"The lawsuits are coming,"
school board member Angie Yingling said. "It's like being on the Titanic. Everyone seems to see the iceberg, but no one is steering away." The ACLU sued the Dover (Pennsylvania) Area School District
today to prevent the district from enacting their recent controversial decision to teach "intelligent design"
in the classroom.
argue that the complexity of the human eye
could not have arrisen by random Darwinian natural selection, since it "must be perfect to work at all". The Nilsson and Pelger
computer experiment refutes this with a method of awesome beauty, showing that a human-quality eye is not just possible under Darwinian evolution, but nigh-inevitable. This is from Do Good By Stealth
, chapter 3 of River Out of Eden
, which is maybe the greatest thing I've ever read.
Coming soon, the Creation Museum.
Tired of those pesky evolutionists getting all the natural history museums? Want to see dinosaurs threatening Adam
or entering the ark
? Then hie yourself to Petersburg, Kentucky, where what is billing itself as "the world's most unusual museum" will soon be opening its doors.
"Uneasy answering questions about radiocarbon dating? Rock layers? Natural selection? Do you want to believe in six literal days, but you’re still confused about the big bang or Grand Canyon? You’ll find answers here!"
on founder Ken Ham and his theory that dinosaurs are "missionary lizards" who draw young minds to evolution and must be reclaimed.
The Dawkins FAQ.
Interesting Q&A session about evolution, biology, genes, etc with an expert
. Dawkins claims no final answer on the "gay gene" or a Darwinian explanation of homosexuality.
of Americans want the teaching of 'evolutionism' replaced outright. (Yeah, I know it's hackneyed but 37%??)
An Evolution of Evolution Warning Stickers.
This intelligently designed website creation should be viewed with caution
The life and times
, the aquatic sloth
. They're long extinct, but apparently modern sloths
are excellent swimmers
, so you can imagine how they came to be.
Language started with emotional signaling.
That's the thesis of a new book, The First Idea: How Symbols, Language, And Intelligence Evolved From Our Primate Ancestors To Modern Humans
, by Stanley I. Greenspan and Stuart G. Shanker.
Lived emotional experience is key to language learning, the authors suggest. "Mathematicians and physicists may manipulate abstruse symbols representing space, time, and quantity, but they first understood those entities as tiny children wanting a far-away toy, or waiting for juice, or counting cookies. The grown-up genius, like the adventurous child, forms ideas through playful explorations in the imagination, only later translated into the rigor of mathematics."
The book is very ambitious, and I don't think we'll ever know
where language came from, but this sounds like a more fruitful line of thinking than Chomsky's deus ex machina
"language gene" mutation.
Richard Dawkins discusses religion with a Darwinian outlook.
RD: Could religion be a recent phenomenon, sprung up since our genes underwent most of their natural selection? Its ubiquity argues against any simple version of this idea. Nevertheless, there is a version of it that I want to advocate. The propensity that was naturally selected in our ancestors was not religion per se. It had some other benefit, and it only incidentally manifests itself today as religious behavior.
It is well known among the computer elite, who are mostly Atheists and Pagans, that Pokemon's pro-Darwinism propaganda
Feline medical curiosities.
Polydactyly, conjoined-kitty-fu, "freaks of face," cleft palates, and plain old huge. (Not safe for after lunch).
Just found this one. The San Francisco Chronicle reports
on a Berkeley website
for supporting science teachers teaching evolution. The project was built with a grant from the National Science Foundation
and has received an additional grant to expand the site to develop content for students and adults. More coverage from The Daily Bruin
at UCLA and a brief clip from Science News.
Author challenges Darwin's theory of "sexual selection."
To Darwin, mutations that don't enhance survival, like peacocks' tails, must be aids to attracting mates to pass on genes. Homosexuality, therefore, is to Darwin and the Christian-right both an unnatural aberration. But with ever growing evidence of homsexual behavior in animals
, from bonobos to penguins
, isn't it time that Darwin's theory get replaced?
The Panda's Thumb
is a multi-authored blog "dedicated to explaining the theory of evolution, critiquing the claims of the anti-evolution movement, and defending the integrity of science and science education in America and around the world." [Via The Loom.]
D.H.S. - The Series. "... a multimillion-dollar episodic series, will explore the inner workings of the Department of Homeland Security, teaming the FBI, CIA, Secret Service, and National Security Administration (NSA) together with "first responders" such as local police, fire and safety administrators."
The series is being pitched to prospective networks today
and has the full support of President Bush and Tom Ridge. "They love it. They think it is fantastic," say the series' producers at Steeple Productions, located in the Seventh-Day Adventist
Community of Zillah, Washington
. Not familiar with Steeple Productions
? Well, perhaps you might find their four-episode "Creation Vs Evolution
" series enlightening.
