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Wilson Duo Resurrects Darwin’s Taboo

Group selection (sociobiology) has long been a taboo subject, but now its time has come.  This is what an article on EurekAlert claims.  E. O. Wilson and David Sloan Wilson are on a new campaign to promote group selection.     The two Wilsons called for a new consensus on sociobiology in The Quarterly Review […]

Flowering Plants Do Big Bang in Darwin’s Face

There’s a big bang in botany.  The flowering plants, reported Science Daily, “evolved very quickly into five groups.”     The claim is based on the investigation of plant genes by scientists in Florida.  Their work “showed that a stunning diversification of flowering plants they are referring to as the ‘Big Bang’ took place in […]

Magicians through the Looking Glass

A leading origin-of-life researcher passed away last month: Leslie Orgel.  Gerald Joyce paid him tribute in Nature.1  Orgel worked closely with other famous origin-of-life people like Stanley Miller, and was a leader in the “RNA world” scenario for the origin of life.  Joyce appreciated his rigid empiricism: Although Orgel was a theoretician, he always demanded […]

No Salt, Please: Europa Life Needs It Bland

Salt may taste good on human food, but for life trying to emerge in the sea, it is toxic.  Astrobiologists have long wondered if life could exist at Jupiter’s moon Europa, where an ocean is believed to exist miles deep under the icy crust.  They must have been presuming the water is pure, but an […]

SETI Researcher Writes Children’s Poem

For a feature called “SETI Thursday” at Space.com, Dr. Laurence Doyle has written a childish poem about how life brought itself up from nothing to galactic explorers.  It begins, “When the Earth was young, and the Moon nearby, in a cometary sea, prokaryotic thoughts arose, what fun it is to be!”  The idea of evolving […]

Judgment Day:  Will it Be the New Inherit the Wind?

The PBS-Vulcan film Judgment Day just aired on national TV (see 10/12/2007) and is sure to represent a new rallying point for both sides of the ongoing controversy over Darwinian evolution that has raged for 148 years.  For material on both sides, see the PBS website, which put Intelligent Design on trial, and the responses […]

Evolutionary Algorithms Improve on Plants

A press release from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign talks design, but it’s really about evolution, but then really about design.  Confused?  So is the author of the press release, entitled “Researchers successfully simulate photosynthesis and design a better leaf.” University of Illinois researchers have built a better plant, one that produces more leaves and […]

The Brain Evolved!… Didn’t It?

Evolutionary neurologists are so absolutely sure the human brain is a product of evolution from lower primates over millions of years, they are able to talk openly and frankly about problems with the particulars.  But in reading some of their own reviews of current ideas, it is not clear which has been evolving: the brain […]

Science Journals Rally Anti-ID Army

Language in science journals is typically restrained, genteel and erudite.  Editorials value diversity and inclusion, rarely painting any issue black or white.  There are two issues, though, that let loose the raging bull: (1) policies that jeopardize funding, and (2) creationism.  As illustrations of reactions to the latter, consider two articles this week that snort […]

When Bad Religion Confronts Good Science, and Vice Versa

A spooky Halloween thought: there are still witch doctors in the world today.  If they were harmless spooks, they could be dismissed as kooks, but they can have a devastating impact on the ecology as well as the souls of men.  National Geographic had a disturbing story this month about the witch doctors of Uganda, […]

Crystal Power Is Not Evolution

What would Max Planck think?  The Institute named after him put out a press release, “Evolution in the Nanoworld,” that claims that synthetic molecules can organize themselves by an evolutionary principle of selection: The automatic molecular assembly and selection steps exhibited by the molecules, which start as random mixtures, demonstrates a fundamental step in the […]

Book: Intelligent Design Argument Turns Leading Atheist to God

“There is a God,” announces a former leading atheist on the cover of his new book.  Antony Flew changed his mind a few years ago partly because of the design argument: the fine-tuning of the universe, according to the blurb on Amazon.com.  New arguments by philosophical theists like Alvin Plantinga and Richard Swinburne also played […]

Cilia Are Antennas for Human Senses and Development

The little hair-like projections on cells, called cilia, have more functions than previously believed.  A press release from Johns Hopkins University said that researchers found cilia are important for the sense of touch – particularly, for heat sensation.  In fact, cilia are implicated in at least three of the five traditional senses.     The […]

Evolutionary Science Reporting Battles Creationists

If creationism is so discredited as to not warrant any further discussion, some science writers are sure going out of their way to refute it.  Some recent examples: Eye of the Hydra:  Little sea creatures known as hydrae have light-sensitive molecules called opsins, reported Science Daily.  Scientists think the opsin proteins, which exist all over […]

Is Adenine Additive?

A paper in PNAS argues that adenine can form in plausible prebiotic conditions.1  Does this add to the story of chemical evolution leading to life on Earth?     Some chemists at the University of Georgia explored the chemical steps necessary to form adenine (one of the bases used in DNA).  Adenine has been found […]
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