What Are Human Genes Doing in a Sea Anemone?
July 8, 2007
The genome of a sea anemone has been published, and of all things, this lowly animal has genes common to vertebrates, even humans. Science Daily began with a conundrum, “The first analysis of the genome of the sea anemone shows it to be nearly as complex as the human genome, providing major insights into the […]
The Chimp-Human 1% Difference: A Useful Lie
June 29, 2007
Jon Cohen made a remarkable admission in Science this week.1 The popular notion that humans and chimpanzees are genetically 99% similar is a myth, and should be discarded. Since 1975, textbooks, the media and museums have emphasized this close similarity; but now, Cohen quoted a number of scientists who say the number cannot possibly be […]
Giant Fossil Penguins Lived in Warm Waters
June 26, 2007
“Giant prehistoric penguins? In Peru?” puzzled a reporter on Science Daily. “It sounds more like something out of Hollywood than science,” but a fossil penguin you could look eye to eye with has been found that far north. “We tend to think of penguins as being cold-adapted species,” said one of the discoverers,” but not […]
Council of Europe Officially Condemns Creationism and I.D.
June 22, 2007
A lengthy and strident policy document was issued by the Council of Europe denouncing creationism. The summary statement makes it clear there is no compromise possible, because “religious fundamentalists” are behind it, and that creationism and intelligent design must be firmly and unequivocally opposed. Evolution, by contrast, is given supreme status as the explanation for […]
Plants International Travel Upsets Evolutionary Idea
June 16, 2007
They may be rooted in soil, but plants really get around. Some of them make it around the world. One example has upset a long-believed evolutionary idea. First of all, plants have a social life. National Geographic published a story about how plants socialize and communicate. “Plants have family values, too, it seems, […]
Genome Complexity Unveiled: No Junk, Only Function
June 15, 2007
Any remaining doubts that the idea of “junk DNA” has itself been junked should vanish under the latest findings about genome complexity. A number of recent news stories have revealed astonishing levels of regulation and organization in the non-coding regions of DNA. It turns out that genes are not the only interesting things in the […]
Imaginary Dinosaur Feathers Found Again!
June 13, 2007
Last year, we reported that imaginary feathers had been found on a dinosaur fossil (see 02/08/2006). Now, more imaginary feathers have turned up. This turkey was big, too: the dinosaur plumed in the imaginary feathers stood almost 12 feet tall. Everyone’s talking about it: Fox News, MSNBC News and Science News among others. National Geographic […]
Color-Blind Cephalopods Perform Colorful Camouflage Tricks
June 6, 2007
Roger Hanlon has studied octopi, squid and cuttlefish for decades. He stands in awe of their ability to camouflage themselves. In a Primer article for Current Biology,1 he detailed some of their sleight-of-skin magic tricks. His article has frames from a movie clip that show an octopus changing its skin from plain to […]
Did Walking Evolve in the Trees?
June 4, 2007
The news media are all echoing a report from Science1 that orangutan behavior in trees tells us something about the evolution of human bipedalism (see National Geographic, Fox News, and MSNBC News). If this new view gains acceptance, it means the old iconic image of man emerging upright from a stooped-over ape posture (05/03/2007) is […]
Origin of Multicellularity: Back to the Drawing Board
June 1, 2007
Micro-RNAs have been found in green algae. So? What’s the big deal? If you read the statements in Nature,1 it sounds like evolutionary biologists consider it a big, bad deal: The discovery, made independently by two labs, dismantles the popular theory that the regulatory role of microRNAs in gene expression is tied to the evolution […]
Resisting Science, or Resisting Purposelessness?
May 29, 2007
Why do so many adults “resist science”?, asked Yale psychologists Paul Bloom and Deena Skolnick Weisberg in an essay on The Edge. They argued that childhood common sense impressions lead to a teleological view of the world. These impressions conflict with evolutionary ideas presented at school, but are reinforced by religious authorities. The job of […]
Science Is for the Birds
May 19, 2007
Birds, with all their variety and functionality, are a never-ending source of study for scientists. Here are some recent feathery findings: Memory masters: Scrub jays are like us: they can plan ahead, regardless of mood. Current Biology did a study that proved these common western birds can cache tomorrow’s breakfast regardless of their motivational state. […]
Can Morality Be Evolutionized?
May 17, 2007
A psychologist at the University of Virginia is probing the evolutionary origins of morality: [Jonathan] Haidt shows how evolutionary, neurological and social-psychological insights are being synthesized in support of three principles: 1) Intuitive primacy, which says that human emotions and gut feelings generally drive our moral judgments; 2) Moral thinking if [sic] for social doing, […]
New Theory for Introns: Mutation Sponges
May 8, 2007
When you don’t know where damage will occur, it makes sense to spread the assets around. Scientists from City of Hope Medical Center (a cancer care and research institute) have a new idea about introns, those regions of DNA “junk“ between the more interesting exons (parts of genes). Perhaps the introns are mutation sponges. […]
More Optical Design in Eye Retina Than Seen Before
May 2, 2007
For decades, evolutionists have used the vertebrate retina as an example of poor design (dysteleology). They have mocked how any designer could have been so unintelligent as to get the wiring backwards – with the photoreceptors behind a jumble of light-scattering cells. Creationists have countered that despite the arrangement, it works well.1 Now, they may […]