Refutation of a “Classic Case of Molecular Adaptation”

As new techniques arise in sequence analysis, as well as in genetic engineering, new frontiers open up to test the direction and power of natural selection. A new such experiment has been performed by a team including Joe Thornton. Here’s the opening sentences from the paper: We generated a large alignment of ADH sequences, determined […]

Science writing: Fascist Central kicks on the ol’ jack boots

Well, that didn’t take long. They’re not stunned any more, they’re mad. Mad as stink. From Phillip Williamson at New Scientist: Ocean acidification is an inevitable consequence of increasing carbon dioxide in the atmosphere. That’s a matter of fact. We don’t know exactly what will happen to complex marine ecosystems when faced with the additional stress […]

Older than thought: Endogenous retroviruses spotted from 450 mya

From Tracy Vence at The Scientist: Foamy-like endogenous retroviruses (FLERVs), which are found in fish and amphibian genomes, may have originated with their vertebrate hosts more than 450 million years ago, according to a study published in Nature Communications this week (January 10). … “They date back to the origins of vertebrates, and this gives […]

Neanderthal DNA an advantage to modern humans?

From Anna Azvolinsky at The Scientist: The human genome is peppered with the DNA of extinct hominins—Neanderthals and Denisovans—as a result of interbreeding with early Homo sapiens. According to some reports, the Neanderthal and Denisovan DNA retained at specific loci, such as immune system-related genes, likely conferred adaptive advantages against infectious microorganisms. In a study […]

Yes, this again: Baboons make sounds like those of human speech

From Colin Barras at New Scientist: The team discovered that male and female baboons each produce four vowel-like sounds. Females produce one that males don’t, and vice versa, so in total there are five distinct vowels. They correspond to the second syllable in “roses”, and the vowel sounds in “you”, “thought”, “trap” and “ah”. … […]

Study: Tooth size not linked to brain size in early humans

From ScienceDaily: This research challenges the classically accepted view that reduction of tooth size in hominins is linked with having a larger brain. The reasoning is that larger brains allowed hominins to start making stone tools and that the use of these tools reduced the need to have such large chewing teeth. But recent studies […]

Off-topic: Can we prevent fake news without harming real news?

From O’Leary for News at MercatorNet: Social media are no more dangerous than life generally. But they require different interpretation skills from what we need for face-to-face contact. So do books, telephone, radio, and TV. And the current angst isn’t a new phenomenon. It normally follows the introduction of new communications technologies. One example is […]

New York Times: Why did we get the Neanderthals so wrong?

From John Mooallem at New York Times: Neanderthals Were People, Too “New research shows they shared many behaviors that we long believed to be uniquely human. Why did science get them so wrong?” Friends have noted that the piece is a refreshing change from the snark or (worse) odious virtue signaling that infests science writing […]

Alternatives to Methodological Naturalism in Biology Submissions Starting to Come In

We are excited to report that we have received a steady stream of submissions to AM-Nat Biology over the last few weeks. If you haven’t submitted your abstract, please do so soon.

Human language: After Wolfe on Chomsky, Everett finally speaks for himself

Readers will recall Tom Wolfe’s The Kingdom of Speech, a defense of the fundamental difference between language as we know it and the squawks, moos, and gibbers we hear outside. Wolfe defended linguist Daniel Everett against the Colossus of MIT, Noam Chomsky. Now Everett himself offers some thoughts at Aeon: In 2005, I published a […]

Off-topic: Does fake news actually make a difference in politics?

This bears on the question of whether human beings can apprehend reality. Top naturalists are dedicated to the opposite view. Much politicking around freedom of the media depends on whether one believes that humans can apprehend reality and make choices based on information therefrom. From O’Leary for News at MercatorNet: It wasn’t so much fake […]

Appendix must be important: Evolved over 30 times

From ScienceDaily: Although it is widely viewed as a vestigial organ with little known function, recent research suggests that the appendix may serve an important purpose. In particular, it may serve as a reservoir for beneficial gut bacteria. Several other mammal species also have an appendix, and studying how it evolved and functions in these […]

New Evidence Against the Existence of God: Antarctica, Arizona, Atlantic Ocean

Recently over on this thread started by Barry we have been discussing one of the tired atheist arguments against God’s existence: bad design.  The discussion has been primarily in the context of some of Carl Sagan’s remarks cited by john_a_designer, but Sagan is by no means unique in his failed efforts. Commenter rvb8 had the […]

ID and popular culture: What is fake news? Do we believe it?

Many sources feel that we readily believe fake news. Concern trolls in social sciences are often heard on this point, usually demanding government and corporate action. Having spent a life in news, I would say that the ability to detect fakery increases with familiarity with the medium, as any magazine rack will show. That’s because […]

Why is College Right After High-School?

A lot of people have picked out what is broken in college, but I think perhaps a more core issue about college is a simpler one – that we are sending people to college immediately after high school.

Darwinism and culture: Jerry Coyne threatens no more science posts

Traffic way down. Here: . . . unless people start reading them. Today virtually all the serious posts were animal- or science-related. Traffic is way down (about 60% of normal) which means people aren’t reading them. What do you want—clickbait? More. Of course, this could be a hack. In case not, let’s help Jerry. He […]

Science writer: Could evolution have a higher purpose?

From science writer Robert Wright at New York Times: That said, one interesting feature of current discourse is a growing openness among some scientifically minded people to the possibility that our world has a purpose that was imparted by an intelligent being. I’m referring to “simulation” scenarios, which hold that our seemingly tangible world is […]

Quantum-like model of partially directed evolution?

From Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology: Abstract: (paywall)The background of this study is that models of the evolution of living systems are based mainly on the evolution of replicators and cannot explain many of the properties of biological systems such as the existence of the sexes, molecular exaptation and others. The purpose of this […]

Breaking: We are not “more evolved” than apes…

From Ben Mauk at LiveScience: To say we are more “evolved” than our hairy cousins is just wrong. (See how long you last naked in the Congo Heartland, and then tell me who’s got the evolutionary upper hand.) More. Ah, a question we can answer without a Google search! Free-living apes must survive naked in […]

Tenured Professor Calls it Quits

Climate scientist Judith Curry is a TENURED professor.  But she has had enough.  She announced her resignation last week, citing the literal craziness of the climate science authoritarianism.  She writes: A deciding factor was that I no longer know what to say to students and postdocs regarding how to navigate the CRAZINESS in the field of […]

« Previous PageNext Page »