Category: Evolution

Feathers not so common in dinosaurs … but it’s too soon to tell, researchers report

Scales still considered the ancestral condition, but we don’t really know yet if some of the earliest dinos had feathers.

Science writer defends Nabokov from the suggestion that he was not a Darwinist

Of course, he did think that there was a teleological force he called agent X, but … nothing to see here, folks, just keep moving right along. more

Reflections on self-organization theorist James Shapiro’s tirade on “misquoting science”

Fundamentally, from the Darwin-in-the-schools’ lobby’s perspective, Shapiro is no different from the fellow in Texas who he thinks misrepresented him. Indeed, people have lost their right to teach for less than what Shapiro has already said. If he thinks he can buy safety by attacking that Texan, he is thinking like a newbie. more

Quoting, Misquoting, Quote-Mining

Word of advice: if you are an evolutionist and don’t want to be quoted by evolution critics for being critical of evolution, resist the urge — don’t criticize it. more

How the zebra got its stripes, maybe

If the zebra is one of the few grazers to actually find loud stripes an advantage, there must be something specific to its own environment that makes them an advantage. Otherwise, more grazers would surely display such strategies. Optical illusions involving stripes can be powerful. more

Can Chaos Create?

Or does the observed biochemical complexity imply design? Dr. Granville Sewell finds: Intelligent design theories gaining steam in scientific circles “The debut at #7 on the New York Times best seller list last July of Stephen Meyer’s new book Darwin’s Doubt is evidence that the scientific theory of intelligent design (ID) continues to gain momentum. […] more

Sat nite at the the movies: A friend finds this video on how feathers evolved implausible

Which probably guarantees it’ll be taught to schoolchildren. more

Evolution, aging, and death: Female octopus doesn’t really age

If a gland that initiates the process that ends in death is removed, she stops mating and can attain a great age. more

Researchers: Some life forms don’t grow old or lose fertility, challenging an assumption about evolution

Critics reacted defensively, of course. What’s obvious is that we don’t know nearly enough to make “laws” that work for all species Remember, we can’t even define life. more

Ho hum, the new crop of dissenters from Darwinism shall pass too…

Science, we see, not only isn’t a democracy, in practice it is an oligarchy secure enough to remain oblivious of the growing dissent from knowledgeable quarters. Secure enough to dismiss contrary evidence. more

Have we at last solved the question of how sea creatures moved to land?

In short, the blenny, dependent on tidal pools to breathe, never became a terrestrial species of the sort whose origin we are seeking. Never in its entire history so far did it do that. more

This is going the rounds: The stone animal

Looks and acts like stone until you cut it open. more

Sat nite fun: Orchids with monkey faces

No, this time we are not going to say it, you say it. more

A (more) natural history of evolution controversies in 19th century America

Agassiz, who doubted Darwin, also rejected organized religion and Gray, who promoted his work, was a devout Presbyterian. more

Archaeopteryx, Icon of devolution not evolution

HT: David Coppedge In all the debates about the status of Archaeopteryx between reptiles and birds, no one till now expected this wild idea: it lost its ability to fly. Michael Habib (Univ. of Southern California) raised eyebrows in Los Angeles last week when he told a packed house at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology […] more

sRNA for Quorum Sensing: Evidence for CSI?

Bacteria demonstrate intra-species communication that is species specific using a partner with a communication molecule. Bacteria are also “multilingual” with a generic trade language for interspecies communication. Bacteria control tasks by signal producing and receiving receptors with a signal carrier. The tasks bacteria conduct depend on the concentration they sense of self bacteria versus generic […] more

Thoughtful science writer: “No fossil is buried with its birth certificate.”

People shouting that “Evolution is fact, fact, FACT!”* do not make this problem go away. “Evolution” is not a fact anyway, it is an abstraction. And what is the exact series of events of which it is an abstraction? more

Would the Nazis have found Wallace’s version of evolution as useful as Darwin’s?

Anyway, statues are expensive, but way cheaper than discussions based on fact. more

On the centennial of the passing of Alfred Russel Wallace, controversy continues

Flannery: Wallace never thought much of Darwin analogy of domestic breeding as good examples of evolution in action since the very act of choice and selection demonstrated nothing more than unnatural selection. more

Is there no such thing as a neutral mutation? Art explains why there probably isn’t.

Laszlo Bencze: Mutations cannot create any improvement. Even the least of them will introduce some speck of damage. Let the process continue for enough generations and the host of near neutral mutations will show up as visible flaws. more

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