How Useful Is Evolutionary Theory to Biology?
August 4, 2006
A favorite quote by evolutionists is the line by Theodosius Dobzhansky, “Nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution.” Why, then, do so many biological papers fail to mention evolution at all? Indeed, many employ design language, sometimes with a sense of awe. Here are more recent examples in which the E […]
Team Returns Pseudogene to Junkpile to Counter ID Claim
August 3, 2006
An earlier claim that a pseudogene has a function (see 05/01/2003 story) has been debunked by a team of scientists reporting in PNAS.1 Their reanalysis of the claim made in 2003 “invalidates the data upon which the pseudogene trans-regulation model is based and therefore strongly supports the view that mammalian pseudogenes are evolutionary relics.” The […]
Self-Correcting RNA: Is It a Missing Link?
July 28, 2006
A team of Russian scientists at Rutgers discovered a remarkable phenomenon: RNA that proofreads itself during its own synthesis. The work was reported in Science1: “We show that during transcription elongation, the hydrolytic reaction stimulated by misincorporated nucleotides proofreads most of the misincorporation events and thus serves as an intrinsic mechanism of transcription fidelity.” It […]
Likely, Evolution May Be a Fact, Presumably
July 19, 2006
When reading evolutionary science papers, one gets the feeling there are more than the usual number of words indicating conjecture, doubt and uncertainty. We decided to check this out in the July 11 issue of Current Biology. Scans for the words perhaps, probably, might, possibly, likely, may, apparently, seem and presumably and their derivatives were […]
Cambrian Mollusk: Does It Help Animal Evolution Story?
July 13, 2006
A soft-bodied mollusk named Odontogriphus known from the Burgess Shale, placed in the Middle Cambrian, has been described in more detail in Nature.1 If the Middle Cambrian is well after the Cambrian explosion, how can the authors claim this pushes the story of animal evolution far back into the Precambrian, before the explosion? A reporter […]
Evolving Consciousness Without a Soul
July 7, 2006
A paper tackling the theory of consciousness begins, Any scientific study of consciousness is based on the premise that phenomenal experience is entailed by neuronal activity in the brain. Given this premise, an adequate theory of consciousness must be consistent with physics and with evolutionary principles. Nonphysical or dualistic forces or processes must be excluded, […]
Nature Gives Top Blog Honors to Radical Atheists
July 6, 2006
P. Z. Myers (U of Minnesota) has been one of the most foul-mouthed critics of creation, intelligent design and religion in general. He has said that Abraham was worse than Hitler (see Evolution News). He has ridiculed the crucifixion of Christ (see Evolution News). His opinion on how to treat anti-evolutionists: “I say, screw the […]
Genetic Code Began by Lamarckian Evolution
July 5, 2006
It takes guts to tackle the origin of the genetic code from a naturalist perspective. It also takes guts to resurrect Lamarck in the age of Darwin. Carl Woese and colleagues tried a new hypothesis in PNAS1 that boldly goes headlong into both challenges. To preserve a natural explanation for the genetic code, they felt […]
Paper View: Why SETI Hears Only a Great Silence
June 30, 2006
Enrico Fermi posed a curious question in 1950: “Where is everybody?” If life emerges on planets as a consequence of evolution, there should be other intelligent civilizations out there, and some of them must have colonized other worlds. He thought there must have been plenty of time for galactic colonizers to achieve technologies far beyond […]
Evolutionists Find Pegasus in the Gene Epic
June 26, 2006
When you conjure with genes, you never know what might appear. Japanese scientists, publishing in PNAS,1 tried to find evolution in mammalian retroposons and found an unexpected relationship. New Scientist explains: “You could call it a batty idea, but bats seem to be more closely related to horses than cows are.” “Despite the […]
Science Reporters Spin Spider Web Data Into Evolutionary Program
June 23, 2006
A spider was found perfectly preserved in amber (fossil tree sap), complete with its web and prey. It is identical to modern spiders. Isn’t evolution amazing? If you just experienced a software crash, there must be something wrong with your BIOS. All the news media ran that program just fine. A patch is […]
The World Against I.D.
June 21, 2006
The Inter-Academy Panel (IAP) on International Issues, a global network of scientific academies, has issued a statement endorsing cosmic and biological evolution. It urges “decision makers, teachers, and parents to educate all children about the methods and discoveries of science and to foster an understanding of the science of nature.” Though the statement does not […]
Cambrian Explosion Precursors, or Drops in the Bucket?
June 18, 2006
Two recent presentations, one in person and one in print, tried to fill in the gap of fossils that led to the explosion of diversity in the Cambrian, known as the Cambrian Explosion (see 04/23/2006 entry). Darwin’s Dilemma Solved? Dr. J. William Schopf (UCLA), renowned discoverer of Precambrian microfossils, triumphantly announced the solution to “Darwin’s […]
How Can They Call This Duck a Missing Link?
June 16, 2006
The news media are abuzz with the phrase “Missing Link” again. This time, it’s about a fossilized duck or loon found in Early Cretaceous strata in China, announced in Science.1 The article calls it a “nearly modern” bird with soft-tissue preservation, including webbed feet, wing feathers and downy feathers. They said it “possesses advanced anatomical […]
Cactus Evolution Explained
May 12, 2006
Phew, finally: now we know how cacti evolved, reports EurekAlert. Ouch! On second thought, how’s that again? Two Yale scientists set out to figure out how the succulent plants turned leaves into spines. Using molecular methods, they identified the earliest cactus, but then said it “already showed water use patterns that are similar […]