Correcting trolls, 3: Wikipedia blunders yet again — “Unlike hypotheses, theories and laws may be simply referred to as scientific fact”

The other day, I ran across the Wiki article on Laws of Science. While there is much good there, such as: The laws of science, scientific laws, or scientific principles are statements that describe or predict a range of phenomena as they appear in nature.[1] The term “law” has diverse usage in many cases: approximate, […]

Researchers: Cambrian explosion was not an explosion after all

From Harry Pettit at the Daily Mail: The ‘Cambrian explosion’ is one of the most significant events in the planet’s 4.5-billion-year history and ultimately led to the arrival of complex animals like humans. New research shows the event – which took place between 500 and 540 million years ago – was a much more gradual […]

Can fuzzballs explain away the Big Bang? And the origin of time?

From Sophie Hebden at FQXI: A radical theory replaces the cosmic crunchers with fuzzy quantum spheres, potentially solving the black-hole information paradox and explaining away the Big Bang and the origin of time. … If the core of a black hole isn’t confusing enough, things get worse when you consider its surface—or “event horizon”—which marks […]

Correcting Trollish errors, 2: AK’s “A/Mats are skeptical of extraordinary claims . . . ” (selective hyperskepticism rises yet again)

It is clearly time to hammer selective hyperskepticism again. Here is AK at 49 in the Answering thread: A/Mats are skeptical of extraordinary claims. And I don’t apologize for that. BA, UD President (and a lawyer familiar with correcting fallacies) duly hammered the fallacy: BA, 50 – 53 : >>50: . . . Like the […]

Science vs. Scientists Part 2: Crucal Cancer Theory Dismissed for Half Century

David Nguyen outlines the history of the Warburg effect at Think Tank Learning: See also: Science News Fact Check: Did Craig Venter create life? With David Nguyen

External testicles another instance of bad design?

From Nathan H. Lents, author of Human Errors: A Panorama of Our Glitches, from Pointless Bones to Broken Genes, at Undark: Of course there’s an explanation (sperm like to develop at lower temperatures). But really: What intelligent designer could have come up with this? It sounds as though Lents has never heard of the concept […]

Did the dying Stephen Hawking strengthen the case for God by reintroducing fine-tuning?

In his final paper, with Hertog, scaling back the multiverse? From Philip Goff at the Guardian: But if all of the universes have exactly the same laws – as in Hawking and Hertog’s proposal – the problem returns, as we now need an explanation of why the single set of laws that govern the entire […]

At CSICOP: Why millennials and liberals turn to astrology

From Sturt Vyse at CSICOP: One of the most noteworthy aspects of belief in astrology is that it is more often embraced by liberals, which places it in the company of the anti-GMO and anti-vaccination movements (Vyse 2015). A 2009 Pew Research Center study found that people who described themselves as liberal were almost twice […]

New book challenges sexual selection theory in evolution

The book, Darwin’s Secret Sex Problem: Exposing Evolution’s Fatal Flaw: The Origin of Sex, by Bible commentator F. Lagard Smith,m is endorsed by emeritus biology prof (Cedarville University), John E. Silvius. From the publisher at Amazon: Darwins Secret Sex Problem What Darwin Ignored . . . For all his revolutionary insight into the fascinating processes […]

Neuroskeptic serves up some skepticism about a recent memory transfer claim

For sea slugs, via RNA transfer. At Discover: There’s a couple of reasons why I don’t think this is evidence of “memory transfer”. Firstly, what was transferred here was hardly a memory in the usual sense of the word. It is simply an increase in the sensitivity of a set of neurons, a single reflex […]

Asked at Gizmodo: Does Earth’s Shifting Orbit Influence How Life Evolves?

From Ryan F. Mandelbaum at Gizmodo: A team of researchers from the United States and New Zealand took a look at how likely species were to go extinct and how likely new species were to appear during a 60-million-year period, long before humans evolved. Upon analyzing fossil data, it seemed to them as if astronomical […]

Epigenetics: “[n]ew ideas closely related to Lamarck’s eighteenth-century views have become central to our understanding of genetics”

From Israel Rosenfield and Edward Ziff, in a discussion sparked by The Deepest Well: Healing the Long-Term Effects of Childhood Adversity (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2018) at New York Review of Books: When the molecular structure of DNA was discovered in 1953, it became dogma in the teaching of biology that DNA and its coded information […]

Researchers teach a spider to jump on demand

From National Geographic: They trained Kim by creating a gentle tool to repeatedly bring her from one platform to the other. This conditioned the spider to eventually start jumping to the target without the assistance of the tool. They used 3D CT scanning and high-speed cameras to capture and research the spider’s jumps.More. It seems […]

Panspermia (maybe life came from outer space) is back, in Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology

Abstract: We review the salient evidence consistent with or predicted by the Hoyle-Wickramasinghe (H-W) thesis of Cometary (Cosmic) Biology. Much of this physical and biological evidence is multifactorial. One particular focus are the recent studies which date the emergence of the complex retroviruses of vertebrate lines at or just before the Cambrian Explosion of ∼500 Ma. […]

Astrophysicist as advice columnist: Question, should I study string theory?

From Sabine Hossenfelder at her blog BackRe(Action), responding to a physics major who has heard from cosmologist Brian Greene that string theory can be a grand theory of everything: Greene states very carefully that superstring theory “has the capacity to embrace” gravity as well as the other known fundamental forces (electromagnetic, weak, and strong). What […]

Convergent evolution: Green blood evolved four times in lizards

From Louisiana State U: Green blood is one of the most unusual characteristics in the animal kingdom, but it’s the hallmark of a group of lizards in New Guinea. Prasinohaema are green-blooded skinks, or a type of lizard. The muscles, bones and tongues of these lizards appear bright, lime-green due to high levels of biliverdin, […]

Are recent dark energy findings a blow for multiverse theory?

Dark energy. From Andrew Masterson at Cosmos: The question of dark energy in one universe does not require others to provide an answer. A hypothetical multiverse seems less likely after modelling by researchers in Australia and the UK threw one of its key assumptions into doubt. Dark energy is supposed to be responsible for the […]

Gunter Bechly: “Living fossils” under massive attack

From David Klinghoffer at ENST: If you ever encounter a horseshoe crab on the beach, you are a looking at a creature that would not have appeared out of place hundreds of millions of years ago. Arthropods breathtakingly similar to this, says paleontologist Günter Bechly, go back “almost a half billion years without significant morphological […]

Michael Medved discusses intelligent design theory with Darwin’s Doubt author Steve Meyer

 Darwin’s Doubt deals with the Cambrian explosion of life forms about 550 million years ago. Philip Cunningham, who forwarded this link, notes, Stephen Meyer joins Michael to discuss the origins of life and the biology’s big bang, the Cambrian explosion. Animal forms come and go, but what links them as “acts of mind” (as […]

Biophysics is starting to matter in evolution

From Suzan Mazur at Oscillations: The mechanics of morphogenesis is something European scientists, in particular, seem to find intriguing. However, physical biology is an approach many classical biologists in America have had a difficult time in the past understanding as well as accepting, as evidenced by vociferous attacks in the blogosphere on scientists working in […]

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