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Introducing the Stretch & Squish Theory of Evolution

Evolution is too slow if theorists rely on single point mutations, say two biologists from U. of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, who published their ideas in PNAS1 (see summary on EurekAlert).  Instead, evolution proceeds by rapidly distorting, stretching and squishing what is already there, they claim.     They claim that even Darwin knew that […]

Crows and Apes Related by Convergent Evolution

Scientists have noticed that crows have some of the same tool-making skills as apes, and in fact, are even better tool makers.  How could such vastly different animals show such similar mental skills?  Science1 explains this as another example of convergent evolution: Discussions of the evolution of intelligence have focused on monkeys and apes because […]

The Evolution of Irresponsibility

Evolutionists at the University of Minnesota have developed a theory for the evolution of impulsive behavior, reports EurekAlert.  They say that because our ancestors were hunter-gatherers, they had to grab what they could without thought of future reward or punishment: When psychologists study kids who are good at waiting for a reward, they find those […]

Haeckel Vindicated?  Parathyroid Glands from Gills?

“Human gland evolved from gills” trumpeted a BBC News science article without apology.*  It gives uncontested press to a team from King’s College that is claiming the human parathyroid glands evolved from gills.  This is claimed on the basis that they have similar functions (calcium regulation) and are located in the neck region.  Fish have […]

Archaeology Is Hindered by Evolutionary Assumptions

Why was a complex village uncovered in Uruguay called “unexpected”?  Peter W. Stahl (anthropology, Binghamtom U.) asks the question in the Dec. 2 issue of Nature:1 Evidence of unexpected complexity in an ancient community in Uruguay is a further blow to the conventional view of prehistoric development in marginal areas of lowland South America.   […]

Candidates Vie for Stupid Evolution Quote of the Week

Contributions for the weekly prize sometimes come in as numerous as contestants at the Boston Marathon.  You can send in your contributions or vote on the following: Evolution as sculptor:  Sid Perkins, in Science News, submitted three entries in an article on penguin evolution: Early in penguin evolution, the bones, especially in the wings and […]

Platypus Has 10 Sex Chromosomes

The duck-billed platypus has thrown another curveball at evolutionary theory.  Long puzzling to phylogenists for its mosaic of features that make it seem part mammal, bird and reptile, it has now revealed a genome with 10 sex chromosomes – 10 X in the female, and 5 X plus 5 Y in the male.  Moreover, the […]

“Evolution Stories Are Subtle and Complex” – Truth or Euphemism?

A worm brain has photoreceptors similar to those in humans.  What does it mean?  Elizabeth Pennisi in Science1 sets the stage, commenting on work by Arendt et al. in the same issue,2 “Ciliary Photoreceptors with a Vertebrate-Type Opsin in an Invertebrate Brain.”  One might think this demonstrates common ancestry, but Pennisi explains that it’s not […]

Did Language Evolve by Natural Selection?

In the Oct 14 issue of Nature,1 Gary Marcus (Dept. of Psychology, New York University) appears conflicted about how human language arose.  He wants to attribute it to a Darwinian process: If, as François Jacob famously argued, evolution is like a tinkerer who builds something new by using whatever is close at hand, then from […]

Was Darwin Wrong?

One would think National Geographic wants to know, judging from the cover of the November 2004 issue: “Was Darwin Wrong?”  A reader might think the magazine editors, in light of the controversy about evolution sweeping the country, thought it would be timely to engage in a scientific debate about Darwin’s 19th-century theory.  The reader might […]

Neo-Darwinism Falsified in the Lab

Will the Spaniards be noted in history books as the ones who falsified neo-Darwinism?  Not likely; no one experiment would bring down a biological paradigm with such international and historical momentum behind it.  Nevertheless, looking at the results and conclusions of experiments by three evolutionary biologists at the Institut Cavanilles de Biodiversitat i Biologia Evolutiva, […]

National Geographic Faces Fact that Darwinism Is Minority View

The cover of the November issue of National Geographic is asking the question, “Was Darwin Wrong?  The work of the 19th-century English naturalist shocked society and revolutionized science.  How well has it withstood the test of time?”  The lead article by David Quammen notes that for decades, though evolution is supported by “overwhelming evidence,” 45% […]

Darwinian Dogma Doubted: Cave Fish Go Blind on Purpose

Contrary to previous belief, blind cave fish have the genes to build eyes but turn them off during development, reports Science Now.  When a body part is no longer needed, scientists usually assume that mutations accumulate in the genes controlling the structure, eventually preventing it from working or being made.  “That was the dogma,” says […]

How a Darwinist Explains “Living Fossils”

Darwinism is a flexible concept that must embrace a wide variety of observations, from apparently fast-evolving plants (see 10/12/2004 item on maize) to organisms that seem to remain unevolved for eons.2  Darwin himself saw this flexibility as a strength for his unifying concept of common descent; others criticized it as rationalization (i.e., a concept that […]

Professors’ Job Is to Fight Creationism?

According to evolutionary biologist Jerry Coyne, interviewed in Current Biology1 Oct. 5, Once I learned how to be a professor, I needed new challenges.  It’s our responsibility as American evolutionists to combat creationism, which is far more entrenched here than in the UK. 1Jerry Coyne, Q&A, Current Biology Volume 14, Issue 19, 5 October 2004, […]
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