Ideological Turing Test

To all of our friends who subscribe to materialist accounts of evolution: Here is an interesting little test. The Ideological Turing Test is a concept invented by Bryan Caplan to test whether a political or ideological partisan correctly understands the arguments of his or her intellectual adversaries. The partisan is invited to answer questions or […]

Sparrow with four sexes?

From Carrie Arnold at Nature: “This bird acts like it has four sexes,” says Christopher Balakrishnan, an evolutionary biologist at East Carolina University in Greenville, North Carolina, who worked with Tuttle and Gonser. “One individual can only mate with one-quarter of the population. There are very few sexual systems with more than two sexes.” The […]



Suzan Mazur on pop science media and the recent “rethink evolution” meet

In the midst of a fairly heavy fog, if not blackout, in the pop science media, Mazur has done more than anyone to let the public know that evolutionary biology is being forced to rethink a commitment to Darwinism (or neo-Darwinism or a lightly stretched synthesis, or whatever your PR person wants to call it […]

Fascism Watch

One would think that the French, having been overrun by a fascist country in 1940, would be especially careful to reign in the fascist impulses of their progressives.  But one would be wrong: In 2014, in conjunction with World Down Syndrome Day (March 21), the Global Down Syndrome Foundation prepared a two-minute video titled “Dear […]

Why do U.S. media care where American politicians “stand” on “evolution”?

Whatever the media understand the term “evolution” to mean. Whatever politicians could do about it. Is it a secret hunger for the fascist dominance so well exhibited by one of their heros, H.L. Mencken? From O’Leary for News at Salvo: Recently, Phil Plait informed his shocked readers at Slate of a dreadful secret about Republican […]

Should we begin to think in terms of micro-ID and Macro-/ General ID?

. . . that is, the design inference vs. the broader scientific investigation of a world of life and cosmos that are infused with complex, functionally specific information and complex, functional organisation? In the Turing test thread, just now, I raised this issue in responding to GP and SA . . . and I think […]

Repurposed mammal bone gene fuels cognition in humans?

From ScienceDaily: A gene that regulates bone growth and muscle metabolism in mammals may take on an additional role as a promoter of brain maturation, cognition and learning in human and nonhuman primates, according to a new study led by neurobiologists at Harvard Medical School. Describing their findings in the Nov. 10 issue of Nature, […]

New “tree of life” challenges vertebrate evolution

From The Conversation: If all jawed vertebrates, including humans, are nothing more than highly evolved placoderms, then key features of ourselves should be traceable to structures that first appeared in our fishy placoderm ancestors. This would include particular jaw and skull bones and the proportions of our face and brain. But our new evolutionary tree […]

Cichlid speciation attributed to “plasticity” now

See this abstract from Molecular Ecology*: There is increasing evidence that phenotypic plasticity can promote population divergence by facilitating phenotypic diversification and, eventually, genetic divergence. When a ‘plastic’ population colonizes a new habitat, it has the possibility to occupy multiple niches by expressing several distinct phenotypes. These initially reflect the population’s plastic range but may […]

Dying mainstream media on ID: They stand by their story, however wrong

This item at Evolution News & Views is worth pondering: A journalist working for a national newspaper chain has fabricated a claim about the Texas science standards, and now he and his editor are refusing to correct the record. In late September, three Texas newspapers owned by Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc. (CNHI) published an article […]

Once more:“What if dark matter doesn’t exist?”

From Natalie Wolchover at Quanta, on the Dutch theoretical physicist Erik Verlinde, who argues that it doesn’t: he latest attempt to explain away dark matter is a much-discussed proposal by Erik Verlinde, a theoretical physicist at the University of Amsterdam who is known for bold and prescient, if sometimes imperfect, ideas. In a dense 51-page […]

Fred Hoyle, Chandra Wickramasinghe, God, their admirers and critics

There are stories that pop science is bound to tell wrong (you pay/they sneer). Re Hoyle and Wickramasinghe, here’s the skinny: One of them is about “atheist” Fred Hoyle, who was probably more of a panentheist (God is present in everything), according to science historian Michael Flannery: Hoyle is often regarded as a panspermia atheist, […]

New Scientist: Restore the power of pop science “facts”! – US election special

Yes, they are still grousing about that. And, from a distance, they sound surreal. From Dan Jones at New Scientist: In November, Donald Trump defied the pollsters to be elected the 45th US president. A few months earlier, UK voters decided to end their country’s 43-year membership of the European Union. Throughout Europe populist movements […]

Why naturalist atheists need space aliens

But not a God, with moral rules. From campus pastor Peter Burfeind at The Federalist: Lacking any evidence of an actual alien, Hollywood’s aliens speak more about the modern psyche fueling the imaginations of their designers. … The aliens in “Arrival” look like tree trunks. Get it? The trees are coming to tell us to […]

Embargoes: The uniquack approach to science writing

No embargoes: From Ivan Oransky at Retraction Watch: This Thursday, dozens of news outlets will publish stories on the same new study in the journal Science. On Friday, many of those same news outlets will all report on a study in the medical journal the Lancet. These newspapers and magazines will largely talk to the […]

Top Ten in junk science in 2016?

‘Tis the season of Top Tens. From the American Council on Science and Health here’s the first we got: #8. JAMA goes political. The Journal of the American Medical Association continues gambling with its reputation. This year, it published an article by President Barack Obama, in which he analyzed and applauded the impact of his […]

Prof Bob Marks on what computers can’t do

Evo-Info: Some Things Computers Will Never Do: Nonalgorithmic Creativity and Unknowability: See also: Evolutionary Informatics Lab: A look inside Follow UD News at Twitter!

Paul Nelson discusses origins at Trinity College, Florida

Philosopher of biology Paul Nelson will be speaking this weekend in the vicinity of Trinity College, Florida: Sunday, December 4th, The Crossroads Church, 7975 River Ridge Blvd. New Port Richey, FL Monday, December 5th, at 7:00 pm, University of South Florida, USF Alumni CenterTampa, FL More. See also: What we know and don’t know about the origin […]

Progressive Fascists (But I Repeat Myself) Strike Again

This time they have climate scientist Roger Pielke in their sites, and even being proved correct did not save him: Much to my surprise, I showed up in the WikiLeaks releases before the election. In a 2014 email, a staffer at the Center for American Progress, founded by John Podesta in 2003, took credit for […]

Stasis: Oldest surviving plant genome, gingko biloba, is really big

From ScienceDaily: The research was carried out by a team of scientists at BGI, Zheijiang University and the Chinese Academy of Sciences, who tackled and analyzed an exceptionally large genome, totalling more than 10 billion DNA “letters.” Ginkgo is considered a “living fossil,” meaning its form and structure have changed very little in the 270 […]

Why the sulfur-based life forms never amounted to much

Discussing bacteria that got started before abundant oxygen, Rob Sheldon, our physics colour commentator, writes to explain: According to my favorite microbiologist, Richard Hoover, the fossils are way too big to be sulfur-reducing bacteria. The geologists merely say something like “wow, sulfur-reducing bacteria must have been bigger back then!” which he finds unconvincing. On the […]

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