story it is: the more complex a phenomenon becomes, the more it makes evolutionary sense.     Portuguese scientists were studying the interaction of Hox genes with the development of the ribs in vertebrates.  You can imagine the control that these genes must have when […]

Southpaw Explanations Out of Left Field

All proteins are left handed.  Some humans are left handed.  Can evolution explain that?  Evolutionists are never known to be at a loss for words when asked to explain anything, provided they are allowed liberal use of the word perhaps.     A new projection theme for the first left-handed amino acids that comprise proteins […]

Clock Gene Same in Humans and Birds

Science Daily, this “not only sheds light on how our internal annual body clocks function but also shows a key link between birds and mammals that has been conserved over 300 million years.”     Mammals, including humans, have a hormone released by the pituitary gland that controls melatonin levels – known to affect the […]

New Theory on Evolution of Bat Flight

How did bats evolve the ability to fly?  Evolution helped them out by providing them with higher energy.  After all, “Flight is among the most energy-consuming activities” in the animal kingdom, said a team of Chinese and Canadian scientists reporting in PNAS,1 so it’s obvious that evolution must have provided the genes to get the […]

What Can Fossil Leaf Measurements Tell About Evolution?

Flowering plants burst on the scene in the fossil record 140 million years ago in the geologic timescale, creating an “abominable mystery” for Charles Darwin.  What can be learned by measuring the stems and leaves of fossil specimens?     Dana Royer and colleagues from Wesleyan University in Connecticut embarked on a project to measure […]

Psychologists Portray I.D. as a Form of Evolution

No need to draw a line between design and evolution, say two psychologists at the University of Iowa.  Intelligent design is really a lot like evolution.  They think we need to “better appreciate the actual forces that unite the processes of change across both evolutionary and developmental timescales.”     This strange theory was announced […]

Darwin as Canary in a Coal Mine

The state of evolution teaching is like the fabled canary in a coal mine, Sean Carroll told Science.1  That’s why the molecular biologist from the University of Wisconsin, Madison is cutting back on his research and undergraduate teaching to concentrate on his new appointment: vice president for science education at the Howard Hughes Medical Institute.  […]

SETI and other Pointless Gimmicks

Astrobiologist Paul Davies sure knows how to ask interesting questions, and ruffle feathers in the process.  His new book about SETI, The Eerie Silence, reviewed by Leslie Mullen in Astrobiology Magazine, defaced some long-standing notions.  But are his suggestions any improvement?     Davies thinks the Voyager record was a “pointless gimmick.”  He thinks that […]

Life, an Elegantly Simple Mistake

The ribosome is a complex molecular machine made up of multiple protein and RNA parts.  Last year, winners of the Nobel Prize in Chemistry (see 10/10/2009) were praised for elucidating the structure and activity of ribosomes.  News stories described “the whole complicated process of transcription initiation, an operation that is of crucial importance in all […]

Evolution as “Scientific Literacy” Dropped by NSB; Sets Off Firestorm

Can you be called scientifically literate if you deny that humans evolved from lower animals?  What if you deny the universe began with an explosion?  American students have typically scored low on those questions, leading to charges that they are scientifically illiterate compared to other countries in Europe and Asia.  But now, the National Science […]

Another Fossil “Human Ancestor” Claimed

Meet Australopithecus sediba – or is it Homo something?  Scientists are arguing over how to classify new fossils found in a cave at Malapa, South Africa.  Announced today in Science,1 the fossils, alleged to be just under 2 million years old, are producing a strange mixture of hopeful headlines and cautionary counsels from experts.   […]

Smelling Evolution in Bird Genes

The zebra finch genome has been sequenced; it revealed some surprises.  In the chicken, only 70 of the 500 genes encoding smell receptors produce active proteins.  In the zebra finch, 200 do.  What does this mean?  According to a press release from Weizmann Wonder Wander at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel, it means Darwin […]

Human Genome “Infinitely More Complex” Than Expected

Ten years after the Human Genome Project was completed, now we know: biology is “orders of magnitude” more complicated than scientists expected.  So wrote Erika Check Hayden in Nature News March 31 and in the April 1 issue of Nature.1     An air of daunting complexity haunts the article.  The Human Genome Project was […]
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