This evolution meeting must be significant: Suzan Mazur has been disinvited… again!

Mazur is an American journalist who has been covering the antics of the Darwinian establishment for most of a decade. As she tells it at HuffPost: I was initially invited to attend the Dutch event as an independent journalist by one of its organizers—-University of Amsterdam computational biologist Jaap Kaandorp—-during an interview we did a […]

Researchers: Jumping genes play extensive role in human evolution

Abstract: Transposable Elements are biologically important components of eukaryote genomes. In particular, non-LTR retrotransposons (N-LTRrs) extensively shaped the human genome throughout evolution. In this study, we compared retrotransposon insertions differentially present in the genomes of Anatomically Modern Humans, Neanderthals, Denisovans and Chimpanzees, in order to assess the possible impact of retrotransposition in the differentiation of […]

Wikipedians diminish another high achiever sympathetic to ID

From David Klinghoffer at Evolution News & Views: We reported here the other day that distinguished German paleontologist Günter Bechly was erased by Wikipedia. The editors, claiming it had nothing to do with his having come out for intelligent design, explained that they decided he wasn’t “notable” enough. Now along comes another ID proponent, Walter […]

Does post-modern naturalism lead to a rise in superstition?

From Allen Downey at Scientific American: Since 1990, the fraction of Americans with no religious affiliation has nearly tripled, from about 8 percent to 22 percent. Over the next 20 years, this trend will accelerate: by 2020, there will be more of these “Nones” than Catholics, and by 2035, they will outnumber Protestants. More. As […]

Hello? Skin colour differences don’t make humans different inside?

Whodathunkit? From Yasmin Tayag at Inverse: Those long-held racist assumptions based on skin color have been scientifically proven wrong, according to a groundbreaking new study in the journal Science published on Thursday. With their observations, the team of geneticists led by the University of Pennsylvania’s Sarah Tishkoff, Ph.D., tear down that notion by discrediting the […]

A long ramble about free will denies its existence, but nicely

The piece is notable for apparent incoherence on the subject: From philosopher Joseph Laporte at Big Questions Online: As we learn from Augustine’s Confessions, he felt the crushing burden of his vices and of his own helplessness to lift himself without God’s grace. That fits with many people’s experience. Besides, it’s Christian orthodoxy: without grace, […]

“Xenolinguistics”: The science of talking to extraterrestrials

Our new word for the weekend. From Ross Pomeroy at RealClearScience: Most thinkers, including famed astrophysicist Carl Sagan, agree that mathematics could serve as the foundation for our discussions. With that in mind, British scientist Lancelot Thomas Hogben rafted a language system called Astraglossa. Communicated over radio signals, short pulses called “dashes” would represent numbers, […]

Researchers: Your brain knows when you have died

According to those who have been resuscitated from clinical death. From Fox News: The evidence reportedly suggests a surge of brain activity immediately after a near-death experience. “What tends to happen is that people who’ve had these very profound experiences may come back positively transformed — they become more altruistic, more engaged with helping others. […]

Fine tuning of light, to atmosphere, water, photosynthesis, and human vision

Sources See also: Philip Cunningham’s critique of methodological naturalism

300-year philosophy battle over the nature of space rages on

From philosopher Emily Thomas at The Conversation: Is there space between the stars? The relationist Leibniz argued that space is the spatial relations between things. Australia is “south of” Singapore. The tree is “three meters left of” the bush. Sean Spicer is “behind” the bush. That means space would not exist independently of the things […]

When you disappear from Wikipedia is when you matter, apparently

From David Klinghoffer at Evolution News & Views: Günter Bechly is a distinguished paleontologist, specializing in fossil dragonflies, exquisitely preserved in amber for tens of millions of years. After revealing his support for the theory of intelligent design, he was pushed out as a curator at the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart, Germany. […]

Evolution at last! In an English country garden

From ScienceDaily: A British enthusiasm for feeding birds may have caused UK great tits to have evolved longer beaks than their European counterparts, according to new research. … The specific gene sequences which had evolved in the British birds were found to closely match human genes known to determine face shape. There were also strong […]

Ancient teeth don’t rewrite human history after all

From Michael Greshko at National Geographic: Despite claims of a new origin story for humans, the fossils more likely belonged to a very distant branch on the primate family tree. … Study leader Herbert Lutz, the deputy museum director at the Mainz Natural History Museum, says that he and his colleagues have been dumbfounded by […]

Could that hole in the sun be dark matter?

From Shannon Palus at New Scientist: THERE is a hole in the sun. Right in the middle, a mass the size of 1500 Earths has simply disappeared. Much of what we know about the sun’s behaviour says it should be there – but when we interpret the data encoded in sunlight, that chunk of stuff […]

Microbiology needs more math to help sort out the concept of “species”? Oh but wait…

From Mikhail Tikhonov at The Scientist: More profoundly, microbial ecosystems are a strange world where many familiar concepts start to break down, including “species,” “fitness,” and maybe even “organism.” In our everyday experience, we are rarely in doubt whether a given creature is a fox or a rabbit. Further, it seems very easy to delineate […]

Are we really closing in on dark matter?

From Cathay O’Connell at at Cosmos: Like me, physicists around the world are in the midst of an important search that has so far proven fruitless. Their quarry is nothing less than most of the matter in the universe, so-called “dark matter”. So far their most sensitive detectors have found – to be pithy – […]

Could more than 30,000 biomed studies be suspect due to contaminated cells?

Yes. From Peter Dockrill at Science Alert: Of the 451 cell lines known to be compromised, the most famous contaminating source is what’s known as HeLa cells, named after their source, Henrietta Lacks. In 1951, this 31-year-old mother of five from Virginia died from cervical cancer. But during treatment before her death, cells were taken […]

Zap! RNA World gets another brief jolt of life

From ScienceDaily: The spark of life, the authors say, was the creation of RNA polymers: the essential components of nucleotides, delivered by meteorites, reaching sufficient concentrations in pond water and bonding together as water levels fell and rose through cycles of precipitation, evaporation and drainage. The combination of wet and dry conditions was necessary for […]

Eight minute vid for Michael Denton’s new Wonder of Water

From Michael Denton’s new book, Wonder of Water: This wonder fluid is fit for life on Earth in an absolutely stunning number of ways. It is fit for the formation of proto-planetary discs, for the formation of the planets, for the formation of the oceans, and for their subsequent preservation. Water is uniquely fit for […]

Convergent evolution: Independent origin of lizard toepads = evolution a “tinkerer”?

From ScienceDaily: Travis Hagey, Michigan State University evolutionary biologist, shows how different groups of lizards — geckos and anoles — took two completely different evolutionary paths to developing the beneficial trait of sticky toe pads. In a paper published in the journal Evolution, Hagey showed that anoles seemed to commit to a single type of […]

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