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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...

Few Mutational Pathways Lead to Darwinian Evolution

Mutations may not be as helpful for neo-Darwinian evolution as expected, say researchers from Harvard.  Let’s say five mutations need to occur for a bacterium to gain resistance to an antibiotic, and there are 120 ways to get these mutations.  They found that only about 10 of the pathways could be selected by natural selection.  […]

The Evolution of Irreducible Complexity

It must be open season on Intelligent Design (ID).  Yesterday, Nature tried defense with a new missing link claim (04/06) and today, Science is printing a story to tackle ID’s offensive line, irreducible complexity (see U of Oregon press release and EurekAlert).  The Discovery Institute immediately jumped to the match, with Mr. Irreducible Complexity himself, […]

The Class Struggle: Students Challenge Teachers Over Evolution

Teaching uncooperative teenagers has always been challenging, but some of today’s biology teachers may feel nostalgic for the days when rowdy students whacked the bulletin boards with real spitballs instead of verbal ones.  Now, dodging student challenges to evolution is getting downright exhausting.  Students used to just accept what the teacher said about the subject […]

War Stories: Darwinism vs. ID

How are things going in the Darwin Wars?  The rhetoric is still flying, and there have been gains and losses on both sides.  Here are assorted war stories from battle stations and strategic summits: Golden Rule at Hahvahd:  The Harvard Gazette held a panel discussion on “How Do We Teach Evolution.”  Richard Lewontin sees the […]

Sacrificial Love Evolved from Colored Beards

Scientific jargon is like a foreign language to most lay people, but anyone stumbling across a paper on “altruism through beard chromodynamics” in Nature1 this week must surely wonder what on earth Vincent Jansen and Minus van Baalen were talking about.  Let’s see if their introduction can explain, or if Nature has printed a grown-up […]

Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week:  Evolution of ABC

Four Caltech scientists have tried to explain the shapes of alphabet letters in evolutionary terms, reported EurekAlert: In a new study forthcoming in the May 2006 issue of The American Naturalist, Mark A. Changizi and his coauthors, Qiang Zhang, Hao Ye, and Shinsuke Shimojo, from the California Institute of Technology explore the hypothesis that human […]

Plant Species Divisions Are As Distinct As Those of Animals

Plants were thought to speciate differently than animals.  Evolutionary taxonomists presumed that their species barriers were more fuzzy, with hybridization, polyploidy and other mechanisms blurring the lines between species.  Not so, claim three scientists from Indiana University writing in Nature.1  These perceptions may just be artifacts of the plants selected for study: Many botanists doubt […]

Can Scientific Journals Perpetuate False Ideas?

An unusual paper appeared in PNAS this week.1  Four social scientists from Columbia and Yale argued that scientific papers can actually perpetuate false ideas rather than correct them.  The abstract says that an influential paper can generate momentum that becomes merely cited as fact by subsequent authors: We analyzed a very large set of molecular […]

The Darwin Empire Strikes Back

It would seem the ID republic is imprisoned on its own ice-world of Hoth, scrambling to escape as the empire has mobilized its machinery against the rebels.  The AAAS, for instance, held its “Evolution on the Front Line” event in St. Louis and has posted its weaponry on its Center for Public Engagement with Science […]

Darwinists Take a Snubbing

Darwinism got beat up in the polls again.  World Net Daily reported on a new Zogby poll that showed that “69 percent of Americans believe public school teachers should present both the evidence for and against Darwinian evolution.”  Evolution News had comments about the poll; secular news media seemed to pay no attention.     […]

Curious George Learns Helpfulness; Newspapers Go Bananas

Item: Three evolutionists at the Max Planck Institute did experiments with chimps to see if they collaborated on problem-solving.  Writing in Science,1 they said: We presented chimpanzees with collaboration problems in which they had to decide when to recruit a partner and which potential partner to recruit.  In an initial study, individuals recruited a collaborator […]

Anti-ID Media Resorts to Mockery, Misrepresentation

Evolution News, a blog of the Discovery Institute ID think tank, was launched in 2004 to try to correct misrepresentation in the media.  It never seems to have a shortage of material (see their 3/2/2006 post).  Even though the Discovery Institute maintains public documents on its website defining what intelligent design is and what it […]

Evolution: A Theory in Splices

One of the reasons Darwinism has such staying power may be because it is so flexible.  Any speculation can be spliced in or out, as long as the belief that “evolution is a fact” is not jeopardized.  Here are some recent examples of claims made by certain scientists that everything you know about evolution is […]

What’s Darwin Got to Do With It?

Is evolutionary theory useful?  We saw Donald Kennedy et al. claiming last week (see 02/24/2006) that doctors need training in evolutionary thinking.  This week, Christopher Beard (U of Pittsburgh Medical Center) claimed that a study of dinosaur evolution can help doctors understand human lower back pain (see EurekAlert).  These, however, are announcements after the fact.  […]
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