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History Highlight: The Two Wilberforces

Those seeing the new movie Amazing Grace (opened Feb 2, 2007) about England’s long political battle to end slavery may not realize the family connection of the film’s hero with the controversy over Darwinism. William Wilberforce, the champion of abolition who brought an end to the slave trade as depicted in the film, had a […]

Evolution Sunday Honors Darwin Over God

An essay by Edna Devore of the SETI Institute on Space.com encourages churches to join in Mike Zimmerman’s “Evolution Sunday” celebrations.  Zimmerman, with his Clergy Letter Project (see also New Scientist), has gotten over 10,000 pastors to sign a statement affirming evolution as an essential part of science and religion (02/11/2006).  Devore thinks this is […]

Kansas Evolution Battle Heats Up Again

Update 08/02/2006: According to a news report on Live Science, conservatives have lost their majority in the primary election for seats on the state school board.  Details are reported by the Lawrence Journal-World.  The winners are gloating that this is a great day for Kansas, said Science Now, but ended by noting that the issue […]

Paper View:  Cambrian Explosion Damage Control

Like some federal official holding a press conference after a disaster, a Harvard paleontologist has tackled the unenviable job of explaining what Darwin called the most severe challenge that could be levied against his theory: the fossil record. The challenge starts with a bang...

How to Overcome Student Objections to Evolution

Biology teachers face increasing difficulty from students coming into class with bad feelings about evolution (11/30/2005, 08/30/2005).  Many pro-evolution teachers will be attracted to methods that have a demonstrable track record of relieving tensions and facilitating the process of getting students to accept Darwin’s theory.  David Sloan Wilson (Binghamton U, NY) has just the thing.  […]

Don’t PNA in our OOL

Theories for the origin of life (OOL) are in a crisis, unable to imagine how something as complex as a replicating cell could come into existence. Could PNA do it?

He’s Ba-a-a-ck: Lamarck Puts Pressure on Darwin – and ID, Too?

To historians of evolutionary theory, Lamarck is a 19th-century loser.  His hypothesis of “inheritance of acquired characteristics,” according to high school textbooks and common knowledge, was debunked by experiment, and overturned when Darwin proposed natural selection as a mechanism for evolution.  Why, then, does Massimo Pugliucci (Dept. of Ecology and Evolution, State University of New […]

Will Darwinian Law Protect the Unfit?

Eggheads at Vanderbilt import evolutionary ideas into legal policies that could negatively affect individual rights in devastating ways.

Origin-of-Life Researcher Leslie Orgel Interviewed

The May 4 issue of Current Biology1 contains an interview with organic chemist Leslie Orgel of the Salk Institute, who in 1974 published the book The Origin of Life on Earth with Stanley Miller of spark-discharge fame (see 05/02/2003 and 10/31/2002 headlines).  He considers his biggest mistake not thinking of the RNA World scenario first […]

Eugenics Documentary Opens at Holocaust Museum

Michael Ollove at the Baltimore Sun reports on a new exhibit at the U.S. Holocaust Museum entitled Deadly Medicine: Creating the Master Race.  The exhibit shows a 1937 Nazi propaganda film that invokes the law of natural selection as support for weeding out the unfit.  Ollove writes, The narrator declares that “we humans have sinned […]

Rethinking the Geological Layers

One of the most formative ideas in Darwin’s intellectual journey was the concept of gradualism, the principle of “small agencies and their cumulative effects.”  This idea became a dominant motif in his philosophy of life.  Describing how the assumption of gradualism permeated his last book (on earthworms) shortly before his death, Janet Browne, in her […]

Happy Darwin Day?

Humanists hope to have a new international holiday by 2009: Darwin Day.  (Feb. 12 was Darwin’s birthday as well as Abe Lincoln’s, so it’s already set aside as a holiday in America, but promoters want this to be an international event.)  According to Robert Evans’ story in Reuters, the British Humanist Association believes such a […]

Why Darwin Is Like Yoda, and Darwinism Like Marxism

Homage for the master is palpable in John Vandermeer’s review (Science, Jan. 23)1 of a thick new book entitled Niche Construction: The Neglected Process in Evolution by Odling-Smee, Laland and Feldman (Princeton, 2004).  Vandermeer seems almost worshipful in his opening lines: The nascent germ of many novel ideas in biology can be traced directly or […]

E-I-E-I-O in Old McDarwin’s Animal Farm

Some beliefs about origins are more equal than others.

Evolution As Assumption

51; Reasoning requires premises: axioms or truths taken for granted.  Notice the premise of reasoning stated in a recent article on Science Daily: “Because all living organisms inherit their genomes from ancestral genomes, computational biologists at MIT reasoned that they could use modern-day genomes to reconstruct the evolution of ancient microbes.”  They used an evolutionary […]
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