The amazing placenta: A reply to Dr. Ann Gauger

Dr. Ann Gauger argues that the hypothesis of common descent fails to account for the origin of the mammalian placenta, in an ENV article titled, The Placenta Problem (June 17, 2016). As we’ll see, the evidence she puts forward proves precisely the opposite: common descent is the only hypothesis which explains the facts, without resorting […]

Science denial? Weird thoughts from Slate

From Phil Plait at Slate: I was wrong. I underestimated just how thoroughly the GOP had salted the Earth. Philosophical party planks of climate change denial, anti-evolution, anti-intellectualism, intolerance, and more have made it such that Trump can literally say almost anything, and it hardly affects his popularity.More. Izzatso? Trump was the first candidate in […]

Gambler’s Epistemology

In this next installment from the Alternatives to Methodological Naturalism (AM-Nat) conference, Salvador Cordova gives us his perspective on epistemology, which he calls “Gambler’s Epistemology,” which intends to be a metaphysically neutral way of analyzing claims based on their costs and payoff possibilities. Cordova shows that naturalism does not have a history of high payoffs, […]

Royal Society announces guest list for Extended Synthesis meet

In plain English, a meeting November 7 – 9 that explores dumping Darwinism in favour of a more-evidence-based approach to evolution From Royal Society: Overview Scientific discussion meeting organised in partnership with the British Academy by Professor Denis Noble CBE FMedSci FRS, Professor Nancy Cartwright, Professor Sir Patrick Bateson FRS, Professor John Dupré and Professor […]

Giraffe’s adaptations point to design

In connection with a sale on The Design of Life (Dembski and Wells), an excerpt from Evolution News and Views: The giraffe is an integrated adaptational package whose parts are carefully coordinated with one another. To fit successfully into its environmental niche, the giraffe presumably needed long legs. But in possessing long legs, it also […]

Further to “When You Scratch a Progressive, You Will Find a Fascist Underneath”

The Democrats’ platform committee says they have a “Final Draft To Advance Progressive Democratic Values.” Among those progressive values, criminalizing scientific dissent.  A plank calling for criminal prosecution of anyone who dissent’s from “the scientific reality of climate change” was adopted with unanimous consent.  Progressives do not tolerate dissent even from calling for the persecution […]

Flores hobbits lived alongside other people

Yeah. They were short. So? From The Scientist: New research suggests that Homo floresiensis—ancient hominins often called “hobbits”—lived closer in time to modern humans than previously thought. Researchers from the University of Wollongong in Australia have found evidence that modern humans were using fire on the Indonesian island of Flores as far back as 41,000 […]

Butter will NOT kill you

Neither will salt But for now, ScienceDaily: Butter consumption was only weakly associated with total mortality, not associated with cardiovascular disease, and slightly inversely associated (protective) with diabetes, according to a new epidemiological study which analyzed the association of butter consumption with chronic disease and all-cause mortality. This systematic review and meta-analysis, published in PLOS […]

Warning re open access publishing

From academic librarian Jeffrey Beall here: Potential, possible, or probable predatory scholarly open-access publishers This is a list of questionable, scholarly open-access publishers. We recommend that scholars read the available reviews, assessments and descriptions provided here, and then decide for themselves whether they want to submit articles, serve as editors or on editorial boards. The […]

Neil deGrasse Tyson backs … what? Evidence? No!

From Twitter: Earth needs a virtual country: #Rationalia, with a one-line Constitution: All policy shall be based on the weight of evidence — Neil deGrasse Tyson (@neiltyson) June 29, 2016 But the whole point of the theory he espouses (the universe is a computer sim) is to escape the weight of the demand for evidence. […]

Hydrothermal vent models make life inevitable?

From Nathaniel Comfort at Nautilus: Hydrothermal vent models transform the origins of life from unlikely to near-inevitable.What most goes against our intuition is that complex structures can be better dissipaters of energy than simpler ones.11 Catalysts help you up an energy hill so that you can drop even further down on the other side. Casting […]

The Higgs particle as elephant in room

From Symmetry (Fermilab/SLAC): According to the Standard Model, the most common decay of the Higgs boson should be a transformation into a pair of bottom quarks. This should happen about 60 percent of the time. The strange thing is, scientists have yet to discover it happening (though they have seen evidence). According to Harvard researcher […]

Quote of the day on the Royal Society meet

From rhampton7: I’m willing to bet that all of the talks/papers will refer to processes that are material in origin. Not sure why ID proponents would be excited by this. See Royal Society announces guest list for Extended Synthesis meet. It must be difficult to miss the point to the extent that rhampton7 does. Darwinism […]

People to watch for at Royal Society meet

From Third Way: Below, you will find a list of researchers and authors who have, in one way or another, expressed their concerns regarding natural selection’s scope and who believe that other mechanisms are essential for a comprehensive understanding of evolutionary processes. More. A lot of scientists are listed. In the context, the putdowns by […]

Insects used camouflage 100 million years ago

From Eurekalert: A research team under Dr. Bo Wang of the State Key Laboratory of Paleobiology and Stratigraphy in Nanjing (China) worked together with paleontologists from the University of Bonn and other scientists from China, USA, France, and England to examine a total of 35 insects preserved in amber. With the aid of grains of […]

Design is just like the Fossil Record

Here is a press release via They applied “biological evolution” to the history of cars and car makers in order to predict the future of electric car technology. It sort of makes you chuckle. “Cars are exceptionally diverse but also have a detailed history of changes, making them a model system for investigating the […]

First amphibious centipede found is “horrific”

From Mary Bates at National Geographic: Scientists have recently described the world’s first known amphibious centipede. It belongs to a group of giant centipedes called Scolopendra and grows up to 20 centimeters (7.9 inches) long. Like all centipedes, it is venomous and carnivorous. … With some difficulty, Beccaloni captured the centipede and later put it […]

Unclear who qualifies as a string theorist

String theory is hotter than tabasco in the pop science media. It interests us because it is probably unfalsifiable—and therefore generates worrying demands for an exemption from falsifiability and for non-evidence-based science. From mathematician Peter Woit, a string theory skeptic at Not Even Wrong: If you’re interested in the various sorts of internal divisions these […]

Imagination Sampling – Using Non-Naturalism to Improve Machine Learning

This video is from the Alternatives to Methodological Naturalism 2016 conference held earlier this year. It deals with using non-naturalism in order to improve the quality of machine learning programs using a technique called “imagination sampling.” The results of a limited test run are given.

On Gritting Your Teeth and Sticking to a Narrative

An anti-ID commenter who goes by MatSpirit has been active in these pages for well over a year, during which time he has posted scores of comments in the comboxes of dozens of OPs.  This particular statement in one of his comments caught my eye: If I understand correctly, the ID story is that some […]

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