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What’s in a Name?  Sima Fossils Confuse Human Evolution Story

“A hush fell over the room….”  Ian Tattersall had just astonished paleoanthropologists gathered for a meeting on human origins in Gibraltar.  The group was puzzling over a treasure trove of hominin bones found in the mid-1990s at Sima de los Huesos in Spain.  What should they be called?     The co-discoverer, Juan Luis Arsuaga, […]

Evolutionists Answer ‘Why’ Questions With ‘Stuff Happens’

Why do ants walk single file?  Why are goldfish gold?  Why do worms come up on the sidewalk in the rain?  Exasperated parents sometimes answer the incessant questions of their young children with “It’s just the way things are!”  Presumably science does a better job of explanation, but one might wonder if the following evolutionary […]

Trio of Darwin Films Released

This month finds us two thirds of the way between Darwin’s 200th birthday and the 150th anniversary of his Origin of Species.  Taking advantage of the extra attention Darwin is getting this year (as if he needed more), three films on his life and ideas are being released from three different companies. The Voyage that […]

Evolution 2.0: What’s in the Upgrade?

Consider Evolution 1.0.  That was the old biological, Darwinian stuff.  Now, there’s Evolution 2.0 – the evolution of technology.  W. Brian Arthur explained the upgrade package for New Scientist: “On the origin of technologies.”     Arthur is not the first to try to define a law of nature for the origin of technology.  He […]

Evolution of the Knuckle Head

An evolutionary anthropologist looked at the knuckles of chimpanzees.  Then she looked at the knuckles of gorillas.  Then she looked at her own knuckles.  Conclusion: humans evolved from tree climbers, not knuckle walkers.  Her theory can be read in Live Science, based on a paper in PNAS.1     Tracy Kivell and Daniel Schmitt from […]

Ho-Hum, Another Human Missing Link

Shoppers typically are wary of over-hyped ads, knowing that any claim sounding too good to be true probably is.  What would they think about media reports claiming a new fossil monkey is the “8th wonder of the world”?     The scientific paper in PLoS ONE1 had hardly been published before the press went ape, […]

Missing Links Found: Walking Seal, Teen Tyrannosaur

Science news media are abuzz with reports that two missing links have been found.  One is a fossil seal (pinniped) with four legs, the other a smaller presumed ancestor of the famous Tyrannosaurus rex. Seal:  National Geographic News calls it a seal with arms, and features artwork of an otter-like animal doing a kind of […]

Publish Your Kooky Idea

Seth Shostak of the SETI Institute has a solution for sorting science from pseudoscience: publish.  In the weekly SETI article for April 16 on Space.com, he said he gets lots of wacky theories in the mail and email.  What’s the best way to sift through claims and find the gems?  Publication.     Shostak acknowledged […]

Art as Propaganda for Evolution

Should a scientific theory be propagated by appeal to scientific evidence, or by appeal to emotions through visualization?  Nature this week contained two articles that shamelessly praised art as propaganda for evolution.  Surprisingly, one of them mentioned Charles Darwin as someone “at the cutting edge of visualization.” Endless Forms:  Carl Zimmer reviewed an exhibit currently […]

Physicists Bow to Darwin

What’s Darwin got to do with physics?  Presumably, if you dropped his statue off the leaning tower of Pisa, it would fall at 32 feet per second squared, but the man is remembered for his speculations about biology, not physics.  Why, then, did Nature Physics devote a special issue to Darwin?  Here’s what it presented. […]

Darwin Had Genetic Blinders

Darwin was a contemporary of Mendel, so why did he get inheritance wrong?  That question was addressed on Science Daily by Jonathan Howard of the University of Cologne, Germany.  His thesis is that Darwin had philosophical blinders on that prevented him from recognizing the significance of evidence before him.     “Why Didn’t Darwin Discover […]

Darwinism as Religion in a Holy War

It might be expected that media attention on Darwin would be exceptionally high this month because of his bicentennial, but some of it seems downright religious.  The adulation he has been receiving is almost embarrassing sometimes.  It is only exceeded by the righteous indignation Darwin’s fans frequently express against intelligent design.  In any other context, […]

The Nature of Nature’s “Darwin 200”

As could be expected for yesterday’s Darwin Day February 12, Nature devoted almost its entire 2/12/09 issue to Charles Darwin with at least 20 Darwin-related articles.  The caption for the special edition states, The latest edition of Nature to celebrate Darwin’s life and work looks at the human side of evolution.  We have features on […]

Darwin Losing in the Polls

Many scientists are celebrating Darwin as the greatest scientist in history on his Bicentennial, but public support for his theory is slipping.  A new Zogby poll shows significant erosion over the past few years over the question of whether evolution only should be taught, and a new Gallup poll shows only a minority believe in […]

Darwin’s Wrong Turn in Argentina

When the Beagle was sailing the coast of Argentina in 1834, it stopped at the mouth of the Santa Cruz River.  25-year-old Charles Darwin, who had been reading Lyell’s Principles of Geology, got out and explored the area on foot as the crew made camp on the cliffs.  Darwin was impressed by the six-mile-wide canyon […]
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