Exoplanets: Robbing the term “Earth-like” of meaning

From Nathaniel Sharping at Discover blogs: Every time astronomers discover another exoplanet, the first question is,”Does it look like Earth?” Finding an Earth-like exoplanet would certainly increase our chances of finding life, as we know it, on that distant world. We could finally prove that we’re not all alone in this big, cold universe. But, […]

Columbine film actually addresses Darwinism as the mass murderers’ motive

Wow. How that one got past “All suits on board for PC over fact” is anyone’s guess. From Alex Murashko at World News Daily: Although producers of “I’m Not Ashamed,” which releases Friday, use the 1999 Columbine High School massacre as a backdrop to the feature story of martyred Rachel Joy Scott, the film doesn’t […]

Andrew Ferguson reviews Wolfe’s Kingdom of Speech at Commentary

The Kingdom of Speech Here: When The Kingdom of Speech, Tom Wolfe’s new book-length essay, was published in late summer, it received generally respectful reviews in the popular press, fitting for the Grand Old Man of Letters that Wolfe, through no fault of his own, has become. … This time around the notable exception was […]

Breaking: Birds fly forward. Big US textbook author defends Darwinism to Royal Society

A friend notes that Doug Futuyma’s abstract for the upcoming Royal Society Public Evolution Summit is now available. Based on the predictable and disappointing verbiage, the friend fears that the meeting will fizzle: Abstract: The evolutionary synthesis today: extend or amend? Evolutionary theory has been extended almost continually since the Evolutionary Synthesis, but the principal tenets of […]

Dembski: Comment of the week, comments from News interspersed

From Truth Will Set You Free (18) in response to Pindi (16) — Pindi @ 16: Saying that the theory of Darwinian evolution is in free fall has nothing to do with the state of ID, or whether William Dembski is breaking ranks from the ID movement. News: Dembski isn’t “breaking ranks from the ID […]

423 mya fish upends jaw evolution theory

From Anna Nowogrodzki at Nature: The 423-million-year-old specimen, dubbed Qilinyu rostrata, is part of an ancient group of armoured fish called placoderms. The fossil is the oldest ever found with a modern three-part jaw, which includes two bones in the upper jaw and one in the lower jaw. Researchers reported their find on 20 October […]

Torturing the data till it really scares people

From Ronald Bailey at Reason: When environmental activists could no longer maintain with a straight face that exposure to trace amounts of synthetic chemicals is a significant cause for cancer in people, the endocrine disruption hypothesis was ginned up. The idea is that chemicals that mimic estrogen are causing epidemics of deformed penises, lower sperm […]

The universe from a black hole?

From astrophysicist Ethan Siegel at Forbes: So could our Universe not have originated from a true singularity, but rather as the three-dimensional wrapping of a collapsing, growing four-dimensional black hole? Perimeter Institute and University of Waterloo researchers Niayesh Afshordi, Razieh Pourhasan and Robert Mann proposed this idea back in 2014, and despite their best attempts, […]

Chimp enters Smoke Age

O’Leary for News: Yes, yes, I know I shouldn’t be putting this story up; I should pay attention to real news, but: From North Korea we learn about a chimp who smokes a pack a day. Okay, back to work soon. But is this cruelty to chimps? See also: Are apes entering the Stone Age? Follow […]

Possible water on largest solar system asteroid

From Astronomical Journal: In order to search for evidence of hydration on M-type asteroid (16) Psyche, we observed this object in the 3 micron spectral region using the long-wavelength cross-dispersed (LXD: 1.9-4.2 micron) mode of the SpeX spectrograph/imager at the NASA Infrared Telescope Facility (IRTF). Our observations show that Psyche exhibits a 3 micron absorption […]

Polyploidy: Genetic fundamentalism is still looking for a job?

From ScienceDaily: Millions of years ago, one species of frog diverged into two species. Millions of years later, the two frogs became one again, but with a few extra chromosomes due to whole genome duplication. Such is the curious case of the African clawed frog, Xenopus laevis, a frog whose genome contains nearly double the […]

Bacterium breaks cell biology rules, slithers away

From ScienceDaily: Bacteria are immortal as long as they keep dividing. For decades it has been assumed that a continuous, proteinaceous ring is necessary to drive the division of most microorganisms. An international team of researchers has revealed that the symbiont of the marine roundworm breaks the ring dogma and divides without. … The division […]

Why do “science” issues split along party lines?

From Lauren Griffin at The Conversation, we learn: Having a more complete understanding of when and why liberals and conservatives trust science helps avoid oversimplifications. It’s an important stopgap using oversimplified assumptions to denigrate those who disagree with us politically. None of this is to suggest that the anti-science viewpoints exhibited by Republican politicians on […]

Europe Lost Contact with Mars Lander 1 Minute Before Touchdown

— Official: Crash land photos — Update: Europe’s Mars lander likely lost From BBC: There have been about 15 attempts to get down to the surface of Mars, and they are split fairly evenly between success and failure. The US space agency has been the most successful with seven successful landings on the Red Planet. […]

Dark energy: Gigantic holes in space bigger than expected

From Joshua Sokol at New Scientist: The problem was that the Boötes void was just too big. Voids grow because their dense edges have a much stronger gravitational pull than anything at their centres. But the universe wasn’t yet old enough to have inflated such a big bubble. For an explanation, we had to wait […]

Humans not special because some monkeys can flake tools?

From ScienceDaily: University of Oxford. “Monkeys are seen making stone flakes so humans are ‘not unique’ after all: Wild-bearded capuchin monkeys in Brazil deliberately break stones, unintentionally creating flakes that share many of the characteristics of those produced by early Stone Age hominins.” ScienceDaily, 19 October 2016. Researchers have observed wild-bearded capuchin monkeys in Brazil […]

Niwrad on key difference between archaeology and biology

He kindly writes to say, — Some days ago I was watching a TV documentary movie where a team of archeologists were investigating the ruins of a Roman villa, unearthed in England. At one point, one of them unearthed a small, colored cubic rock. The archeologists knew that crystals would not form naturally in that […]

NAS: Is science literacy a catechism or a literacy test?

One must register for the download. of the National Academy of Sciences’ free book on science literacy. A friend notes that on pages 40–41 of the book, Science Literacy: Concepts, Contexts, and Consequences,” which discusses the meaning of “scientific literacy” … they discuss whether questions measuring your agreement with evolution should be included in a […]

Order found in a process once presumed random

From at ScienceDaily: Scientific discoveries often arise from noticing the unexpected. Such was the case when researchers, studying a tiny device that has become increasingly important in disease diagnostics and drug discovery, observed the surprising way it funneled thousands of water droplets into an orderly single file, squeezing them drop by drop, out the tip […]

Consciousness now tied to “entropy”

From Edwin Cartlidge at Physics World: Consciousness appears to arise naturally as a result of a brain maximizing its information content. So says a group of scientists in Canada and France, which has studied how the electrical activity in people’s brains varies according to individuals’ conscious states. The researchers find that normal waking states are […]

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