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Evolution Tries to Figure Out Dads

Why did evolution produce fathers?  After male adult humans deliver their genetic component of the zygote, what are they good for?  This is a subject in which the Darwinian and the Judeo-Christian concepts of fatherhood begin at opposite poles.  But they have to converge on the practical observations of what fathers do best when they […]

An Ugly Head Rises in Lenin’s Land

According to Andy Coghlan, reporter for New Scientist, the spectre of an “ugly head” is rising in Russia.  What is it?  It’s not atheism, because Coghlan admits that Russia once made that the state religion.  It’s not communism, because Coghlan admits “Godless communism” once prevailed in the Soviet Union.  No, it is an ugly head […]

Butterfly Wing Shimmer Done With 3-D Crystals

Those shimmering flashes of light seen on butterfly wings are not done with pigments.  They’re done with tiny, geometric crystals called gyroids stacked in 3-D patterns, scientists have found.  They are so effective at concentrating color, the scientists want to imitate the trick.     “A precise characterization of color-producing biological nanostructures is critical to […]

The Limits of Scientific Speculation

How far can a scientist speculate and get a respectful hearing, just because he or she is a scientist?  One case to examine is a story on PhysOrg, “The Chance for Life on Io” (see also Astrobio.net).  Jupiter’s innermost large moon Io might be considered the last place to look for life.  It is the […]

Flagellum Replaces Parts on the Fly

A new study appears to show that the bacterial flagellum, a molecular rotary motor that has become iconic of the intelligent design movement, can repair parts of its rotor while it is rotating.  The results of the study by Oxford University were published in PNAS,1 and were also the focus of a Commentary in PNAS […]

Not Lamarck Again

Remember Lamarck?  He was the pre-Darwin evolutionist whose theories we were all taught were overthrown by Darwin’s superior theory of natural selection.  Lamarck’s theory of “inheritance of acquired characteristics” was shown to be demonstrably false by the dramatic experiments of Weismann, right?  It was never really so clear-cut as that, as evolutionary historians know, but […]

Darwin’s Sweatshop: Why Ethiopia Made People Hairless

Five scientists think they have figured out why people walk upright and don’t have fur like other mammals.  They had to evolve in Ethiopia, where it is hot.  This led to the loss of body hair, and the evolution of sweat glands and other adaptations to deal with the heat.     It’s not that […]

Plants Have Memories

June 09, 2010 — Have you ever noticed how plants have an uncanny ability to know, without eyes or brains, when the time has come to bloom?  Even when spring comes early or late in some years, they sense the right time, and out come the flowers.  This is even more remarkable when you consider […]

Not Life on Titan Again

Something weird is going on at the large moon of Saturn.  “What is Consuming Hydrogen and Acetylene on Titan?” teased a press release from Jet Propulsion Laboratory”s Cassini mission: Two new papers based on data from NASA’s Cassini spacecraft scrutinize the complex chemical activity on the surface of Saturn’s moon Titan.  While non-biological chemistry offers […]

Your Nerves and Heart Depend on Cellular Pulleys, Latches and Switches

Biologists continue to peer closer and closer at cellular machines that work just like man-made ones, only at scales so tiny, they control individual atoms.  Of particular interest have been the gates in the membranes of cells that allow certain atoms in but keep others out.  A recent paper in Cell by an Australian team […]

Whale Evolution: Hurry Up and Wait

Whales evolved really fast, then just swam around with nothing to do for tens of millions of years.  “Whales Evolved in the Blink of an Eye” wrote Brett Israel for Live Science about a new study that claims “Whales evolved explosively fast into a spectacular array of shapes and sizes” about 35 million years ago, […]

Venter’s Synthetic Plagiarism Deflated by NY Times

How significant was Craig Venter’s achievement of a so-called synthetic genome?  Somewhat significant, but it pales in significance to creating life from scratch.  It was only like “peering over a fortress that is the mighty cell,” wrote Natalie Angier for the New York Times Monday, May 31.     The article was accompanied with a […]

Fooling Around with OOL

Origin of Life (OOL) research is one of those areas in science where one doesn’t have to make any real progress, as long as he or she looks busy.  Anything the scientist says, no matter how speculative, or even foolish, is likely to be taken seriously, because the alternative – creation – has already been […]

Science Explains Why the Universe Exists

They’ve done it again – those clever scientists have figured out why the universe exists.  What would we ever do without them?  Michael Bolen at Yahoo News had to share the good news, “Scientists discover explanation for why the Universe exists.”  Space.com explained it as a victory in an ancient contest: “Why We Exist: Matter […]

Darwin in Space without a Helmet

“Space agencies may one day have Charles Darwin to thank for the longevity of their spacecraft,” began an article in New Scientist.  This seems a strange thing to write about a biologist who knew nothing of space travel.  “The life expectancy of a popular type of ion engine has been almost doubled using software that […]
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