The Zoology Dragon.
"Rather than, as has previously been thought, a slow process of evolution, we now know that all animals were created by the Zoology Dragon. Unfortunately, we also know that the current Zoology Dragon is a bit shit." [Flash.]
"Evolution" Allowed to Remain in Georgia. "I made the decision to remove the word evolution from the draft of the proposed biology curriculum in an effort to avoid controversy that would prevent people from reading the substance of the document itself," [Georgia State Schools Superintendent Kathy] Cox said in a statement. "Instead, a greater controversy ensued."A follow-up to this January 30 post.
Georgia considers banning 'evolution'
OUTSTANDING! Nice work guys. Meet the new south, same as the old south?
Creation Science Fair
- the first place for elementary level was won by Cassidy Turnbull, who demonstrated the differences between her uncle and a monkey. Much more impressive was the winner of the high school level who used prayer to make microbes evolve antibiotic resistance. I, for one, am glad that children across the world are learning the power of Creation Science! (via New Scientist)
"is the Noah's Ark for the Internet era - the world's centralised digital library of films, photographs and associated recordings of species, accessible to all via the world wide web."
Early humans lost hair to beat parasites?
(New Scientist) - Human nakedness, a species anomaly among mammals, draws comparisons to the blind, naked mole rat
. Meanwhile, seven thousand humans (Italians) recently gathered naked
, for unclear purposes.
Eek eek! - Jennings Bryan spins in his grave:
"Chimpanzees are so closely related to humans that they should properly be considered as members of the human family, according to new genetic research." [BBC] In the early 1900's, Jennings Bryan offered $100 in cash to anyone who signed an affidavit declaring that he personally was descended from an ape.
An article in the Independent newspaper
reports that pests have started thriving on poisons genetically implanted in crops.
It seems that before, the organic pesticide used, was effective because it was only sprayed occasionally (once or twice a year) and the pests didn't have time to develop resistance.
With the pesticide being accessible throughout the whole crop-cycle, the pests have adapted, and now thrive on the poison, which they now regard as a food source, growing even larger than normal, and rendering a weapon in the arsenal against pests, entirely ineffective.
Happy Darwin Day!
Darwin Day is February 12th, the date of birth of Charles Darwin in the year 1809, at Shrewsbury, England. On this date, and throughout the month, people from all over the world are honoring the life, work and influence of Charles Darwin with events and activities which celebrate humanity and the science in our lives.
While you're celebrating you may want to see who has won awards in his name
or perhaps buy a sticker
or see if there's a darwinday event near you
In an article called "The Sociobiological Conceit"
, Gene Callahan says darwinism is logically flawed and inherently self-contradictory: "if moral ideas are simply an 'illusion' fostered on us by our genes then so are all of our other ideas – including the ideas of sociobiology!".
Callahan, fyi, belongs to the ultra-libertarian circles of the Mises Institute
. Would any of the evolutionists among us care to politely
Don't believe in evolution? Don't get a recommendation.
The Justice Department has been asked to look into the case of a Texas Tech biology professor who has made it clear that you won't get a recommendation from him if you believe in creationism. In his online notes to students
, Dini writes "If you set up an appointment to discuss the writing of a letter of recommendation, I will ask you: 'How do you think the human species originated?' If you cannot truthfully and forthrightly affirm a scientific answer to this question, then you should not seek my recommendation for admittance to further education in the biomedical sciences." The Liberty Legal Institute
, calls the policy "open religious bigotry." Texas Tech supports Lini, saying the decision on whether to recommend someone is a personal one. Clearly, it should be a professor's call on whether to give a student a recommendation or not, but did Lini make himself a target by laying out this criteria this way?
The "Blind Watchmaker" ain't so blind after all.
An article in this week's Journal of Theoretical Biology
claims that simple chemistry makes the evolution of complex organisms with nervous systems inevitable. Is random Darwinism
being replaced by a more sophisticated notion of "directed evolution"? Could this confirm the "intelligent design
" theory of Creation? This may have profound consequences for our understanding of how life has come to be on this planet (and others).
The Twisted Path of Stick Insect Evolution Challenges the Theory of Evolution
Sort of... In an article on the cover of today's Nature
, research on the evolution of stick insects is announced. But depending on the news source, this is either a strong challenge
to the theory of evolution, or a mild revision
. So who's right?
Evolution is a process
that hasn't stopped just because humans now rule the planet. What will animals look like in 200,000 years? The Discovery Channel's Animal Planet
asks experts to predict the future of life on Earth.
