The alt right, popular media, and Darwin

From Denyse O’Leary (O’Leary for News) at MercatorNet: Anyone not committed to Darwinian survival of the fittest cannot be ‘alt right’. I wrote the piece because I had been following the alt right (human biodiversity studies, etc.) for a while on account of a curious incident: An alt right group was promoting a book, Troublesome […]

New Scientist frets over future backlash against science

By 2076. From Michael Brooks at New Scientist: Will we still love technology when robots have taken our jobs, or when insurance companies demand huge premiums because humans are the most dangerous drivers on the roads? Will people smash up self-driving taxis, just as Luddites attacked automated looms? In some small, angry pockets, the backlash […]

Royal Society Meet: No “fisticuffs”; serious questions smothered instead

More meetings planned. Snatches from science writer Carl Zimmer at Quanta: While Noble was struggling to respond, Shuker went back to the paper on an iPad. And now he read the abstract in a booming voice. ‘Our results demonstrate that natural selection can rapidly rewire regulatory networks,’” Shuker said. He put down the iPad. “So […]

Huge ice lake under surface of Mars?

From Mike Wall at This vertically exaggerated view shows scalloped depressions in a part of Mars where such textures prompted researchers to check for buried ice, using ground-penetrating radar aboard NASA’s Mars Reconnaissance Orbiter. The ice layer, which spans a greater area than the state of New Mexico, lies in Mars’ mid-northern latitudes and […]

Alt-Right? Fake News? Down The Rabbit Hole

  I understand if Mr. Arrington needs to remove this post. I’ve done what I needed to do here. Thanks. [post removed] Barry:  Thank you for your understanding WJM.  This is not our focus here.

Qubits in brain can make it a quantum computer?

From Jennifer Ouellette at Quanta: The mere mention of “quantum consciousness” makes most physicists cringe, as the phrase seems to evoke the vague, insipid musings of a New Age guru. But if a new hypothesis proves to be correct, quantum effects might indeed play some role in human cognition. Matthew Fisher, a physicist at the […]

Astrophysicist: No, space aliens are never the answer to mystery radio signals

From astrophysicist Paul Sutter at An unusually strong signal from a sun-like star. A repeated pattern that seems too precise to be natural. Bleeps and bloops from unknown sources with head-scratching signatures. Sure, there’s a ton of stuff in space that could potentially maybe kind-of-sort-of create those signals, but could this … be it? […]

Mathematics: “Particle collisions are somehow linked to mathematical ‘motives.’”

From math and computer science writer Kevin Hartnett at Quanta: Over the last decade physicists and mathematicians have been exploring a surprising correspondence that has the potential to breathe new life into the venerable Feynman diagram and generate far-reaching insights in both fields. It has to do with the strange fact that the values calculated […]

Epigenetics: Researchers think small shared changes underlie varying types of autism

From ScienceDaily: Those with both rare and common types of autism spectrum disorder share a similar set of epigenetic modifications in the brain, according to a study. More than 68% of individuals with different types of autism spectrum disorder show evidence of the same pattern of a chemical modification of the protein scaffold around which […]

Suzan Mazur: Amazing that the Royal Society meeting happened at all

From Suzan Mazur at Huffington Post on the rethinking evolution meeting earlier this month: The event would have benefited from someone in the wings with a hook restraining speakers who insisted on relying on the mantra of natural selection to fill in the blanks of their science. Repeated references to the term became almost comical. […]

Soil micro-organisms older than thought

Researcher: With cell densities of over 1,000 per square millimeter and a diversity of producers and consumers, these microfossils represent a functioning terrestrial ecosystem, not just a few stray cells. From ScienceDaily: “Life was not only present but thriving in soils of the early Earth about two thirds of the way back to its formation […]

Coming Soon-‘Design Disquisitions’ A New ID Blog

Despite being an ID advocate for several years now (and having an authors account on this forum), I haven’t really taken the time to put pen to paper and write about it, apart from a few lengthy exchanges I had with a close friend and critic of ID. He has since stepped away from the […]

Comprehensive human epigenome map completed

Comprehensive for now. From ScienceDaily: One of the great mysteries in biology is how the many different cell types that make up our bodies are derived from a single cell and from one DNA sequence, or genome. We have learned a lot from studying the human genome, but have only partially unveiled the processes underlying […]

Could large asteroid hits create niches for early life?

FromScienceDaily: Scientists studying the Chicxulub crater have shown how large asteroid impacts deform rocks in a way that may produce habitats for early life. Around 65 million years ago a massive asteroid crashed into the Gulf of Mexico causing an impact so huge that the blast and subsequent knock-on effects wiped out around 75 per […]

The e-YES Joke shows the power of manipulative framing in rhetoric, media and persuasion

This weekend, someone shared the e-YES joke now making the rounds with me, and I found it on YouTube: embedded by Embedded VideoYouTube Direkt It seems to be just a prank at first, but on a second look, it shows us how framing distorts perceptions and is potentially quite manipulative. As we consider the various […]

NASA to spend less on climate change, more on space exploration?

From Nick Allen at Telegraph: US President-elect Donald Trump is set to slash Nasa’s budget for monitoring climate change and instead set a goal of sending humans to the edge of the solar system by the end of the century, and possibly back to the moon. … According to Bob Walker, who has advised Mr […]

Survey show the effects of Darwin’s corrosive idea: People are just animals

From Andre Mitchell at Christian Today: According to a report on PR News Wire, the Discovery Institute conducted a study on nearly 3,700 American adults, including self-identified agnostics and atheists, to assess if belief on evolutionary theory really has an effect on religious belief. … The respondents were specifically given a list of ideas related […]

Stalin and the scientists: Some advances under his rule, though millions died

  The millions were just “other losses,” of course. Simon Ings’ Stalin and the Scientists: a History of Triumph and Tragedy examines what happened to physics and biology under Stalin: Scientists throughout history, from Galileo to today’s experts on climate change, have often had to contend with politics in their pursuit of knowledge. But in […]

New Scientist: The Singularity is unlikely

From Toby Walsh at New Scientist: In December 2014, Stephen Hawking told the BBC that “the development of full artificial intelligence could spell the end of the human race… It would take off on its own, and redesign itself at an ever increasing rate. Humans, who are limited by slow biological evolution, couldn’t compete, and […]

Are humans evolving, due to technological changes?

From Darren Curnoe at RealClearScience: Geneticists have found clear evidence that the choices people make can have profound impacts on the evolution of entire populations, and ultimately, our species as well. Some striking examples have been found like that both women and men are currently under selection for earlier age at first birth across a […]

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