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Atheism in a Test Tube

Conflicting views on atheism by scientists show that deducing the intellectual status of atheism is not an exact science.  Are such questions even approachable by the scientific method?  What conclusions could be drawn?     National Geographic reported Kanazawa’s theory that liberals and atheists are smarter (02/27/2010) without much criticism.  Reporter Maggie Koerth-Baker only said […]

Ida Not a Human Ancestor

If Ida known then what I know now: the media-frenzied presentation of Ida (Darwinius masillae) as a distant relative of human beings last year has been debunked.  “Many lines of evidence indicate that Darwinius has nothing at all to do with human evolution,” said Chris Kirk (U of Texas) in an article on Science Daily.  […]

How to Call Your Opponent Stupid Using Evolution

It may be that Professor Kanazawa was intending to be compassionate by couching his assessment in the language of evolutionary theory, but he essentially made a categorical judgment that conservatives and Christians are stupid, and atheists and the sexually promiscuous are smart.  How could he say such a thing?  He could dodge the charge of […]

Making Evolution Simple

Getting the vast diversity of highly complex creatures seems an impossible task for evolutionary theory, but some recent stories claim it’s not so hard.  Beak of the finch:  Darwin’s finches keep pecking their way into the media.  A new study claims that the wide diversity of beak shapes that have evolved can be explained by […]

Hopeful Monsters and Other Tales: Evolutionists Challenge Darwin

Two recent articles show that Darwin is not invincible.  On one side he is being attacked by hopeful monsters.  On the other, he is being attacked by an atheist truth-seeker.  Neither of these attacks are coming from creationists. Return of the hopeful monster:  Tanguy Chouard raised eyebrows in Nature News with a headline that sounds […]

Evolutionary Inferences: Are They Incontrovertible?

No matter what is found in plants or animals, it finds its way into an evolutionary explanation eventually.  Are these explanations driven by the data, or forced into a belief system?  Are other explanations possible?  Some recent reports might inform these questions. Your inner plant:  Get in touch with your inner plant with a report […]

Multiverse Explanations Are Fashionable, If Not Justifiable

How can scientists get away with speculating about unobservable universes, when science is supposed to concern itself with observation?  “In the end, there is no way to know for sure what other universes are out there, or what life they may hold,” an article in PhysOrg ended, “But that will likely not stop physicists from […]

Who Should Be Listening to Scientists?

“Stop Listening to Scientists?” is an unusual title for a letter to Science.1  In a commentary last week prompted by the recent scandals regarding climate change, Kevin Robert Gurney (Purdue) made a shocking exclamation: don’t listen to scientists.  Here’s how he began. As a climate scientist and a contributing author to the Intergovernmental Panel on […]

For His Birthday, Darwin Gets a Scrambled Arthropod Tree

If Darwin lost his tree last year (01/22/2009), it would seem any corrections or rearrangements would be academic.  Nevertheless, eight evolutionary biologists at Duke University tried rearranging one of the biggest branches on Darwin’s tree of common ancestry – the highly diverse group known as arthropods (animals with jointed appendages).  Arthropods comprise the largest number […]

More Surprises for Darwin

It’s not uncommon for theories to have to deal with anomalies, but Darwinism sure seems to get more than its share.  Here are some recent examples. Fossils lie:  Fossils preserve unmistakable clues about past life, right?  Not so fast.  Nature reported that “Non-random decay of chordate characters causes bias in fossil interpretation.”1  The way early […]

Dinosaurs Evolved from Birds

Birds evolved from dinosaurs, we are often told.  That’s backwards, reply some scientists at Oregon State University.  According to PhysOrg, the recently-published bi-plane model study of Microraptor gui (01/29/2010) demonstrates that theropod dinosaurs did not sprout wings and fly; instead, they became flightless after their bird ancestors came down from the trees.     Their […]

The Evolution of Religion – or Vice Versa?

A Harvard professor has evolutionized religion again.  Marc Hauser, the one who trains his little boy to adore Darwin (07/03/2007) and wrote a book on how natural selection created morality (10/27/2006), is now saying that religion is a by-product of our evolution.  “These findings suggest that religion evolved from pre-existing cognitive functions,” he wrote in […]

Small Hobbit Brain Means Little

Central in the debate whether Homo floresiensis (nicknamed hobbits) were human is the matter of their small brains.  Could diminutive human-like skeletons really be human with such small skulls? (cf. 03/04/2005).     Scientists at the University of Cambridge conducted a detailed analysis of brain size vs. body size for a number of primates.  They […]

Building a Cell: Staggering Complexity

“The living cell is a self-organizing, self-replicating, environmentally responsive machine of staggering complexity.”  Thus began a special section on “Building a Cell” in Nature last week.1  The section with five papers explores what is known about gene regulation, cell organization and signalling.  It’s an opportunity, as well, to see what scientists think about what they […]

Scientists Divine Deep Time in Dead Fish

Scientific experiments can certainly take on a wide variety of methods, from recreating the atmosphere of Titan to testing a drug on a genetic disease.  But if educators want to encourage students to become scientists, they had best keep silent about “some very unpleasant experiments” at the University of Leicester reported by the BBC News.  […]
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