"Religions potentially offer practical, social, and motivational benefits to their adherents.
But religions differ among themselves in the degree to which they motivate their adherents to have children, to rear those children to become productive members of society, and to convert or kill believers in competing religions. Those religions that are more successful in these respects will tend to spread, and gain and retain adherents, at the expense of other religions." So says Jared Diamond
in his review of David Sloan Wilson's book, Darwin's Cathedral: Evolution, Religion, and the Nature of Society
, which views religion from an evolutionary perspective. Another writer interested in the evolution of religions is Toby Lester, who examines how present-day religious movements are "mutating with Darwinian restlessness."
This news item
turned out to be a hoax. Has Reuters been fooled again
? I certainly smell a rat...
(I know the original mefi link pointed to the BBC, but the BBC picked it up from Reuters)
Religious Fundamentalism: 1, Science: 0.
In a stunning knock-out blow to rational thought, the United States tells Darwin, "Not so fast, bud. We better check with God before naming you the head honcho of evolution." Read the article carefully-on first read the new law sounds benign enough. Legislators claim the law will only require that the "debate" between creationism-evolution be discussed. Sounds simple, right? Think again. Once again, the Ohio mentality begs me to flee this state...
Intelligent Grappling: the new creationism?
Teachers for Equal Time hopes that the addition of the warning stickers will pave the way for the teaching of its alternative theory, Intelligent Grappling, the theory that certain intelligent and conscious agents "push" things together. (hey its friday)
Promiscuity is good.
I knew something felt right about the '70s. (courtesy of Arts & Letters
First there was the evolution in schools
thing. Now, people are complaining about history books
(in Texas no less), with such problems as "Margie Raborn said she wants all U.S. government books to describe the United States as a republic based on biblical beliefs."
Of all species that have existed on Earth, 99.9 percent are now extinct,
yet scientists insist that we make a great effort to save endangered species
. If extinction is the natural course of evolution, why bother? And if humankind is the cause of these lastest extinctions and endangerments, should efforts be made to save people so that their exploitation of the natural world can continue? Aren't our efforts to fight diseases such as the aids epidemic in Africa not only a denial of evolutionly forces but also adding to the problem of overpopulation exerting unbearable pressure on the environment? If evolution is truely the force it's claimed to be can it's course be changed by mankind and if so, should it be? Should evolution be allowed to take its course?
Mothers who wait to have a baby
are at risk of evolutionary extinction. "If you want to see your line persist, then it's probably optimum to start reproducing in your early to mid-20s". According to this 220 year statistical model late-reproducing women [genetic lineage] declined as a proportion of the population from 11 percent to about 5 percent
Looks like Cobb County, Georgia, wants to raise a whole generation of idiots.
(By way of The National Center for Science Education
) I'm distressed and amazed that this kind of thing still goes on in the most technologically-advanced nation in the world. Can a sane and undeluded adult still think that evolution is a securlar humanist lie
? Given the comprehensive and unambiguous evidence
that has established evolution as a cast-iron fact, why do school boards and other government entities still lend an ear to this kind of right-wing extremist crap?
Humans evolving at the mercy of their environment. What other innatenesses do we allow to control our reactions?
The death of creationism?
William Saletan is claiming that creationism is dead, because Intelligent Design isn't as reactionary as the old creationism, even though scientists still treat it as a threat. I think creationism in any brand is still a threat, regardless of how reactionary it is. What do you think?
Ohio school board considers adding "Intelligent Design Theory" to science curriculum.
I wish I could find better links than these. I've been hearing about this on NPR every morning this week, but have been unable to find any news links - I can't even find the Ohio State School Board site. They are debating whether or not to start teaching IDT, which seems to be Creationism with a pseudo-scientific background. Here
is a transcript of comments that were given to the board by John Calvert, J.D., a supporter of IDT. Anybody know any more about this theory?
First genetic evidence of macroevolution found. …the scientists show how mutations in regulatory genes that guide the embryonic development of crustaceans and fruit flies allowed aquatic crustacean-like arthropods, with limbs on every segment of their bodies, to evolve 400 million years ago into a radically different body plan: the terrestrial six-legged insects.The link is to a press release with a basic explanation; if you've got a subscription to Nature, you can read the whole article there.(via /.)
'If you want to know what Utopia is like, just look around - this is it,'
the article asks is human evolution over? Two interesting "facts?" "points?"
1) the blending of our genes which will soon produce a uniformly brown-skinned population. Apart from that, there will be little change in the species.
2) Just consider Aids, and then look at chimpanzees,' says Jones. 'You find they all carry a version of HIV but are unaffected by it. Something very similar could soon happen to humans. In a thousand years...
Link via www.cursor.org