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Assassins Roam Our Highways

Slinking surreptitiously through our blood streams, the assassins prowl about, looking for their targets.  These are not terrorists or vigilantes.  They have a license to kill.  Be glad they are there; they have saved your life many times.  They are called natural killer cells.     PhysOrg reported on work going on at Howard Hughes […]

Darwin as Compassionate Buddhist Ape Descendant

National Geographic claimed today.  “Darwin the Buddhist?  Empathy Writings Reveal Parallels,” wrote Christine Dell’Amore about new ideas about Darwin by Paul Ekman, psychologist.     What could Darwin possibly have to do with Buddhism?  Ekman told an audience at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science in Chicago that Charles […]

Can You Have Evolution Without Darwin?

It might seem crass to diminish the reputation of a historical figure right before his Bicentennial, but it’s happening.  There are some who are trying to chuck Darwin.  In the New York Times, Carl Safina shocked readers with his title, “Darwinism Must Die So That Evolution May Live.”     Safina was appalled at the […]

Evolutionists Hunger for Morality

Nature is completely sold over to naturalistic evolution, yet cannot escape the question of morality.  Science depends on morality, but it is not clear in their statements that they acknowledge any universal moral standard.  Christian standards of honesty seem to be assumed.  But if everything in biology (including human behavior) emerged by natural selection, then […]

Religion: The Evolution of Self-Control

A psychologist came up with a new theory of how religion evolved.  It evolved to give people more self-control.     Science Daily reported the ideas of Miami psychologist Michael McCullough.  Basically, “Religion May Have Evolved Because Of Its Ability To Help People Exercise Self-control,” the article states, with a picture of a rural church […]

Science Intrudes Into Morality

The Pope recently declared that we need to save humanity from self-destructive behaviors, like homosexuality.  Can science intrude on questions of human behavior and morals?  New Scientist thought so; a blog entry today says the Pope “misuses science to attack homosexuality.”     One would think that moral behavior would lie outside the field for […]

Are Religious People Weird?

Some scientists treat religious people as a class.  They put them in a test tube, so to speak, to see how they react to a stimulus, then write up the results in scientific papers.  The implication seems to be that these fellow humans of theirs are some kind of odd lot. Reactionary:  The BBC News […]

Cosmologists Taste the Forbidden Fruit

Everyone agrees: our universe appears fine-tuned for human existence.  You have two choices: it was designed by God, or there is a multiverse (other universes we cannot detect).  Amanda Gefter is unhappy with that choice.  In New Scientist, she asked, why can’t we have more options?     Calling the God-vs-multiverse choice a false dichotomy, […]

Nature Can’t Wait for Darwin Day

Darwin Day (Feb. 12, 2009) is months away, but Nature devoted a special issue to it this week.  The cover story, Darwin 200, includes 15 articles and features, some of which are available to the public.  Features include a list of celebrations and exhibitions around the world, including a re-enactment of Darwin’s voyage on a […]

Desperately Fleeing God in Cosmology

Does the fine-tuning of the universe require belief in God?  Or will multiverse theory allow for a self-perpetuating, eternal, godless cosmos?  Tim Folger explored this topic in an interview with Andrei Linde, a cosmologist currently at Stanford, in Discovery Magazine.  The opening line sums up the controversy: “Our universe is perfectly tailored for life.  That […]

Evolutionizing Religion: Who’s Assuming What?

“Findings from cognitive psychology, neuroscience, cultural anthropology and archaeology promise to change our view of religion,” said Pascal Boyer in Nature.1  His essay summarized studies that offer an evolutionary explanation for mankind’s propensity to embrace religion.  “We can probe the shared assumptions that religions are built on, however disparate, and examine the connection between religion […]

Can Psychology Figure Out Humans?

Psychology is often considered a soft science.  Anything they pronounce one year is likely to be modified or overturned the next.     A few years ago (and still in some quarters), self-esteem was all the rage (now fading, though; see 05/12/2003).  We should be assertive and confident, we were told, and make our feelings […]

Dismissing Religion by Evolving It

Religion evolved, and a computer program shows it.  This is the claim made by an article on New Scientist.  “God may work in mysterious ways, but a simple computer program may explain how religion evolved,” remarked Ewen Callaway with sweeping implications for the majority of earth’s population.     James Dow, an evolutionary anthropologist at […]

Whence Plague?

Where did bubonic plague come from?  Science News reported that two mutations turned the bacterium from a docile, innocuous bacterium into a curse.     The combination of two mutations disabled the gene for aspartase, an enzyme that breaks down aspartic acid.  When the crippled Yersinia pestis enters a host, more aspartic acid is generated […]

Can Hardwired Humans Have Rational Choice?

Two articles recently claimed that we humans are “hardwired” for certain processes.  Fairness:  Science Daily reported on work by UCLA psychologists that suggest humans are “hardwired for fairness.”  A sense of contempt arises when games appear rigged unfairly, they found.  The psychologists found a particular region of the brain was activated during this response, but […]
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