Category Archives: evolution

The RNA world

by Matthew Cobb I have just sent off the final version of my book Life’s Greatest Secret: The Story of the Race to Crack the Genetic Code (to appear in 2015 with Profile Books, and Basic Books in the USA). The book is mainly history, covering the period 1943-1961, but the final four chapters bring the […]

Calvinian teleological evolution

“The World That Knew We Were Coming” —Title of Chapter Six in Only a Theory: Evolution and the Battle for America’s Soul, by Kenneth Miller Replace Calvin in Sunday’s Calvin and Hobbes strip with “Homo sapiens“, and you have an accurate description of theological human exceptionalism, as well as an inkling of the evolutionary teleology of misguided philosophers […]

The cat genome: what does it say about domesticated moggies?

Not much, really, though there are some interesting but preliminary findings. Many readers sent me a link to a new paper in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences by Michael J. Montague et al. (reference at bottom, free download, too many authors to list!), and I found it interesting but not definitive. That’s […]

Only a theory?

Matthew Cobb sent a link to this video about the nature of a scientific theory, along with the note: Brief 3-minute video on theories in science from the Royal Institution, written by science teacher and atheist Alom Shaha and narrated by theoretical physicist and humanist, Jim al-Khalili Nothing you haven’t said a million times over, but nicely […]

The group-selection dustup continues: E. O. Wilson calls Richard Dawkins a “journalist”

I’ve been an admirer of Ed Wilson for a long time (after all, he helped me get into Harvard). He founded the discipline of evolutionary psychology, which is a branch of sociobiology, has been an ardent conservationist, and his work on ants is unparalleled, though he’s not really incorporated the latest statistical methodologies into his phylogenetic […]

My interview for Skeptical Briefs

Skeptical Briefs is a newsletter that goes, four times yearly, to the Associate Members of the Committee for Skeptical Inquiry, which also publishes the well known periodical Skeptical Inquirer. In the latest issue I have a two-page interview conducted by Brazilian writer Felipe Nogueira, who was clearly well read about my stuff before me interviewed me.  Anyway, […]

The evidence for evolution: a short video and a slightly longer take

This video came out only five days ago and already has garnered 127,000+ views, so the production outfit, Stated Clearly, must be doing something right. And indeed, it’s very good. If you can’t get somebody to read WEIT, at least have them watch this video, and ask them, if they’re creationists, how their own theory could explain the […]

Why are dog breeds so variable compared to cat breeds?

This is a question for readers to answer. I have my own theories, but I want to hear yours. Dog breeds (I’ll spell out “dog” this one time) are of course tremendously more variable than breeds of cats. It doesn’t matter what trait you pick: behavior, color, skeletal configuration, size, and so on—dogs are more […]

Spiffy evolution coins

Sandara Tang is an artist in Singapore who specializes in fantasy artwork, but also reports that she is an avid reader of this site (and my book), and was in part inspired by them to create some large coins or medallions in honor of Darwin and evolution.  And so she has. Sandara has produced two coins, one […]

Ancient amphibians could regrow their limbs

Most animals have the ability to regenerate lost parts, but not most of the tetrapods (the descendants of the four-legged creatures that invaded land; tetrapods include amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals). Salamanders are the tetrapods best at regenerating lost parts: some can replace lost limbs, eyes, hearts (!) and tails at any stage of their life.  Other […]

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