Could dingo help unravel mystery of how dogs become tame?

From Kacey Deamer at LiveScience: The wild-born, pure Australian desert dingo recently took first place in the World’s Most Interesting Genome competition, and will have her DNA decoded thanks to the Pacific Biosciences SMRT Grant Program. The grant provides genome sequencing for “a particularly fascinating plant or animal.” … “Sandy is truly a gift to […]

Information vs. meaning: Why physicalism fails

Physicalism is the point of vew that everything is material, including information, presumably adopted out of despair, as an alternative to saying even dumber things. From philosopher Daniel N. Robinson at the New Atlantis: In attempts to account for distinctly human endeavors, explanations have a narrative quality. Thus, Jane’s aspiration to be a concert violinist […]

March for Science, Bill Nye, and constitutional government

From Mic, via AP: You don’t need a scientific calculator to know that the March for Science was a massive success. Stretching across the United States — as well as globally from the North Pole to New Zealand — the March for Science saw tens of thousands of people take to the streets on Earth […]

Clergy for Darwin Marches for Science

Surely no one bet against that. From Ryan Cross at Science: More widespread support comes from the Clergy Letter Project in Olympia, a group of some 14,400 ordained clergy members that supports teaching evolution and climate change. Founder and executive director Michael Zimmerman says a survey of the group’s members showed strong support for the […]

Giant shipworm found alive is example of devolution

The recent capture of a live giant shipworm highlights devolution. One form of devolution is allowing complex body systems to become vestigial, relying on microorganisms instead. From BBC: The giant shipworm is unique not just for its size, but also for feeding on nutrients in mud and marine sediment instead, using a type of bacteria. […]

What can happen when a paleontologist actually reads ID theorists

From Evolution News & Views: Dr. Bechly specializes in the fossil history and systematics of insects, particularly dragonflies. From 1999 until the end of 2016, he served as the curator for amber and fossil insects in the Department of Paleontology at the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart. … Chosen to organize the largest […]

Remembering the Dawkinsbot, beta version…

The Uncommon Descent News AI team came across this golden oldie, the Purpose of Purpose talk on YouTube, datelined Omaha, Nebraska (2009). While our Dawkinsbot was very lifelike even back then, the rant, let’s face it, is pretty dated. Which just shows how far we have come. To recap, concerns have been raised recently that […]

Study overturns key assumption in nervous system research

From ScienceDaily: New research by scientists at the Eli and Edythe Broad Center of Regenerative Medicine and Stem Cell Research at UCLA overturns a long-standing paradigm about how axons — thread-like projections that connect cells in the nervous system — grow during embryonic development. The findings of the study, led by Samantha Butler, associate professor […]

Atlantic: March for Science misunderstands politics

From Harvard sociologist Andrew Jowett at the Atlantic: The movement’s rhetoric suggests that if governments simply fund and heed scientific research, the world will march steadily toward peace and prosperity. Applying science to politics will create “an unbroken chain of inquiry, knowledge, and public benefit for all.” This is, dare I say, an unscientific conception […]

Breaking: Texas science standards survive the mother of all gravy bombs

For now. From Texas Education Agency: The board changed biology standard (4)(A) from “compare and contrast prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells and evaluate scientific explanation for their complexity;” as approved on first reading to: “compare and contrast prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, including their complexity, and compare and contrast scientific explanations for cellular complexity.” The board also […]

Jonathan Wells offers some context for the March for Science

Money walks. At the Washington Times: Take, for example, the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH). The current NIH budget is $32.3 billion, all of it from taxpayers. The Trump administration proposes to reduce that amount, though the decision is up to Congress. A scientist quoted in a recent article in The Atlantic says the […]

Taxonomically-Restricted Essential Genes

Here is the next video from the AM-Nat conference. In this video, Paul Nelson talks about genes that are both taxonomically-restricted (ORFan genes) and essential to the function of organisms. Then he describes the impact of these findings on common descent.

Epigenetics: Worms passed on environment memories 14 generations

From ScienceDaily: The impact of environmental change can be passed on in the genes of tiny nematode worms for at least 14 generations — the most that has ever been seen in animals — scientists have discovered. … “We discovered this phenomenon by chance, but it shows that it’s certainly possible to transmit information about […]

March for Science: Neil DeGrasse Tyson thinks science denial dismantles democracy

From Tracy Staedler at LiveScience: Renowned astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson urges Americans to become more scientifically literate in a short video he posted yesterday (April 19) on his Facebook page. In the video he titled “Science in America,” Tyson comments on 21st-century attitudes toward science, explaining the importance of the scientific method and making the […]

Speciation: The puzzling origins of clinging jellyfish

From ScienceDaily: Now, the first genetic study of the diversity of clinging jellyfish populations around the globe has discovered some surprising links among distant communities of jellies and also revealed there may be more than one species of the infamous stinger. … The new study shows that the story is much more complex than previously […]

Naked mole rats, short of breath, act like plants to survive

From ScienceDaily: Deprived of oxygen, naked mole-rats can survive by metabolizing fructose just as plants do, researchers report this week in the journal Science. … “This is just the latest remarkable discovery about the naked mole-rat — a cold-blooded mammal that lives decades longer than other rodents, rarely gets cancer, and doesn’t feel many types […]

Texas: The icons of evolution are STILL on welfare after all these years?

Baylor computer science prof Robert Marks comments on Texas science standards at Dallas Morning News: There’s a battle over evolution education in Texas right now. The latest round is coming up soon in Austin, with the State Board of Education hearing testimony on both sides of the controversy. There is a tug-of-war between those who […]

Niwrad: Consciousness is made of atoms too?

According to Mark Titus at Nautilus: The Greek philosopher Democritus might have said something like that 2,500 years ago. Although his books are lost, we know from the fragments that remain and what others said about him, that he believed everything in the universe was made of atoms in perpetual motion, whirling in space. Large, […]

March for Science: As if science as such is just history now.

From Steve Meyer, author of Darwin’s Doubt, at the Stream: Bill Nye may not be a scientist. But he used to play one on TV. Now he is an honorary co-chair and speaker for the “March for Science” in Washington D.C. and elsewhere on April 22. The choice of Nye as one of the faces […]

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