Category Archives: evolution

The grasping reflex of babies: a vestigial trait?

This is the type of post I originally intended to publish on this website, and the only type of post, for the website was created, at the behest of my editor at Viking/Penguin, to support my book WEIT. My idea then was to post a bit of cool evidence for evolution every few weeks or so. Then things got […]

Batesian mimicry of proselytizers

On his website Evolving Perspectives, Reader Pliny the In Between—perhaps inspired by yesterday’s posts on mimicry and Alabama’s banning of sex toys—has created this nice cartoon that he calls “Batesian mimicry”. A biological digression: Now if you don’t understand the title, Batesian mimicry is an evolutionary phenomenon whereby a conspicuously colored or patterned toxic individual, called a “model,” is […]

Kenneth Miller sells book on consciousness—and its evolution

A reader sent me this notice from an online magazine called Publisher’s Lunch, which reports weekly on recent book deals. This week it reported a sale of a new book by Kenneth Miller, biochemistry professor at Brown, co-author of a best-selling biology textbook, strident anti-creationist (author of the anti-ID Only a Theory), accommodationist (author of Finding Darwin’s God), […]

Caturday felid: “Methinks it is like a catcerto”

Today we have a rare guest Caturday felid; I can’t remember one since I started this site five years ago (has it really been that long?). So here’s Greg’s contribution, which shows a concerto (“Catcerto”) composed by Mindaugas Piecaitis to embellish and complement the playing of Nora the famous piano-playing cat. (The score for “Catcerto” can […]

The “selfish gene” redux: Aeon magazine collects opinion on the metaphor

Last December, David Dobbs published a jeremiad in Aeon magazine called “Die, selfish gene, die”.  And I criticized it in two posts (here and here), while Richard Dawkins, who of course coined the term “selfish gene,” and Steven Pinker also took issue with it. I’ll summarize Dobb’s original thesis by quoting my initial post on it: At […]

The evolution of tetrapods

I’m not sure whether this cartoon implies divine intervention and a form of theistic evolution: h/t: from Off the Mark, by Mark Parisi, via reader js

New book on Darwinian medicine

I’d like to call attention to a new book on “Darwinian medicine” by my Chicago colleague Bob Perlman, an MD/Ph.D. in the Department of Pediatrics and Pharmacological Sciences. As you probably know, “Dawinian medicine” uses the principles of evolutionary theory to understand and treat disease.  The book, Evolution and Medicine, is published by Oxford University […]

Kas Thomas melts down

I’m pretty much done with Kas Thomas and his dissing of modern evolutionary theory. All that’s left is to document the final stage in his loss of credibility: his siding with sympathetic creationists and his accusations that his critics are “bullies.” As Hitchens pointed out, playing the “tone” card is the last refuge of those […]

“Your Inner Fish” television series

My Chicago colleague Neil Shubin is about to host a three-part PBS series on his book Your Inner Fish and its explication of the evolutionary origin of the human body. As the new website notes: Have you ever wondered why the human body looks the way it does? Why our hands have five fingers instead […]

A big stink at The Big Think: the supposed shortcomings of “Darwinism” touted by a quasi-creationist “thinker”

I thought The Big Think site was devoted to innovative, cutting-edge ideas. But when I went over there, I was surprised by today’s Big Thought: What? It’s good at explaining losses (degeneration of useless structures via random mutation or selective elimination, etc.), but not gains of function? That’s an old creationist trope. What gives? So […]

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